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  1. #1
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    Front end feeling a bit squirely in turns....

    So I just got a 2013 Specialized Carve Comp 29er. It has a Rock Shox Recon Gold Air fork on it. Prior to this bike, I have only had cheap entry level coil forks, with no rebound adjustments. In fact I never even touched the compression adjustment on any fork prior to my Carve.

    Anyway, when going into a corner, sometimes it can feel a little squirely. I really don't know how else to put it in words. I think I have the compression set pretty well now because, after a ride, my O-ring shows that I have used a bit more than 3 quarters of the available travel.

    I have not touched the rebound yet because I'm just not sure how it should be set.

    Could this squirely feeling going into turns be because the rebound is set to slow or something? Or perhaps, my other forks were just set to stiff and I just need to get used to the feeling of the shock compressing when going through a corner.

    What do you think? Thanks for any input

  2. #2
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    Front end feeling a bit squirely in turns....

    Subscribed, I get a very similar feeling on my trek mamba, may go back to a 100mm stem from the 65mm I have on now

  3. #3
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    too little info to go on...

    what type of terrain?
    suspension setting...?
    tires...?
    tire pressure...?

  4. #4
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    Front end feeling a bit squirely in turns....

    Quote Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
    too little info to go on...

    what type of terrain?
    suspension setting...?
    tires...?
    tire pressure...?
    The nut connecting the bars and saddle?
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  5. #5
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    Type of terrain - Single track, mostly hard pack, rooty, some log crossings, nothing extreme.
    Suspension Setting - The compression I have about 135 psi in it.
    Tires - Specialized 29er Ground Control
    Tire Pressure - Currently run at about 40 psi, but am about to convert to tubless, so will run at a lower pressure soon.

  6. #6
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    Things to try, in roughly the order to try them in. The first listed may not be the most effective but they're non-destructive.

    Tire pressure? If you're running the reccommended value it's likely too high for the tire to conform optimally.

    Increase air pressure slightly and increase (slow) rebound damping. "Squirrelly" normally means that the tire isn't maintaining optimal contact with the trail surface.

    Lower your stem height, which will put more weight on the front end, slowing it and giving you more control.

    Cut down your bars. IMO the need for wide 29'er bars is overstated, and the stock width is often tool wide. As with lowering your stem, this will slow down your front end and give you precision at the loss of steering speed.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    The nut connecting the bars and saddle?
    I see this problem a lot.

  8. #8
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    Front end feeling a bit squirely in turns....

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    The nut connecting the bars and saddle?
    Seat stay diameter?
    Saddle angle?
    Daily caloric intake?!

    Just kidding now.... All jokes set aside, the cockpit, primarily bars and stem do make a big difference. I have a rockhopper(same geometry as the carve) with a reba RL, 90mm stem and 700mm bars and it doesn't feel twitchy at all. These frames do, however, have a very XC geometry with a little bit of a steeper HT angle than you may be used to. Most XC styled bikes do feel a little twitchy compared to anything else simply because they're made for sharp precise handling. I don't think your fork would have any type of negative impact on this... If anything it'll ride like a dream compared to the forks you're used to!


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  9. #9
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    Front end feeling a bit squirely in turns....

    Quote Originally Posted by Sportster2009 View Post
    So I just got a 2013 Specialized Carve Comp 29er. It has a Rock Shox Recon Gold Air fork on it. Prior to this bike, I have only had cheap entry level coil forks, with no rebound adjustments. In fact I never even touched the compression adjustment on any fork prior to my Carve.

    Anyway, when going into a corner, sometimes it can feel a little squirely. I really don't know how else to put it in words. I think I have the compression set pretty well now because, after a ride, my O-ring shows that I have used a bit more than 3 quarters of the available travel.

    I have not touched the rebound yet because I'm just not sure how it should be set.

    Could this squirely feeling going into turns be because the rebound is set to slow or something? Or perhaps, my other forks were just set to stiff and I just need to get used to the feeling of the shock compressing when going through a corner.

    What do you think? Thanks for any input
    It could be any or all of those things.

    You say "sometimes." That is normal when riding mtbs. Nothing is always the same. New bike. New tires. New setup. Make some adjustments. See how it works for you.
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  10. #10
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    Spend the next month riding your brand-new bike a lot so that you actually get used to it, then come back and ask any remaining questions.

    Seriously, if you just got the bike it's going to feel different and you will have to learn what you need to do to get the most out of it. It might be that you need to fiddle with the suspension or the tires or whatever but for now, you just need to ride a lot until you know what you're doing.

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  11. #11
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    ^^+1 Best thing is keep on riding, but...

