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  1. #1
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    Obstacle clearing as a Clyde

    I'm having a lot of trouble learning this. My fork is just shy of 4 inches of travel, but I dont think its the problem. I seriously cannot lift the front of my bike in preparation to clear even a curb. I standup but cant get behind the seat enough, which is odd, because when I first got the bike I could get behind the seat, and now, 16 lb lighter, the wider WTB Speed V Sport seat cant make it through my thighs... but I'm not sure if its the problem.

    I can jump around on my front sus during normal riding, but I cant seem to be able to lift my wheel in prep to clear an obstacle. I have cleared obstacles and rocks in very very ugly fashions.. mostly by slamming into them with no tire lift, letting the sus do the work, and sometimes forgetting to even get up as the rear tire slams into the other side of the rock.

    What am I doing wrong? Is there some piece of form or finesse I should work on? How do you clear obstacles taller than your pedal cog is off the ground? I got major metal-showing scrapes on my shiny black cranks. I watched a guy try to show me how he was clearing, a few times, but he's a lot smaller and lighter and it looked effortless, while I couldnt even get my wheel up.

    Its sad, I know, but I gotta learn somehow.
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  2. #2
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    Sounds like you and I learned how to ride from the same book. I can usually pop my front up just enough to help it clear but it still hits the object at least a little. I also forget to do anything with the rear and my back wheel slams and rolls over whatever I am going over. One of my problems is forgetting to keep the pedals even instead of having one foot down. One of my pedals is always slamming into rocks and stuff. Have you looked on YouTube. There are some videos on how to ride mountain bikes. Also, I think a lot of it just comes with experience and riding with experienced riders.

  3. #3
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    Are you doing a power stroke just before hitting the curb or obstacle?

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    Getting the front wheel up a little should be easy. One way is to first push down and then pull on the bar. Sort of like hitting a basket ball to make it bounce off the ground.

  5. #5
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    Are you doing a power stroke just before hitting the curb or obstacle?
    I am trying to, yes, I still have to learn to keep my pedals even though.

    Getting the front wheel up a little should be easy. One way is to first push down and then pull on the bar. Sort of like hitting a basket ball to make it bounce off the ground.
    In my head my technique, if I can remember right, is just trying to stand up and yank up as hard as I can. I am not 100% sure that I did not push down first, but I know that I consciously did not strive to, while I may have done it... so I'm going to have to watch how I do it, and purposefully try to bounce off my sus by pushing as hard as I can down first. I'll give this a try after work.
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  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    Don't try the pedal stroke and the "bounce" at the same time: that would be too many things happening at the same time, for me.

    The bounce needs to be a pretty rapid movement and a soft fork or lots of rebound damping may make it ineffective too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster
    Sounds like you and I learned how to ride from the same book. I can usually pop my front up just enough to help it clear but it still hits the object at least a little. I also forget to do anything with the rear and my back wheel slams and rolls over whatever I am going over. One of my problems is forgetting to keep the pedals even instead of having one foot down. One of my pedals is always slamming into rocks and stuff. Have you looked on YouTube. There are some videos on how to ride mountain bikes. Also, I think a lot of it just comes with experience and riding with experienced riders.
    Its dumb that I looked for YouTube and ExpertVilliage videos for learning to tune my rear derailleur, but forgot to look for it on obstacle clearing techniques. I'll hit up the tube and EV when I get from work, before attempting perttime's suggestions as well.
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  8. #8
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    Sounds like to me you are trying to do all the work with just your arms. You have to remember to lean back a little while your pulling up the front of the bike. Just dont lean back to far or you will end up on your ass.

  9. #9
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    I found this thread to be helpful:

    Bunnyhop tutorial VIDEO
    Bunnyhop tutorial VIDEO

    A lot of good info in the thread and the videos break the process down quite well.

  10. #10
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    it depends on the setup of the bike alot, weight distribution etc etc

    on my old bike I could just about lift the front off the ground with a lot of strain on the back, on the new one I can comfortably lift the whole bike into the air easily.

  11. #11
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    I've been riding a motorcycle (dirt) for 4 years or so and suspension setup is very important when you've got some weight on ya. I was 260ish and the stock suspension was setup for a 170lbs rider. Not good! Once I set up my suspension with the proper springs for my weight, the difference was night and day.
    Anyway, I assume bike suspensions would work similarly. Maybe try stiffening up the forks with the adjusters, assuming you have them, or stiffer springs?
    The little bounce, especially with front sus, can help alot! I've been working on it on my rigid and even the little tire bounce makes a difference.
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  12. #12
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    That video and thread dog.gone posted is about as good of instruction as you are ever going to get on the subject. The rest is up to you, it takes practice. I was ahead of the curve coming from a bmx background, but I do remember learning to j-hop way back in the day. It isn't easy at first. Many a box was crushed learning the ropes
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  13. #13
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    fit could be part of the issue also bars to far forward or to low made it difficult for me to get it up (har har).... when I went to a set of riser bars I could wheelie away on every start if I wanted... also make sure your KOPS is right (or at least nearish)... sheldon has some info about and against kops http://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html

    also some flat pedals and some time just messing around in your hard is a good place to start
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  14. #14
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    We have... good progress.. didnt try to pedal through the curbs.. I let my momentum carry me over, as I timed a big push down with a pull up on my bars like suggested.. it worked A LOT better.. I didnt even feel myself clearing the curb, as I was already standing.. I just felt an elevation change. Next is clearing obstacles with drops, and getting comfortable enough with front tire lift to push a hard pedal stroke though.. which I presume is necessary for bigger obstacles.

