Author Topic: Mtn bike advice  (Read 1067 times)

jim-ratliff

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Mtn bike advice
« on: May 14, 2011, 07:58:46 pm »
I need some advice on how to get started when riding moderately steep uphill sections with very loose surface conditions. As you can see from the pictures (if I can get them attached) there is an excess of water.  Some sections were washed out or too muddy for this 62 year old to ride through.
 One time I fell trying to get started on an uphill section.  I stepped on the pedal to start, my rear wheel spun, no forward momentum, gravity did it's thing.  Any tips for dealing with loose gravelley surfaces on jeep trails appreciated.

!
A couple of pictures when I can.
 
PS.  As most of you know, this is the first year of Lynn and I riding mountain bikes, but there are some challenges ( having a blast in general though!).  Loose gravel and rocks is the current big one - sort of tosses the bike around, especially going downhill at speed. We both are working on keeping on weight forward on these sections and low.
What are your thoughts?
 
Jim

[attachment removed after 60 days]
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 08:10:13 pm by jim-ratliff »
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LivingProof

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 07:08:33 am »
Jim,
Can offer no advise about Mtn. Biking, but, our new member Bushwacker is an expert, so, perhaps he could be enticed to offer some thoughts. Paging Mr. Bushwacker.

Pwehaps, a drawback to our revised software format with specific headings is that others may just not see the summer biking threads. This was a benefit of the old Open Discussion as a catch-all for any topic and very visible when logging in . Discussion??



jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2011, 08:07:54 am »

No hurry.  I'm sure Svend or BW or Ron will see it at some point.

Yes to the layout, sort of the same problem as the ski reviews being at the bottom of the old layout.
I'm OK with the biking stuff being "second class" citizens compared to the main view.  Certainly like the ski reviews up top, and High Angles or others may have suggestions for more/different categories of ski reviews.

Part of the problem in this particular incident was that I was already in my lowest gear heading up the hill, so very little wheel rotation was generated from that initial push of the pedal when I restarted.  So I learned that I need to be up a couple of gears when starting, less torque to the wheel => less spinning of the wheel => more wheel rotation and momentum.  But getting started uphill is a challenge.  Hard to pedal one footed while trying to get the other foot cleated in.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 08:14:50 am by jim-ratliff »
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bushwacka

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2011, 07:04:10 am »
I need some advice on how to get started when riding moderately steep uphill sections with very loose surface conditions. As you can see from the pictures (if I can get them attached) there is an excess of water.  Some sections were washed out or too muddy for this 62 year old to ride through.
 One time I fell trying to get started on an uphill section.  I stepped on the pedal to start, my rear wheel spun, no forward momentum, gravity did it's thing.  Any tips for dealing with loose gravelley surfaces on jeep trails appreciated.

!
A couple of pictures when I can.
 
PS.  As most of you know, this is the first year of Lynn and I riding mountain bikes, but there are some challenges ( having a blast in general though!).  Loose gravel and rocks is the current big one - sort of tosses the bike around, especially going downhill at speed. We both are working on keeping on weight forward on these sections and low.
What are your thoughts?
 
Jim

for the uphill your second post has the right idea. Using a slightly higher gear is a great start. when I ride gears...I normally ride/ race a Single Speed......on gears thoug I generally am in the middle ring in the front and 1-3 for steep loose uphills. Other tips to maintain traction are

- keep chest low while pulling back on the handlebars
- stay seated
- use tubeless tires set at 25 psi + or - 5 psi

as for starting uphill it tough and no one tip is going to help you here. There is hope and the hope I can give you is this. Learn to track stand. Learning to be still while on the pedals is key skill for alot of things especially starting uphill. Here is a pretty good video out showing how to do it. I was teaching MTB clinics last year and it is the first thing we teach anyone new to MTBing. Also alot of experienced riders found some new capabilities on trails after learning to track stand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj96L3yD4z0
is it possible to embed video here?

another note on starting uphill is to use the slighter higher gears mentioned above

on the downhill leaning forward and getting low sounds like a recipe for a endo to me. On loose rocks and gravel your going to get thrown around alittle. I personally hate that stuff and it scares me alot to ride because it is like ICE on skis, there are times where you simply can not control what the bike will do.