    I would say first drop tire pressure 40psi is HIGH. It wont allow the tire to conform to the trail and may contribute to the tire skipping around.

  12. #12
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    Check your tire pressure. You can run less than 20psi, but depending on your weight eventually it will become squirrelly if you lower it too much.
    Another thing that has caused that problem for me is the rear wheel. I run RWS thru-bolt. It locks the rear pretty solid. But it has to be checked eventually or if loose the front gets squirrelly and I was hitting the deck one ride a couple times. So make sure your rear QR is tight and you wheel tracking straight.

  13. #13
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    Reduce tire pressure to <30 psi FTW. It really seems that simple. ALso, try keeping your weight low and over the front in your turns.
    If this does not resolve your issue, re-read this thread


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by icsloppl View Post
    Things to try, in roughly the order to try them in. The first listed may not be the most effective but they're non-destructive.

    Tire pressure? If you're running the reccommended value it's likely too high for the tire to conform optimally.

    Increase air pressure slightly and increase (slow) rebound damping. "Squirrelly" normally means that the tire isn't maintaining optimal contact with the trail surface.

    Lower your stem height, which will put more weight on the front end, slowing it and giving you more control.

    Cut down your bars. IMO the need for wide 29'er bars is overstated, and the stock width is often tool wide. As with lowering your stem, this will slow down your front end and give you precision at the loss of steering speed.
    Yes, excellent info! Also when entering corners keep your head/body down and weight forward. I love the Specialized Purgatory Control casing 29x2.3" (more like a 2.2") tire on the front, great all around all year performer that still rolls well...Captain Control casing 29x2.2 rear. The stock Ground COntrol tires look like good tires, but I haven't tried them.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    It could be any or all of those things.

    You say "sometimes." That is normal when riding mtbs. Nothing is always the same. New bike. New tires. New setup. Make some adjustments. See how it works for you.
    Yes and 40lbs is really high tire pressure imo...I usually ride about 32psi front and 28 rear on HT...I weigh about 190, just watch for pinch flatting and excessive tire squirm with lower pressures, pressure also depends on terrain.

    EDIT: Ned OVerend, How to Mountain Bike Like a Champion, is a great book that really helped me when I first started riding again.

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  15. #15
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    Extra 2cts: Check headset tightness. A slightly loose headset results in a pretty vague steering bike.

    If that's OK, re-read what jncarpenter wrote. Lots of riders focus on bike setup and completely lose sight of that much greater improvement can be reached by improving skills. The bike needs to be set up with the right tire pressures, the right suspension setup and not the wrong kind of tires for the trails you ride and your skills level. (It's not about Nobby Nic vs. Ground Controls, it's about f.e. no semi slicks on loose rocky trails).

    If that's all OK and bike fit is not completely out of the ordinary, it's up to you.

  16. #16
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    cheap thing to try: force yourself to pull your upper body lower towards the bars a bit when going through the turns, thereby putting a bit more body weight on the front tire.

    This is a more aggressive body position.

    If by doing this you lose the "squirreliness" then you just need to remember to do it when riding, no equipment change necessary.

    If the bike works great the REST of the time then I'm loathe to change bike setup, as everything is a compromise.

  17. #17
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    Dude's running 40 PSI, that right there, unless he weighs north of 260lbs is it, I mean honestly, how can a tyre conform to the terrain at that pressure and not skip. OP, try lowering your tyre pressure down some, I'd start somewhere around 35 PSI in the back and 30 in the front and then drop the pressure 2PSI or so at a time until you feel the tyre squirm/roll on the rim, then bump it back up to the last pressure that didn't feel like that. If you're under 200lbs, I'd expect you to find a sweet spot somewhere around 28-30 for the rear and 24-26 for the front, maybe even lower if you're really light - I only weigh 180-185lbs geared to ride and mine is 25-28 R/20-23 F depending on which tyre it is.
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  18. #18
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    Ground Controls are just OK on loose over hardpack when things dry out and only work under 25 lbs at that(for me) 150-170lbs. The Purgatory is a much better front tire in loose conditions but at 40 lbs no tire would work ATMO.

  19. #19
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    If he has 135 in the air fork and is getting full travel, I'm guessing he weighs a bit north of 200 so he probably shouldn't get too low with the tire pressure. Aside from pure mechanicals (loose headset which I doubt if he hasn't tinkered with it) probably should just be experimenting with different rebound dampening adjustments to get the front tire to get maximum contact with the trail but without staying compressed too long after bumps. I use very little of the dampening on the forks I use (Fox Float) and ride 2 to 3 clicks from zero dampening. I find many people run with a lot of rebound dampening which just leaves the front end never pushing back out as you push through corners and when you hit bumps it compresses more and doesn't rebound fast enough.

