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  1. #1
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    How to get into downhill.

    Hello every one i am looking to get into downhill riding and i have no idea how to start. Where to get a bike (well i can figure that one out). But witch ones best for me; where to ride and where to learn.

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    Whats your riding experience? Bmx background? Whats your current ride? More info will help. Also, what riding area are you close to?

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    When the snow melts, go up to Northstar.
    Get a lift ticket.
    Rent a bike, a helmet, some body armor.
    Go to the top of the mountain and throw your self off of it.
    Rinse and repeat as needed.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

  4. #4
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    You may get a lot of responses from experienced DH riders based on how they themselves got into riding, and that'll be super valuable. I am in the process myself, closer to where you're at, so here's my perspective:
    If you already trail ride, keep at it, and ride faster*. It's doubtful that once you buy a World Cup-level bike, you'll only be riding WC-level trails. *caveat: without endangering other users, breaking laws, etc.
    Race local super D's. The CCCX series (almost over) is fun, and by the number of really fast entrants on 8"-travel bikes, you can tell that 'real' DH racing is not so common in this area that DHers can be snobbish. It's not technical, but it's fast and fun and competitive.
    The Sierra Cup (Norcal/NV) also has serveral SDs on its schedule for this year.
    Whatever bike you have, learn to jump it at one of the area's bike parks. True dirt jumpers have a lot to complain about the different shortcomings of Pleasanton BP, Calabazas BP, etc, but you can build a lot of skill that will translate well to the trail with just a few different sized tabletops.
    Save your pennies for days at Northstar in the summer, is what I have been told by riders better than me. Good luck.

    Fixed: DJers have _something_ to complain about. We have multiple bike parks in the area and if they could be bigger or gap-ier or have better rhythm, still we have several free parks, which is good.
    Last edited by Snfoilhat; 04-22-2012 at 01:28 PM. Reason: Stroke of reasonableness

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngTrider View Post
    Hello every one i am looking to get into downhill riding and i have no idea how to start. Where to get a bike (well i can figure that one out). But witch ones best for me; where to ride and where to learn.
    Well, I suppose it would be best to start at the top of the mountain.
    Sometimes, I question the value of my content.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by erik1245 View Post
    Well, I suppose it would be best to start at the top of the mountain.
    Good call!!
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewtality View Post
    Good call!!


    I tried to give you rep for your first comment, but it turns out I can't rep you quite yet.
    Sometimes, I question the value of my content.

  8. #8
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    Start drinking Red Bull, lots of it. There's nothing like railing a berm while your heart is on the verge of cardiac arrest! Also, start listening to dubstep. The super whomping' heavy stuff. You're gonna need to have a bad ass soundtrack once you start posting videos on Pinkbike. Even if your video editing or riding sucks, people will still be impressed by your knowledge of super bad bad ass dubstep. You don't want to sound like a noob once you have some bros to ride with. So pick a favorite rider that wins a lot of races and then you can argue who is the fastest or the smoothest or who has the most style. You can't go wrong with Danny Hart. Even XC riders know who he is despite the fact he's really only won one big race- Aaron Gwin who? Lastly, you should try and interject Whistler into the conversation every chance you get. If you've never been, talk about the Whistler trip you and all of your bros are planning this summer. If you're one of the few that have actually been to Whistler, you are automatically the envy of bro-riders across California. Tell them how Whistler was not as challenging as you thought because you're so smooth on your DH rig.

  9. #9
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    get on a bike and go as fast as you can downhill. pretty much it. oh and having some balls to point it and go. if you have to ask how to get into it it might not be the thing for you. but if you really want to get into it buy a good used dh bike and take it up to northstar every weekend you can this summer. you need to ride out of your comfert zone and try and push yourself. thats what downhill is all about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim F. View Post
    Start by posting on the MTBR DH forum. Too many sarcastic DH haters on the Norcal forum.
    the downhillers are taking over again. there have been lots of dh type post lately.

  11. #11
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    Start by posting on the MTBR DH forum. Too many sarcastic DH haters on the Norcal forum.
    The guy yo' momma "act" like she don't know!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mzorich View Post
    the downhillers are taking over again. there have been lots of dh type post lately.
    Good to hear

    PinkPike.com is also going to be your DH best friend

    The vids are cool and their used bikes/parts section rocks:

    Oh look, 400+ used downhill bikes in Cali:
    http://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/list...=194&provid=18

    I bought my 2011 Trek Session 8 off of there... Came with a better fork than the 2012 Session 8 and saved me 3.5k in the process.

  13. #13
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    Be in your early 20's

    By late 30's, your body won't stand a chance! At least if you're an average human like me.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    By late 30's, your body won't stand a chance! At least if you're an average human like me.
    Haha! I wish I knew and started early. First year of DH riding and I'm turning 44 this year. Always thought I was a decent fast descending rider until I rode with a real DH guy and was blown away by the difference in speed and skill. Ironically, he was a year older than me.