As for where you COM should be though, it should be centered and your butt should be off your seat. This will let you adjust to the terrain better than forward and low. As with skiing you have to be vary your pressure on the wheels for and back and up and down. A centered stance that is taller will let you do that.

people who decend statically normally end up wrecked, learning to be just slightly active from a centered stance is not only safer its also more fun. I have take people in their 60s and 70s to the BMX track on skills days so they can learn how to absorb and be proactive and not jsut reactive to terrain. Not only that the drill in the video is great cross training for skiing.

http://www.vimeo.com/7519302

BTW GT - i drive? those are some of the best Full Suspension design on a bike on the planet and I would be stoked to own one. Also where do you ride at?


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jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2011, 07:47:02 am »

Bushwacka:

Thanks.  Just knowing that its a real challenge even for a "competent" rider and not something we are doing totally wrong is reassuring. The COM advice for going downhill is what others have advised, on our recent ride Lynn liked the feel of the bike going downhill at 18mph with more weight over the front wheel, but you are right in that she will need to get that weight back in a hurry before she applies the brakes.  Pulling "back" on the handlebars is a tip -- I was pulling up as I would with my road bike and found my front wheel getting bounced into the air so I stopped that (and slowed the rebound on the front shock).

Thanks for the video, will look at it tonight.  My brief look at the "Track Stand" is intimidating.

We use them for cross country type riding, not downhill or challenging stuff.  I ride some local trails here in Fairfax County Virginia and along the C&O Canal towpath from Washington DC north;  Lynn lives near the Delaware River in New York and has lots of roads/trails in her area.  Ten Mile River Boy Scout camp (12,000 acres) is less than 5 miles of dirt roads from her house, and we've had a couple of memorable rides there already (including one where we got a bit lost).

Thanks for the compliment on the bike selection. Yes, GT Marathon Carbon Pro with XT components and XTR shifters.  We got great deals last Christmas on prior year models from Performance Bike.  The pedaling is really smooth, I guess that is the I-Drive and the RP23 shocks performing as advertised.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 08:39:16 am by jim-ratliff »
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bushwacka

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2011, 08:01:03 am »

Bushwacka:

Thanks.  Just knowing that its a real challenge even for a "competent" rider and not something we are doing totally wrong. The COM advice for going downhill is what others have advised, on our recent ride Lynn liked the feel of the bike going downhill at 12mph?? with more weight over the front wheel, but you are right in that she will need to get that weight back in a hurry before she applies the breaks.  Pulling "back" on the handlebars is a good idea -- I was pulling up as I would with my road bike and found my front wheel getting bounced into the air so I stopped that (and slowed the rebound on the front shock).

Thanks for the video, will look at it tonight.  My brief look at the "Track Stand" is intimidating.

We use them for cross country type riding, not downhill or challenging stuff.  I ride some local trails here in Fairfax County Virginia and along the C&O Canal towpath from Washington DC north;  Lynn lives near the Delaware River in New York and has lots of roads/trails in her area.  Ten Mile River Boy Scout camp (12,000 acres) is less than 5 miles of dirt roads from her house, and we've had a couple of memorable rides there already (including one where we got a bit lost).

Thanks for the compliment on the bike selection. Yes, GT Marathon Carbon Pro with XT components and XTR shifters.  We got great deals last Christmas on prior year models from Performance Bike.  The pedaling is really smooth, I guess that is the I-Drive and the RP23 shocks performing as advertised.

on the track stand.

Put flat pedal on the bike to learn it. Also the instructor in the video looks downs and I highly recommend looking up.

Also I could not see what pedal where on the bike, but shimano SPDs are the best for MTBing(and for track stands). I personally am really scared to ride crank bros because of the clip falls I have had on them. The weight saving of the Crank bros comes are price of way harder to get out of, way easier to break, and the spindles break all the time.  Despite the know issues people keep buying them and there is 1000s of thread on the internet of people complaining about what I am saying.

Crank bros's pedal can let you get stuck in the pedals , SPDs can be adjust to come off really easily.

I am bascially just a XC rider as well currently my only MTB is a hardtail singlespeed, and quite frankly freeride stuff scares the hell out of me looking at it.

jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2011, 08:22:05 am »

Hmmm.  Crank Brothers Candy SL's (not the Eggbeaters) so a flat pedal with the cleat in the middle.

I had a pair of SPD's I used on my road bike when I first started riding 3 years back when I wasn't sure I wanted cleated pedals at all.  I like the Candy's better than those (but that was then and this is now and I've learned a lot since then).

Do you have a particular pedal you ride/recommend?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 08:37:46 am by jim-ratliff »
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LivingProof

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2011, 05:35:45 pm »

BTW GT - i drive? those are some of the best Full Suspension design on a bike on the planet and I would be stoked to own one. Also where do you ride at?