  20. #20
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    Hey guys, thanks for all the responses. Seems a lot are recommending lower tire pressure. Tonight, I am actually going to do a tubeless conversion, so I will run at lower pressure for sure after that. I weigh in at an impressive 240 pounds. I have been running 40 psi because that is what my lbs recommended. Once I do the tubeless conversion, I will probably try starting somewhere in the 30 psi neighborhood I guess.

    I don't think my headset is loose, it feels good and solid when I pick up the front end and drop it on the floor, and it does not feel wobbly if I wiggle side to side.

    I am not a 'skilled' rider by any means, so some if not all of this could be my riding. I will work on getting over the front wheel more in the turns.

    I do feel like perhaps though some of it could be my rebound as dirtdan is suggesting. As far as the rebound adjustments go, if I turn it towards the + side or the rabbit, am I increasing the dampening, thus making it rebound slower? Or does turning it towards the + side make it rebound quicker?

  21. #21
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    Rabbit is quicker rebound. I like my rebound slightly quicker than most, half way is a good starting point.

    Focus on leaning the bike more in corners and work on your body positioning. I see a lot of new and older riders who turn the bars too much to take corners and this washes the front out, it can feel uneasy. Keep riding and see where you are in 1 month.

  22. #22
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    FWIW, I spent a lot of years in your weight category Sportster, generally running 2.5" tires because I found the smaller ones wore too quickly.

    When I started running tubeless I didn't actually drop pressure much, I found that without the tube inside the tire was being more compliant to the train without dropping pressure.

    I did have situations where with lower psi I had tire burps or other issues - twice in ten years I managed to punch holes in the side-walls of the tires because of high speed rock impact - "tire" based snake-bite - and not even the sealant could hold it.

    My non-psi based rule-of-thumb on tire pressure has always been to set the tire such that when I put all my weight on one tire (on the top of the tire directly, NOT on the frame or the fork) that the tire squishes enough to have the shoulder knobs start to spread but NOT QUITE contact the ground. This I feel gives the tire a PSI that gives it compliance without making it overly soft - which can lead to other problems.

    You can also run lower PSI in larger/thicker tires, up to a point. Your rims, frame/fork, and trail conditions will dictate the largest volume tires you can run (not largest knobs, largest casing volume). Large casing volume tires with small knobs like the Maxxis Ardent and Ikon, the WTB Wierwolf LT, the Kenda Slant6, and others, can make for a good ride with good traction. But only if trail conditions allow.

    FWIW, on your bike and if I were your size, I'd think about running

    - Kenda Slant6 2.2" on the back and maybe a Nevegal 2.2" on the front
    or
    - Maxxis Ikon 3c/EXO 2.2" on the back with an Ardent 2.4" EXO on the front (if it fit the fork) or an Ikon 2.35" EXO on the front

    Good, fast rolling, fair traction tires. Aside from the Nevegal, NOT great wet conditions tires though.

    According to the Specialized web site on the bike, your stock tires are 2.1" - and I think they're just too small for a heavier rider to be happy long term.

    Just my .25c

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sportster2009 View Post
    Hey guys, thanks for all the responses. Seems a lot are recommending lower tire pressure. Tonight, I am actually going to do a tubeless conversion, so I will run at lower pressure for sure after that. I weigh in at an impressive 240 pounds. I have been running 40 psi because that is what my lbs recommended. Once I do the tubeless conversion, I will probably try starting somewhere in the 30 psi neighborhood I guess.
    I weigh just a little less than that and I run 30 psi with or without tubes.

    I found there's a learning curve when it comes to 29ers. I was embarrassing when I first started on one. The funniest was the day I wiped out on flat ground in the grass when I moved off the trail to let a group go through. You should practice getting off the brakes before the turn so you carry some mo', and lean it over. It'll click before long.
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  24. #24
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    A lot of good advice above. Good cornering takes a lot of time and a lot of practice.

    Get the pressure down on your tires and then start applying the techniques described above.

    I just switched from a 26" to a 29" and I thought I would lose some of my cornering ability. I was way wrong, as the 29" just rips corners. It's been stated above but I will repeat one of the most important things- stay off your brakes in the corners. Scrub off a little speed before entering, get you body into position and trust your bike.

    I use the rides with my wife(slow rides) as cornering practice. I try to ride the entire trail without touching my brakes. It teaches you how much you can trust the bike.

  25. #25
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    Thanks. I will certainly work on my cornering technique. I know I need to learn to 'trust my bike' more. Good advice!

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