How to ride ďchunkĒ fast and long?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How to ride ďchunkĒ fast and long?

    This past Memorial Day I went riding with some pretty fast dudes on heartbreak trail in Pisgah, NC. Now, the upper part of heartbreak is nothing but a half mile of rock garden followed by super chunky roots, rocks, drops, etc..

    I consider myself a fast (ish) rider, however the guys I was riding with took off on this stuff and I couldnít keep my bike in order. After about a mile I got super bad arm pump white knuckling and riding the brakes so much.

    So this is a two part question,
    1. What techniques should I employ when riding this stuff?

    2. What can I do to make sure my bike is setup properly for chunk? My fork ( 160mm pike 2016) got overwhelmed quick, and I had little confidence in my front tire placement.


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    Since you are already fast it could be fitness more than anything---work that core----but it also seems you are hanging on too tight---relax a bit and let the bike work and see if that helps. Remember there are always faster folks-hate to say in my case it is my sister most days

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    I prefer more rebound in chunk. I don't want a "poppy" bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I prefer more rebound in chunk. I don't want a "poppy" bike.
    Iím the opposite of this. I want my fork to return as fast as possible so itís ready to take the next hit


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I prefer more rebound in chunk. I don't want a "poppy" bike.
    Do you mean more rebound damping? More rebound, to me, would imply faster, but that would make it poppy.

    Just to make sure we're on the same page.




    I would probably prefer faster rebound if I were diving into the travel more. If not hitting stuff fast (I am okay but probably not fast) I don't know if I would use enough travel to have a fast rebound be better for me.

  8. #8
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    More compression damping. Light hands, heavy feet. pctloper brings up an important factor that routinely gets overlooked.

    For clarification, more rebound damping results in the suspension returning slower to equilibrium. Look at it this way: If you have NO rebound damping, your suspension acts like a pogo stick.

    I personally want my suspension to keep me planted on the trail. Fast, repeated and prolonged suspension movement can quickly overwhelm suspension that is set up favoring a "plush" ride. If your suspension is forced to compress before it can rebound, it will be compressing from a point further into the available travel. If you have eight inches of travel, unless you are set up full blown Lazy-Boy recliner mode, your suspension should not reach it's limit. Which is why I add compression damping to limit how deep into my travel repeated hits will take me, buying me time before my suspension reaches the "pack down stage" and my ride goes from exciting to survival mode.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junersun View Post
    Iím the opposite of this. I want my fork to return as fast as possible so itís ready to take the next hit


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    This really depends on the tune. If it's tuned correctly, you can run a lot of LSR, because the HSR will react fast when necessary. Lots of bikes have to run very light LSR/LSC because the high speed valving is so restrictive. This creates a lot of chassis movement and makes it difficult to control the bike in those types of rock gardens, but sometimes it's the best you can do with the equipment.

    Without the proper tune (internals) in the shock and fork, you can sit here all day and say that you should run compression or whatever, but if you try to run more and it reacts like a jackhammer because the high speed valving is too restrictive, it's pretty worthless advice. The limitation here is usually the suspension. Coil rear shock helps if the bike can take it, proper valving in the front fork helps and can be obtained through a few different methods.

    Strong upper body and core strength means a lot here. Being able to hold your body rigid when necessary, push off of stuff, not "crumple" your upper body, obviously braking and grip, are all important. I will say the suspension plays a huge role with this kind of riding, but you have to be able to meet it part-way with your strength.

    Also, things like wide bars with short stems that won't be easily deflected by rocks, stiff forks and wheels make a difference.

    You also have to go out and attack really gnarly trails like you are going to kick their butt. Sometimes going slower through sections is faster overall because you don't slam into something and bleed all your speed, but I digress, ride more.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    This really depends on the tune. If it's tuned correctly, you can run a lot of LSR, because the HSR will react fast when necessary. Lots of bikes have to run very light LSR/LSC because the high speed valving is so restrictive. This creates a lot of chassis movement and makes it difficult to control the bike in those types of rock gardens, but sometimes it's the best you can do with the equipment.

    Strong upper body and core strength means a lot here. Being able to hold your body rigid when necessary, push off of stuff, not "crumple" your upper body, obviously braking and grip, are all important. I will say the suspension plays a huge role with this kind of riding, but you have to be able to meet it part-way with your strength.

    Also, things like wide bars with short stems that won't be easily deflected by rocks, stiff forks and wheels make a difference.
    HSR would be nice to have...


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  11. #11
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    1. When you're riding over your head (without confidence) you tend to ride tight. Maybe trail familiarity is an issue?

    2. 80% archer / 20% arrow. Pretty much impossible to tell you how to set up your suspension over the internets without more info.

    Just thoughts, feel free to disregard...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    I consider myself a fast (ish) rider, however the guys I was riding with took off on this stuff and I couldnít keep my bike in order. After about a mile I got super bad arm pump white knuckling and riding the brakes so much.

    So this is a two part question,
    1. What techniques should I employ when riding this stuff?

    2. What can I do to make sure my bike is setup properly for chunk? My fork ( 160mm pike 2016) got overwhelmed quick, and I had little confidence in my front tire placement.
    I took a look at that trail on some videos. It looks like most of that stuff the bike can roll through, with a couple rocks that you have to square up to or dodge. Less brakes! Brakes bind up the suspension and wear out your hands. Use them tactically- on/off.

    It's hard to keep your eyes focused 20-30' ahead of you when the trail is so busy, but ya still gotta do it.

    For me, once i'm riding my brakes i have to stare right in front of me, and once i'm doing that it's really hard to get back to good form cuz i get tired and doubtful. Then i start to cook my brakes and it just gets worse.




    I hated my pike and replaced it with a 10 year old lyrik. I tried EVERYTHING, and couldn't get it to perform to my expectations. Lots of people love pikes though. Don't stuff the fork full of spacers.

    There's a lot of good ideas in this thread!
    Last edited by scottzg; 05-31-2019 at 12:46 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Take a look at the 2 videos I found when I searched for this trail, 2 completely different riders, riding this trail, at the same time, one's fast, the other not, can easily see why each is which watching the videos back to back.
    When you're in chunk you have to be light and have a good core to engage and help keep yourself stable/solid, while letting the bike "dance" under you, fighting the bike will tire you out.

    https://youtu.be/gnyx3yyOpro

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hyE5FMAe00
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  14. #14
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    How to ride ďchunkĒ fast and long?

    That skills with Phil video is crazy, maybe I needed more momentum going into the rocks to keep me stable? Is it about holding her steady or letting the rocks deflect it where it wants to go?

    My pike is setup with the lsc fully open, 8 clicks of rebound (from fully open 20 in total) and two spacers. 25psi in the front tire (any less in pisgah is asking for trouble)

    Iíll take a spacer out of the fork but besides that there isnít much tuning

    Fitness was a huge part of riding that trail fat, even the quick guys were getting arm pump. So I for sure need to work on upper body strength


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post
    1. When you're riding over your head (without confidence) you tend to ride tight. Maybe trail familiarity is an issue?

    2. 80% archer / 20% arrow. Pretty much impossible to tell you how to set up your suspension over the internets without more info.

    Just thoughts, feel free to disregard...
    I tend to agree with this. The first time I rode that, it was really narrow and I had no clue what was coming next. I rode it very slow. Second time was much better. I don't remember lots of huge chunk, just lots of small constant stuff and really slick wet roots that dumped me on my ass more times than I can count!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Take a look at the 2 videos I found when I searched for this trail, 2 completely different riders, riding this trail, at the same time, one's fast, the other not, can easily see why each is which watching the videos back to back.
    When you're in chunk you have to be light and have a good core to engage and help keep yourself stable/solid, while letting the bike "dance" under you, fighting the bike will tire you out.

    https://youtu.be/gnyx3yyOpro

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hyE5FMAe00
    Wow, pretty stark difference between those riders. For reference, though, Phil Kmetz is a top tier rider as evidenced at around 0:50 in the video below. It's cool to watch these back to back. It's easy to tell that Phil is much more relaxed and maintaining good body position to allow the bike to roll better. He's also hardly touching his brakes, which somewhat counter-intuitively, makes it easier. Obviously there's a learning curve and a lot of saddle time to get there but even at my modest skill level, I find that working up the courage to get off the brakes as much as possible makes for a smoother ride in tech sections.

    Looks like a pretty gnarly trail but I don't think it's anything that a 160mm Pike couldn't manage, given a good setup. I ride a lot of stuff that is chunky like that on my 150mm Pike RC. I tuned the compression a bit with the spacers so I don't have to use much compression damping at all and I'm running relatively fast rebound both in the fork and on the rear shock. But easing up on the brakes massively helps in the chunk. There's a big mental element to that for sure but having the fitness and core strength to let the bike move around below you while maintaining a good body position relative to the bike is paramount.

    For years I had trouble getting in the back seat in berms and kind of losing control on the exits and it was because the forces involved in the turns were pushing me back and I didn't have the strength to resist it. 4 or 5 years ago, I decided I wasn't doing that any more and I spent a lot of time over a winter increasing my core strength and endurance by doing things like a lot of kettlebell swings, one legged deadlifts and turkish get ups. This really paid off for me on the bike and now I can rail berms and stay centered on the bike.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    That skills with Phil video is crazy, maybe I needed more momentum going into the rocks to keep me stable? Is it about holding her steady or letting the rocks deflect it where it wants to go?

    My pike is setup with the lsc fully open, 8 clicks of rebound (from fully open 20 in total) and two spacers. 25psi in the front tire (any less in pisgah is asking for trouble)

    Iíll take a spacer out of the fork but besides that there isnít much tuning

    Fitness was a huge part of riding that trail fat, even the quick guys were getting arm pump. So I for sure need to work on upper body strength


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    What tires are you using and are you running tubeless? You could probably get away with 20psi on something like a 2.5 Minion DHF EXO. I ride gnarly stuff all the time and I'm pretty heavy and I don't ding rims at 20 PSI on that tire.

    It's about keeping good body position relative to the bike to keep it pointed in the direction you want to go but also allowing the bike to move around under you to more easily move through the trail immediately below you. Effectively using your body as an extension of the bike's suspension.

  18. #18
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    hit the gym hard

    pick things up put them down

    use all the machines
    ----
    or just ride chunk 5 hours a day, 7 times a week
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  19. #19
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    Sometimes its the arrow, mostly its the Indian. On a 160mm bike, it's the Indian. I like to run slightly underdamped in the rear on pedaly rock gardens. On the front, critical.

  20. #20
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    Being able to back off the brakes in chunk is huge. When you're riding steep downhill and braking that puts a lot of extra force through your arms and legs, besides making the bike less active. It's amazing how much smoother the bike is once you let it do its thing.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Ron Hoover View Post
    For years I had trouble getting in the back seat in berms and kind of losing control on the exits and it was because the forces involved in the turns were pushing me back and I didn't have the strength to resist it. 4 or 5 years ago, I decided I wasn't doing that any more and I spent a lot of time over a winter increasing my core strength and endurance by doing things like a lot of kettlebell swings, one legged deadlifts and turkish get ups. This really paid off for me on the bike and now I can rail berms and stay centered on the bike.
    IME, this is a big key between being able to ride down the chunk trail the whole way, and the guys that have to stop every few hundred feet down Predator to "rest their body" on the gnarly downhill. Being able to do drops and jumps and keep your body rigid and not "collapse" is huge. The more you can do that, the more you can keep it up all day or all the way down the trail.

    Also, sometimes the easiest line looks the worst, as in the steepest or most gnarly, but sometimes the bumps hold your wheels up and above and you keep momentum, which is the real key in that kind of terrain. Sometimes you need the zen approach and imagine yourself as water flowing down the trail looking for the path of least resistance.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Do you mean more rebound damping? More rebound, to me, would imply faster, but that would make it poppy.

    Just to make sure we're on the same page.




    I would probably prefer faster rebound if I were diving into the travel more. If not hitting stuff fast (I am okay but probably not fast) I don't know if I would use enough travel to have a fast rebound be better for me.
    Yes, more damping. Not enough to pack up. But more than a flow jump trail. I'm on a Avy tune so I can run a lot of LSR and the HSR is fast enough not to pack on small hits.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    That skills with Phil video is crazy, maybe I needed more momentum going into the rocks to keep me stable? Is it about holding her steady or letting the rocks deflect it where it wants to go?
    Yes. Stay loose, float over the pedals, with an athletic position on the bike - knees slightly bent, weight slightly biased toward the rear so you're not putting a ton of weight on the bars. Drop your heels to help your hips settle into the proper position. Let the bike move underneath you. You can get faster by shifting your hips back when you hit something big and then back to center or slightly forward and down when coming over something (i.e. pumping). Let your legs and arms work as shock absorbers, allowing the bike to move beneath you. It's generally easier to keep the bike upright if you have a lot of momentum, so long as you stay in control.

    Phil has crazy skills so check out some of his videos. Another thing he does that helps is bunny hopping or boosting over things that can slow you down, like big holes, roots, or gnarly chunk. Treat features like launches or doubles to get you over the biggest chunk. Line choice obviously is a huge part of it, too.

  24. #24
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    I think keeping off the brakes was a huge one, I was white knuckling the whole time


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    Yup, 100% keep off the brakes when you hit a big chunk section. Jeremy is right the bike will move a lot better. Apply the brakes only where there's not a lot of chunk for short bursts to control speed.

  26. #26
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    I find the biggest tip for the chunk is just relaxing. Let the bike do the work. This sounds silly, but as a little experiment I've been doing calming breathing techniques (similar to meditation) in the absolute hairiest sections of full-on DH descents and I have found that it really makes me faster. My body just becomes a wet noodle and the bike is able to bounce all over the place while my body stays quiet. Your natural reaction is to tense up and clamp down on everything, this makes the rough stuff far more jarring than it needs to be. Try stopping at the top of the descent and doing a little stretching and visualization. It definitely helps.

    All that said, arm pump is something you just have to work through. There are always descents that you just can't hang on the whole time, but little by little it takes a bigger and bigger one to get you there.

  27. #27
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    Point and Shoot
    Lay off the brakes
    Do some pushups and planks
    Drink Protein Shakes before runs
    Jump the chunk

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    That skills with Phil video is crazy, maybe I needed more momentum going into the rocks to keep me stable? Is it about holding her steady or letting the rocks deflect it where it wants to go?
    I thought those trails looked kinda tame. He has other videos of Pisgah trails that are rougher.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Being able to back off the brakes in chunk is huge. When you're riding steep downhill and braking that puts a lot of extra force through your arms and legs, besides making the bike less active. It's amazing how much smoother the bike is once you let it do its thing.
    +1 to that.
    I found that you can get over many things much safer, cleaner and easier while going faster, not slower.

    Someone earlier mentioned knowing the trail - again, +1 to that as well - when you know the trail - you can let go much easier because you know what's coming next.

  30. #30
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    I rode Pisgah a couple years back (I'm from Phoenix). Thought it was super-cool, some steep sketch in places, excellent trail network, but not really "technical" in the sense of South Mountain in Phoenix.

    Cameras always flatten everything, but that mostly looked like the fire roads we ride to get to the actual trails. It is hard to capture off-camber stuff on GoPros, though.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    This past Memorial Day I went riding with some pretty fast dudes on heartbreak trail in Pisgah, NC. Now, the upper part of heartbreak is nothing but a half mile of rock garden followed by super chunky roots, rocks, drops, etc..

    I consider myself a fast (ish) rider, however the guys I was riding with took off on this stuff and I couldnít keep my bike in order. After about a mile I got super bad arm pump white knuckling and riding the brakes so much.

    So this is a two part question,
    1. What techniques should I employ when riding this stuff?

    2. What can I do to make sure my bike is setup properly for chunk? My fork ( 160mm pike 2016) got overwhelmed quick, and I had little confidence in my front tire placement.


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    How'd you get to Heartbreak? Just curious because we were on it the same day.

    Anyway, since you're from Columbia, your probably not conditioned to riding that type of chunk much. You'll typically get muscle fatigue if this isn't your regular riding terrain. It happened to me, and others, when first riding that type of stuff. So, essentially, it's normal for a beginner to that type of terrain.

    The best way to ride Heartbreak type stuff is to learn not to brake and let the bike do most of the work. Holding on tight is not recommended. Try letting the bike float under you, somewhat like a jockey does with a horse. Your bike needs to be setup correctly, too, and probably different from what lies in Columbia. Harbison has nothing on Pisgah. This leads to my next comments...

    It sounds like your fork was not dialed in for that terrain. Sound like possibly too much rebound, maybe too high a pressure. Tire pressure may also be a factor here. Lower, but not too low, is more favorable.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    This past Memorial Day I went riding with some pretty fast dudes on heartbreak trail in Pisgah, NC. Now, the upper part of heartbreak is nothing but a half mile of rock garden followed by super chunky roots, rocks, drops, etc..

    I consider myself a fast (ish) rider, however the guys I was riding with took off on this stuff and I couldnít keep my bike in order. After about a mile I got super bad arm pump white knuckling and riding the brakes so much.

    So this is a two part question,
    1. What techniques should I employ when riding this stuff?

    2. What can I do to make sure my bike is setup properly for chunk? My fork ( 160mm pike 2016) got overwhelmed quick, and I had little confidence in my front tire placement.


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    Sometimes if you're too tired or dont have the leg strength to get the bike up to a high enough speed to float over stuff, you keep getting slowed down by smaller chunk. Also what the others said about gripping the bars lightly.

  33. #33
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    Spend a bunch of time riding harder trails with actual chunk and rock gardens, then go back and rip through all that little chattery shit like it's not even there.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    How'd you get to Heartbreak? Just curious because we were on it the same day.

    Anyway, since you're from Columbia, your probably not conditioned to riding that type of chunk much. You'll typically get muscle fatigue if this isn't your regular riding terrain. It happened to me, and others, when first riding that type of stuff. So, essentially, it's normal for a beginner to that type of terrain.

    The best way to ride Heartbreak type stuff is to learn not to brake and let the bike do most of the work. Holding on tight is not recommended. Try letting the bike float under you, somewhat like a jockey does with a horse. Your bike needs to be setup correctly, too, and probably different from what lies in Columbia. Harbison has nothing on Pisgah. This leads to my next comments...

    It sounds like your fork was not dialed in for that terrain. Sound like possibly too much rebound, maybe too high a pressure. Tire pressure may also be a factor here. Lower, but not too low, is more favorable.
    We road Sunday. shuttled up the blue ridge via Curtis creek. Then pedaled for about a mile and a half up the parkway, dropped in, then climbed up to the start of kitsuma, some road rattlesnake before, then we all dropped into kitsuma. Lots of the guys were preriding for the enduro this weekend


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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    We road Sunday. shuttled up the blue ridge via Curtis creek. Then pedaled for about a mile and a half up the parkway, dropped in, then climbed up to the start of kitsuma, some road rattlesnake before, then we all dropped into kitsuma. Lots of the guys were preriding for the enduro this weekend


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    Ah, I see. We were there Monday.

  37. #37
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    IF the chunky stuff isn't super steep sometimes speeding up rebound can keep you from getting bogged down.

    Highly recommend you update the air spring in your fork to a new debonair air shaft. It'll stay up in travel a bit more and wallow less. I think it's only about $35. Do a lowers service at the same time. Very easy install.

    Also, the more you ride the trails, the less nervous you'll be. I find that arm pump and white knuckles happen more often on new to you trails.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by eshew View Post
    Also, the more you ride the trails, the less nervous you'll be. I find that arm pump and white knuckles happen more often on new to you trails.
    Also on early (or late) in the day runs. Warmed up but not tired is best.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    hit the gym hard

    pick things up put them down

    use all the machines
    ----
    or just ride chunk 5 hours a day, 7 times a week


    I'm gonna go ahead and agree with this! I ride in some very rocky places, and I also started at the gym this past Nov. After putting in the time over the winter season, I immediately noticed a big difference in how I can handle the bike. Especially over the fast, and rough stuff. Seriously, OP, don't count this suggestion out. The more fit you are, the more fun this sport is!
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Take a look at the 2 videos I found when I searched for this trail, 2 completely different riders, riding this trail, at the same time, one's fast, the other not, can easily see why each is which watching the videos back to back.
    When you're in chunk you have to be light and have a good core to engage and help keep yourself stable/solid, while letting the bike "dance" under you, fighting the bike will tire you out.

    https://youtu.be/gnyx3yyOpro

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hyE5FMAe00
    Those 2 vids are pretty good at showing the difference between average and fast dudes.

    What techniques to use from riding chunk?

    Lets assume you have the baseline skills of jumping and manualling and hucking drops and booming rough sections at speed.


    If not, work on those skills in separate sections to build up.

    The you next need to focus on line choice. Line choice is everything riding through the chunk. If you can follow those fast guys for as long as you can. See where there ride and what lines they take. Yourl notice they take corners wider and blaze straight through rough sections rather than skip around. Often they will double up bits and pop from a to b.


    You need to train your brain to choose the faster lines. They are not always the easiest lines. In fact most often they are not the easiest. Then you need to move to unconcious competence. That is you dont need to think about choosing the line. You see and do, no thinking required.


    Once you have bike skill and line choice sorted then it becomes a mental game. For blazing the chunk you need commitment and confidence. Ride with confidence and then hit that line without any thought of failure. If you think failure,,, you will fail.


    As far as bike is concerned. Many people run way too much tire pressure and way too slow rebound. This is a recipe for pumped forearms and terrible chunk performance.

    Back the tire pressure off as much as you can without bashing rims or getting tire roll in burms. Correct tire pressure is key.



    Wind the rebound out until you start getting bucked then click a few clicks back for ultra fast but not kicky rebound. Any one who tells you to slow your rebound for fast chunk is just wrong and does not understand suspension.


    Also check your tokens and shock pressures. If you have too much pressure and too many tokens it will feel horrible arm pumpy and lack of control through the chunk.

    Too much compression dampening will also make the bike feel harsh. Wind that out too.

    Lastly go find some even chunkier chunk and blaze that as hard and as fast as possible. when you get back to the smaller chunk it will feel easy.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    2. What can I do to make sure my bike is setup properly for chunk?
    Over the years when I have grabbed rider's bikes and checked them out I have frequently been shocked at how poorly their suspension was setup for them. Learning how to get the most from your bike is not something you'll learn from reading a few posts on MTBR. So I'd find someone in your area who is a suspension Yoda and pay them for a few hours of their time to help you setup your bike.

    Document the results so you can return to these settings if you end up adjusting things later on or just need to verify pressures/settings over time.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Back the tire pressure off as much as you can without bashing rims or getting tire roll in burms. Correct tire pressure is key.



    Wind the rebound out until you start getting bucked then click a few clicks back for ultra fast but not kicky rebound. Any one who tells you to slow your rebound for fast chunk is just wrong and does not understand suspension.
    .
    Still don't completely agree with this. The way I see it, there are three main categories of rebound valving.

    1, the valving is an overall bleed. Like older marzocchis, fox evo stuff, etc. This has to be set "very" light as far as rebound to ride anything, and produces a very uncontrolled/bouncy ride. The valving basically has no "blowoff" and the faster the hit, the harder the fluid tries to force itself through the port and it increase exponentially with shafts speed.

    2, the valving works like an overall bleed because even though a HSR circuit is present, the HSR is way too stiff, like the Monarch+ and some other stuff. So even if you crank down the rebound, you get terrible packing. This one at least gives you tuning options, but 99.9% of people aren't going to track it open or send it out to get modded.

    3, the HSR is light enough that you can crank down the LSR and keep it "sucked" to the ground. This is great for traction and control, even in chunk. It's true that you might need to adjust it a bit, but the overall concept of the slow LSC and LSR is a tough concept for some to grasp that haven't experienced it much.

    I'll agree that once you are packing up and you feel that you are packing up through the sharp impacts of the bumps that the fork is not ready to absorb, it's usually time to back off the rebound.

    And as far as tire pressure, again, too low, even if you aren't hitting the rims, can still lead to poor control and stability and not allowing the suspension to work properly. Correct tire pressure is very key, but not necessarily "as low as you can go". Plowing into chunk at speed, enough rigidity in the tires helps to activate the HSC circuit to blow off and suck up the chunk. Not that you should be riding rock-hard by any means, so please don't misunderstand, but tires compressing in little "wheel catcher" rocks can contribute to pitching moments (throwing you over the bars) and often there are some abrupt transitions that can require significantly more pressure than other trail surfaces. Now with a giant tire and low PSI, you might have some good stability and traction, but it won't be all that fast through the chunk comparatively. It's a balance.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Over the years when I have grabbed rider's bikes and checked them out I have frequently been shocked at how poorly their suspension was setup for them. Learning how to get the most from your bike is not something you'll learn from reading a few posts on MTBR. So I'd find someone in your area who is a suspension Yoda and pay them for a few hours of their time to help you setup your bike.

    Document the results so you can return to these settings if you end up adjusting things later on or just need to verify pressures/settings over time.
    Yeah, i recon 50% of the bikes i've ridden of similar weight dudes have been set up terribly. Even from real experienced riders. The just wind on way too much rebound and wonder why the bike feels harsh.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Still don't completely agree with this. The way I see it, there are three main categories of rebound valving.

    1, the valving is an overall bleed. Like older marzocchis, fox evo stuff, etc. This has to be set "very" light as far as rebound to ride anything, and produces a very uncontrolled/bouncy ride. The valving basically has no "blowoff" and the faster the hit, the harder the fluid tries to force itself through the port and it increase exponentially with shafts speed.

    2, the valving works like an overall bleed because even though a HSR circuit is present, the HSR is way too stiff, like the Monarch+ and some other stuff. So even if you crank down the rebound, you get terrible packing. This one at least gives you tuning options, but 99.9% of people aren't going to track it open or send it out to get modded.

    3, the HSR is light enough that you can crank down the LSR and keep it "sucked" to the ground. This is great for traction and control, even in chunk. It's true that you might need to adjust it a bit, but the overall concept of the slow LSC and LSR is a tough concept for some to grasp that haven't experienced it much.

    I'll agree that once you are packing up and you feel that you are packing up through the sharp impacts of the bumps that the fork is not ready to absorb, it's usually time to back off the rebound.

    And as far as tire pressure, again, too low, even if you aren't hitting the rims, can still lead to poor control and stability and not allowing the suspension to work properly. Correct tire pressure is very key, but not necessarily "as low as you can go". Plowing into chunk at speed, enough rigidity in the tires helps to activate the HSC circuit to blow off and suck up the chunk. Not that you should be riding rock-hard by any means, so please don't misunderstand, but tires compressing in little "wheel catcher" rocks can contribute to pitching moments (throwing you over the bars) and often there are some abrupt transitions that can require significantly more pressure than other trail surfaces. Now with a giant tire and low PSI, you might have some good stability and traction, but it won't be all that fast through the chunk comparatively. It's a balance.
    I generally dont like slow lsc and lsr. But i take buttery plush over pedal efficient but harsher platform.

    Sure I agree, tyre pressure is key. Super soft may not be the go. Particularly if its really fast chunk with burms to smash.

    In my world of natural steep gnarly old tramping tracks with no bike park burms and slippery rounded roots as low pressure as possible is generally key. Then when i'm back at the bike part with bench in burms to slam hard and fast chunk more pressure is required.

    Maybe i should rephrase my statement to optimse the tire pressure for the terrain. And thats typically letting the tyres now until you feel a disadvantage and then pumping them back up a few psi.

    I reckon 50% of dudes are charging around with way to much pressure wondering why their arms are pumped and how they hell can their buddies go so fast.

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    I just finally got to watch both of those youtube videos. You call that chunk, for a few roots and rocks? Is that something people really would select a 160 bike for?

    I'd ride it on my hardtail. Knees bent, dropper down, get loose and get around the bike. Maybe I'm crazy? Not sure.

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    Great thread! I wish there was more stuff like this on MTBR.

    A couple of tips from skills coaches that I found useful:

    1) Ride the fast line softly, not the soft line fast

    2) When gripping the bars, imagine that you're trying to pull the ends apart from each other. It sounds weird, but it gives me confidence because I feel that I have a good strong, firm grip on the bars, while still allowing my elbows and shoulders to stay loosey-goosey and soak up all the bumps. It quiets down the front end quite a bit for me, and I feel like the front wheel goes exactly where I want it to, without getting deflected and bounced around.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    I thought those trails looked kinda tame. He has other videos of Pisgah trails that are rougher.
    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    You call that chunk, for a few roots and rocks? Is that something people really would select a 160 bike for?

    I'd ride it on my hardtail. Knees bent, dropper down, get loose and get around the bike. Maybe I'm crazy? Not sure.
    There's a couple types of Pisgah chunk you'll find.

    This is the fast and chattery sort.

    I agree that line selection is a HUGE element to riding stuff like this well. Because the chunk is small, and because you're screaming down it, it requires really fast mental processing to identify and link stuff together. I definitely don't ride stuff like this like Phil, but I'm also not overwhelmed like Bobo. Light on the brakes makes a big difference. And finding ways to pop off of things and at least float, if not get outright air over some of the chunky spots makes a big difference, too.

    The spots that get me most are when you've got a really chattery stretch leading up to something I want to slow down or manage my speed for. Even on my hardtail, the chattery stuff isn't much of an issue with little to no braking, but as soon as I start to add braking force, I begin to feel how that completely changes the behavior of the suspension.

    I did a group ride a week and a half ago that was led by a former pro (sponsored by Giant, raced the xc World Cup). It was sort of a party pace ride that was fairly chill on the climb, but the key part of the ride was a fast downhill with some chattery bits where the pace changed to "let 'er rip" (at whatever pace is comfortable for you). I wanted to watch the fast riders on that descent, but I just could not bring them within sight. They were always just around the next bend or two in the trail. Every time I found a spot where I could speed up, they did, too. Pretty sure the key difference was that they handled the chattery bits without slowing as much as I did, but unfortunately, I was never really within range to see exactly what they were doing differently.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    There's a couple types of Pisgah chunk you'll find.

    This is the fast and chattery sort.

    I agree that line selection is a HUGE element to riding stuff like this well. Because the chunk is small, and because you're screaming down it, it requires really fast mental processing to identify and link stuff together. I definitely don't ride stuff like this like Phil, but I'm also not overwhelmed like Bobo. Light on the brakes makes a big difference. And finding ways to pop off of things and at least float, if not get outright air over some of the chunky spots makes a big difference, too.