BW and/or Jim

I just saw this available on a local Craigslist for $750. More than I want to spend, but, I'd appreciate any thoughts.

GT i-Drive 4 4.0 MTB

jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2011, 06:58:27 pm »
LP:

I'm a bit honored to be "bike consultant" but I'm not feeling very qualified.

I searched for the iDrive 4 4.0 phrase and came up with a couple of results.  Overall, the other threads at mtbr that I have read over time have been informative.

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=391262
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=216274

If you are thinking about a mountain bike, then you should do some store shopping and try to get smarter, even if you want to buy used.  For Lynn and I, the weight of a steel full suspension bike (at the Yough) was really a turn off.  We would not have gotten full suspension if we hadn't been able to get the weight under 28 pounds at what we could afford.
Full suspension will be heavy unless you move up to the higher end.
29 hardtails will ride better than 26 hardtail.
I think you are big enough framed that you should really consider a 29 hardtail.  That's what Svend rides, and he is 6'3" or so. I think you are close to that?
Is a Large GT frame the right size.  May need to visit bike store to know what the right size is.  I was in between a Medium and Large, and wound up gettting the Large and that feels very comfortable now -- but it felt really stretched out in the beginning since I was coming from a road bike.  My road bike feels like riding in a go-cart.

My biases.  My son's Trek had the twist grip shifters.  I like the trigger shifters better.
A lockout on the front shock (or at least some rebound adjustment) is very desirable.  Otherwise when you get out of the saddle and pedal hard the front shock bobs up and down and wastes energy.
Fox and Rockshox are the two better shock brands.
I'm not smart enough to know what to watch out for in a used MTB.

SVEND? ??? ?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 12:35:42 am by jim-ratliff »
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LivingProof

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2011, 06:15:45 am »
Jim,

thanks for the thoughts, the GT bike just popped up for sale and I did check the Mountain Bike reviews for it. I've done the shop checks, test rides, and rode some used bikes in local test rides, came close to a purchase a couple of times. Funny, but the one I should have bought was the first I rode, but, I was not knowledgeable at that time. I will not pursue this GT.

My needs in a MTN bike are very minimal as local terrain is not interesting and very limited, especially in the summer season.  It's just been a fun thing checking them out. I may ride a Trek Fuel 98 on Monday.

jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2011, 07:17:16 am »



Mike:  What are your thoughts about 29" hardtails, since you are taller than me.  I test rode a couple, and they do ride better than 26" but they really felt much bigger than a 26", much more so than they look.  And, the biggest disadvantage for me, they didn't fit well in the back of my RAV 4.
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jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2011, 10:46:17 am »
Mike:
I didn't realize that you had been considering adding a mountain bike to your quiver, evidently for a while -- but I fully support your decision. Lynn and I are really enjoying the flexibility that not being limited to surfaced roads allows. Good luck with a purchase.

Are you targeting the Finger Lakes Century with Helluva this year?
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bushwacka

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2011, 09:58:17 pm »
Jim,

thanks for the thoughts, the GT bike just popped up for sale and I did check the Mountain Bike reviews for it. I've done the shop checks, test rides, and rode some used bikes in local test rides, came close to a purchase a couple of times. Funny, but the one I should have bought was the first I rode, but, I was not knowledgeable at that time. I will not pursue this GT.

My needs in a MTN bike are very minimal as local terrain is not interesting and very limited, especially in the summer season.  It's just been a fun thing checking them out. I may ride a Trek Fuel 98 on Monday.

I am alittle late to the party but yeah the GT is junk. Has nothing to do with the weight but more of the shitty component spec on it. Especially when working with a budget weight is the last thing you want to think about. There are 30 lb bike that will out climb 25lb bikes just due to superior design of the suspension.

I dont know which you want to get and really dont want to sway you anyway, but will say that the philly area has some really cool under appreciated riding, and Pa as a whole probably has more singletrack than any other state in the union.

Some generally thoughts on Mountain bikes

most Hardtails ride rough, steel, carbon and Ti ride smoother than Aluminum , but most hardtails are AL and AL hardtail absolutely suck from a smoothness and roughness stand point. Quite frankly they ride like jack hammers.

rear suspension is great if the design is good and currently there are only handful of designs that work well. Most of the big name bike companies dont make it though. Giant, GT, Turner, Ibis, Niner, Santa Cruz,Haro(Sonix series) and intense are some companies with suspension that works well. alot of big names make some pretty bad designs that they try to mask with lock out, two of the worst offenders are Special Ed and Trek.

