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.
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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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    skills that can make me faster/better in the trail?

    example, bunny hop, track stand, shifting rear wheel perpenticular to roots (dont know what is it called) and more.
    what are other examples?

  2. #2
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    good braking makes you go faster.

  3. #3
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    Let's start with the basics:

    - Proper position on the bike: Weight is on the pedals. You neither pull nor push on the bars.
    - Stay loose.
    - Lifting the fork over or on to a small obstacle like a curb: Lift the fork by moving the hips back.
    - Ride really slow without toppling over.
    - Ride a circle around your rear wheel. Fork should be as close to 90 degrees as you can get.
    - Loading and unloading the bike: Kick down into the pedals and then let the bike come up to you. Using this technique you should be able to float over short rough sections.
    - Find a pump track and learn to move the bike forward by pumping instead of pedalling.
    - Start using pumping/load and unload on the trail to go around curves. (Same move as skiing).

    Then go to advanced topics:

    j-hop or bunny hop to go over or up on things
    track stand to be able to avoid dabbing if you have to stop
    set front and back wheel to get around really tight switchbacks
    manual (wheelie standing) to go through ditches
    dropping & jumping using proper standard technique (instead of hucking it)

    ... and there is more. Once you started you'll be busy for years.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  4. #4
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    ... i'll wait for English T to field this one... haha hes damn good at these types of question

    i'll tell you what i did, its less learning moves for tech sake... just ride .. you'll start doing things on your own that help (or seem really cool) your riding. and when you wrech... think about what you did and dont do it again


    riding with friend who are better is good too... you can ride behind and watch what and where they might do something you don't/can't do yet

    good riding
    '09 Cannondale Moto Carbon 2

    'is that a Thomson in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?'

  5. #5
    spec4life???..smh...
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    One simple thing that will make you faster on the trail is when you goind around a curve put your pedals vertical with your outside foot down and lay your bike over into the curve even more than you lean your body. Your outside foot will help press the knobs into the dirt giving you better traction, which allows you to take curves much faster without sliding out.

    Ill give kaba klause credit for this one, thats who i learned it from....

  6. #6
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    thanks for the reply.
    what's the difference btw j-hop and bunny hop?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by spec4life
    One simple thing that will make you faster on the trail is when you goind around a curve put your pedals vertical with your outside foot down and lay your bike over into the curve even more than you lean your body. Your outside foot will help press the knobs into the dirt giving you better traction, which allows you to take curves much faster without sliding out.
    Sure recipe for crash on gravel or slippery firm surface, like wet rock, particularly with some greenery on it. What is good for one type of surface, is dangerous on another.
    Which, in turn, points towards the skill needed most, in my opinion. That is, to read the trail and predict, how the bike will behave on it.

  8. #8
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    ride your bike with the shock lockout out for a couple of rides. it will seriously help you pick the best line.

  9. #9
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    Look ahead, not down at the front tire or at obstacles.

  10. #10
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    I'd say one of the best things already mentioned is to stay loose. Use your arms like their own shock absorbers and your legs as well. Don't fight the bike by having a tight stance, but rather let the bike flow under you. Learn how to pump into a short wheelie, too. This will really help you negotiate roots and tall bumps in the trail.
    "What Would Doug Do?"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codad 4
    i'll tell you what i did, its less learning moves for tech sake... just ride .. you'll start doing things on your own that help (or seem really cool) your riding. and when you wrech... think about what you did and dont do it again


    riding with friend who are better is good too... you can ride behind and watch what and where they might do something you don't/can't do yet

    good riding
    +1 and +1 again.

    Most technique I learned was just from riding. And riding some more. Sometimes if I encountered a rough obstacle I couldn't complete, I would just get back on the bike and do it again. 7 times or more! For some reason, the body just instinctually learns what works doesn't work.

    For point #2, riding with buddies who are more experienced will hasten your progress. Granted, I learned the hard way by falling numerous times on some rough sh**, but you just gotta get back up. I can remember the first tough trail my buddies took me on when I started biking. I nearly shat my pants and I don't think I would have done it without their encouragement (actually it was more "we're going this way, peace").

    Just remember, look before you leap and keep the rubber side down.

