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
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    Over the bars first ride out... Did I do anything wrong???

    So I bought my first mountain bike yesterday, 2010 GF X-Cal, and took it out on the trails for the first time today. First 30 minutes or so was on pretty tight single track and no problems as I would take it slow on the switch backs and any tight squeezes between trees. Then I started hitting some wider trails that the dirt bikes tool around on. Was going along just fine with some decent speed and got into a corner with some loose sand (didn't see the sand). Front wheel got squirrely, I lost control and went over the bars slamming my head into the ground along the way. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet but I was still a little stunned and had to walk it off for a few minutes. Bike was ok and I managed to ride out but I'm wondering if there was something I should have done differently?

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you just had a plain and simple accident. Maybe next time take a trail slower and get used to it before going to fast. Going to fast on a new trail is dangerous, because you don't know what's around the corner then BAM! your kissing bark.

  3. #3
    YOU SCRATHED MY BIKE!!!!
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    down in miami we have the sand to but i noticed it so i kind of adjusted so i wouldnt fall off but other than that i dont see why you couldve fallen off maybe your front tire just completely froze on you just try and adjust while riding im sure you can figure it out
    2010 Trek 4300
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  4. #4
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    "So I bought my first mountain bike yesterday" Thats where you went wrong. First mountain bike and you go ride where dirtbikes ride? Dirtbikes tear up trails because all the power to spin tires and dig up the earth. It would probably be ok if you had much more experience but come on first bike! You rode wayyyyy over your head and paid the price, luckily with only your pride getting hurt. Slow down guy and read everything you can on this awesome site. Also check out the how to vids on youtube!

  5. #5
    YOU SCRATHED MY BIKE!!!!
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    thats true those vids tought me the basics on trail riding ... and when i first went riding i did pretty well you should really check the vids out and stick to designated MTB trails
    2010 Trek 4300
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  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLB_Rider
    Was going along just fine with some decent speed and got into a corner with some loose sand (didn't see the sand). Front wheel got squirrely, I lost control and went over the bars
    I'd say you went too fast. Fast enough that you didn't see the sand in time.

    Loose sand does not necessarily get you, if you know it is there and manage not to do any too sudden moves.

    WYSIWYG. If you don't see, you don't know what you will get.

  7. #7
    Go SOLAR...
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    You did nothing wrong, other than going faster than you prob should have...
    were it was isn't an issue. You just ran into sand...prob the hardest thing to negotiate even for us experienced riders...especially when you don't see it.
    Thank goodness your ok....you have just learned more in that accident than some people learn in a year...trust me.
    Whatever you do not use front brake when cornering...you will need to practice how to use the front brake properly.
    Go Solar...

  8. #8
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    I am guessing you were tired and started leaning on the handlebars so your center of mass shifted forward. On descents your weight should be on pedals, dominant leg up in front.

  9. #9
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    Braking hard in the corner could have contributed to that too.

  10. #10
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    Mtb'ing is not like road biking. Most people think that just because they know how to ride a bike, they can purchase a mtb and go out on the trails and ride... For the most part they can, but when it comes to technical turns and loose dirt, they will eat it 100% of the time due to a lack of experience on a mtb. Not knowing the conditions, not looking far enough ahead, not setting up the bike correctly (tire pressure), not weighting the front tire enough, not maintaining attack position, etc...
    "Don't ride faster than your guardian angel can fly"

  11. #11
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    No worries, I went OTB my first ride after a few years of not riding. Went over a 1.5' drop with no speed and I leaned way too far forward. Hasn't happened again since.

  12. #12
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    Yesterday on a ride with a friend that has been riding for 15 years or so I watched him make a small mistake and nearly pay for it with his teeth. We all make mistakes and it's how you learn from them that makes the difference. I agree with the people that said it's not a good idea to go full out on a new trail, but to assume you were going too fast isn't fair. Sand is sand, it's hard to turn in. Next time you see it, try balancing your weight between front and back more and brake as soon as you see it so you don't go in hard turning and braking at the same time.

    Get back out there and do it right this time!
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  13. #13
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    the first times i went over the bars, i honestly was too knew to know what the heck went wrong... did i squeeze the front brakes? did my weight just went out of whack?

    get back on that bike and ride! if it helps, whenever i see something sketchy (going fast and encounter sand, going over a puddle i dont know how deep it is) I throw my weight a bit more back than usual... just in case.

  14. #14
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    We all make mistakes
    Absolutely.
    My riding mistakes generally happen at low speeds. Maybe I really should develop the lungs and legs to take those uphill roots and rocks at speed

  15. #15
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    I'm very new to riding and I have had my issues with sand. The lbs suggested that I get wider tires. I was in north Carolina at the time and sand is all over...

  16. #16
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLB_Rider
    Over the bars first ride out... Did I do anything wrong???
    Nope! It sound like you went over the bars about as well as you could have.

    I'm not having much fun if I don't crash once in a while. There would be no sales of body armor if people (even very experienced riders) didn't expect to crash.

