Newbie MTB questions

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Tdwfl, Jan 22, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Tdwfl

    Tdwfl Guest

    I usually ride on the road but I took my first mountain bike ride last Saturday. My first question
    is this (and it's probably a dumb question). Is it normal to fall a lot while riding? I've had two
    bonehead falls on my roadbike and hopefully that will be it for a while. In the process of riding
    last Sat. I fell 8 or 9 times. I rode a local trail. The first go round I probably fell six times,
    the second time only twice. I wasn't having much fun at first but after I gained a little confidence
    it was better. The bike had SPD pedals but in hindsight I might have been a little happier if I'd
    had regular pedals of ones with toe straps. Second question: What do people prefer as far as
    suspension types and why (hardtail vs. full suspension)? TIA

    tim
     
    Tags:


  2. Hippy

    Hippy Guest

    "TDWFL" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I usually ride on the road but I took my first mountain bike ride last Saturday. My first question
    > is this (and it's probably a dumb question). Is it
    normal to
    > fall a lot while riding? I've had two bonehead falls on my roadbike and hopefully that will be it
    > for a while. In the process of riding last Sat.
    I
    > fell 8 or 9 times. I rode a local trail. The first go round I probably
    fell six
    > times, the second time only twice. I wasn't having much fun at first but
    after
    > I gained a little confidence it was better. The bike had SPD pedals but in hindsight I might have
    > been a little happier if I'd had regular pedals of
    ones
    > with toe straps. Second question: What do people prefer as far as suspension types and why
    > (hardtail vs. full suspension)? TIA
    >
    > tim

    I am a roadie but I've just started riding some XC (and biketrials for that matter) and yes, it is
    common to fall. But how often depends on how technical the course is, and how competent the rider
    is. I came off once or twice last night, but that was a relatively easy course - although I suck as
    a XC rider... I ride with platform pedals and would suggest them to all beginners until you know
    what you are doing as far as bike handling goes. Some of the tracks I was riding are barely wide
    enough for my bars with 10ft+ fall into the river on one side, so I'd much rather lose it and NOT be
    attached to the bike! :) I am riding a cheap GT full rigid bike. I've been told by a few people that
    it's better to start on a rigid bike, gain some skills and then move to suspension if you want,
    otherwise the bike is doing more of the work for you and your ability to handle technical stuff mayb
    be reduced somewhat. I don't know for sure though.. suspension is just something expensive that I
    can break :) I'll stick with my Cro-mo forks for now.. and dodgy cantilever brakes urgh! :)

    hip
     
  3. The Reeper

    The Reeper Guest

    Alright, let me start with a disclaimer: I'm not the most experienced of all mountain bikers (I
    don't race, but I've rode some fairly good XC stuff for the past 5 years of my 17 year life).

    I rode rigid up until the past three weeks. I think the other message said it right, stay rigid
    until you build up some skills (I can ride much better than those with the latest gear). As for
    suspension types: unless you can afford anti-bob FS, stay hardtail. The energy lost (so I'm told)
    due to the bobbing effect on a full is tremendous, so you're better off with a good front fork.

    Some advice from my LBS: you don't need the best bike out there (if you can't afford it). It's all
    about the riding.

    And, you asked about falling... I guess if you're a newbie, you would fall. I'm not sure what
    exactly the difficulty of the trail was, but I tend not to fall very often (except when I hit a
    patch of ICE at 30km/h!). I think that you shouldn't have problems after awhile, you just need to
    readjust your sense of balance to fit the MTB, as opposed to the road (I did the reverse earlier in
    the fall, MTB to Road, found I had a few balance problems).

    Well, have fun on the singletrack, and get some toestraps!

    Peter - advocate for the rigid

    --
    "We are free to be free." Nelson Mandela

    "Politics is much too important a matter to be left to the politicians." Charles de Gaulle
     
  4. Michael Dart

    Michael Dart Guest

    "TDWFL" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I usually ride on the road but I took my first mountain bike ride last Saturday. My first question
    > is this (and it's probably a dumb question). Is it
    normal to
    > fall a lot while riding? I've had two bonehead falls on my roadbike and hopefully that will be it
    > for a while. In the process of riding last Sat.
    I
    > fell 8 or 9 times. I rode a local trail. The first go round I probably
    fell six
    > times, the second time only twice. I wasn't having much fun at first but
    after
    > I gained a little confidence it was better. The bike had SPD pedals but in hindsight I might have
    > been a little happier if I'd had regular pedals of
    ones
    > with toe straps. Second question: What do people prefer as far as suspension types and why
    > (hardtail vs. full suspension)? TIA
    >
    > tim

    IME roadies learning to ride MTB's fall a lot. (Not meant as an insult, just an observation on my
    part) Apparently there is quite a bit of difference in riding technique from road to mtb. There is
    nothing wrong with falling and it is a very useful MTB skill to learn how to fall right. When
    falling sideways I keep my hands on the grips and take the hit with the bars and my
    shoulder/hips/side. I've been riding MTBs for eight years and still take a digger now and then, it's
    just part of the game. With time you will gain new skills as you learn 'muscle memory' and your eyes
    learn to quickly scan ahead and commit sections of the trail to that memory. It is a newbie mistake
    to concentrate on what is immediately in front of the wheel and without looking ahead you can get
    into trouble fast. The bike will generally roll over just about everything that is under it. Relax
    your legs and arm and assume the attack position on rough sections. Think 'cat like' and hover your
    butt just over the saddle. This allows the maximum movement of the bike under you. If you have to
    turn on the rough or roots concentrate on keeping the bike vertical through the turn. This sometimes
    takes shifting your weight inside the turn 'outrigging' the bike by keeping your outside arm
    straight. Roadies often lean the bike into a turn on roots causing it to slide out from under them.

