Wife wants the fork locked out to go DOWN hills.
I am trying to help my wife learn to ride offroad. I have begged her to take a clinic but she would rather just ride with me. She has a beautiful Giant Trance X2. She does alright most of the time but going down hills drives her nuts. She feels like she is going to go OTB on even the smallest hill. The bike is fitted well (seat is a little low)and the fork is set to her size. She says it feels like the fork is colapsing on the way down the hill which makes it feel like she's going over. She wants to lock out the fork for going down hills and release it for climbing. I dunno what else to do. I've told her about getting back on the seat, using rear brake only for now. the hiils are wide jeep trails with few rocks or anything radical, I promise. My 5yo nephew rides it on his SS BMX bike.
Definitely sounds like the rebound is set too slow, hence the fork is packing up on the downhill, which would explain why she feels like she is about to go OTB. Try setting the rebound 4 clicks out from full fast, then adjust from there as needed.
Originally Posted by miniman868
Last edited by gbug; 01-20-2013 at 08:35 PM.
Reason: To, too, two...its all the same
This sounds more like an issue with technique and body position as it sounds like she's putting too much weight on the handlebars. In order to remedy this she should be focusing on putting her weight in the pedals. Raising the stem or getting a shorter stem also will help with positioning.
This video describes how to weight the bike correctly. By dropping the heels, weight is put more centrally into the bike and increases riding stability.
Yeah, it's the technique. Instead of getting her a new fork, get her a dropper post. Also I have the impression that she sit on the saddle going down the hill. Who knows going rigid bike may be good for her, I doubt it, but before anything else, she should learn to properly be on the bike.
It's like she cuts herself a few times while preparing meats and veggies, and then try to solve the problem by getting a new knife hoping she can do better
Echo ktse and mimi. Although fork adjustment should be looked at, I suggest showing her how to
- get some or most of her weight onto the pedals
- her butt to the rear or behind the saddle
- her head and torso down towards the bike
- use her arms and legs to resist inertial forces from obstacles and braking
Lowering her saddle before descents will help too, so a dropper post or a quick release clamp would help with that.
Be glad she's out there with you. I'm jealous!
Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.
If she likes riding with you why not take a clinic together. Betterride has lots going on in your area. Mountain Bike School, Mountain Bike Camps, coaching by Betterride
Makes sense to me.....she would likly benefit from a bike with slacker geometry.....oh and not so steep hills.
Originally Posted by miniman868
My wife had the same problem. Just couldn't get along with a suspension fork. I had to put a KM fork on her bike to make it work for her. I'm trying to talk her into trying out a Reba but she won't have any of it.
Why not just let her lock the fork, what's the problem in that?
I have a suspension fork on my geared hardtail but ride it locked almost exclusively. I hate the squishy feeling of the unlocked fork. When I stand and mash up a hill with the fork unlocked, it feels like my handlebars are mounted on bungee cords and I can topple over at any time. Going downhill unlocked I feel like every time I use the breaks the handlebars goes out from under me. I really hate it. I've tried messing with different pressures, but bottom line is that I like the fork a lot better locked.
I've been riding my rigid single speed for a year or so and now even the locked position on the fork on my geared bike feels squishy. At locked position it still has a tiny bit of suspension, which I feel since I'm now used to the rigid fork on my SS. My next upgrade will probably be a rigid fork for my geared bike if I ever start riding it regularly again, my SS is just too much fun.
Just let her ride with a locked fork if that's what she likes best. Lots of people ride with rigid forks, no problem with that if that's what she prefers too. Let her lock the fork and teach her to hang her behind over the rear wheel when going downhill and just let her do her thing.
A lot of good comments in here. Make sure the rear is set up properly as well. If it's bouncing her around, that could be part of the problem. Sounds to me though that its technique. Have you followed her down the hills to see what she's actually doing?
