Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 57
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Daemon[CRO]'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    349

    Is brute strength solution to every technique problem?

    Hey folks,

    I have been riding a lot in the past two years, and one thing has been bothering me, well not bothering but more like - poking me in the brain - for the last year.

    Whenever I come in some tricky situation during my rides (AM/XC combo) and I fail to negotiate that situation, I always ponder about it later at home or during rest times. And what comes up as an obvious solution to that tricky track segment is - more raw strength.

    Failure here does not mean broken bones or something that drastic. Just the moment when I have to step down from the bike and walk.

    All of those moments, be it up-hill, or single-track trickiness, or downhill, in my superhumble opinion could be solved by brute force. I have spent some time studying YouTube and other full-length videos on biking technique, but from my experience just a bit of technique is important (basic balance, basic cornering, basic drops negotiation), the rest can be patched away with brute raw force.

    I was even considering hitting the gym pretty hard this season paired with biking.

    In your experience, does brute force solve tricky situations better than skill/technique?
    Daemon
    "Worship the Machines."
    www.nivas.hr | www.worship.hr

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: socalMX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    2,137
    HELL NO! Im 6-2 215Lbs and hit the gym 4-5 x a week! Both weights and cardio. My friend is 6-0 170Lbs and he KILLS me in every aspect of riding! His skill and technique is far better than mine! Yes some strength will help in certain cases, im not discouraging you from working out but I believe its 90% skill 10% strength when it comes to tech and downhill type riding! Look at most of the guys in the vids, they are fit im sure but most are average looking skinny dudes!

  3. #3
    1:18
    Reputation: Corvette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    461
    Quote Originally Posted by Daemon[CRO] View Post
    In your experience, does brute force solve tricky situations better than skill/technique?
    Very rarely.

    Skill, finesse and good balance are way more important than brute force. The funny thing is when you see a really good rider even the oh-so-gnarly terrain or tricky moves look simple and fluid.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    456
    I've found that in some situations it's possible to muscle my way through rough tech, but for the most part when I'm riding well I'm riding with very little "effort". That's not to say I'm not pedaling hard, or working the bike, it just means I'm loose and relaxed and allowing the bike to move beneath me with the least amount of effort. It's in this relaxed state that I'm the fastest and get through the roughest areas of the trail the best.

    That being said, I'm still happy that I'm on the stronger end of the spectrum and have that "safety valve" to fall back on if things don't go my way through a tough rock garden

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Wolfhausen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    39
    I recommend reading Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Brian Lopes. Great information in there. I don't believe he even mentions anything about strength. All about the technique!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: drj85's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    70
    A mountain goat will get up a rock face faster than the grizzly bear chasing him..

  7. #7
    gran jefe
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    3,088
    Building some strength can't hurt. But, a huge amount of it is technique.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bones2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    286
    I do think strength/ endurance helps a lot on technical climbs. Not brute force, but the ability to keep momentum and keep turning the cranks in the middle ring while climbing over obstacles is huge. Also if you are at your aerobic or strength limit it is hard to stay in good form and focus on technique. Just my 2 cents. And yes I have read the book and taken the better ride clinic. They help alot, but you still need to be in good shape.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bigfruits's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    784
    momentum, steady rpm, shifting body weight and aggressive steering helps me through a lot of technical stuff. sometimes standing and mashing hard (is that brute force?) is the only way i can get up some rooty/rocky hills.

  10. #10
    think
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    831
    It's a trick question.

    In fact he's right - more power is often the correct answer. However as the power goes up so does the required level of aptitude necessary to maintain balance and control.

    This is why skill still trumps power - power is the bottom line, but skill manages its use.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    31

    Yes on technical climbs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    I do think strength/ endurance helps a lot on technical climbs. Not brute force, but the ability to keep momentum and keep turning the cranks in the middle ring while climbing over obstacles is huge. Also if you are at your aerobic or strength limit it is hard to stay in good form and focus on technique. Just my 2 cents. And yes I have read the book and taken the better ride clinic. They help alot, but you still need to be in good shape.
    I agree completely.