    Speaking of skill, I think a DH rider with a complete package should be comfortable in the following situations:
    1) fast, loose terrain (including rain)
    2) steep, rocky, technical terrain
    3) jumpy sections with air
    4) drops

    Maybe I should just go back to XC riding, but then I'd have to pedal, be in shape and drink beer.

  15. #15
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    ok thanks so much every one i live in Menlo Park Near Stanford (Ya not the best area for DH) i am good on a hard tail not great not suck. I was looking at a Giant region x1 for a bike to start.

  16. #16
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    It's not about the bike...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron m. View Post
    Speaking of skill, I think a DH rider with a complete package...
    With balls that big - how does one even sit down on a bike?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    With balls that big - how does one even sit down on a bike?

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim F. View Post
    Start by posting on the MTBR DH forum. Too many sarcastic DH haters on the Norcal forum.
    Yeah but the DH forum is full of over-inflated egos and people that actually think that a dh bike is needed in the Bay area.
    The arsonist has oddly shaped feet!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngTrider View Post
    Hello every one i am looking to get into downhill riding and i have no idea how to start. Where to get a bike (well i can figure that one out). But witch ones best for me; where to ride and where to learn.
    Go downhill FAST. If anything gets in your way, TURN!
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    With balls that big - how does one even sit down on a bike?
    You don't that's why your seat is lowered... not for the looks more for the clearance. Those suckers need room to swing.
    To love me is to rep me, world domination is eminent/imminent/immanent.

  22. #22
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    I have the same question

    Quote Originally Posted by Brewtality View Post
    When the snow melts, go up to Northstar.
    Get a lift ticket.
    Rent a bike, a helmet, some body armor.
    Go to the top of the mountain and throw your self off of it.
    Rinse and repeat as needed.
    Renting can go so far.

    You'll want to KNOW your own bike.

    A XC rider on a day or two of bike park riding a DH bike does not transform that person into a DH-er or FR-er: Your experiences may vary, but that did not heppent for me

    My take is to build up or buy a 6"to 7" full suspesnion bike (I chose an old Santa Cruz Bullit/Boxxer fork), learn to jump & drop it. Eventually, I may buy a dedicated DH/FR bike.

    Gotta own it and play with it to know.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  23. #23
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    ... and if we just ... bought 2011 Trek Session 8 off pinkbike, saved 3.5k

    Quote Originally Posted by GoingOffRoading View Post
    Good to hear

    PinkPike.com is also going to be your DH best friend

    The vids are cool and their used bikes/parts section rocks:

    Oh look, 400+ used downhill bikes in Cali:
    Freeride/DH Bikes - Page 1 - Pinkbike.com Buy&Sell

    I bought my 2011 Trek Session 8 off of there... Came with a better fork than the 2012 Session 8 and saved me 3.5k in the process.
    whoaaa! i cringe to hear that kind of luck, to a point of hate: I will try to immitate.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  24. #24
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! not needed, but wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by his dudeness View Post
    Yeah but the DH forum is full of over-inflated egos and people that actually think that a dh bike is needed in the Bay area.
    aint about needs, it's about wants.
    want to feel the wind on my skin-head while jumping gap & drops. whoo hooooh.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  25. #25
    I just wanna go fast!
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    eh, best advice you can get is to go ride with some people that like to go downhill fast. Keeping doing that and the rest will just fall into place.

  26. #26
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    Also confidence is everything... Most of my crashes can be traced to some kind of hesitation.

    What kind of king is in your area? Any good sized hills or mountains? Any steep trails on it?

    Can you ride those trails without riding the brakes? If not, ride it until you can.

  27. #27
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    That's a silly question. Doesn't all mountain-biking involve going downhill? Anyone ever hear of uphilling?

    Seriously, though, whatever downhilling means just means going faster and bigger. I'd say, armor up including a full-faced helmet and hitting a resort like Northstar or Mammoth on whatever bike you currently own, just ride and see how you like it. I'd check out trails like Live Wire or Flame Out and if you're enjoying yourself, step up to trails like Gypsy, Pho Dogg, Big/Little Trees. You don't need a "downhill" bike to enjoy yourself, but eventually, may want to upgrade if you keep doing it.

    Main thing about downhillling the resorts is you need durable tires, tubes, and ultimately, durable wheels. Weight isn't typically an issue.

    Generally, it's not the ride, it's the rider, but the equipment will certainly help if you get into it.

  28. #28
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    Single most important item (way more important than the bike) that you can purchase is a Dakine pick up pad.