    Try to remember what you did so you can do it the next time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by graywolf
    I'm very new to riding and I have had my issues with sand. The lbs suggested that I get wider tires. I was in north Carolina at the time and sand is all over...
    Wider tires won't do much if you don't know how to navigate sandpits. Best thing you can do in that situation is move your butt back a little and try to unweight the front of the bike. Pedal like mad and try to use your body to steer instead of turning the bars.

    There's a really tight and sandy corner where I ride that exits to a root system about a foot above the sand. It's either blast through the sand and hop up or walk it. In the spring, before the trail gets a lot of usage, it's relatively easy - fast through, attack at good speed and ride away. With the sand, it's almost a trials obstacle. Slow and deliberate - churn through the sand and then slowly climb up. You lose all momentum instantly in that corner. It can be done though.

    The more you both ride, the better you'll get at this and a lot of other tricky scenarios. Best of luck to you both.

  18. #18
    Rub it............
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLB_Rider
    I lost control and went over the bars slamming my head into the ground along the way.

    Make sure to replace your helmet before heading back onto the trails. Helmets are a one time use item when subjected to impacts.

  19. #19
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    Good turning technique won't necessarily keep you from falling in a difficult corner, but you'll lay the bike down (usually) instead of flipping over the bars.

    When you're approaching a turn of any difficulty, brake to a speed at which you can handle it, while you're still going straight. Then get off the brakes, hover over the saddle, put your outside pedal down and your weight on it, and lean into the turn. Look for your exit. During the turn, you shouldn't have any weight on the handlebars - the idea here is to steer from the hip, with your weight biased a little toward the back of the bike. With your butt off the saddle, though, it's quite easy to make adjustments. I find I often put some pressure on the saddle with my thigh.

    If you're riding someplace with a lot of turns, or really anything technical, do the above but put your pedals in the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position - that's your "platform." It's a lot harder to keep good traction, and a lot less comfortable, if your butt's on the saddle. I hear full-suspension bikes respond best to slightly different technique, but haven't got a lot of experience on them.

    It's shocking how quick and easy it is to get the front end around if you're not weighting it too much. That applies to road bikes too.

    Sand is a difficult situation no matter what. So it's also good to know how to fall.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
    We get titles?
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    Quote Originally Posted by frdfandc
    Make sure to replace your helmet before heading back onto the trails. Helmets are a one time use item when subjected to impacts.
    I would certainly never advise somebody not to follow this advice, but when I consider this, I have a hard time getting beyond the fact that it comes from the companies that profit from helmet sales.
    Quote Originally Posted by trogdor
    I think everyone who wears a helmit should carry around an old crank arm, then when you see someone without a helmit on, give them a good wack in the head. That'll teach them to flaut their helmit-less noggins out in public.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by upNdown
    I would certainly never advise somebody not to follow this advice, but when I consider this, I have a hard time getting beyond the fact that it comes from the companies that profit from helmet sales.



    I would , if the OP "slammed" his head into the ground , its time for a new helmet , to suggest otherwise is plainly irresponsible . To suggest that it is just a ploy by the helmet companies is plainly ignorant .

  22. #22
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    Something similar happened to me my first day on the trails. PERSONALLY I feel that falling and scuffing up your arms or legs, bruises, and the occasional stitches(nothing serious) is just part of the game. I ride within my skill level most times, unless I am trying to progress and in this case I take alot of precautions, and I feel this keeps me out of trouble most of the time.

    Use your head (not to land on) and if your not comfortable doing something, either slow down, or dont do it at all. Thats my philosophy
    "Some people think they can outsmart me... Maybe... I've yet to meet one that can outsmart BULLET.
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    Der Crankmeister

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by upNdown
    I would certainly never advise somebody not to follow this advice, but when I consider this, I have a hard time getting beyond the fact that it comes from the companies that profit from helmet sales.
    Helmets are made from foam with cells that collapse during an impact. After an impact, the cells don't pop back open. One impact and replace your helmet; it's not hype, it's physics.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  24. #24
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone, very valuable and insightful. I'll try to slow down, especially on new trails and definitely keep off of the dirt bike trails. Guess I was a little lazy heading into the turn and got bit! Unfortunately everything else was really hard packed and I was having a lot of fun running through the corners with speed. I'll definitely work to keep my weight back a little in the turns and watch out for sand.

    At the very least I'll be picking up some elbow and knee pads, I know they're probably overkill but I've got bad knees to begin with so a little extra precaution seems prudent.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Helmets are made from foam with cells that collapse during an impact. After an impact, the cells don't pop back open. One impact and replace your helmet; it's not hype, it's physics.
    Great post.

    OP, if you think you're going to take another head shot at some point, you may want to buy a helmet from a company that does a no questions asked replacement within the first year. I sent Trek a helmet I crashed in last year and within a week I had a brand new lid. All I needed was the proof of purchase and the old helmet.

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