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.
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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.
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Thread: Breaking a Bike

  1. #1
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    Breaking a Bike

    Don't see a lot of discussion of this topic, but what do noobs do or not do that will "break" a bike, that is, cause failure of a major component?

    I have seen a video of a member of another forum going off a drop in a sandstone canyon, maybe a couple or three feet, but he really planted the front wheel (booo) and taco'ed it.

    So that would be one mistake it would seem. And I suspect his wheel wasn't quite right either.

    Is there a catalog of dumb crap noobs do with catastrophic results?

  2. #2
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    not yet, but feel free to start one...
    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  3. #3
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    Well it's started. I just dont want to be the one populating the list.

  4. #4
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    it will be fine...please share your experiences. Other folks will flood the gates once you get it going...
    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  5. #5
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    I have come closer to breaking me than the bike thus far and have failed in both endeavors, thankfully.

  6. #6
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    Don't concern yourself with breaking a bike. Just ride!

  7. #7
    Clueless Bastard
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    I've heard of noobs taking cheap FartMart bikes up to Whistler and destroying them (and in many cases themselves too) but when all is said and done, I think it's kinda hard to destroy a decent quality bike these days.

  8. #8
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    Ive also seen reference to high-centering a bike on a log or similar obstacle and munching the big ring. Guess that's not a big deal.

    I don't suppose having low pedal on the inside of a turn/curve really jeopardizes the crank much?

  9. #9
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    Using the seat. While descending. **** breaks when you crash.

    Trying to carve corners like a pro the first time out. You can't lean and rotate like on asphalt, and most haven't done that, either. **** breaks when you crash.

    Hit the trail at max rated PSI. **** breaks when you crash.

    No water, no food, no map, no idea where they are or how much trouble they are in. **** breaks when you pass out and crash.

    Leaving valuables in sight in the car at the trail head. **** breaks when you toss your bike because someone else broke **** on your car to steal your ****.

    Not knowing etiquette. **** breaks when you crash after bailing off the trail when you thought you had right of way over the mom with a stroller.

    Not being observant. **** breaks when you're plunging down a hillside because the trail disappeared around that corner because you weren't paying attention to the signs telling you the damn trail was closed for repair.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

  10. #10
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    The most common thing I see is people new to riding in general using the wrong gears like small and small.. You can hear the chain slapping a mile away. Big and big, ripped off derailleurs, bent hangers, bent or broken chains from chain suck, etc.. I guess I see that more cause they are on the side of the trail walking their bike so I stop to fix it or limp them out in ss.

    Also, I see people going too fast.. They hit trees and go over the handlebars.

    My friend went over the handlebars because he took a turn too fast over a slight sandy hill. But besides mixing the wrong gears, I can't really think of anything that will actually break the bike besides crashing into something.

    Sent from my 831C using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    Trying to carve corners like a pro the first time out. You can't lean and rotate like on asphalt, and most haven't done that, either. **** breaks when you crash.
    Newb here and I just did this. I tried to get my weight inside the turn like I do on my SV650. I guess my 27lb mountain bike on dirt behaves differently than my 440lb motorcycle on asphalt. Who would've guessed...?

    Hit the trail at max rated PSI. **** breaks when you crash.
    Also did this - but didn't crash. The whole ride was really squirrely though.

    Great tips here so far (I just loosened my brake lever clamps a hair) - keep 'em coming!

  12. #12
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    Rock strikes to a pedal. Actually it's pretty hard to break most pedals, but putting the inside foot down in a corner makes it easy to plow it into something at speed and the plastic ones that come on a lot of new bikes aren't very durable.

    Front shifts under load. It's possible to break a chain this way. Front shifts under load on a technical climb. Throw in some ratcheting and it's easy to break a chain this way.

    Screwing around with the rear derailleur when you don't know what you're doing. Removing the dork disc when you don't know what you're doing. Makes it easy to overshift and damage some spokes. In extreme, it's possible to damage the rear derailleur too.

    Rear derailleurs are pretty exposed. Falling to the right and some bad luck can take one out. I don't like expensive ones for this reason - I seem to break them every two years or so, so wtf do I care if I can get a tiny bit longer wear life by spending a whole lot more money?

    Tire pressure too low and plowing straight into a square-edged hit. You can damage a rim this way. (Work down to "your" pressure slowly, so you can recognize when it's getting too low for your equipment.)

    Torquing things down like a gorilla. I don't use a torque wrench myself, but I try to be sensible.

    Cutting a chain too short, especially on a full-suspension bike. You can damage a bottom bracket or freehub.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    Shifting under load (usually uphill) either front or rear destroys chains and derailleurs.

    Riding heavy and failing to unweight wheels destroys rims, saddles, posts, etc.

  14. #14
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    A bike isn't broken until the frame cracks - all the rest is meant to be beaten, trashed, and replaced on a regular basis. So keep up the good work!

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  15. #15
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    Manuals on a road bike with a load on the rack. (Or not.) Eventually cracked the chainstay.

    Doesn't mean I don't still ride my road bikes like I mean it. I just don't buy 20+-year-old bikes anymore.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    I have broken several derailleur hangers this season, mainly from getting a large stick in the spokes on tight, overgrown trails. I always carry two spares, just in case bad things happen, well, twice!

  17. #17
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    riding down steps at a local campus has not worked well for me...who da thunk it?
    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  18. #18
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    Building features improperly and testing them and not doing regular maintenance/not checking or being observant of your bike were most of my troubles. Also, car racks.

  19. #19
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    Re: Breaking a Bike

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post

    Rear derailleurs are pretty exposed. Falling to the right and some bad luck can take one out. I don't like expensive ones for this reason - I seem to break them every two years or so, so wtf do I care if I can get a tiny bit longer wear life by spending a whole lot more money?
    Lol.. Maybe they break because they are cheap? I have only had deore or above rear derailleurs and the most I've done is tweaked a hanger. Maybe better quality components would work better for you. My last one lasted since 06 when I got it used. The spring wore out. So I bought the new deore. I expect to upgrade to a 1x10 setup well before it breaks.

    Sent from my 831C using Tapatalk

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    Lol.. Maybe they break because they are cheap?
    Nah - expensive ones break all the time too. I've got a big drawer full of carcasses, mainly XT/X-7 and above. I rarely get a couple years out of one, though the early XTRs were pretty damn tough.
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  21. #21
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    I see falling on something as an "all bets are off" situation. I doubt that falling on something more expensive, probably lighter, would be less likely to break it.

    When I got around to breaking it, my Alivio was pretty shockingly worn out. I think the more expensive ones are better at that. I also thought about going to a clutch derailleur after some pretty extreme chainsuck broke the Deore Shadow I replaced it with, but I'd have had to take that bike 10-speed. Not worth it to me.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
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    I don't jump, drops, or anything remotely crazy, yet somehow I have cracked a frame.
    wore out a few parts, but first time cracking a frame.

    does that make me a real mountain biker now? or am I still in the wannabe ranks?

  23. #23
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    I suspect that generally, frames crack from fatigue, that is age and repeated shocks and flexing rather than any discrete catastrophic event.

  24. #24
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    Probably true. Pretty sure it was true for the frame I cracked.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  25. #25
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    Frame cracking is the thing I worry about the most. In fact the only thing I worry about because I really love my frame! It would be a pain trying to find another one that I like as much. I don't consider a cracked frame bike death though, you just buy another frame and swap the bits over. The frame is just another component.

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