    Racks are for spandex wearing grape smugglers.

    In all seriousness, buy a North Star season pass and get up there as much as you can this summer. There are very few trails in the greater bay area that warrant a true DH bike.

  29. #29
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    One more thing - Besides the full-face helmet, I know it's not cheap, but I would highly recommend getting a neck brace, like a Leatt. I think they go new for as little as $200. I'd almost recommend one over arm and leg armor, if cost is an issue. Broken arms/legs heal. Broken necks, not so much. I would get a full set of armor before a new bike for sure.

    Not to scare you, but there have been a couple episodes of first timers at the DH park (and a couple pros) who crashed bad and were rendered cripples for life. I'd do everything I could to avoid that, so imho, it is a minor investment relatively speaking.

  30. #30
    I just wanna go fast!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swell Guy View Post
    That's a silly question. Doesn't all mountain-biking involve going downhill? Anyone ever hear of uphilling?
    I think when a lot of people say "downhilling" they mean doing DH races or getting to ride some gnarly trails that require a bike which is no fun to pedal up. Either way, when I go ride some dh, I try to avoid doing as much "uphilling" as possible. That ****'s dangerous and you could pull a hammie or get dehydrated.


    Otherwise, I'm just out on a "ride", which is also fun.

  31. #31
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    i realize most people think theyre too good for this but dont overlook the value of a riding clinic. there are a number of good organizations and individuals in the area that can teach you new skills such as bikeskills or betterride. I have seen ian massey and graeme pitts offering individual coaching as well. you can also look for instructional videos on youtube to help with specific skills.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzkil View Post
    You don't that's why your seat is lowered... not for the looks more for the clearance. Those suckers need room to swing.
    True, no sitting in downhilling even if you could.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swell Guy View Post
    One more thing - Besides the full-face helmet, I know it's not cheap, but I would highly recommend getting a neck brace, like a Leatt. I think they go new for as little as $200. I'd almost recommend one over arm and leg armor, if cost is an issue. Broken arms/legs heal. Broken necks, not so much. I would get a full set of armor before a new bike for sure.

    Not to scare you, but there have been a couple episodes of first timers at the DH park (and a couple pros) who crashed bad and were rendered cripples for life. I'd do everything I could to avoid that, so imho, it is a minor investment relatively speaking.
    Well said.
    Abandoned the 26" wheel in May '03

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdamschen View Post
    I think when a lot of people say "downhilling" they mean doing DH races or getting to ride some gnarly trails that require a bike which is no fun to pedal up. Either way, when I go ride some dh, I try to avoid doing as much "uphilling" as possible. That ****'s dangerous and you could pull a hammie or get dehydrated.


    Otherwise, I'm just out on a "ride", which is also fun.
    Yah, it's not clear what the OP is looking to do. DH races? or just go fast downhill? is he going to shuttle all the time, or ride uphill?

    I think the goal is somewhat obtuse.

    Just get out there and ride. You'll become better and both up AND down hill.
    Stupid, but sometimes witty. Occasionally brilliant. Slow and fat though.

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  35. #35
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    what if he's stuck on a mountaintop and can't get down?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    what if he's stuck on a mountaintop and can't get down?
    perma-shuttle driver.

    And just to cut through all the sarcasm in the xcnorcal forums, the biggest points about DH are where to ride and where to learn. Trails that are cut purely for DH in the Bay Area do not exist. Everything requires you to pedal, which in turn, bringing a dh bike to these trails both sucks to pedal and overkill because most trails are catered to the lowest common denominator of rider: fireroads, or 1' tall jumps with no landings.

    If you do happen upon any trails that require talent (aka willingness to huck) in the bay there's a 99% chance it's illegal. I can't justify owning a full on DH rig when my band-aided, overly slack 6" wanna-be-DH bike does well enough.
    Last edited by JoeBMX; 04-25-2012 at 05:00 PM.
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  37. #37
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    If your on FB and in the northern california area I can help. I have a group called NorCal Gravity that is all about meeting for shuttles and exploring BLM land that is accessible to us via communication with the Ukiah, Ca office. If your interested check us out on Facebook.

  38. #38
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    kool well i was told that pacifica has good downhill.

  39. #39
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    Do yourself a favor and get this book
    Mastering Mountain Bike Skills - 2nd Edition: Brian Lopes, Lee McCormack: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
    Great info and pretty damn cheap compared to learning by broken collar bones and ripped jeans.

  40. #40
    I just wanna go fast!
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngTrider View Post
    kool well i was told that pacifica has good downhill.
    Be prepared to push or pedal. Don't be a ****** to hikers and horses. There are places there you can get ALOT of poison oak real fast. Wear long sleeves and bring a change of clothes if you get it easily. Ride with a friend and don't ride over your head.

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