1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    197

    Advice on Descents?

    Ok. Went on my third ride today on a new loop of a place I did my first ride, which is supposed to be beginner friendly. So I come to a short, fairly steep climb and charge up it. Yay! Well, turns out at the top is about maybe 5 feet of level ground and what to me as a noob was kind of an alarming descent.

    It was about 15-20 feet vertically in about 10-15 feet horizontally. Short but fairly steep and the runout seemed long enough. I just don't have enough proprioception on my bike yet to do that without fear. Put it this way, I had a good bit of difficulty walking bike down it and staying upright.

    Part of the problem was switching from the climb to descent so fast, I charged up the grade pretty good but didn't see what was coming. So I stopped and finished psyching myself out. There was a similar descent later on after a flat stretch, which would have been a better starter, but by then I was completely psyched and wondering wth I had gotten myself into.

    Any advice on negotiating these? Or getting a feel for handling the bike on a fairly steep downhill with bumps and whatnot?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    63
    Warning, this is not good advice...


    CHARGE!!!


    Now that that is out of the way, if you are worried about a descent I think you did the correct thing. Trying to navigate a steep descent slowly does not work well in my (very limited) experience. I would find more beginner level descents and continue to get comfortable on the bike, but be sure to push yourself every once in a while.

    That is what I have been doing, and I've only bitten more off that I could chew once due to lack of skill and maybe horrible components :P Just because there is a high possibility that you will fall or crash at some point during mountain biking does not mean you should jump off the side of a cliff. Take the steps you need to get comfortable.

    The one thing that really helps me is the the local trails allow you to walk them as long as you move when someone approaches you. Walking the trail helps to prepare me for the challenges. I have actually walked away from two local trails because I didn't feel confident enough in my skills. If that is possible I would definitely suggest walking trails first.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: velo99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    211
    Go Pro video of your local trails is the best way to see how the lines run & the speed that is necessary to get past them. Worked for me. Once I ran a couple of drops & ledges I learned quickly how to find the lines & get thru them relatively unscathed.
    Last edited by velo99; 07-06-2014 at 08:04 PM.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    197
    Funny thing is, I think if it had been a little longer, I might not have been as worried about it. When I first saw it, I thought for a second it was a washout, but it wasn't.

    I have a hard time imagining a much shorter descent. I dunno I'm a wuss I guess. Maybe if it didnt have trees and rocks and roots and shizz all around to eat.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    10
    I too just started not long ago and faced the same problems initally. I think it just takes some time to learn the capability of your bike and learning to position your body. Still very risk averse to this day especially if the descent is pretty loose. I hopped off the bike the other day on one of those sections because I was scared to crash. Wuss is not a good word to describe us, I prefer "risk averse"

  6. #6
    My little friends
    Reputation: EABiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    326
    Just some general downhill tips: shift your weight rearward on the bike, lightly modulate the rear brake if you need to, (don't lock it up though), and don't even think about touching the front brake! If the runout is good, just go for it at speed, trying to go slow can be a recipe for disaster, and much less fun.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    197
    Is this one of the occasions when almost getting behind the seat is appropriate?

    I think I'm gathering that the biggest pitfall particular to descents is going over the handlebars. Amirite?

  8. #8
    My little friends
    Reputation: EABiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    326
    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Is this one of the occasions when almost getting behind the seat is appropriate?

    I think I'm gathering that the biggest pitfall particular to descents is going over the handlebars. Amirite?
    Actually, going OTB on a decent is not usually the issue. What usually happens is people tend to lose control from locking the rear brake, then slide into something.

  9. #9
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    3,582

    Advice on Descents?

    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Is this one of the occasions when almost getting behind the seat is appropriate?
    If it's as steep as you describe, yes. But the important thing to remember is that getting behind the saddle is a description, not a prescription. By that I mean that you should have your mass centered over your bottom bracket and pedals, and at a certain angle, yes, that generally means you move your body back behind the saddle.

