How to ride very rooty trails in control?
I have a bit of a beginner question: we have a few trails that are very very rooty, as in bone-jarring-teeth-rattling for 15 minutes. The problem I have with those trails is how to stay in control and get my fork and shock to absorb the multiple and very closely spaced impact. i have been playing with the rebound settings on my fork and shock and I have found that the trail is smoother with a slower rebound than with a faster one. On the other hand, I am thinking that we the slower rebound, I blow through my travel way faster as the shock and fork don't have the time to expand back between impacts.
The other issue that I am facing is how to suck up the impacts the best. To suck up the impact, I would think that one would have to ride "light", or is it better to weight the suspension to drive it to the ground?
The last issue is how to keep control of the bike. I find that I am being jarred all over the place and have problem keeping the bike on a specific line. What should I do? I was told to ride faster, but I think that going faster without feeling in control is just recipe for a close encounter with Mother Earth.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a lot.
A climb is really just a flat piece of road that points up. A headwind is a climb that you can't see. So it's all flat road, really.
I'm far from an expert rider, but I did take a MTB skills course a couple of months ago that had some great suggestions about how to handle terrain like this. Basically, you want to get up out of the saddle, put your feet at the "9 o'clock/3 o'clock" position, and get your weight over your feet. Stick your bum back, and lower your torso a bit to lower your centre of gravity. Don't have any weight on your hands -- you want all the weight in the feeet -- and keep your elbows bent so that the bike can roll over the bumps but you don't have to move at all -- your bottom bracket (where your weight is) is like the centre of a see-saw, so the front and back wheels can roll over the bumps but your feet stay almost still. You then "pump" with your arms to soak up the bumps -- and because there's no weight on your hands there's no stress on your body at all.
Originally Posted by dbblackdiamond
The result of all this is almost like floating above the bike as it rolls across the rough terrain. It's a great way to ride, and has improved my riding immensely.
For more details, check out:
Hope this helps -- I've found this notion of keeping your weight over your pedals, and having a "light hand", has improved my riding heaps. It kind of goes against the whole "weight back while descending" thing, but actually it isn't, because when you're going downhill your weight will be back to keep it centred over your feet.
I hate sugar sand.
I also need a better technique to deal with all the damn roots. They kill your momentum when your bike is jarring your teeth out of your head.
Check your TV-listings for coverage of moto-x racing. . . make a nice pastrami sandwich and poor a cold beer. . . wait for any "heat" that has James "Bubba" Stewart in it and watch his technique in the whoops-section. . . note how he pins the throttle and stays back on the bike to skip across the tops of the whoops.
By maintaining speed entering a root-section, you can exploit momentum concentrating more energy needed for keeping the bike in control. Better yet, keep your eyes open for any lips that might boost you over longer sections. If you watch pros rip a section, it seems they link two or three sections in an almost "leap-frog" kind of way. Just be sure you don't smack your 'nads with your seat. . . or else the pastrami and beer might come back up!
Slow down.. Medium weight on the fork. Arms slightly bent working with the fork, not against it.
Originally Posted by dbblackdiamond
If you ride faster than your front fork can absorb the impacts or you aren't in synch, then all you're doing is bouncing around and losing control.
Or borrow a bike from somebody with a rigid fork and ride over the same terrain. This will train you to ride with the bike and the terrain instead of working against it.
Just because a fork allows you to ride over rougher terrain faster because it's doing some of the work for you, doesn't mean it will allow you to do so 'in control' or with an eye towards proper technique. Sounds like you figured that one out on your own. And it sounds like you're riding faster than your skill will allow at this point.
Riders make all sorts of compromises while racing, while searching for the fastest time or trying to beat the guy on the next bike.
Speed and technique are sometimes 'mutually exclusive', and whereas a suspension bike will allow to ride faster over rougher terrain, it also requires you to use less technique at negotiating the same terrain. This causes many riders to speed up and fight the terrain and the bike, rather than learning to flow with it. Choosing the right line is part of this.
The bike, rider and terrain should be as one. When one of the 3 is fighting the other, you actually slow down or wipe out. And has the opposite effect of what you're trying to accomplish. In the old days we used to call this 'overcompensating' or trying too hard. I don't know what it's called today.
And remember.., practice makes perfect. There's a reason why the locals win most of the races..
Last edited by IntheBush; 06-17-2008 at 05:40 AM.
Look at the following video (choose the roots, rocks & water crossings one) for some tips: