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  1. #1
    I hate sugar sand.
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    Giving it one more shot, then I'm done

    I tried a few different things to make riding my '12 Marlin not a chore on my local trail: geax tires running low psi, carbon bar, lock on grips, padded gloves, dialed-in riding position, grippier flat pedals and some minor weight loss via removing the front derailleur.

    The ride is better, but the stock fork is out of its element hitting root after root after root, for miles on end. It's just tiring, punishing, exhausting and not fun. I finally made the decision to upgrade the fork to a Manitou Tower Expert, I might get it on by this weekend.

    If a new fork doesn't absolutely transform the bike, then I'm selling the fork, putting the bike back to stock, selling it and then riding my road bike off into the sunset. Trying to get into "mountain" biking in Tampa seemed like a futile effort anyway.

  2. #2
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    Giving it one more shot, then I'm done

    Where are you riding in Tampa? I'm in Sarasota, and don't really know of much in the area, but would love to find out.
    Bourbon: Because no good story ever started with "So, there we were eating salads".

  3. #3
    I hate sugar sand.
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    Flatwoods in Tampa, off Morris Bridge Rd. That's pretty freaking far from Sarasota though.

  4. #4
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    What is it about the roots that are bothering you? Before you start replacing parts you may want to start looking into your current abilities as a rider.

    Are you putting too much weight on the front when you hit these roots?
    Are you attempting to lift the front when you go over large objects ahead of you?

  5. #5
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    Re: Giving it one more shot, then I'm done

    Quote Originally Posted by skene View Post
    What is it about the roots that are bothering you? Before you start replacing parts you may want to start looking into your current abilities as a rider.

    Are you putting too much weight on the front when you hit these roots?
    Are you attempting to lift the front when you go over large objects ahead of you?
    What's the proper method as far as popping up the front tire?

    Sent from my Milestone X using Tapatalk 2

  6. #6
    I hate sugar sand.
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    The fact that they're up to 2" high and that I absorb at least 1500 root impacts over 11-12 miles. It's not fun. It's like doing a track day in your car on a course with speedbumps every 20 feet.

    I believe I have myself seated in a good position, my hands are much less fatigued and rarely go numb/tingly now. And I do make an effort to pull up over whatever I can, you just can't clear 'em all. The changes I've made as far as equipment changes and riding position have been positive so far, just not enough. I'm hoping the fork is the final piece of the puzzle.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitr0 View Post
    What's the proper method as far as popping up the front tire?

    Sent from my Milestone X using Tapatalk 2
    For 2" roots, I just roll over them with my weight back a little. If they're bigger, I shift the weight back further and pull back slightly on the bars. That brings the front wheel up and over, but I'm still letting the front tire touch and roll up over...I'm not doing "wheelies" over every obstacle.

  8. #8
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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    You can start here... Mountain Bike Technique - Tackling Roots Part 1 - YouTube

    Try this method out by just loosening up and allowing your bike to roll over some of these guys. With a 29er you should be able to easily coast over most roots if they are 2" high.

  9. #9
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    Are there no trails in the area that don't have roots all over the place?

  10. #10
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    Sounds like an expectations issue. You cannot expect buttery smooth trails everywhere. Roots protrude from trails. You have to ride over them. Fat tires with low pressure help. Suspension that's properly set up helps. But you're still riding over roots and having to cope with the effects of doing so.

  11. #11
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    Re: Giving it one more shot, then I'm done

    My first mtb was a Marlin when the were still 26" wheels. The stock fork was awful. That Manitou should help.

    You're not trying to sit in the saddle while you're riding through the roots are you? On a hardtail you gotta get up on the pedals & use your legs & arms as suspension. Like someone said above, fat tires with low pressure helps too
    No moss...

  12. #12
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    I think the link to the vid is useful. Those guys do a lot from imb mag. Wish I had more time to watch 'em!

    Roots do suck. And in the NE they are everywhere. Unless they are big, you can just roll over them. Since this is the beginner forum - I'll ask - do you have anyone else to ride with that might be a good tutor? I'm back to mt biking after close to 15 years, 57 years old, and am enjoying it. I face a ton of challenges out there, walk a lot of sections, but slowly am gaining back some skill.

    The Manitou is a good fork. Hope it helps, and the vid link really is decent....

    Good luck!