    You'll know you're centered and balanced when you aren't supporting yourself on your handlebars. Remember the LeeLikesBikes mantra: "heavy feet, light hands."
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    142
    Everyone here is throwing some good input. The real thing is you have to be loose and relaxed to successfully be fluid on the bike. Yes, shift your weight back, get lower on the bike, and get off the saddle. Be on the brakes or off them panic braking on off with cause you to crash. Most importantly don't panic go into it with confidence. Confidence can only be developed by doing. We all started somewhere you just kind of have to jump in the water.
    2010 D440 Redline Rigid 1x9
    2011 Trek Remedy 8 1x10
    2012 Jamis Dragon 2x10
    2013 Diamondback Sortie 3 1x10

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    1,725
    One of the biggest things to learn ,is to look out as far as you can ,that gives your body time to react to what you see. You should learn how to use both brakes in all situtions . There are lots of you tube videos on how to do things. See if you can find someone else to ride with ,clubs,shops, Meetup.com,Facebook, are places to find other riders.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 70sSanO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    360
    Descents are one thing that I really need to work on, especially if there are any drops. Because the ratio of my age to experience is horrible, I don't have that fly down mentality, but I am constantly working on getting better.

    Like everyone has said you need to get far back, behind the seat, but you also need to practice this to get comfortable with it. On slight downhills, scoot back and get a feel for it.

    You also need to understand speed control. When you are told do not touch the front brake, that is important because if you are at speed and are going to lock up the front wheel bad things will happen... even at lower speeds. But you can use a little front brake and control your speed, but it is more feathering or a slight amount just to keep the speed under control not to reduce it suddenly. You can practice this also on slight downhills to get a feel for it. The timing of this is everything and you never want to hit the front brake going into a rut or dropping off a wood step as these are places to roll through. Control your speed before you get there.

    In your trail situation, the moment you stopped on that 5 foot section at the top, it was over. This also holds true for stopping at any steep portion on a descent. I'm not saying you will never be able to, but at the moment, you will not be able to get on the pedals and move your weight where it should be quick enough to go down that hill. This happens to me at times and I just have to hoof it to a better spot to get going again.

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    197
    Yep, yep, thanks everyone. This particular descent is going to be a crappy one to start on because it is immediately preceded by the climb, so I am going to have some difficulty controlling speed until I acquire some skill. The next one is probably better.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: velo99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    211
    It's a jump & you weren't going fast enough to hit the top of the next descent.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    197
    Well I made ride 4 today and grew my spheres a bit. Did some small jumps, some log ramp/bridge things focused on my attack position and how shifting weight affects things fore and aft (I had already started playing with leaning the bike, but not me, in turns).

    And I'm building speed through the flat beginner trails I'm on where the only obstacles are trees, tree gates and little jumps and gullies.

    It's gonna be a while before I try that loop with the climb/descent switchback though.

  16. #16
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,825
    Sometimes, the hardest thing is to force yourself to let go of the brakes. That might be all it takes, if the steep spot is smooth and things are clear at the bottom too. If you need to go slowly and use some brakes, the extreme sitting on the rear wheel positions may be warranted. If you can let go of the brakes completely, just get back and GET LOW on the bike - you'll be OK as long as you don't try to make the bike go more slowly than you are going

    Approach the steep spot with just enough speed that you feel totally balanced. Most start getting shaky when going very slowly, and that is bad for confidence in places where you want to feel in control.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    142
    Edit.
    2010 D440 Redline Rigid 1x9
    2011 Trek Remedy 8 1x10
    2012 Jamis Dragon 2x10
    2013 Diamondback Sortie 3 1x10

Similar Threads

  1. looking for any long descents in new england
    By jbourne84 in forum Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 09-24-2013, 05:12 PM
  2. Favorite Front Range Descents
    By Grrunk in forum Colorado - Front Range
    Replies: 81
    Last Post: 05-04-2013, 12:26 PM
  3. Rotors for LONG slow descents
    By KLF in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 10-27-2012, 09:05 AM
  4. Biggest vertical descents around??
    By dft in forum Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 09-25-2011, 08:07 AM
  5. chain jumps off chainring on descents
    By dootenay in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-30-2011, 01:00 AM

Posting Permissions

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