  12. #12
    My bike is cooler then me
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    Quote Originally Posted by jervana
    .
    Sometimes if I encountered a rough obstacle I couldn't complete, I would just get back on the bike and do it again. 7 times or more! For some reason, the body just instinctually learns what works doesn't work.
    Hehe on a side note: there is no such things as failure… just long obstacle sessioning ... or playground time for us kids
    '09 Cannondale Moto Carbon 2

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  13. #13
    spec4life???..smh...
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenon
    Sure recipe for crash on gravel or slippery firm surface, like wet rock, particularly with some greenery on it. What is good for one type of surface, is dangerous on another.
    Which, in turn, points towards the skill needed most, in my opinion. That is, to read the trail and predict, how the bike will behave on it.
    This reminds me of a lawsuit that involved a woman putting her rv on cruise control then proceeding to go to the rear of the RV to make a sandwhich, upon which the RV crashed. She sued the company and won millions because they didt include the fact that you couldnt leave the rv unattended on cruise control in their instruction manuel.

    With the lack of common sense in todays society i guess i shoul have included this disclaimer in my tip....

    My bad...My bad

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codad 4
    ... i'll wait for English T to field this one... haha hes damn good at these types of question

    i'll tell you what i did, its less learning moves for tech sake... just ride .. you'll start doing things on your own that help (or seem really cool) your riding. and when you wrech... think about what you did and dont do it again


    riding with friend who are better is good too... you can ride behind and watch what and where they might do something you don't/can't do yet

    good riding
    In my experience only very few riders get better by riding more. Most don't discover the correct moves and never shed the bad habbits. Part of this is simply because correct bike handling is not always intuitive.

    I like the advice of riding with somebody who knows, though. Reading about it is good. Seeing it done and having somebody explaining it, correcting mistakes etc is way better.

    Also: For most of us repetition is key to program a move or technique into the brains. That is why I advocate actually to practice technique and/or to go for the same section of trail several times until the rider really got it dialed.

    Just blazing along does not make one faster.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaba Klaus
    In my experience only very few riders get better by riding more. Most don't discover the correct moves and never shed the bad habbits. Part of this is simply because correct bike handling is not always intuitive.

    I like the advice of riding with somebody who knows, though. Reading about it is good. Seeing it done and having somebody explaining it, correcting mistakes etc is way better.

    Also: For most of us repetition is key to program a move or technique into the brains. That is why I advocate actually to practice technique and/or to go for the same section of trail several times until the rider really got it dialed.

    Just blazing along does not make one faster.
    I'm sure there's some good advice in there somewhere. But it sounds like your saying "riding more doesn't work, but repetition does".

  16. #16
    i call it a kaiser blade
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    learn to bunny hop.

  17. #17
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    I see speed as more of a fitness and focus issue.

    Some of my rides are laid back, technical descents, jumps, small power climbs, where I work on my handling skills at a slower pace.

    But, my favorite are my full speed fitness rides, usually just one per week - that's when my flow is on full tilt.

    1) Prepare yourself with good breakfast, lots of carbs, maybe some GU's, how bout an energy drink as well, and lots of fluids.

    2) I ride the first hour semi-relaxed, getting my cornering and handling down, eat GU #2.

    3) After about an hour, for some reason, my body is ready, my mind is focused, now I am ready to hit it full throttle. I am clearing small techy ups and cornering through stuff like a mad man, no climb will stop me (unless its just too technical). I am breathing heavy, but not tired, it feels great, by the end of the ride I am totally stoked and actually have energy galore the rest of the day.

    This formula works for me every time, going fast is dangerous but thats when your mind is totally absorbed with the ride (mitigating danger), the flow can be so good its almost like you had shock therapy and your brain has been defragged. I am like a different person after those rides: peaceful, patient, understanding, relaxed. This is why I MTB.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaba Klaus
    In my experience only very few riders get better by riding more. Most don't discover the correct moves and never shed the bad habbits. Part of this is simply because correct bike handling is not always intuitive.
    Thats the one point ill disagree with you on
    Most improve quite alot, but they develop less orthadox styles of riding - little quirky ways which often arent the best (or fastest), but are good enough to get the job done.. Aslong as those riders are satisfied with it, its ok. I think "bad habits" for most people that dont race can be confined to those that make you fall, but riding experience often cures those with time too. When really trying to pin it, the little quirks can come unstuck, or slow the rider down (though if not racing, it shouldnt matter overly).
    Though that said - I agree with what you went on to say.

    Though it ties in with something someone else said, and you agreed with - your earlier advice was excellent by the way.


    Riding more CAN help to improve skills, in the right environment. That environment being terrain that is a little too hard for you, with a rider who is a decent amount faster than you are (but will wait for you) and will make suggestions/constructive criticisms in an encouraging way.

