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.
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  1. #1
    I hate hog damage.
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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.

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

  4. #4
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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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 hog damage.
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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
    The White Jeff W
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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
    Merendon Junkie
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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 hog damage.
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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
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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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
    Ride Responsibly
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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
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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.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    The #1 vegetation in Florida is Mangrove = roots everywhere!
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  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
    Hi There!
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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 hog damage.
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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.

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