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 16 of 16
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OSOK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    475

    Help getting better...

    So, what things can I do, as the weekend warrior that I am, to get better on the trails? I've been riding pretty much since Sept or so, and "just" went clipless last weekend (which rocks btw).

    Other than doing trails backwards, working on speed, etc... what drills can I do to help me improve my skills? For example, I'd like to go to the park, do a lap, and then work on whatever specific drill to improve different aspects of my riding...

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    Bryan

    PS: if possible, I'm looking for specific things to do... not things like "ride faster", "dont fall as much", etc... you guys know what I mean :-)

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    859
    Number one thing, practice manuals. Get used to using body position, not pulling up on the bars, to get the wheel up. Your core has way more strength than your arms and getting used to throwing the middle of your body around on the bike will keep you much more fresh when dealing with technical obstacles on long rides.

    You don't usually need to do a full manual on the trail, but lightening the front wheel properly is so much better than pulling up on the bars. The rear wheel will usually just follow.

    Look for clinics in your area, join your local IMBA affiliate.

    Read Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack. Try not to let the rad-speak infiltrate your vocabulary. Unless you're 17. Then it probably already has.

    David B.

  3. #3
    AZ
    AZ is offline
    banned
    Reputation: AZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    19,997
    Good advice from David B. , I would also suggest working on balance , track stands , riding skinnies , tight figure eights etc. All will help with trail skills . Good luck .

  4. #4
    powered by peanut butter.
    Reputation: heartland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    601
    Here's how I think about it: pick a skill you want to improve, then look for areas close to home that will allow you to practice that skill.

    My climbing skills are made of suck and awful (as you may note to the left), so I regularly seek out steep hills and climb them several times. First time up, I'll stand and mash in a bigger gear. Second time up, I'll drop into a lower gear and spin up the hill, trying to keep slow and smooth. (BTW - one of the great benefits of clipless pedals is the ability to get power by pulling up as well as pushing down. Practice your pedal stroke until pulling up feels natural.) Third time up, well, I'll probably be gasping and cussing, but getting to the top is a moral victory.

    To work on hopping logs, I'll look for a curb or one of those little parking lot barriers (which are log sized, conveniently). Usually my goal is to work on making crossing smoother, so I'll approach it slowly and practice lifting the front wheel, placing it on top of the obstacle, and lifting my rear wheel over in a smooth motion.

    Riding down steps is good practice for rock gardens. You get the idea.

    Wow. That just turned into a real long winded response. Sorry.

    Have fun out there!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nubster's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    4,103
    There are some good youtube videos too that show some essential mountain biking skills. It often helps seeing someone do it in addition to having it explained to you...helps me at least.

  6. #6
    T.W.O.
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,011
    This should get you started it help me out when I started.
    http://www.socaltrailriders.org/foru...lls-links.html

    Having good spirit is the most important, if you are not having a good time just don't do it.

  7. #7
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
    Reputation: CHUM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    8,228
    ride curbs.....sounds dumb...but works....
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    24
    well the more you ride the better your gonna get no matter what. you will find things that work better for you and help you on the trials. the drills the other guys are talking about will help a lot but make sure you never frustrate yourself when trying something new if you dont get it. you eventually will. just keep on gettin out there and riding.
    AIM - ATLMTB90
    Get at me

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    138
    When you come to certain part of the trail that you can't clear go back and keep doing it until you do clear it instead of just walking that section. That will force you to work on the skills that you are having trouble with.

  10. #10
    My other ride is your mom
    Reputation: Maadjurguer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    4,409
    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    ride curbs.....sounds dumb...but works....

    Not dumb at all and totally good idea....I always ride the curb on the way back from the gym.....4 inch drop to one side....imaginary drop to the other delineated by a small depression. Great training to ride a skinny by looking forward where you want to go rather than willing your front tire to move as you stare at it....

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OSOK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    475
    Hmm... manuals have been a big prirority on my list... I cant even wheelie yet :-/

  12. #12
    T.W.O.
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,011
    We are not talking about holding the front wheel for a long period of time. Just enough to help transition or get the front wheel over stuffs. Long ones is for show. The short ones is what you should start with.

  13. #13
    247
    247 is offline
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,333

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Gasp4Air's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,263
    The same way you get to Carnegie Hall - practice. I'm not a quick learner, but I find my modest skills slowly improve by riding more, and by doing what someone earlier mentioned - retry things you have trouble with. I always have sections of trail and obstacles that give me trouble. I think of them as my "challenge" sections. I try different ways of attacking them, and my percentages improve over time. Over the years, I find myself easily cleaning these past challenge sections most times I ride them - but I'll never run out of new challenges. The main thing, especially at my ripe old age of 60, is that I'm still getting better.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  15. #15
    usually cranky
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    9,933
    ride over boulders. helps your balance/ bike handling/ picking lines.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    1,173
    One more thing to learn - moving your center of gravity (which, if my memory still serves me, is a politically correct name for the Southern part of your back) behind the saddle and back onto the saddle. I mean, way behind the saddle, nearly sitting on the rear wheel. Once you have mastered the technique, you will feel much more confident clearing larger obstacles and descending very steep sections.

Posting Permissions

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