  13. #13
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    Well, I'm not surprised if its just a sucky trail for ATB'ing, but it could also be your ability. Is it a trail where people like to go bike, and they look like they're having fun? If so, then you need to work on how you are riding it.

  14. #14
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    That sounds like a lot of roots! That many might make a trail quite a shore or not that fun. Any other trails? I have never been on a trail that was so infested with roots that they bothered me. A root here and the will just make it more fun but I can see how thousands of roots can become a PITA.

  15. #15
    I hate sugar sand.
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    I'm pretty sure my technique and skill are on the lower end, I'll admit that. But I've ridden this trail enough times to be able to make improvements. I don't expect a trail riddled with roots to be smooth, I expect it to be a momentum-sucker and force me to work. I'm at the point now where I'm at the limit of my skill and I believe the low end Suntour fork is at its limit as well.

    As it is right now, I get waaaay more enjoyment out of pedaling my road bike forever then bashing over roots on my Marlin. I'm hoping a new fork will make the trail a little more fun and forgiving, which it turn, encourages me to ride more, which will increase my skill.

    This particular root infested trail is the only one less than an hour away from me.

  16. #16
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    ifeel that you are just riding the bike wrong. the suntour would be more than capable of handling roots. but it is still limited by the ability of the rider. you are in florida, at the least you are not dealing with steep climbs and decents. try finding other riders in your area... since you are at your current limit and do not know how to advance in your riding ability by yourself.

  17. #17
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    I ride root infested New England terrain almost every time I ride. 2 things that help the most on roots. Clipless pedals to power over them, and speed. The slower you go on roots the harder it is.

    It is never going to be smooth like a road on the trails. Learn to find enjoyment in the challenge of roots and rocks on the trails or stick with road riding. Or do both. Some days I don't mind mindlessly bashing away on the road, most days the thrill of the trail calls.

  18. #18
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    Have you tried to soften the suspension? Better fork should give you more adjustments.
    NateHawk--"Suspension that's properly set up helps."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
    This particular root infested trail is the only one less than an hour away from me.
    I was almost ready to shed a tear for you for having no riding closer than that to you, but I couldn't believe it could be true. Lucky for you, not even close.

    From your local trails group's website

    "The Tampa area has perhaps the most extensive inventory of mountain bike single-track in the state of Florida. "

    SWAMP: Florida Mountain Bike Trail Locations

    The video below is from the place you mentioned - I don't think we have a trail that smooth in our entire state. I would upgrade the shock, stop riding a trail you obviously don't enjoy, and do some exploring.

    Off Road Trail Flatwoods Park Tampa - YouTube

  20. #20
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    Meh. Everybody I know who enjoys mountain biking and has had a few bikes still enjoyed mountain biking on cheap equipment.

    Cut your losses.
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  21. #21
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    The #1 vegetation in Florida is Mangrove = roots everywhere!
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  22. #22
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    I just watched that video above at Flatwoods park and I'm not sure I saw 1 root.

    Go there and enjoy your bike before giving up.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I was almost ready to shed a tear for you for having no riding closer than that to you, but I couldn't believe it could be true. Lucky for you, not even close.

    From your local trails group's website

    "The Tampa area has perhaps the most extensive inventory of mountain bike single-track in the state of Florida. "

    SWAMP: Florida Mountain Bike Trail Locations

    The video below is from the place you mentioned - I don't think we have a trail that smooth in our entire state. I would upgrade the shock, stop riding a trail you obviously don't enjoy, and do some exploring.

    Off Road Trail Flatwoods Park Tampa - YouTube
    Thanks for the links, saved me the trouble. There are some awesome trails in Florida.
    NTFTC

  24. #24
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    The nearly 4 year old video may not repersent current trail conditions. What size tires? How much pressure? Road riders almost always ride wayyy to much pressure.

    I'd load a 2.2 to 2.4 inch front tire, convert it to tubless, and ride it at 19 psi. That would do more than anything to eat roots. And, no, it won't make more resistance on a real MTB trail. That project would be all kinds of cheaper than a new fork too.

  25. #25
    I hate sugar sand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skene View Post
    ifeel that you are just riding the bike wrong. the suntour would be more than capable of handling roots. but it is still limited by the ability of the rider. you are in florida, at the least you are not dealing with steep climbs and decents. try finding other riders in your area... since you are at your current limit and do not know how to advance in your riding ability by yourself.
    Except that the Suntour does not possess good small bump compliance. It's harsh without much adjustment either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I was almost ready to shed a tear for you for having no riding closer than that to you, but I couldn't believe it could be true. Lucky for you, not even close.

