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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Thread: Proper form?

  1. #1
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    Proper form?

    Looking to form the correct habbits before my body gets used to something. Just know how to bike as a child.

    Anyone know any good websites that talk about such things?

    Foot positioning, push with the balls of your feet? your heels? the arch of your foot? your toes? the blade of your foot?

    Porper bike fitting, ergonimics? achieving max power? etc...

    Positions to be when jumping, when climbing inclines, when climbing obstacles, when decending etc...

    Right now just doing what feels normal from learning to bike as a kid which i honestly barley did.
    Couple habbits im noticing which may be bad
    Im pushing with the blades of my feet with my knees pointing outwards when im tired, should my knees be doing a direct up/down movement? the circular in/out/up/down seems bad.

    My bike is probably too small, i notice on flat areas i fully extend my fingers (which are killing me now) and touch the straight bars with just the very tips so i can sit more upright because my kneck starts hurting from the angle I need to look forward with.

    Also i notice that if my foot/pedal is level to the ground and I turn i will hit my foot

    Lookin for any direction pointing or suggestions

    Thanks
    Last edited by Feclar; 05-06-2006 at 10:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    It sounds like you need a bigger bike, at least to me. Your leg should be just slightly bent when you're at the bottom of your pedal stroke, and the combined length of the top tube and stem shouldn't be uncomfortable for you. This means not over-reaching. You should really talk to someone at your Local Bike Shop to get a fit session. They're not expensive and will pay off big time if you are indeed riding too small a bike.

    Yes, your legs should move straight up and down as you pedal, not out to the sides, as this is just begging for an injury. Ideally, you should be pushing with the entire ball of your foot (clipless pedals will help with this), and don't think so much about pushing down on the pedals as spinning them in a circle. This should help you achieve proper cadence, which translates into more efficient power transfer.

    When jumping, try not to land flat (both wheels at the same time), but rather on your rear wheel and ease the front down. When climbing, you're probably gonna wanna get out of the saddle and get some weight over the front tire, so basically put your butt in front of the saddle. When decending, slide back on the saddle, or perhaps even so far as to over the rear wheel. Obstacles are a different story, depending on the type and size. Just gotta ride them to find out how to work them.

    Anyway, there are some really good websites out there, unfortunately I can't remember any of them right now. These suggestions are EXTEREMELY basic, but hope they helped. Now ride that thing like you stole it!

    Best of luck!

    Ross
    "I don't wanna die without any scars. So come on, let's do it before I lose my nerve" - Tyler Durden (Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk)

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the Tips

    I have been useing the arch of my foot and not really the ball of my foot.

    Keep em comming guys.

  4. #4
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    I understand the feeling that the "center" of your foot should be the part on the pedal. It's natural, although incorrect. You might want to look into clipless pedals. Quick breakdown on them: a special set of shoes that have a metal "cleat" attached to the bottom that clip into special smaller pedals on your bike. You can adjust the angle of your foot (think clockwise vs. counter-clockwise with a flat foot) as well as the front/back position of the cleat somewhat.

    There are many advantages with clipless pedals (granted, it's a counter-intuitive name, seeing as you "clip into" them). You gain pedalling efficiency because you're more like to spin the crank as opposed to hammering on them all the time. You'll transfer more power to the ground because those times when you do hammer (like on an uphill), you can pull up with your off-side leg as you push down with your weighted leg, which leads to very impressive power gains. Finally, probably the biggest benefit for someone in your situation is that no matter what, it keeps your feet and hence your legs in the proper position for pedalling.

    Don't get intimidated by them. Simply turn your heel out to the side and you'll come unclipped from the bike. Find a nice soft grassy field to practice clipping and unclipping, and don't get embarassed when you fall. I say when because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE falls at least a few times when they're getting used to clipless pedals. It usually happens when you're stopping and don't remember that you're basically fused to the bike, you freak out a little in your head and forget to turn your foot. You usually just slowly go over, no injury, nothing hurt (well, maybe your pride).

    Anyway, just a thought. Good luck!

    Ross
    "I don't wanna die without any scars. So come on, let's do it before I lose my nerve" - Tyler Durden (Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk)

  5. #5
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    Hi Feclare, This is a must read website for what you are loooking for as far as set up and proper riding. Hope it helps I know I loved it.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/
    Start at the begginer section on this web page
    Big Man on a Little Bike

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  7. #7
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    Unanswered Questions

    First of all, pedal with the balls of your feet.

    Your leg should be not quite fully extended, but close with just a slight bend, for max pedaling efficiency. However, depending on terrain, some prefer their seat slightly lower for more technical downhill terrain.

    When you turn, bring your inside pedal to the top of its stroke, this will keep your foot/pedal from hitting the ground. This is a common mistake, just get used to getting into this position while turning tightly. Some corners can be pedaled through, it just depends on how leaned over you are.

    Some say that for optimum performance, your seat should end up being about level with, or an inch above, the hight of your handlebars. Once again, this can depend on terrain and preference as well.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feclar
    Anyone know any good websites that talk about such things?
    Sheldon Brown's got a ton of good, if disjointed, free information. Pick up a copy of Ned Overend's bible on the subject. Highly recommended reading.

    Foot positioning, push with the balls of your feet?
    You'll get maximum power with the ball of your foot directly over the pedal spindle, but it will likely fatigue your calves quickly. I find a good balance of power/comfort with the ball of my foot slightly (3/8" or so) ahead of the pedal spindle.

    Proper bike fitting, ergonimics?
    Wrench Science has a very comprehensive on-line fit calculator, but there's no substitute for riding several styles/sizes/variations & seeing for yourself what fits & what doesn't.

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