29er can be great as long there arent alot of tight turns. They roll faster and better over most stuff you find on your typical XC style trails but can be slow to accelerate and weigh more than a 26er. They can work for alot of people.

For the record I ride a Single Speed Steel hardtail 29er most but do not thing it is to answer to everyone's riding desire.  Although I would recommend most newer ride to a 26er with about 5 inches of travel front and rear.


Lastly tubeless tires are IMO the biggest improvement you can do from a performance stand point to any off road bike. They save weight. cut down on flats,and let you run a grippier,softer and faster, lower pressure.


jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2011, 11:00:44 pm »
Lastly tubeless tires are IMO the biggest improvement you can do from a performance stand point to any off road bike. They save weight. cut down on flats,and let you run a grippier,softer and faster, lower pressure.


BW: 
  • Are you saying that running tires at lower pressures make them roll easier and therefore faster, or that you can ride faster with low pressure when traction is limited.  I assumed that higher pressures allowed them to roll easier (like with car tires) on the road, but at the expense of traction off the road.  We've been riding with higher pressures for the easier rolling at the expense of grip in some situations.
  • I have Mavic CrossRide wheels and Kenda Karma tires, both are tubeless compatible but the bike came with tubes.  Do you think I should ditch the tubes?
  • What SPD pedals do you use or recommend?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 11:08:27 pm by jim-ratliff »
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bushwacka

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Re: Mtn bike advice
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2011, 05:58:49 am »
Lastly tubeless tires are IMO the biggest improvement you can do from a performance stand point to any off road bike. They save weight. cut down on flats,and let you run a grippier,softer and faster, lower pressure.


BW: 
  • Are you saying that running tires at lower pressures make them roll easier and therefore faster, or that you can ride faster with low pressure when traction is limited.  I assumed that higher pressures allowed them to roll easier (like with car tires) on the road, but at the expense of traction off the road.  We've been riding with higher pressures for the easier rolling at the expense of grip in some situations.
  • I have Mavic CrossRide wheels and Kenda Karma tires, both are tubeless compatible but the bike came with tubes.  Do you think I should ditch the tubes?
  • What SPD pedals do you use or recommend?

1. Lower pressure about 25 psi for most people, actually rolls faster for most people off road. The lower pressure is more supple and in an off road situation will let the tire absorb terrain instead of being deflected. Not only that lower pressures are easier to ride on and have more traction and ride smoother. Now if your riding alot of pavement or really packed gravel then yes a higher pressure will roll faster but that is not the same situation as singletrack, or rough double track riding. On rough enough gravel road the lower pressure will roll faster.

the other things most people dont understand is off road a wider tires roll faster, because the contact patch is shorter than a narrow tire there for the leverage against it is much less meaning less deflection. Deflection is what causes a tire to slow down. Deflection is simply a tire being to hard.

http://www.mtbonline.co.za/info/mtb-tyre-rolling-resistance.htm

here is a test conducted with a power meter. there can be as much as 50 watt difference between a 2.1 tire inflated to 40 psi, and a 2.4 tire inflated at 23 psi.

please before someone comes in here and post that higher pressure on narrow tires I want you to find scientific data stating so. This is a measurable quality and if it was true someone would have been able to measure it, or you can go a find a power meter and measure it yourself. I love debating, but debating a know fact that is proven in science is like debating whether or not the sky is blue.

Also lastly I just want to add that the defacto tire setup for most men racing on the World Cup XC, is a 2.35 ish inflated to 20 to 30 psi mounted tubeless. The last time a tubed tire won a WC was 1999. The physics behind this has been know and applied for that long.

2. should you ditch the tubes?

yes! you have a wheelset and tire that have more weight so they can be run tubeless, and then you add more weight with a tube. I will never ride a MTB(or any bike really) with a tube in it again. there is no advantage to a tubed tire.


3.On pedal I like SPD and here is why.

SPD vs Crank bros

SPDs have adjustable release meaning you cannt get stuck in them
SPDs are a stronger design that is less likely to break
SPDs now have an open design as well meaning they will not get clog with mud like the old ones
SPDs dont get you stuck in the pedals at all.
Cranks bros are lighter

overall Id rather take a heavier more reliable pedal that actually let me release foot, than the death trap Crank Bros that get your feet stuck in them, and break when they see a rock on the trail.

I personally use 540s, and mine have last about 2200 mile thus far. I think if you picked out your weight and budget you couldnt go wrong with them.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 06:02:40 am by bushwacka »