    On technical climbs I notice it is sometimes about keeping my speed up and having the stamina to keep mashing over the obstacles close to the top. I can get in a lower gear and spin, but sometimes that is too slow to smooth out the trail and I will stall out on a small root or get discombobulated. Sure "more skill" and "more technique" may help, but so can pushing a higher gear that keeps the front wheel planted. That being said I thing endurance and stamina (i.e., cardio!) is more important than strength, per se ("brute force"?).

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: lone ranger nh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    131
    plus the brute strength is tough on equipment. pedals, cranks, chains, wheels, well pretty much the entire bike. plan on replacing components, frames more often if you take this approach. be nice to your bike!

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Daemon[CRO]'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    349
    Ah, I see people are picking up what I meant. I meant that if you are a solid-skilled rider (so, NOT the King of the Tech, but a solid rider) it is more beneficial to increase strength than just technique.

    All of you must have been in a situation where you just KNOW that a bit more brute force would pull you through, but alas, you had to step down. Skill would be of little use there, only muscle.

    Example: yesterday I was riding my favorite trail and it was raining two days earlier. The track is dry, except for a few patches. But there is a patch of wet leaves + mud on the uphill section. Through that I just have to muscle it through. No skill can save me there. If my wheel slips on that climb (and it will slip) only more power will prevent me from stepping down.

    Yes, skill is important. But raw force (provided you have at least average skill) will just trump anything. In my opinion that is =)
    Daemon
    "Worship the Machines."
    www.nivas.hr | www.worship.hr

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Daemon[CRO]'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    349
    Quote Originally Posted by kurtisk View Post
    That being said I thing endurance and stamina (i.e., cardio!) is more important than strength, per se ("brute force"?).
    Yes, that as well. Overall body strength, stamina, endurance, muscle power.

    You can actually see this in new riders. If skill level is zero (or close to zero) it is the guys with more muscle which will be able to ride better.
    Daemon
    "Worship the Machines."
    www.nivas.hr | www.worship.hr

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    246
    I find for most newer riders the issue is commitment & momentum! Many features are very easy to ride but require commitment and momentum! And then once you clean that feature, I guarantee you'll say that was easy! So no more power is needed and many times you only need to resist the urge to hit your brakes!

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    1,199
    As a rider whose grown significantly in the last year I feel like there are two areas that I have neglected that would make me a more effective rider:

    Stronger lower back: When I'm sucking on any given day, a lot of it can be attributed to poor form. Having a weak lower back makes me hunch over too much, and keeps me poorly balanced on the bike. If I were more serious about improving my riding, I would focus on this area more.

    Srtonger triceps: Being able to muscle the front end around is huge in all technical situations. Being able to put the fork where you want it, when you want it. I would also strengthen these muscles for this reason if I were not a total lazy ass.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    115
    Quote Originally Posted by half_man_half_scab View Post
    Stronger lower back: When I'm sucking on any given day, a lot of it can be attributed to poor form. Having a weak lower back makes me hunch over too much, and keeps me poorly balanced on the bike. .
    That could be chalked up to a weak abdomen as well...just a thought.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 53119's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,938
    nothing like a little horsepower to help you out when you and you're bike are getting a little out of shape on a line. all you need is a to ride a little bmx and a pull-up bar (pull-up and leg raise variations) and power and skill will double!
    i'm on my Last Herb
    RestInPeace Hook

  19. #19
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
    Reputation: shiggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    48,231
    Quote Originally Posted by Daemon[CRO] View Post
    Ah, I see people are picking up what I meant. I meant that if you are a solid-skilled rider (so, NOT the King of the Tech, but a solid rider) it is more beneficial to increase strength than just technique.

    All of you must have been in a situation where you just KNOW that a bit more brute force would pull you through, but alas, you had to step down. Skill would be of little use there, only muscle.

    Example: yesterday I was riding my favorite trail and it was raining two days earlier. The track is dry, except for a few patches. But there is a patch of wet leaves + mud on the uphill section. Through that I just have to muscle it through. No skill can save me there. If my wheel slips on that climb (and it will slip) only more power will prevent me from stepping down.

