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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  1. #1
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    confidence in the front end.....

    Like I said in my first post on here, I am a relative noob to Mt biking. Needed to do something to get back in shape after having a stroke at 30.

    Been doing some light riding for 2 years on borrowed bikes and finally bought one.

    Most of the riding I do is hard pack with probably 30% loose sand or mud. Mostly flat, still haven't built myself up enough to do any serious climbing. May never be able to but that is what I am striving for.

    My problem is I have no confidence in the front end. Tight turns, Sand, loose dirt etc etc etc... it fells like the front is pushing. The front will just slide out in fast or slow turns.

    What am I doing wrong or what techniques can i use to help the situation? I've got a new Fork on order (tora) and when it gets here I plan on setting it up for my weight. That may be my problem don't know. or maybe it's just the these things handle...hell I don't know.

  2. #2
    local jackass
    Reputation: biggoofy1's Avatar
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    more saddle time and confidence also make sure your tires suit the terrain that u ride
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  3. #3
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    I think no matter how much you ride you will still feel like your front is going to wash out in stuff like sand a lose dirt, its just bad stuff to ride in. You just have to get the confidence in yourself that you will be able to handle those situations. Also trust your bike, seat time will help with that.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  4. #4
    local jackass
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    also its a patch of sand i personaly like to go really fast and unweight the front end and manual over it seems to help
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  5. #5
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    To feel more confident on turns on loose stuff, learn how to move more of your weight inside the turn. Road cyclists stick the inside knee out, but on a MTB you need to keep the pedals more or less level. So you need to lower the inside shoulder, almost touching the bars. The more weight is inside, the less you need to lean your bike, hence less risk of wash out.
    Of course, checking your tires is a good idea as well. Unfortunately, tires are trade off - some are better for hard surface, others, knobbier ones - for loose stuff. Higher side knobs are helpful for turns on, say, sand or dust. Air pressure too low is no good for turns anyway.
    One more thing - choosing the right line. On loose surface go for a turn as wide as the path allows you. Look at least several meters ahead and calculate the line in advance.

  6. #6
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    Don't use the front brake in turns, and also try to decelerate before the turn rather than in the middle of it. Using the front brake will cause a loss of traction of the front wheel and/or cause dive in the front suspension and shift your weight forward. You want to remain balanced between the front and rear wheels, and if you must brake use the rear. It's pretty easy to lock up the rear and not crash, but locking up the front in the middle of a turn results in a very quick trip to the ground almost every time.

    Another thing to thing about is letting the bike move under you while maintaining your balance above it. If the bike wanders around over the loose stuff, don't sweat it and just try to keep your general line. Just out of curiosity, what fork are you running now?

  7. #7
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    Ask other riders on your trails what tires they use, try some different air pressures

  8. #8
    pants on head retarded
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    Lots of good advice here but it really comes down to saddle time. Basic things like tinkering with your air pressure, shifting your weight back to ride straight through sand, and leaning with turns all come with experience.

  9. #9
    usually cranky
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    am i the only one more intrested in the stroke at 30 part. glad your ok but damn dude, what happened?

  10. #10
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    thanks for all the replies...

    The tires I am running are Jones AC. Normally my pressure is at about 40 or so.

    The brakes and slowing part.... I used to ride sport bikes and such on the track and realize that is something that needs to be adjusted for.

    Haven't really tried hanging off to either side or really tried any real experiments with body positioning other than forward or backward depending on if I am trying to climb or descend a trail. Might need to play around with that some.

    The Fork on the bike now is some cheap Manitou or something or another. Sorry i can't remember> when I bought the bike it was already leaking so I ordered a tora. I peeled the stickers off the original fork because.... well honestly I just didn't like all the colors on em.

    I was thinking bout ti today at work. I think the main thing is that combine how quick steering it is with at least the feeling of lack of weight on the front leads me to have no confidence in it. Like I said the even on hard pack the front will kick out. Not just on this bike but on the ones I borrowed leading up to my purchase.


    The Stroke.... DOn't really know why it happened. I've been A diabetic since I was 7. My regular Doc thinks it was diabetic related but my Neurologist doesn't think so. That was 5 years ago and I have no lasting effects other than being able to use my left hand better cause it took a few years to get my strength back on my right side.

  11. #11
    Professional Speed Bump
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    I don't know what type of turns you're having problems with but perhaps if you're doing fast turns on flat or off-camber turns, you may benefit from off-camber turning techniques. This is a riding method which gives your bike more traction on fast turns.

    Forgive my crude graphic. I had to whip this up in a couple of minutes.


    As you may (or may not) see on my graphics, the rider on the right is leaning with the bike, thus adding to the outside force which has a high potential of causing a skid.

    The rider on the left is off the saddle and has his bike angled to make the turn but makes an effort to try and keep his body as perpendicular to the ground as possible to keep his body weight going downward rather than with the angle of the bike. He is also pushing down on the outside pedal and handlebar to create additional downward force.

    Also, being off the saddle makes handling skids much easier than being on the saddle.

    Hope this helps...at least a little.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Captian....

    I understand the graphic well enough. I guess that could be part of my problem. Coming from only riding motorcycles for the last 25 years or so I am used to leaning with the bike. Sometimes even more than the bike in an effort to pull it over to turn quicker.

    Like somebody mentioned on an earlier post bout road bikers sticking out a knee. hehe I sometimes find myself doing that out of instinct from my motorcycle days. Next time I ride I am going to see if maybe I can adjust on that a little.

  13. #13
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    Hope all goes well for you KNUTZ with your health and biking.

  14. #14
    Underskilled
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    I am glad someone offered advice on technique, well done joon.

    If you motorbike you already have the technique down better than most mtb peeps ever will.

    Just make sure you transfer it all to the trail.
    Countersteer, lean over (but bike more than you), outside pedal down with ALL your weight on it. The outside pedal is the most important.
    You also want to get your front/back balance correct too.

    To get confidence, cheat,
    I wear lots of armour and have grippy tyres, cheating but gives you the confidence to be smooth.

  15. #15
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    I think I did something unknowingly that has helped my front end feel a good bit. Got my new forks in Friday and installed them on the Trek. Originally it only had 80 mm travel forks and the new ones are 100mm. This set my front end up a little more. Could be a combo of the travel and fork angle didn't check it. anyways......

    It seemed to slow down the steering a little which isn't a big problem for me since the trails that wear me out most of you guys could probably handle without even raising your breathing.

  16. #16
    newless cluebie
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    You may consider dropping tire pressure a bit, to 35psi.

  17. #17
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    i don't have much trail experience at all, but i have read a little about handling for this sort of situation and applied it to snow riding, and it's helped immensely.

    there's a tricky balance to achieve where you're leaning into a turn but also keeping your center of gravity pretty upright, like in the graphic a few posts up. turning the wheel too much seems--at least in the snow i've ridden in--to increase the chances of slipping out.

    also putting as much your weight as far back as you can helps. loosening your shoulders and wrists and staying relaxed seems to help too.

    like i've said, this is stuff i've read about mtb and applied to snow, so i'm no expert on applying this to what you're experiencing, but in situations of sketchy, slidy, slippy stuff even with 23mm road tires i've found it to work fine.

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