    From your local trails group's website

    "The Tampa area has perhaps the most extensive inventory of mountain bike single-track in the state of Florida. "

    SWAMP: Florida Mountain Bike Trail Locations

    The video below is from the place you mentioned - I don't think we have a trail that smooth in our entire state. I would upgrade the shock, stop riding a trail you obviously don't enjoy, and do some exploring.

    Off Road Trail Flatwoods Park Tampa - YouTube
    I'm going to test out the new fork on Flatwoods and then see about heading out elsewhere for some new-to-me trails.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nail Every Trail View Post
    I just watched that video above at Flatwoods park and I'm not sure I saw 1 root.

    Go there and enjoy your bike before giving up.
    Trust me, they're there dude. I'll put in the time to break in the fork before I make that decision. It's getting cooler and drier here in Tampa, so I definitely want to get some trail time in.

    I've got a Geax AKA 2.2 on the front, I run a tube at about 26-28 psi...less than 30 for sure. Lowering pressure did make a difference I could feel.

    Thanks for the input guys, I'll keep at it before I decide to jump ship for my road bike.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
    I tried a few different things to make riding my '12 Marlin not a chore on my local trail: geax tires running low psi, carbon bar, lock on grips, padded gloves, dialed-in riding position, grippier flat pedals and some minor weight loss via removing the front derailleur.

    The ride is better, but the stock fork is out of its element hitting root after root after root, for miles on end. It's just tiring, punishing, exhausting and not fun. I finally made the decision to upgrade the fork to a Manitou Tower Expert, I might get it on by this weekend.

    If a new fork doesn't absolutely transform the bike, then I'm selling the fork, putting the bike back to stock, selling it and then riding my road bike off into the sunset. Trying to get into "mountain" biking in Tampa seemed like a futile effort anyway.
    Maybe you should try soften the suspension and see if this helps. Roots are a big problem where I live as well but you just have to adjust to your trail.
    Last edited by Max24; 03-10-2015 at 12:53 AM.

  27. #27
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    The fork change WILL make a major difference. You can also lower the front tire pressure some more. As low as 18 lbs depending on your weight. Just don't go low enough to get rim hits, go up a couple pounds when you feel some.

  28. #28
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    I think the Manitou Tower Expert is a pretty good choice for you. Your bike came with a G2 fork (51mm offset, and the Manitou Tower forks have 48mm. I don't think you can get closer in an aftermarket fork, so you did as well as you could. The Tower Expert is very close to the Tower Pro in terms of performance and one of my current favorite forks out there for 100mm travel bikes.

  29. #29
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    I'm not sure what sort of biking budget you're operating with, but I'll tell ya, a decent used full suspension bike might be precisely the thing that totally flicks the swicth for you when it comes to mountain biking. Something with air suspension so you can tune it to feel like you want. If there's a shop in your area that does demos, take one out sometime and see what you think. I personally very much prefer an FS bike for trail riding. Any time I take a hardtail out, I wonder what the hell I was thinking back in the day when I used to put in tons of miles on them.

    For quick fixes for your current ride, first tires.
    On the cheap - pick up some big meaty tires on clearance and throw them on. Tires make a huge difference. You can try for yourself pretty cheaply before deciding whether you want to go tubeless in the future. Try putting a little more rubber between you and the roots.

    Make sure your bike is set up as best it can be for you. I'm wondering if, as a road rider, you might possibly run your seat a little too high. If you do run your seat up at the same level as on your road bike, drop it a solid 3/4" on your next ride for an experiment. You need to be able to float above your seat while pedalling on rough terrain. You also still have to allow some room for your legs to suck up the bumps. What you can't do is expect to sit there and pedal - mountain biking involves a lot more weight shifting and flailing around in general.

    Check that local site and see if they do any clinics or beginner rides. Great way to see somewhere new, best way to progress is to ride with other people.

    Don't hang it up - it looks like you've got some kick-ass riding in the area.

  30. #30
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    My kid moved to Sarasota in May. I'm spending a week there at Thanksgiving. I'll be renting a MTB for a few days. There is at least one park, between Saraspta and Tampa that I'm just dying to ride.if nothing else, it lacks long steep climbs like I have at home.

  31. #31
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    I have gotten my 13 Marlin out to the UWF trail and there are a lot of roots there too, some in the 2" range but others are in the 6"+ range. I noticed a huge improvement getting up off the seat and adding a little speed and the 29'er just rode over the smaller ones with no issues. It went a lot better just between adding a little speed over crawling over everything like I used to do.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce in SoCal View Post
    My kid moved to Sarasota in May. I'm spending a week there at Thanksgiving. I'll be renting a MTB for a few days. There is at least one park, between Saraspta and Tampa that I'm just dying to ride.if nothing else, it lacks long steep climbs like I have at home.
    Which park?
    NTFTC

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
    The fact that they're up to 2" high and that I absorb at least 1500 root impacts over 11-12 miles. It's not fun. It's like doing a track day in your car on a course with speedbumps every 20 feet.

    I believe I have myself seated in a good position, my hands are much less fatigued and rarely go numb/tingly now. And I do make an effort to pull up over whatever I can, you just can't clear 'em all. The changes I've made as far as equipment changes and riding position have been positive so far, just not enough. I'm hoping the fork is the final piece of the puzzle.
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    My first mtb was a Marlin when the were still 26" wheels. The stock fork was awful. That Manitou should help.

    You're not trying to sit in the saddle while you're riding through the roots are you? On a hardtail you gotta get up on the pedals & use your legs & arms as suspension. Like someone said above, fat tires with low pressure helps too
    Before you spend money, answer the question. It's pretty straight forward if your seated while riding roots, then there's your problem.
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  34. #34
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    Dude, forget that rooty place. Go ride Balm Boyette and Alafia. Very nice riding at both places!

  35. #35
    The White Jeff W
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post

    As it is right now, I get waaaay more enjoyment out of pedaling my road bike forever then bashing over roots on my Marlin.

    .
    Thats cool. Its not for everyone
    No moss...

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
    I tried a few different things to make riding my '12 Marlin not a chore on my local trail: geax tires running low psi, carbon bar, lock on grips, padded gloves, dialed-in riding position, grippier flat pedals and some minor weight loss via removing the front derailleur.

    The ride is better, but the stock fork is out of its element hitting root after root after root, for miles on end. It's just tiring, punishing, exhausting and not fun. I finally made the decision to upgrade the fork to a Manitou Tower Expert, I might get it on by this weekend.

    If a new fork doesn't absolutely transform the bike, then I'm selling the fork, putting the bike back to stock, selling it and then riding my road bike off into the sunset. Trying to get into "mountain" biking in Tampa seemed like a futile effort anyway.
    The roots around here?? Well they used to be 2 inches, that was fine and fun, now that the sport has grown and more people are riding the trails those 2' roots are now 3-6'.. Literally 6'. THAT isn't all that fun to me, either.

    So I feel ya. Same with the rocks that used to pop out of the soil 1-2 inches, now 2-4 inches out of the ground at least. They sell a lot of mountain bikes, I honestly think some of these trails are different than they were intended to be because of wear and wash-out. That being said, I still do it. I still feel the sense of accomplishment when done. But I find myself doing the "easier" trails more, and going for speed. I also commute, which around here requires a mountain bike or at least a hybrid. There are other ways to use your mountain bike. Some trails are not so rough, and are more designed to get you out into nature, so try those. I like being outside in a forest, I like going fast and having to use my brain at the same time, so I will always Mountain bike.. But my mountains don't have to be as miserably rough as possible (not every time) for me to enjoy them. Find your own mountain, and stay away from the big roots for a while.. After you find other ways to enjoy the bike, you may actually appreciate going back to the rough single track once in a while. Ride on.

  37. #37
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    6 foot high roots! No wonder you don't like riding it!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegweed View Post
    Which park?
    I have two waypoints for parks relatively near each other: Alafia River State Park, and Boyette Bike Park.

    I'll be there the week of 11/24. Lets ride!

  39. #39
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    I'd like to try riding roots as a change from mile long climbs at 10% plus grade on lose dirt over hard pack.