The comments all rock. I am totally lucky she is riding with me, and fully aware of it. I'm just trying to figure out WHY she is so uncomfortable. The fork is definitely staying locked until she says otherwise. The big issue for me is the whole, "honey I promise you can make it down that hill" "no I can't, it feels like I'm going over the bars" and then she loses confidence and walks down the hill. Then she doesn't want to ride because she thinks she is slowing me down. I'll walk every hill fromhere to next week if it means she'll ride with me. I just can't tell if it is a fit/adjustment issue or bike skills issues.
The fit will be close enough...
Originally Posted by miniman868
People (women) tend learn by sucess.....find a hill that she will ride down with the lockout off....
Then only ride down easier hills than this one.......
Maybe even go flatter with more bumps...till she gets it.
My 11 year old daughter rides with me and has the same complaint which has her walking a lot of the downhill stuff. She is riding a size small '03 Specialized Stumpjumper (26" HT) right now and the bike fits her well. I have gotten her to take more of the "downhill" (still XC) sections by lowering her seat down when we get to the more adventurous stuff. She gets her butt lower and farther back easier which makes her feel more confident. I'm looking at finding her an inexpensive dropper which should keep our rides going a little faster. Not that I care how fast we go when she is with me. I just love that she wants to do something with her old man.
I have also tried working with her on being in an "attack" position. She tends to get a bit lazy with her riding position and butt in the seat with straight arms doesn't make for a good ride any day. There are some good youtube videos on this and she responded better to those than my help.
As others have suggested, with your butt on the seat and weight on the bars, it definitely does feel like the suspension is nose diving and trying to tip you over. Weight balanced on the pedals w butt back are the solution, but helping someone get there can be tricky.
FWIW, I found the following exercises to be helpful in teaching others:
Rolling at slow speed on relatively flat terrain, have them use the full length of the cockpit. Get them to go behind the saddle and buzz their shorts with the rear tire. When they realize the can go that far back it's an eye opener. If they can't get that far back, adjust the saddle so they can clear it.
A good time to do this is the parking lot before a ride. Then go for a ride and have them go ridiculously far back for every downhill section. It's not an optimal position, but it's better than being on the saddle and feeling that OTB sensation. This will build some confidence going down hill.
Next ride, rolling at slow speed on relatively flat terrain, have them do the same back and forth use of the cockpit but focus on their hands. They should note the weight on the wrists when forward, a neutral position in the middle, and that they are actually pulling up on the bars when they are practically sitting on the rear tire.
Go for a ride and have them try to aim for that weightless feeling on the arms when going down hill. They'll be in a more neutral position this time around.
In your wife's case, she could probably do both of these exercises locked out and try open when she's ready.
It sounds like you're finding a good balance between giving constructive advice and being a nag. Just be sensitive to that fact.
One last bit of advice is protective gear. My GF really appreciated strapping on some armor for an instant courage boost when figuring out steep terrain. I would lend her my knee-shin pads, elbow-forearm pads and a full-face. Helped her take the next step with confidence.
Hope some of this helps.
Sounds to me like confidence. She lacks confidence that the bike will do what she wants it to do. I have been riding for years, but yesterday I went on big ride. There were some really large stair step drops repeated combnations with loose rocks etc. Some spots really freaked me out. I felt like I was never going to make it. So I walked some and the one I tried I crash on. Anyway other spots were just as nasty, but maybe due to terrain around did not get in my head. So I just rode them and all was good.
I get the impression she is afraid and some fear is good. I think what you need to do is get her on easy terrain first. Let her get comfortable with what the bike can can and what she can do. Heck to get her used to the fork just have her learn to drop off a sidewalk curb.
Start small and ler her build up. Guys can learn by seeing another rider doing it and saying "I can do it to" and be brave (or stupid) enough to try it. Woman tend not to learn the same way and just saying "you can do it becaise I can" does not help. Start her small and let her feel that she can do it on easy stuff and then progress. The easy stuff will allow her confidence to build.
2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.
Many people put too much weight on their hands and bars. Lee McCormack says "tea-party fingers." Maybe that phrase will work for your wife. If you are in good position, with your weight over the BB pushing down through the pedals, then you wouldn't even feel the fork compressing. But instead of a really complicated explanation of body position, just try telling her to ride w/ tea-party fingers. Heavy feet light hands.
Women have (on average) less length in the torso than a man of the same height, so a long top tube and lack of experience might have a rider putting way too much weight in the hands.
Good luck (and if I duplicated anyone else's post above--I didn't read them all but I'm glad we agree!).
There's nothing wrong with riding rigid bike, but if you are going to drag the extra weight of the suspension fork or FS then might as well take the time to transition. Accept the fact that suspension while offering more efficient ride but can yield less connected feeling.
Originally Posted by Sandrenseren
I'm a FS guy all the way but I do like riding hardtail, soft tail, and about to add a rigid fat tires to the stable. Why not.
I agree Bike skills clinic is the best investment any new riders can make, beside a dropper post of course. OP you know the dynamic between you and your wife so I'll let you decide if you want to take it with her or not, some couples do not do well taking lesson together.
Originally Posted by Jeff in Bend
I'm more of the encouragement type, I took one with my wife and she took 2 more on her own, it worked out well for us with mountain bike. That said, I'm a pretty good golfer and have taught many of my friends that are now good players but it's not something that worked with my wife, she's taking lessons from local pro instead, that works well too.
you all know that not every person is supposed to do every sport?
some people just never like or feel comfortable with a certain activity.
I would never in 1 million years let my wife even try ride any sort of single track downhill trail. Not because she is my wife, but because she has a fear of heights, a low pain threshold, terrible balance on a bike, a fear of speed, hates surprises or adrenaline rushes, the list goes on....
She likes yoga, end of story.
Maybe your wife is trying to tell you something.
Originally Posted by robselina
I'm a bit biased on that. I don't really like the idea to build up confidence before skill.
Originally Posted by robselina
Back when I was learning to do mechanical work on cars, cut, grind and weld metal and so on, the guy teaching me was very stern on my desire to wear gloves. A freshly cut piece of steel can be razor sharp and cut right through a glove and touching something freshly welded with gloves on isn't always health either. By not allowing me to wear gloves, he made sure I actually paid attention to where I put my hands rather than just assuming that the gloves would save me.
Protective gear on a beginner might just make them crash bigger, without it they will be less likely to "write checks that their ass can't pay"..
I pretended to be a manufacturing engineer last summer.
One of the particularly illuminating ideas in manufacturing engineering, and one that can be applied to all sorts of things in the rest of life, is that if a worker isn't doing something the way you want them to, often it's that the situation isn't facilitating it. So I'm reading through this thread and people have a lot of great suggestions about improving technique, etc. but they all rely on getting the OP's wife to do something that right now she doesn't want to do. Or at least, no longer wants to do if she's tired or something else is going on.
I think that the posts questioning the suspension setup are right on. If she's descending with her ass planted or has a lot of weight on her hands, rather than telling her to fix that - I'm sure the OP has - I think it also makes sense to look at why it's difficult for her to ride correctly.
Something I hate about these threads is that I do think individuals need to take ownership over their own bike setup. It has helped me to get one of my bikes fit by another person. But ultimately, I fit all of my bikes, and I fit them to my attack position. I think husbands trying to fit wives' bikes are a recipe for a sitcom, and probably not that good for wives having bikes that fit well. Do women not know how to use the internet? I guess forum gender statistics would support that idea...
I don't have to fight my bike to ride in the attack position. Instead, the bike and I work very well together when I take my attack position, and it's easy for me to be "good" about making my platform, having quiet hands, driving the bike from the hip, etc. OP, if it's hard for your wife to ride in the attack position and she knows what it is, find out why it's hard for her. Is the bike set up wrong? IME, landing the grips in the right spot is huge. My pedantic coworker last summer was big on the "Five Why's." You ask someone why they're doing something a certain way, from a position of true curiosity and without judgement (good luck!) and then follow up on the answer until you've asked "why," five times. For example, you might ask someone why she doesn't like to get out of the saddle, then why the cause of that is occurring, etc. I'm more inclined to try some things and see what sticks - I've tried a couple stem sizes, different positions for the stem, etc, and am quite happy with where I put my hands now.
My bike doesn't nosedive when I brake or roll something a little less-than-elegantly. So, I don't want to lock out my fork. Which is good, because it doesn't have a lockout. OP, I wonder if your wife's fork has too little pressure or too little compression damping. Too much rebound damping is a possibility too. Even at 160 lb, I ride with almost no rebound damping - you really only want enough for the fork not to kick, or maybe one click more if that mellows things out a little. IIRC, the recommended order for setting up this stuff is to get sag first, then rebound damping, then compression damping. I know you say the fork is set up for your wife's size, but it's clearly not working for her. This stuff is iterative, too - I think I can get a fork "pretty good" on a first pass, but it takes some riding and messing around to get it really dialed.
All of that adds up to it being fairly easy for me to ride my bike down a hill in the way I perceive to be good technique - pedals at 9 and 3, ass off the saddle, and quiet hands. It feels like skiing to me. I'm still working on leading with the correct pedal all the time, but I'm very right-dominant and I don't think there's anything I can do with bike setup to fix that.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
That may be an excellent advice on working with machine, I don't necessary think that it would apply to trail riding. I know it's a catch22, but confidence is what build the first skill which in turns boost the confidence. If you are going to roll a foot drop, you need to be confident enough to commit to the line choice, speed and weight transfer. Successfully roll many 1' drops boost your confidence to roll 2', 3' and so on.
Originally Posted by Sandrenseren
Back to protective gears, it's always a good idea when you are building confidence and skills, pick the right amount of protection for the skills you are working on. There are many variables that come into play before you can be seriously hurt while wearing gears.
Take OP's wife case for example, to get seriously hurt while rolling down the hill would mean she has to gun it all the way down which is very unlikely because her perceived speed is still very low, and that's something you don't step up big over night. She's not going to ride on the trail with big drops or too advance for here, plus trail riding is still relatively slow speed we are talking fireroad descend of 15-20mph for most riders, there's no downside beside being hot.
Another benefit of protective gears is the body automatically makes the effort to land where protected. The typical combo is elbows and knee plus the default helmet and hydration pack, if you were to endo, there are more chance that's you'd tuck your arms and roll.
When I went to the bike clinics I wore my protective gears because I expect to fall off the bike trying new skills on technical obstacles, and sure enough I did. No worries, I'd get up check myself, check the bike and do it again
Man, Andrw and Mimi can not currently receive rep from me, but they sure deserve it. Also JoePAz, robselina, jeffscott, and several others.
Really it comes down to creating an environment for your wife to be able to fail on her terms and in her comfort zone. You can never talk someone into every thing you want them to do, in ski instructing we used to call it "guided discovery". Give your wife hints and let her explore what happens. The first thing I would do is invite her, at the top of a reasonable length downhill section, to lower her saddle. Let her experience getting back behind the saddle, stop and let her put her saddle back up on the uphills, let her experience what it's like to have options and not just be forced into whatever the bike shop set her at.
I have to be honest, I'm not sure my wife would still be riding with me if I hadn't gotten her a dropper seatpost. But I shelled out some money, bought her a dropper, and now she's out there killing it with me all over the region. No longer does she have to decide whether or not to stop, walk, or risk a downhill section because she can get the saddle out of her way with a press of a lever. There is nothing that we have done that has made a bigger impact to her confidence as a rider than the dropper post.
Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?
Pay for her to be professionally fitted and have the suspension properly set for her.
Sounds to me like she might be leaving her arms in one fixed position and following the fork movement with her whole upper body instead of bending/straightening her arm in response to the fork movement. As to what would be causing that, it could be fit, could be weak muscle, lack of experience, etc. Need to do whatever it takes to make her most comfortable.
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