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  1. #1
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    New question here. riding technique question, how to take a small ditch

    riding technique question, how to take a small ditch-imag0033.jpg

    Hey, I started riding this summer and after having conquered my first drops and staircases, I feel silly not being able to ride over small ditches. I have included a picture of one I always have trouble with, it's the entrance to some of my local trails.

    My front wheel goes in, my front suspension compresses and usually I just bounce back, my wheel stays put in the bottom of the ditch instead of rolling up. I've tried putting my weight back but that just unbalanced me even more. In general I don't know how to tackle parts of trails that have obstacles like this, I have done some nasty spills already because of this.

    Any tips?

  2. #2
    Merendon Junkie
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    Try doing pedal burst before your front wheel touches the bottom of the ditch.

  3. #3
    try anything on a bike
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    riding technique question, how to take a small ditch

    Wheelie over it!

  4. #4
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    is it a sharp ditch? how much of the wheel/tire touch the ground when it reaches the bottom? and how fast are you when you reach it? i may be wrong but for a ditch, i think i'm usually off-saddle. and after my front clears it on the way up, i think i put my weight forward and up to kind of pull the bike out of there. i try to keep the momentum though and not rely on pedaling. just my .02 from another noob...

  5. #5
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    Pedal burst, to lift my front wheel up?

    Wheelie over it... I'm still practicing on doing wheelies, I can do them for a few seconds now but I can never hold it.

    No this is not a sharp ditch. My whole wheel fills the bottom (29er). This particular ditch I do from stand still since at that point I put on my gloves and helmet and enter the trails. But I have the same problem when I carry some speed, I usually clear the ditch then but in a very clunky way Putting weight forward and up sounds logical..I tried putting weight back but indeed, since my front wheel is already up, that made me lose my balance.

  6. #6
    B.Ike
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    A few second with the front wheel off the ground is all it takes to avoid the bottom. Even better is a manual,(standing on the pedals). A few inches and a couple of seconds is all it takes.
    Sounds like a little more speed would do you better.

  7. #7
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    Are you useing the front brake before the ditch? If you are ,you are compressing the fork and slowing the front wheel . Try to be at the speed you want to ride though at,Weight a little back ,as the front wheel starts to roll up the other side shift your weight foward. A pedal burst is a quick spin up of the pedals ,you might from a 50 cadence to 90. Being in the right gear to do this is important.

  8. #8
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    Manuals are something I haven't even tried to do so far, looks so difficult.

    I think the shifting my weight forward part when the front wheel rolls up is the tip I needed!

  9. #9
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    One problem you face is that practicing some of the things suggested here could result in some ugly crashes. Make sure you are wearing a good helmet, preferable full-face, and knee and elbow pads. For practice, you might even consider putting something soft where you will land when you go over the bars.

    One thing to consider is to get off the bike and roll it through the ditch to see what the angles are and how it behaves while rolling. That may give you insight about what happens when you are aboard and using your speed and/or weight.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfuse View Post
    Manuals are something I haven't even tried to do so far, looks so difficult.

    I think the shifting my weight forward part when the front wheel rolls up is the tip I needed!
    try a wheelie for sure.. approach this little ditch nice and slow, and preload the fork with your weight and use the rebound to burst back with your heels down and that front wheel will definitely go up. it may not look pretty at first, but u will get over the ditch.. as long as u do it at a relatively low speed, you are very unlikely to crash!

    btw im sure someone will chime in and correct my technique.. I am a noob but this is what works for me, so I figured id share
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce in SoCal View Post
    One problem you face is that practicing some of the things suggested here could result in some ugly crashes. Make sure you are wearing a good helmet, preferable full-face, and knee and elbow pads. For practice, you might even consider putting something soft where you will land when you go over the bars.

    One thing to consider is to get off the bike and roll it through the ditch to see what the angles are and how it behaves while rolling. That may give you insight about what happens when you are aboard and using your speed and/or weight.
    Of course! I bought an Urge Enduromatic helmet and knee pads when I decided I wanted to a bit more then casual XC.

    Good tip on seeing how the bike behaves. I'm also going to observe what a friend of mine takes it, he's an experienced rider and cleared that ditch as if it wasn't there.

  12. #12
    local trails rider
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    The word "balance" has been mentioned...
    Ditches are all different. If your front wheel (almost) fills it, it can be safest to bounce the front enough to clear the very bottom.
    You need to be out of the saddle.
    It is best to have a small amount of speed to start with. That also helps with getting the front to clear the very bottom.
    Then you need pretty quick, smooth, and well timed shifts in balance: unweigh the front, or at least "allow" the front of the bike to come up towards you - add weight to the front so that it does not keep going up.
    Actually, the shifts in balance may also be accomplished just by allowing the bike to rock under you, while you remain centered on the bike.

    If there is room for a little speed, many might find it easiest to hop over the ditch. I suspect that is a matter for another lesson, though.

    You'll need to get the power back on very soon, if you had to stop pedaling for a moment.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  13. #13
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    It's often hard to get a good idea of perspective from a photo, so it may be steeper and deeper than it looks, but I'm betting if you simply move your weight back on your bike (which is going to help with the decent anyway) and make sure you unweight the front wheel, you'll be fine. I used to have issues with depressions/ditches like this, and that's really all it took to conquer them. You may need to pull your front end into you a bit to help pop the wheel over as well. Also, taking it at a moderate speed (not too fast, but not too slow either). If that doesn't work, manualing over it certainly sounds like a good plan, but I'm betting that's not really necessary as long as you adjust your speed properly. . .looks a lot cooler, though

  14. #14
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    Yeah the picture is just an example. I have enough tips here to keep me occupied for an hour

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