  40. #40
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    Not trying to be unhelpful , but maybe it just isn't for you. If you enjoy your road bike much more as you say, then just stick with that. I ride with plenty of roots, add in the rocks and big hills and that is mountain biking.
    There is no doubt that you are using entry level equipment, but I'm not sure that a better bike will make you love the experience.
    Everyone I know that started out on a crap bike, including me, loved it. When they got nicer bikes it justice the experience that much better.
    Don't force yourself to like mountain biking. Ride what you enjoy
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  41. #41
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    Roots do suck. I've raced a few times in Florida, and I think it just comes with some trails there. Rocks and roots add to the ride for me, but too much makes it less fun.

    Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 4

  42. #42
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    Is your bike a 29er? A big 29er tubeless wheel at a low psi should roll over those roots no problem.

  43. #43
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    The more rocks and roots the faster you have to go. To go faster you must push harder. It will take alot more effort to, but will reward you with a smoother ride. Mtn biking is about riding terrain that not easy and smooth. It is about taking a bike places no bike should go. I have a road bike for the days I want smooth riding and the mtn bike for days I like a challenge.
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    Is your bike a 29er? A big 29er tubeless wheel at a low psi should roll over those roots no problem.
    That's not exactly true.. Don't exaggerate.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce in SoCal View Post
    I have two waypoints for parks relatively near each other: Alafia River State Park, and Boyette Bike Park.

    I'll be there the week of 11/24. Lets ride!
    Those are both great parks for Florida, but I'm 4 hours away, and you are probably way more skilled than me although I've ridden both before. If you get to Santos let me know. I hope you enjoy what Florida has to offer, we do the best we can with what we have.
    NTFTC

  46. #46
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    I've always debated having a 29er just for the roots. Rock and bugs stuff don't bug me, just damn roots.

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  47. #47
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    IME, 29ers ride smoother. Especially when the problem is choppy trails. I've wanted one since the first time I demoed a hardtail 29er. Took a little longer to ride a FS 29er I liked.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  48. #48
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    I started mountain biking on a steel rigid niner a few years ago and the park you speak of is in my back yard, close enough that I can now ride to the trails from my front door. I love it out there. Rode the loop every week for a year until I graduated myself to a hard tail with a nice fork. At first on the rigid, it hurt. A lot. But after a while you learn to firmly grip the bars and use your arms and legs as suspension... and it still hurts, but not as much.

    The inside of the paved loop and the so called "Very Difficult Trails" are the most punishing with the roots. However, there are parts of the Morris Bridge area that are a bit smoother if you can work out the right routes, although not absent of them completely. Dont know what your current fork feels like, but heres to hoping the Tower Pro smooths them out for you.

    If not, I'll be the mountain bike you pass on your roadie on the paved loop while I connect the single track trails sucking wind and chugging my camelbak



    I remember after conquering Panther taking this picture years ago... I was beat! It gets easier, conditioning and technique helps the most, gear should help too.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I was almost ready to shed a tear for you for having no riding closer than that to you, but I couldn't believe it could be true. Lucky for you, not even close.

    From your local trails group's website



    "The Tampa area has perhaps the most extensive inventory of mountain bike single-track in the state of Florida. "

    SWAMP: Florida Mountain Bike Trail Locations

    The video below is from the place you mentioned - I don't think we have a trail that smooth in our entire state. I would upgrade the shock, stop riding a trail you obviously don't enjoy, and do some exploring.

    Off Road Trail Flatwoods Park Tampa - YouTube

    I agree... If that trail is to tough then you should sell the MTB and hang with the roadies. Don't get me wrong it looks like a fun trail but on a 1-5 level its a low end 2

  50. #50
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
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    13,387
    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
    I tried a few different things to make riding my '12 Marlin not a chore on my local trail: geax tires running low psi, carbon bar, lock on grips, padded gloves, dialed-in riding position, grippier flat pedals and some minor weight loss via removing the front derailleur.

    The ride is better, but the stock fork is out of its element hitting root after root after root, for miles on end. It's just tiring, punishing, exhausting and not fun. I finally made the decision to upgrade the fork to a Manitou Tower Expert, I might get it on by this weekend.

    If a new fork doesn't absolutely transform the bike, then I'm selling the fork, putting the bike back to stock, selling it and then riding my road bike off into the sunset. Trying to get into "mountain" biking in Tampa seemed like a futile effort anyway.
    I w If you don't enjoy the sport now, a new fork is very unlikely to change that. It's not for everyone.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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