    I would NOT go to toe clips and straps. I fell more with those damn things than I care to remember
    and often just wound up stomping on the back of the pedal to keep going. For me there's too much
    going on riding a mountain bike to be messing around trying to stick my toes in a strap. Stick with
    SPD's (loosen up the tension a bit) or at least go with flat pedals with half-clips and no straps.
    After I got my SPD's I nearly kicked myself for not doing it sooner.

    As for hardtail vs. full suspension, learning on a hardtail teaches you how to pick the smoothest
    line. Adding a suspension fork helps keep the front wheel in contact with the ground giving greater
    control at speed through the rough stuff. Going to full suspension does this at both ends. I
    personally prefer four-bar linkage suspension systems like Specialized's FSR. I like the way they
    pedal and feel. I can climb steeper stuff on my FS bike than I can with my HT because the rear wheel
    stays hooked up with the ground better.

    Here is an excellent and hysterically funny book that helped me early on.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0897321146/qid=1043282824/sr=1
    -2/ref=sr_1_2/002-2988416-8715237?v=glance&s=books

    and a good video that even uses some illustrations from the above book.
    http://www.velogear.com/nedovpermoun.html

    Good luck and keep at it!

    Mike
     
  5. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    >
    >I usually ride on the road but I took my first mountain bike ride last Saturday. My first question
    >is this (and it's probably a dumb question). Is it normal to fall a lot while riding? I've had two
    >bonehead falls on my roadbike and hopefully that will be it for a while. In the process of riding
    >last Sat. I fell 8 or 9 times. I rode a local trail. The first go round I probably fell
    six
    >times, the second time only twice. I wasn't having much fun at first but after I gained a little
    >confidence it was better. The bike had SPD pedals but in hindsight I might have been a little
    >happier if I'd had regular pedals of ones with toe straps. Second question: What do people prefer
    >as far as suspension types and why (hardtail vs. full suspension)?

    Yes, it is normal to fall over a lot. My first time MTBing I fell over quite a few times. I don't
    MTB that often, but of all the times I have gone out into the woods, I have never made it through a
    ride with out falling at least once. The better you get, the less you should fall. One thing I
    learned is that you need to have confidence in your riding skills. If you are tentative, you will
    fall more often than if you have confidence. The other piece of advice I would offer is that you
    must remember to keep pedaling when you encounter an obstacle. If you don't pedal, there is a good
    chance you will loose momentum and fall.
    ----------------
    Alex
     
  6. Matt J

    Matt J Guest

    [email protected] (TDWFL) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > The bike had SPD pedals but in hindsight I might have been a little happier if I'd had regular
    > pedals of ones with toe straps. Second question: What do people prefer as far as suspension types
    > and why (hardtail vs. full suspension)? TIA
    >
    > tim

    I'm going to suggest sticking with the SPD's. I've fallen MTBing with toe clips a lot worse than
    with clipless. SPD's, if not too tight, come out much more easily than toe clips/straps. Good
    luck! Matt
     
  7. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "TDWFL" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I usually ride on the road but I took my first mountain bike ride last Saturday. My first question
    > is this (and it's probably a dumb question). Is it normal
    to
    > fall a lot while riding? I've had two bonehead falls on my roadbike and hopefully that will be it
    > for a while. In the process of riding last Sat. I fell 8 or 9 times. I rode a local trail. The
    > first go round I probably fell
    six
    > times, the second time only twice. I wasn't having much fun at first but
    after
    > I gained a little confidence it was better.

    The skills needed for off-road riding are pretty different than for road riding. That said, off-road
    riding skills can come in handy on the road, MTB riding really sharpens your bike handling skills.

    As to falls, I think that has a lot to do with how aggressively you ride during your learning
    period. I rode very agressively, often only to try to stay with much better riders. I took many
    falls, breaking my ribs twice on rocky terrain. My wife, on the other hand, rode conservatively,
    took longer to develop the same skills, but never banged herself up badly.

    I'd make a couple of recommendations: Practice things like bunny hops on soft, grassy surfaces,
    don't try to hop logs on the trail until you've gained some mastery. Don't take chances when riding
    with better MTB'ers just to keep up. Invest in some pads while you're learning, particularly if the
    trails are rocky. Knee, elbow and shin pads prevent a lot of injuries. You don't need
    cycling-specific pads (most of those are for downhill racing use and are overkill), get general
    purpose (volleyball, basketball, soccer) pads from a sporting goods store.