    Not only will trying to keep up (lets be honest, most of us have a competitive side) on terrain that youd normally be unsure on help - but riding with someone who knows what theyre doing (more than you do) and trying to imitate bits of their technique will help you.

    That said, ideally you should work on skills (in much the way you described) - the "ride with someone better" technique is more viable for children or people with short attention spans, or people that simply want to ride (arent overly bothered about skills) and dont want to spend time on skills (the proper way) that they could spend riding.
    The other thing to be said for that method is that it helps with motivation - its more exciting and addictive than the other way.
    The (obvious) downside being that you ARE gonna crash more.

    I was reading a thread recently about someone teaching mtb riding in schools - ill try and find where it was, the thread had some good techniques for teaching youngsters and (though basic) the ideas there were pretty useful for going back to real basics.
    Last edited by EnglishT; 08-07-2008 at 07:44 PM.

  19. #19
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    Found it...

    Gonna quote a few very useful passages.
    Bold points are my spin on how you could adapt this for your own use, rather than to teach another.

    Quote Originally Posted by McDowell_Matt <--- In another thread
    Similar to Track stands... Don't forget the slow/grab skill...
    Place a water bottle on the ground, standing upright... ride by it, lean over and pick it up.... Then once you have that down, ride back by the same spot and set it down... BUT don't let it fall over, it MUST be set upright. If they keep having problems, and can't do it... fill it with an inch or two of water to weight the bottle.

    Or doing the SLOW RACE..
    find a place indoors, find a start line, and 20 feet away, put down the finish line...
    LAST one across wins.
    Since there is only one of you, that wont really work as a "race" as such. But you can try timing yourself over a set distance, and seeing how long you can take to do it. Set yourself goals and rewards.
    Also (if youre doing it on road or paved track) you can try doing it downhill for smooth braking control - this is harder for obvious reasons.


    Once they have all the balance skills, go out into the grass... Play a simple game of Tire Tag... Whoever is it has to touch the other rider's rear wheel with their front... IF you put a foot down, YOU'RE IT!!!
    Obviously... this one isnt really possible alone.

    Wheel lifts will be handy too...
    Put down a bit of tape on the floor, ride up to it, lift the front wheel over it, then the back wheel, don't touch the line... Don't lift both wheels, Bunny hops are illegal in this one.
    Once they have that, replace the flat tape with something like a 2x4. Eventually you can get to the bunny hops over the 2x4...
    Tape on the floor may be a little difficult (if you are alone) so starting with a relatively thin piece of wood or hose would probably work better because otherwise it will be hard to tell if you managed to get over it or not.
    Some really good little games to play with yourself to help with basics.

    Though Kaba_Klaus does give some great examples of things to look at.

    While these are really quite basic things (in the above quote), if youre not able to do them perfectly - you might want to make sure you can before moving on to anything else.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tduro
    I'm sure there's some good advice in there somewhere. But it sounds like your saying "riding more doesn't work, but repetition does".
    Glad you see it. Let me reinforce the essence:

    Just riding more does not improve skills for most riders: We are talking trail riding here. Most of us ride trails that require an hour or two to complete. The trail typically has only a few perceived technical sections. The rider hits those sections once during the ride, gains some experience and applies is (hopefully) next time on that trail. Progress is slow as it takes probably a few rides to figure out how to ride the section. Then it takes a few rides to get consistent in how the section is approached and ridden. Depending on how often the rider goes for this particular trail it may take quite some time (weeks) to dial the moves.

    Bin there, done that. Practicing skills is kind of boring. (Unless you do DJ, DH, FR, Trials where practicing to a large extend equals riding).

    However, practicing skills is: Getting information on the right move, either from another rider or literature/web. Find a spot to apply the correct move. The practice spot might be less intimidating than the trail section that bothers the rider. Repeat the correct move until it is programmed into the brains.

    Now, one way to practice is certainly simply to repeat challenging trail sections. Make it, turn around, do it again. But also important is to learn the correct moves. The wrong moves often work for beginner level sections but then don't scale to expert setions.

    Examples: Correct bunny hop versus yanking the bike up using cleats. Hucking off versus correct dropping. Going back versus going low on steep sections. And there are many more.

    I find it almost facinating today that most adult beginners in skiing take lessons but assume MTB riding works by simply doing it. Well, it does - but most simply never reach their potential and never have the fun they could have.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

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