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Thread: Steep Hills

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Steep Hills

    Over the last few months I have been riding alot. This is my first year mountain biking and I am becoming a some what respectable begginner level rider. I have one flaw. I am scared of going down steep hills. I always get off and walk at least half way down them. Is there any techniques for getting over this?.

    I ride clipless also so this adds to the anxiety. Should I change back to my flats to practice?

  2. #2
    Reputation: [CrazyRick_11]'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    i think that u should go back to flats while trying steep hills because its easier to bail. once you get comfotable with steep hills than put the clipless pedals back on. its probably just bad news to try steep hills as a beginer with clipiless. Also while oing down the hill keep ur wieght back so u dont go @55 over end. i hoep this helps abit and relives u from ur anxiety
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: drumbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Strikes fear in your heart?

    I don't think its really needed to remove your clipless pedals. If you're going to be riding the rest of your life with them, why remove them to learn? Just lower your seat as low as it goes and get your bum back till its almost touching the back wheel. Then just let it flow. Start with some smaller hills and work your way up, till you can ride the rock the guy above is owning

  4. #4
    Life is Good
    Reputation: Judd97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    This past year I, too, have been hitting a few steeper hills, and be confident that with practice, they do become easier

    My tips are, like rick said, stay back off of the end of the bike. My friend was having difficulty with a certain hill, but once I got him leaning back on it, he cleaned it with ease. This is the best tip you can get, I think. Also, realize that the front brake will send you over the bars faster than anything, however, it is also needed to control your speed. Feather both front and rear brakes to keep your speed in check, but don't brake to the point that you skid sideways (skidding at all is generally bad).

    There will be a point that a hill is so steep that brakes will just mess you up. If you are talking super steep, short hills that are too big to drop, then i read in Brian Lopes "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills" book that you shouldn't use brakes; roll out and keep the front end light but with enough weight to keep traction.

    In the end, however, practice makes perfect and you are going to take some falls. Get some flats until you get your confidence, and then throw the clipless back on.

  5. #5
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Try to work from smaller to bigger, smooth to rough, gentle to steep.

    I have some local trails that tell me I am improving. Last year, there were about seven rocky section where I always stalled. Now there is just one (Sometimes I still stall or crash in the other ones too, but not always). There were about four steep (short and rocky) descents I always walked. Now there is one. Crossing a ditch is still iffy. Some of them I can roll, some I should be able to hop over. I just need to collect some more confidence to approach them at speed.

  6. #6
    Going for a ride......
    Reputation: energetix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Oooh yeah, I was always the same with my old bike too, but it was slightly big for me. Took the new bike out for the second time today & thought I'd give some of the steeps a go- they're all loose and rocky too. I must say I' the same, too scared of falling off.
    Lowering the seat is definitely a go, and I tend to think that applying too much brake is definitely a hinderance, having the skill and confidence to flow down at a faster speed is the trick, but something I can't help doing untill I get my confidence up.
    I'm using clipless (candy c's) and tend to do the steep, loose rutted hills unclipped but have to be pretty careful that my feet don't clip themselves back in. And I guess like anything if you're attempting to do something way beyond your skill straight up of course there won't be any confidence there. (Like going down the big skate ramp the first time on a skateboard - how many people nail that on their first go?)
    Anothother thing to consider is your tires, I have found that having good tires will give you more control & confidence - well particularly in really loose stuff. Not having any body armour probaby wouldn't help either, at least kene & elbow pads - I guess if you know that when you fall off you won't get hurt as bad also gives that confidence boost. I was wondering myself wether I should get a set of flats to put on the bike just for that sort of riding as well - but probably not.
    Oh & yes that rock does strike fear into me - I don't think I'll be becoming a dh racer any time soon! Probably just as well I didn't buy the reign! I haven't done those for a while so I'll just have to build my confidence up - and each time I'll probably nail that lttle bit extra I guess and that's what it's all about.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Keep your weight back, so your butt almost scrapes the rear wheel. That way you don't go flying off the bars. And while going down steep hills, just keep everything gentle and straight. No sudden movements, and you'll be fine. If you jerk the bars or hit the brakes too hard, you'll be on the ground in an instant. If the hill is straight, don't even touch the brakes. Hit the front brake, and you'll endo, and hitting the rear will just make you slide out. Just let it glide and you'll be fine.
    And i've done that kind of steep hills on my friend's FS. It's only scary the first time. As long as you keep calm, you'll find that it'll be over in a second.

  8. #8
    ride hard take risks
    Reputation: dogonfr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Man its rocking here on the drop question. All excelent advise, especiall getting body armour & a full face helmet. Protective gear give you the extra confidence to attempt things you would normally go around. Use the front brake going into the decent but as said earlyer you will need to release it to go down or you will be going over the bars, do not toutch your brakes while doing a short steep decent. Tires Maxxis HighRoller 2.35 front & rear.

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