21st century mountain biking

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Murk, Apr 9, 2003.

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  1. Murk

    Murk Guest

    Put the knobblies on at the weekend for the first time in about four years after hearing about the
    dedicated trails at Glentress forest, and what a great facility it is, trouble is though, I was
    scared s***less within about fifty yards.

    Steep, rock-strewn tracks, barely wider than your handlebars, cut into the sides of mountains with a
    wall of rock on one side and a sheer drop on the other, with hairpin bends thrown in for good
    measure (the sort of thing Thunderbirds 1 and 2 had to rescue 48-wheeled, atomic powered trucks
    from). This is not the mountain biking I remember. What happened to the wide forest roads and grassy
    open moors?

    After tentatively making my way round the moderate trail, walking a few of the hairpins and only
    falling off once (all the other times I managed to get my foot down), I went round again.

    This time was much better. I was a bit more confident and determined. I knew what was in store and I
    was more tuned-in to the off-road requirements. The sudden swings of momentum from short steep drops
    to even steeper rises and rapid changes in direction; keeping the weight on the back wheel for grip
    while keeping the front wheel from lifting; the relentless gear changing and aching forearms from
    manic braking; the intense concentration required to watch the trail ahead; the lack of the
    gyroscopic forces from the wheels keeping you upright because they're turning so slowly. An 'A' road
    blast on 120psi 700x20s it aint. But it *was* fun, in a white knuckle sort of way.

    Now, clearly I'm a bit of a wuss, and my off-road skills are fairly rusty, to put it mildly. But it
    was noticeable that everyone else out there had suspension forks. As one commented to me, "It must
    be a bit of challenge with stiff forks". So this is the bit where I appeal to you for advice.

    Do I just need more experience or is suspension an absolute requirement in modern mountain biking?
    My eight year old titanium Dyna-tech STX is still a good bike, but how easy is it to fit suspension
    forks, and can I swap them back and forward easily enough? (I use it for touring when shod with
    slicks and front and rear panniers). Are there compatibility issues? How much do I have to spend for
    decent forks? And which would you recommend? Will my cantilever brakes fit or will I need V-brakes?

    Any advice for an out-of-touch roadie would be most welcome.

    M
     
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  2. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    Murk <[email protected]> wrote:

    : Do I just need more experience or is suspension an absolute requirement in modern mountain biking?

    I've been MTB'ing with a group containing everything from a fully rigid Dave Yates steel MTB to a
    downhill-lite full-susser. The better riders still got to the top and bottom first.

    That said, riders are riding mroe technical stuff, and if you want to do that, suspension is where
    it's at. I'd not give up my suspension forks for offroad. I'm bad technically so need all the help
    I can get!

    : My eight year old titanium Dyna-tech STX is still a good bike, but how easy is it to fit
    : suspension forks, and can I swap them back and forward easily enough? (I use it for touring when
    : shod with slicks and front and rear panniers).

    Porbably not worth the bother IMO. You bike is likely to have a 1" quill-stem. Modern suspension
    forks are all 1 1/8" ahead, so you'd have big problems.

    I'd keep your bike for touring. You can get a reasonalbe MTB for 300 quid (as long as it *only* has
    front suspension) and a good one for 400 quid these days.

    Arthur

    --
    Arthur Clune http://www.clune.org Power is delightful. Absolute power is absolutely delightful -
    Lord Lester
     
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    In a brief moment of lucidity Murk scribbled:

    > Put the knobblies on at the weekend for the first time in about four years after hearing about the
    > dedicated trails at Glentress forest, and what a great facility it is, trouble is though, I was
    > scared s***less within about fifty yards.
    >
    > Steep, rock-strewn tracks, barely wider than your handlebars, cut into the sides of mountains with
    > a wall of rock on one side and a sheer drop on the other, with hairpin bends thrown in for good
    > measure (the sort of thing Thunderbirds 1 and 2 had to rescue 48-wheeled, atomic powered trucks
    > from). This is not the mountain biking I remember. What happened to the wide forest roads and
    > grassy open moors?
    >
    > After tentatively making my way round the moderate trail, walking a few of the hairpins and only
    > falling off once (all the other times I managed to get my foot down), I went round again.
    >
    > This time was much better. I was a bit more confident and determined. I knew what was in store and
    > I was more tuned-in to the off-road requirements. The sudden swings of momentum from short steep
    > drops to even steeper rises and rapid changes in direction; keeping the weight on the back wheel
    > for grip while keeping the front wheel from lifting; the relentless gear changing and aching
    > forearms from manic braking; the intense concentration required to watch the trail ahead; the lack
    > of the gyroscopic forces from the wheels keeping you upright because they're turning so slowly. An
    > 'A' road blast on 120psi 700x20s it aint. But it *was* fun, in a white knuckle sort of way.
    >
    > Now, clearly I'm a bit of a wuss, and my off-road skills are fairly rusty, to put it mildly. But
    > it was noticeable that everyone else out there had suspension forks. As one commented to me, "It
    > must be a bit of challenge with stiff forks". So this is the bit where I appeal to you for advice.
    >
    > Do I just need more experience or is suspension an absolute requirement in modern mountain biking?
    > My eight year old titanium Dyna-tech STX is still a good bike, but how easy is it to fit
    > suspension forks, and can I swap them back and forward easily enough? (I use it for touring when
    > shod with slicks and front and rear panniers). Are there compatibility issues? How much do I have
    > to spend for decent forks? And which would you recommend? Will my cantilever brakes fit or will I
    > need V-brakes?
    >
    > Any advice for an out-of-touch roadie would be most welcome.
    >
    > M

    I run a 10 year old Dynatech cro-mo comp, got some 'el cheapo' forks from Decathlon (Opening day
    offers at Giltbrook where I live) for £30 .. only got three inch of movement but the difference is
    phenomenal .. much, much easier on the trail now.

    I also fitted a Cane Creek alloy ahead set, alloy stem, raised handlebars instead of the Ti flats
    and vee brakes. Actually, only the frame and seat post are original fitment I think, everything
    else, inc wheels, gears, etc etc has gone the way of heavy bugger, riding badly .. ;)

    Have a look here for pics of it .. The bike looks awful, I'd only just got back from a week away,
    and it isn't clean at all .. I got it as a semi-gift (better than half-price) when I was working for
    the company that produced a lot of Ti parts and fasteners for Dyna-Tech, they asked me what colour I
    wanted so I said 'Blue'. It appears they sprayed the Green bike blue .. I would have been happy
    either way .. ;) A lot of the rear frame has had the blue 'overcoat' flake off, but the green
    underneath is reasonable .. ;)

    http://tinyurl.com/95ek

    --

    Completed 1581 Seti work units in 12041 hours http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/
     
  4. M

    M Guest

    Arthur Clune wrote:
    > Murk <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > : My eight year old titanium Dyna-tech STX is still a good bike, but how easy is it to fit
    > : suspension forks, and can I swap them back and forward easily enough? (I use it for touring when
    > : shod with slicks and front and rear panniers).
    >
    > Porbably not worth the bother IMO. You bike is likely to have a 1" quill-stem. Modern suspension
    > forks are all 1 1/8" ahead, so you'd have big problems.
    >
    > I'd keep your bike for touring. You can get a reasonalbe MTB for 300 quid (as long as it *only*
    > has front suspension) and a good one for 400 quid these days.
    >
    > Arthur
    >

    It's got an Aheadset, so I take it then most, if not all, modern forks will be compatible? But,
    easy to swap?

    A new bike is not an option, either financially or practically, having three already, I just don't
    have the room for another.

    As for *only* front suspension, whilst I can see the benefits in terms of control for suspension
    forks, I am unconvinced as to the benefits of rear suspension other than comfort.

    M
     
  5. M

    M Guest

    > I run a 10 year old Dynatech cro-mo comp, got some 'el cheapo' forks from Decathlon (Opening day
    > offers at Giltbrook where I live) for £30 .. only got three inch of movement but the difference is
    > phenomenal .. much, much easier on the trail now.
    >
    > I also fitted a Cane Creek alloy ahead set, alloy stem, raised handlebars instead of the Ti flats
    > and vee brakes. Actually, only the frame and seat post are original fitment I think, everything
    > else, inc wheels, gears, etc etc has gone the way of heavy bugger, riding badly ... ;)
    >
    > Have a look here for pics of it .. The bike looks awful, I'd only just got back from a week away,
    > and it isn't clean at all .. I got it as a semi-gift (better than half-price) when I was working
    > for the company that produced a lot of Ti parts and fasteners for Dyna-Tech, they asked me what
    > colour I wanted so I said 'Blue'. It appears they sprayed the Green bike blue .. I would have been
    > happy either way .. ;) A lot of the rear frame has had the blue 'overcoat' flake off, but the
    > green underneath is reasonable .. ;)
    >
    > http://tinyurl.com/95ek
    >
    >

    I like the bit about cheap forks, I was starting to think I'd have to spend at least £150.

    I notice from your pics that you've got bear trap pedals instead of clipless spd types. Is this much
    more sensible for off-roading in general? The one time I fell was because I didn't get my foot
    released in time.

    M
     
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    In a brief moment of lucidity M scribbled:

    >>
    >> I run a 10 year old Dynatech cro-mo comp, got some 'el cheapo' forks from Decathlon (Opening day
    >> offers at Giltbrook where I live) for £30 .. only got three inch of movement but the difference
    >> is phenomenal .. much, much easier on the trail now.
    >>
    >> I also fitted a Cane Creek alloy ahead set, alloy stem, raised handlebars instead of the Ti flats
    >> and vee brakes. Actually, only the frame and seat post are original fitment I think, everything
    >> else, inc wheels, gears, etc etc has gone the way of heavy bugger, riding badly ... ;)
    >>
    >> Have a look here for pics of it .. The bike looks awful, I'd only just got back from a week away,
    >> and it isn't clean at all .. I got it as a semi-gift (better than half-price) when I was working
    >> for the company that produced a lot of Ti parts and fasteners for Dyna-Tech, they asked me what
    >> colour I wanted so I said 'Blue'. It appears they sprayed the Green bike blue .. I would have
    >> been happy either way .. ;) A lot of the rear frame has had the blue 'overcoat' flake off, but
    >> the green underneath is reasonable .. ;)
    >>
    >> http://tinyurl.com/95ek
    >>
    >>
    >
    > I like the bit about cheap forks, I was starting to think I'd have to spend at least £150.
    >
    > I notice from your pics that you've got bear trap pedals instead of clipless spd types. Is this
    > much more sensible for off-roading in general? The one time I fell was because I didn't get my
    > foot released in time.
    >
    > M

    For me, yes. I have trouble with both my knees, my left one hyper-extended and now goes forwards as
    well as backwards, and my right knee and ankle dislocate *very* easily when I twist at all, so
    although I prefer to be clipped into my spd's, spd's don't like me .. ;) It really wasn't an option,
    it was forced upon me, but I must admit, you get used to not being clipped in after a while. Toe
    clips work for me, because it's a rearwards movement, I just don't like 'em much .. ;)

    --

    Completed 1581 Seti work units in 12041 hours http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/
     
  7. Ben

    Ben Guest

    On Wed, 09 Apr 2003 23:10:49 +0100, M <[email protected]> wrote:

    >As for *only* front suspension, whilst I can see the benefits in terms of control for suspension
    >forks, I am unconvinced as to the benefits of rear suspension other than comfort.

    Rear suspension stops the back of the bike bucking around on bumpy descents I've found. However,
    after 5 years on fully suspended, I'm going back to a ridged rear soon because I don't think it's
    really needed for the riding I do. I reckon I'm quicker over most terrain on a hardtail.
    --
    "We take these risks, not to escape from life, but to prevent life escaping from us." ***** replace
    'spam' with 'ben' to reply *****
     
  8. Si Davies

    Si Davies Guest

    Ditto Ben's comments - already had a full susser when moved to present area. Used it on the slighlty
    calmer trails around here and it just flattened them all out - lost most of the fun. Now back on a
    fully rigid single speed - much more bumpy, throws me all over the place and is generally great fun.

    "Ben" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > Rear suspension stops the back of the bike bucking around on bumpy descents I've found. However,
    > after 5 years on fully suspended, I'm going back to a ridged rear soon because I don't think it's
    > really needed for the riding I do. I reckon I'm quicker over most terrain on a hardtail.
    > --
    > "We take these risks, not to escape from life, but to prevent life escaping from us." *****
    > replace 'spam' with 'ben' to reply *****
     
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