    I didnt get to watch the guide, by the time I got home the sun was all but dead, my options were to ride or watch.. I chose to ride. I'm going to try and watch them today or tomorrow. Today when I get home, my Windows 7 installation expires, so I gotta re-install everything with the new release candidate. I'll try and make time so I can give some feedback on the effect of the guide on me.

    Thanks all.
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  15. #15
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    There are a lot of things to take into consideration:

    1. Bar height relative to saddle height. Your bars should be just about even. I run mine 1" to 1 1/2" lower than my saddle. Any lower and you won't be able to get over the rear wheel enough to loft the front end.

    2. Saddle position relative to rear wheel. For smaller obstacles, I will remain seated, pulling on the bars, sitting up and back to weight the rear wheel. You should be able to remain seated while going over a curb. It's actually easier that way.

    3. Stem length. The longer the stem, the more you're going to weight the front tire and make it more difficult to get the front end up.

    Basically, you have to be weighting the rear wheel to the point that the front wheel wants to come up. You should have your cockpit set up so that it's neutral when you're just riding along on flats, but you want to be able to shift weight easily forward or rearward depending on if you are climbing or clearing an obstacle.

  16. #16
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    yup for steps you want to do it at a decent speed... with your pedals flat and lift the front over the obstical then move your body weight forward (and down onto the pedal)... moving your body weight forward will let your bike just roll smoothly over things... it's nerve racking at 1st... and can be a smidge painful if you don't get the proper loft to the top of the step haha... start with curbs and move on up... make sure you get your weight off the rear wheel
    - Surly Disc trucker
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  17. #17
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson
    make sure you get your weight off the rear wheel
    Yup: you dont want to pinch flat the rear tyre when going up curbs.

    When I go up a curb, I try to time a sort of a "mini jump", so that my feet stay on the pedals but there is almost no weight on the rear when the rear tyre hits the edge.

    Going down curbs, I practice my wimpy drops: keeping the front wheel up or doing a small hop so that both tyres hit the ground at the same time.

  18. #18
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    Actually, I have found the bunny hop to work well. I'm not an expert by any means, but I try to use my weight on my pedals as my power source. So when I jump a curb / bump:

    - I get a little speed (this is the toughest thing to judge for me)
    - As I approach, I bounce my weight into my pedals and my handlebars (although most of the power is really coming from my weight on the pedals)
    - Then I lift with my arms to allow the frot wheel to clear
    - In my case the back wheel hits the curb and carries over.

    As I am getting better, I am trying to pull up with both my arms THEN my feet. More of a true bunny hop. I can feel the back wheel starting to stay off the ground longer.

  19. #19
    local trails rider
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    Bunny hops work great for going up or over things. It has a couple of limitations, though:
    - to actually clear something, you need some speed to get the distance. Sometimes that speed is not available.
    - before you can hop, you need to be able to lift the front... I think we are getting that covered.

  20. #20
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    Actually, I have found the bunny hop to work well. I'm not an expert by any means, but I try to use my weight on my pedals as my power source. So when I jump a curb / bump:

    - I get a little speed (this is the toughest thing to judge for me)
    - As I approach, I bounce my weight into my pedals and my handlebars (although most of the power is really coming from my weight on the pedals)
    - Then I lift with my arms to allow the frot wheel to clear
    - In my case the back wheel hits the curb and carries over.

    As I am getting better, I am trying to pull up with both my arms THEN my feet. More of a true bunny hop. I can feel the back wheel starting to stay off the ground longer.
    Lots of stuff to try, from lots of sources, looking forward to experimenting and feedback. I'm waiting for my clipless exchange from Pricepoint to come in, so I can try that bunny hop where I can help lift my bike with the pedals. I got some bmx (Wellgo LU95 I think) platform pedals on my mtb right now, very wide platforms, yesterday my feet slipped off as I came up on an ascent in my low gear.. and I was trying to build speed... I hit that hill with both feet off the pedals in a sort of panic as I tried to regain foot position.. my rear end felt more of that mistake than the back of my leg that the pedal bit into.. was my first "pedal bite" since I started biking again.. felt like a dog bite. What can I say, I got spoiled by the clipless and got careless I think.

    Anyhow, I wonder if pumping into the pedals will help, I'm going to try. I've been heaving the weight of my torso in my front sus bounce, and just trying to lean my rear back.. will try the full body bounce. Hopefully not off the sidewalk.
    Be excellent to each other.

  21. #21
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    bunny hops work well... like mentioned... IF you have the height and speed... I'm just getting to where I can clear small logs and an occasional curb... the big issue with bunny hops is if you don't get the distance you catch the back tire all your weight is dropping on it... good way to pinch flat (I know from experiance)
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  22. #22
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    as long as you have flats you can also work on a "proper" bunny hop... start with riding in your yard getting the front wheel up... when you can do that pretty well work towards a bunny hop...

    seriously just messing around in the yard you can learn a lot... and nothing realy gets hurt beyond your pride when you fall... which will happen ;-)
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  23. #23
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    Any advice on clearing obstacles you know will rub below your bike on the main pedal cog possibly?
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  24. #24
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    get rid of the big ring and go with a 2x9 or 1x9 setup ;-)...
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  25. #25
    local trails rider
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    I went for singlespeed and 1x9 with bashrings
    I know there's people who can clear big fallen trees: get the front wheel up, maybe let it bounce from the obstacle, keep the front high until the rear clears.
    I'll carry the bike over that tree...

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