    > The bike had SPD pedals but in hindsight I might have been a little happier if I'd had regular
    > pedals of
    ones
    > with toe straps.

    I'd stay with SPDs. Set the release to minimum if necessary. Straps can trap a foot in a fall
    (that's how I broke a rib the first time). Free foot may seem safer, but that's an illusion, if
    you're going to dab, you can learn to unclip and still pedal, but once you start learning slow speed
    bike handling you'll find that having both feet clipped in allows much easier hopping and flicking
    in uneven terrain.

    > Second question: What do people prefer as far as suspension types and why (hardtail vs. full
    > suspension)?

    I think of suspension as being more of a fatigue helper that an absolute requirement. The arms and
    legs can act as an active suspension, while even the best forks & frames are just passive (damped
    springs). Of course soaking up all those hits while still pedaling takes up a lot of energy, and the
    "biological suspension" doesn't handle high frequency bumps too well. Still, a skillful rider, even
    on a sophisticated bike, will use arms and legs, and not just ride like a sack of potatoes. The
    argument I've frequently heard is that it's best to learn on a bike w/o suspension to gain the
    physical skills, then get whatever you want in suspension. In recent years there's been a kind of
    "back to basics" movement, where many long time riders are riding minimalistic bikes, putting skills
    ahead of technology.

    I think the most important component of an off-road bike is tires. Tread pattern & profile can make
    a huge difference, but it's all specific to where you ride. For a beginner, I think it's important
    to go with fat tires and pressure just high enough to prevent pinch flats. Tires are the cheapest
    and most effective form of suspension.
     
  8. Tdwfl

    Tdwfl Guest

    > "Michael Dart" [email protected] wrote: >IME roadies learning to ride MTB's
    fall a lot. (Not meant as an insult,
    >just an observation on my part) Apparently there is quite a bit of difference in riding technique
    >from road to mtb. There is nothing wrong with falling and it is a very useful MTB skill to learn
    >how to fall right.

    I feel better now. I didn't get hurt during any of my falls. My right wrist/forearm hurt a bit but
    that could have been from the palmetto tree that jumped out in front of me.

    >As for hardtail vs. full suspension, learning on a hardtail teaches you how to pick the smoothest
    >line. Adding a suspension fork helps keep the front wheel in contact with the ground giving greater
    >control at speed through the rough stuff. Going to full suspension does this at both ends.

    I rode a borrowed GT hardtail with Marzocchi forks. I had no complaint with the bike and as long
    as I can keep on borrowing it I'll be hard pressed to buy one of my own. Thanks to everyone for
    the replies. Hopefully I can ride again tomorrow. It's in the 30s here and we Floridians are not
    really equipped to deal with the cold. My house isn't heated so maybe it won't seem so bad to go
    for a ride.

    tim
     
  9. Tdwfl

    Tdwfl Guest

    > "Peter Cole" [email protected] wrote: >I'd make a couple of
    recommendations: Practice things like bunny hops on
    >soft, grassy surfaces, don't try to hop logs on the trail until you've gained some mastery. Don't
    >take chances when riding with better MTB'ers just to keep up. Invest in some pads while you're
    >learning, particularly if the trails are rocky. Knee, elbow and shin pads prevent a lot of
    >injuries.

    Thanks for the tips. I've been going over some of the obstacles that tripped me up last week
    thinking of ways to get through them. There was one particularly tough section I doubt I could ever
    master though. There were these palm type with 12" thick trunks that ran along the ground at all
    angles to the trail. The run was made more difficult by the way that other trees overhung the route.
    I'd love to see someone talented clear it.

    tim
     
  10. Michael Dart

    Michael Dart Guest

    "TDWFL" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > "Peter Cole" [email protected] wrote: >I'd make a couple of
    > recommendations: Practice things like bunny hops on
    > >soft, grassy surfaces, don't try to hop logs on the trail until you've gained
    some
    > >mastery. Don't take chances when riding with better MTB'ers just to keep
    up.
    > >Invest in some pads while you're learning, particularly if the trails are rocky. Knee, elbow and
    > >shin pads prevent a lot of injuries.
    >
    > Thanks for the tips. I've been going over some of the obstacles that
    tripped me
    > up last week thinking of ways to get through them. There was one particularly tough section I
    > doubt I could ever master
    though.
    > There were these palm type with 12" thick trunks that ran along the ground
    at
    > all angles to the trail. The run was made more difficult by the way that
    other
    > trees overhung the route. I'd love to see someone talented clear it.
    >
    > tim

    I'd love to take a whack at it! ;^)

    Mike - Hop..lunge...hop...lunge...D'OH...crash...bang...whump.
     
  11. Per LöWdin

    Per LöWdin Guest

    > Is it normal to fall a lot while riding?

    No: MTB is all about balance and momentum. The most essential exercise is the track-stand, i.e., to
    learn to stand still keeping the balance. Once you learned that you will hardly ever fall.

    > Second question: What do people prefer as far as suspension types and why (hardtail vs. full
    > suspension)?

    Aggressive riding on technical trails is far more fun with FS.

    Per http://user.tninet.se/~ipg289h/fu99/MTB.html
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...