    Yes, skill is important. But raw force (provided you have at least average skill) will just trump anything. In my opinion that is =)
    You still need both. You need the skills and technique to be able to utilize the power. Without the technique, the power just will get you into more trouble.
    Without enough power you may not be able to take advantage of your skills.
    A never ending circle.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  20. #20
    Formerly of Kent
    Reputation: Le Duke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2,740
    Brute strength? Hell no.

    Endurance.

    Think about it: If your heart rate is pegged and you're "in the red", what is it that goes first? Oh, yes, that's right: fine motor skills. And, also, the ability to see clearly and think critically. All three of which are pretty important things in MTBing.

    Not going to go into too much detail here, but in the military we do events that put great stress on the aerobic system and then require the participants to perform tasks that utilize their fine motor skills. You'd be amazed at what happens to people who are normally great at the task in question who are not in shape, and also how the "average" guys who are in great shape simply stay "average", but are at the top of the heap when compared against their peers.

    Good riding example of this. Friends of mine are more AM/DH oriented than I am (I'm an XC racer who dabbles in SD, looking to race DH too), and being perfectly honest, I crush them going uphill. If we're riding with a large group, they're usually towards the front, and have plenty of time to recover at the top of the hill before heading back down. They can all put a little bit of time into me, 20 or so seconds, over the course of a couple kilometers. But, if we're in a small group, and we don't wait at the top for anyone else, I can hang with them no problem going downhill. Why? Because they're already in the red, whereas I'm much fresher.

  21. #21
    Wēk Ss
    Reputation: IAmHolland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,539
    Endurance + Strength is necessary on climbs, and when you pick the wrong line on climbs, Strength. You need the reserve. You need to turn the pedals when you're going to stall out. You pick the wrong gear and you're stalling on a rock, going uphill. Power through.

    There are times when I really lay into it to get over, because getting off means it's harder to get back on and walking a few hundred feet. If I'm blown up at that point, I'm walking. If I'm not, crank it and apply some technique if you can.

    Descending, it's more about technique and speed, and when all else fails, lots of travel and pray for a soft landing.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    2,950
    It's a solution, but not a good one.

  23. #23
    Chubby Chaser
    Reputation: Will Goes Boing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    666
    IMO NO.... when you're referring to technique I'm assuming you're talking about things like crossing over a log, a technical rocky uphill climb, and technical downhill. Aside from obstacles which is 100% technique in my opinion, the rest really boils down to endurance. Uphill it's obvious endurance is key, but I've also ridden some downhill where I was huffing and puffing because I was I A) Didn't have the endurance B) I was trying to muscle the bike around instead of being relaxed and let the bike work under me. So for me, brute strength does absolutely nothing in mountain biking. Lets just say you're climbing a really steep hill, brute strength will just cause the rear to spin.

    The funny thing is, the one sport that requires the most "brute strength" (olympic and power lifting) also has a lot of technique involved. So no matter what type of activity you're doing, strength is only 2nd (or 3rd) to technique.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by Daemon[CRO] View Post
    I have spent some time studying YouTube and other full-length videos on biking technique, but from my experience just a bit of technique is important (basic balance, basic cornering, basic drops negotiation), the rest can be patched away with brute raw force.

    I think good solid core strength is key to good riding, but the idea of brute strength almost implies bad form in that you are locking up and trying to power through something rather than let the bike do the work and you just just provide it input.

    I have a friend who races dh nationally and he says a lot of people focus on speed and what scares them on the trail - ie a gap or drop - but according to him good riding and winning races is often in the less overlooked easier parts of a track or ride. Consequently besides riding flat out, he also will spend entire training days riding really slow working on trackstands, manuals, gate starts, trials skills etc.

  25. #25
    Flying in High in the Sky
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    269
    MORE POWWAAAAA! I'll take brute strength over skills and technique anyday. Skills and techique can be learned, but with raw powaaaa I'll never have to use the lift for as long as I live

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •