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Tips and Pointers

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 

It's off topic, so I don't want to do it in this thread, but anyone want to take a stab at giving pointers on some of that stuff?  My bike handling skills suck and I'd love to get better.

 

 

so what do you want to get better first?

 

Josh

post #2 of 12

So, this was spawned from CTKook's post:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Not so sure about "most" XC trails flowing in an athletic sense.  I do agree many XC riders don't necessarily have a consciousness about bike handling the same way.  If they can incorporate a "play" amount of time with each ride, and work on developing things like a manual, bunny hop, drops to flat and tranny drop, and flat or off-camber cornering, and work on these things at least 3 times/week, their bike-handling options will increase a good bit, for sure.  A curb can be a drop to flat...there are lots of options out there that don't need access to great terrain.


I'm a pretty novice mtb rider, I actually just start riding again this summer after 10 years off (and I was never a very skilled rider to begin with).  My skills suck, but I do go out there and have fun. Anyway, the things CTKook listed out there, I can't really do any of them, honestly.  So what do I want to get better at first?  I don't know, would you consider any of those skills to be building blocks that I should work on first?  The only thing I've been focusing on thus far is just controlling my bike better by practicing on some very low skinnies.

post #3 of 12

Well, let's see:  position as a core skill.  Weight and balance on your feet.  Setting up your bike so that this position is easy to get and easy to move forward, back, and side to side from.  Being able to move all the way forward, and back far enough so that your hips are over your rear wheel and well behind your seat.  You could start by going to a good LBS, if you have one around, and making certain that your setup makes this easy as opposed to hard to do, and then spend a week or two where you set 5-10 minutes aside as part of each ride just to work on position drills.  What Lee @ www.leelikesbikes.com calls light hands / heavy feet. 

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Well, let's see:  position as a core skill.  Weight and balance on your feet.  Setting up your bike so that this position is easy to get and easy to move forward, back, and side to side from.  Being able to move all the way forward, and back far enough so that your hips are over your rear wheel and well behind your seat.  You could start by going to a good LBS, if you have one around, and making certain that your setup makes this easy as opposed to hard to do, and then spend a week or two where you set 5-10 minutes aside as part of each ride just to work on position drills.  What Lee @ www.leelikesbikes.com calls light hands / heavy feet. 


 

most LBS set up bike to be pedaled and not ridden......

 

but yes first what CTkook says. Heavy feet, light hands as a base position and I actually hate using that term because your almost never just sitting.

 

the first skill out of the manual, bunny hop, drops that you should learn is how to do short but effective manuals.

 

First lets be clear a manual is lofting of the front wheel with no pedaling motion.

 

You manual by shifting you weight rear ward while you push your feet forward. There is very little if any pulling up on the handlebars when done correctly.  Most people biggest mistake is trying to muscle the wheel upwards instead of moving back.

 

post #5 of 12

Now, if you've taken some time and actually tried this, you've probably seen you can move on your bike much more than you realized.  Some stuff, like cornering, works better while forward or, sometimes, centered, and some stuff, like braking hard, works better while way the heck back and down over the rear wheel, or in the case of absorbing things like braking bumps or similar closely spaced round bumpy things, way the heck back but balanced, using those infamous core muscles, above the virtual line extending back from your saddle. 

 

Speaking of the saddle, you see that life generally gets a lot better from a handling perspective when you're up and balanced on your pedals, not on your backside. 

 

Some body position stuff is good to go back to for at least a minute or two on a regular basis.  Vlad, an old poster here, had mentioned how on snow he always did a similar version of this where he moved his balance all around his skis at the start of each day. 

post #6 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

most LBS set up bike to be pedaled and not ridden......

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Speaking of the saddle, you see that life generally gets a lot better from a handling perspective when you're up and balanced on your pedals, not on your backside. 

 


 

So I did spend some time last weekend trying to work on some of this stuff.  I can't say I really got the hang of any of it yet, but I do think I'm getting a better feel for my bike a little (or maybe not, what do I know smile.gif).  One thing I think I've realized relates to these two statements.  I've always had my saddle height where you would want it for pedaling.  For general trail riding, that's way too high, isn't it (assuming we're not talking about a situation where you have a Reverb or something)?  I found that I could move around on my bike way more by dropping the saddle some.

 

One other thing I know about my bike setup, from reading previous threads, is that BWPA would say my stem is way too long (115).  I'm assuming that all things being equal, that would make it significantly harder to do things like a manual, etc.  So, I think I'm probably going to try swapping that out with a shorter stem.

 

post #7 of 12

Sounds on-target.  For dropping the seat, over time you can raise it again for rides where you want to, but yeah it makes it much easier to drop it initially.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 

 

So I did spend some time last weekend trying to work on some of this stuff.  I can't say I really got the hang of any of it yet, but I do think I'm getting a better feel for my bike a little (or maybe not, what do I know smile.gif).  One thing I think I've realized relates to these two statements.  I've always had my saddle height where you would want it for pedaling.  For general trail riding, that's way too high, isn't it (assuming we're not talking about a situation where you have a Reverb or something)?  I found that I could move around on my bike way more by dropping the saddle some.

 

One other thing I know about my bike setup, from reading previous threads, is that BWPA would say my stem is way too long (115).  I'm assuming that all things being equal, that would make it significantly harder to do things like a manual, etc.  So, I think I'm probably going to try swapping that out with a shorter stem.

 

General trail riding is primarily lots of pedaling. You will still spend 70% of your time climbing or whatever (unless you are doing a shuttle then you will spend 50% of your time driving smile.gif ) ... I just drop the saddle when the trail heads down hill or if I want to practice something technical. Rolling trails are harder to setup and its where a reverb style post makes the biggest difference.

 

Its often a good idea if you don't clean a section to walk back and try it a few times to see if you can get it.

 

If you are too streched out or want to move your balance back on the bike then a shorter stem will help that. So would a setback post to keep your saddle to bars length the same.

 

Being more forward (long stem) helps to keep your front wheel planted on steep technical climbs. Being more back (shorter stem / setback post) helps to keep you balanced from going OTB on steep descents. Depending on the bike and what its focus is and how it fits you, either option can be good.


Edited by tromano - 10/16/11 at 10:13am
post #9 of 12

http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/article/technique-how-to-freeride-part-3-corners-17810/  good link to keep working on stuff.  In terms of how to get the practice in, you also don't need nice flowy trails -- you can pedal for speed and then do your own cornering even on a fire road, logs and roots and rocks can be berms or drops, speed bumps are always fun if you don't overstay your welcome and don't annoy cars (i.e. don't decide to use speedbumps in the middle of a busy college campus, but the same bumps late evening may be ok).

post #10 of 12
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Tips from the master - http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Fabien-Barels-videos--how-to-cornering.html

Very good link.  Helps show the similarity to skiing -- very common to hear people, when you say bike handling is very similar to skiing, but with the hips reversed, say "but you never balance on one leg on a bike."  That alone makes this video a good view, or read, or whatever.

post #12 of 12
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