how to ride a full suspension bike. honestly. sounds crazy i know.
so i just got my first full susp. bike, a salsa spearfish. i am coming from a cross bike and most recently a fatbike, surly pugsley. so as you can see, only rigid bikes in my mtb history. the spearfish is great, really fast and smooth to what i am used to with the fatbike. climbing is my biggest issue. sure, the spearfish is much, much better when the climb is smooth, but when there are any decent sized bumps i go over them fine with the front susp, but then when the rear hits the bump(think...small square edge) my rear susp compresses and i get stopped dead in my tracks. the example i just mentioned is using platform pedals and not using lockout on fork or shock, doing slow speed seated climbing in easy gears.
i thought you are supposed to leave the susp open(not locked out) on climbs to get better traction, pulling rear wheel into ground?
should i use the lockout when climbing, no matter what the conditions, techy, or smoother?
i also am still experimenting with air pressure in my susp, could that be the issue?
maybe using clipless with a faster more powerful cadence will do the trick?
seems like i climbed better using my 40+ pound fatbike.........
Tough to give a for sure answer here but I'll throw some things out for you to try. "Decent sized" and "Small" are not really giving us the true size of the obstacle? First off, have you set up the sag, front and rear, according to the bike or suspension manufacturers recommendations? It seems like a time consuming, not really that important thing to do but is very important to getting the most out of your suspension. If you start out with a bike that is over sagging in the rear, then you sit in the seat and hit an obstacle, the bike is going to squat even more, instead of going forward and you will lose your forward momentum. Does your rear shock have pro-pedal? I would try that instead of locking it out all together. On some obstacles you will have to "Un-weight" the rear end to get the rear tire over an obstacle.
This is very simplistic but I hope it helps.
"El Cajon?, that's the anus of San Diego"
I had a little trouble reading the first post, but let me share some observations that may help you.
Riding off-road on a 'cross bike, hardtail, and FS bike are not really all that different. One still needs to lighten the wheels to get over obstacles and line selection still matters. In other words, if you ride your bike like ass, your bike will ride like ass, no matter how much technology the guys at Salsa throw at it.
'Cross bikes respond very positively to pedaling out of the saddle. On a hardtail, if I pedal out of the saddle and I'm way up next to the fork, I tend to induce some bob. So hardtails work a bit better with a smoother pedaling technique and reward a rider who spends a bit more time in the saddle. This is part of why mountain bikes had super-low gears available from some time in the mid-90s until fairly recently, and continue to have much lower gears than most road bikes (including 'cross bikes.) Full suspension bikes vary by design, but many will just compress under me if I get out of the saddle unless and until I dial up the shock's compression and spring rate until I may as well be back on my hardtail or I turn on the lockout. I've found that while I don't really think in terms of riding my hardtail in different modes, when I ride an FSR XC I have access to in San Francisco, I tend to think about whether I'm on the road or the fire road climb to the top of the riding area I know there, or if I'm now on a descent or on the trails. I don't know the Spearfish, but I wouldn't be surprised if you find you still have some use for the lockout even when you have the suspension really dialed.
On the way down, expect more suspension to raise your "speed limit" for what you can do in control.
All bikes reward pedaling with good form. While I prefer clipless pedals, I don't confuse having clipless pedals with having good form. Try it both ways, and see which you prefer.
IMO, it's a pointless enterprise to try to dial in the finer points of suspension setup when the big picture is still that it's wrong. Set up sag, rebound damping, and compression damping more-or-less in that order. In general, things like lockouts are fairly equivalent to maxing out compression damping, although the main compression damper may not get all the way to the locked-out level. When you've found "your" spring rate, rebound damping and compression damping, you can start to think about which circumstances the extra doo-dads like lockout are really helpful for.
Since the Spearfish is a short-travel bike designed for racing, IMO if you can't find a spring rate/rebound/compression setup that you're happy with in almost all circumstances, you should return it. I think that with current technology it's an impossible expectation not to have a little bob in some circumstances, but I wouldn't want to be using lockout on anything short of riding pavement or doing an extended fire road climb.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
Proper setup is key and as mentioned, you still have to use good pedaling form and bike handling skills even though it's FS. Staying seated and trying to "plow" up decent sized steps and objects won't work well. Unweight the rear to lift it over larger steps as you would an HT and strive for that balance of weight over the rear for traction and unweighting to get the bike up techy sections.
Short form: ride it like your hard tail and then work more into a FS method as you discover the capabilities of FS.
No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.
You'd climb the same way you do with your cross and fat bike, just because you have a FS you should not plow into anything. Keep your core engage, pedal smoothly, and unweight front and rear every chance you got when going over obstacles.
One of the section on my fav trail has a 2ft ledge with a mild transition on a steep climb, I could not clean it til on day I spent about 1.5 hour there practicing that spot. What worked for me was to spot the exit which is about 5ft or a bike length beyond the ledge, and after I manual the front and it land on top or on the transition I "roll my wrist" forward unweighting the rear. I clean it ever time after that.
I doubt that your problem is the type of bike problem but merely a mental block and simple timing issue. If you can do it on the other bike give it a little practice time on you FS.
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