    The spots that get me most are when you've got a really chattery stretch leading up to something I want to slow down or manage my speed for. Even on my hardtail, the chattery stuff isn't much of an issue with little to no braking, but as soon as I start to add braking force, I begin to feel how that completely changes the behavior of the suspension.

    I did a group ride a week and a half ago that was led by a former pro (sponsored by Giant, raced the xc World Cup). It was sort of a party pace ride that was fairly chill on the climb, but the key part of the ride was a fast downhill with some chattery bits where the pace changed to "let 'er rip" (at whatever pace is comfortable for you). I wanted to watch the fast riders on that descent, but I just could not bring them within sight. They were always just around the next bend or two in the trail. Every time I found a spot where I could speed up, they did, too. Pretty sure the key difference was that they handled the chattery bits without slowing as much as I did, but unfortunately, I was never really within range to see exactly what they were doing differently.
    I definitely couldn't tackle that at the speeds Phil was hitting it at, but I think all of us could find a comfortable speed to hit all of that.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    I definitely couldn't tackle that at the speeds Phil was hitting it at, but I think all of us could find a comfortable speed to hit all of that.
    That's the thing about this sort of fast, chattery stuff in the area - sure, you can find a comfortable speed to ride it. But it takes a certain amount of speed and commitment to have fun riding it. A lot of these descents are fairly straight and can get uninteresting without figuring out how to take advantage of some of the speed that's possible.

    There are quite a few spots along the way where it's not nearly as enjoyable as it could be.

    Maybe you're riding it REALLY slow to the point that you're barely noticing the fact that the trail points downhill because of some combination of riding skill, equipment, and setup. The roots, especially, are often twisted on top of each other in suboptimal angles (you hear Bobo going on about them being off-camber) and damp and without sufficient speed or some trials skills (and really good line choice), you're walking.

    Maybe you've gotten to the point where you're comfortable with some speed, but you're still lacking in the skill department or your bike is missing something in the equipment or setup department, and you're unable to hit it with much smoothness. At that level, you're going to get your ass handed to you just from being beaten up and rattled. And you saw that from Bobo.

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    I wasnít getting my ass handed to me and I was going at a decent speed, the fast guys were just a lot faster and I didnít have an explanation of why, but like I said before I think braking is a huge part of it


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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    I just finally got to watch both of those youtube videos. You call that chunk, for a few roots and rocks? Is that something people really would select a 160 bike for?

    I'd ride it on my hardtail. Knees bent, dropper down, get loose and get around the bike. Maybe I'm crazy? Not sure.
    Go ride that trail and get back to me if you think that YouTube video accurately shows it


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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    I just finally got to watch both of those youtube videos. You call that chunk, for a few roots and rocks? Is that something people really would select a 160 bike for?

    I'd ride it on my hardtail. Knees bent, dropper down, get loose and get around the bike. Maybe I'm crazy? Not sure.
    Honestly, that trail is really narrow and speed is a relative thing. One wrong move or one rock that knocks you off your line will throw you hard into the trees and cause pain. Have not watched the video's but honestly, those things never show how steep or narrow or rocky a trail is. Just saying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Have not watched the video's but honestly, those things never show how steep or narrow or rocky a trail is. Just saying.
    That's probably why every time I ride Windrock there's a couple people that show up without the proper equipment, take the shuttle up for their first run, a while later they come walking down the mountain, then leave. I'm guessing they saw some YouTube videos and thought it didn't look too bad.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    hit the gym hard

    pick things up put them down

    use all the machines
    ----
    or just ride chunk 5 hours a day, 7 times a week

    Agree, except the machine part. Stick to the simple weights.

    I think people are making this too complicated.

    When I hear guys talk about arm pump it almost always from guys who might be fast, skilled riders but might lack over all physical fitness and strength.

    Hard core trail work like bench cutting with a heavy mattock one or twice a week will rid you of any arm pump.

    Dead lifts and chin ups will rid you of arm pump.

    These things will make your entire body tough, strong, and powerful.


    Or, like above, just ride the chunk - a lot.


    Don't feel too bad, I rode Pisgah the first time last summer. It had some of the toughest trail riding I'd ever been on. Long brutal climbs that wore you down and softened you up, then some brutal, slick, chunky downs. Can't wait to get back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    Go ride that trail and get back to me if you think that YouTube video accurately shows it


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    I agree, on the vid that trail didn't look bad, but pics and video never captures the difficulty level of a trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Agree, except the machine part. Stick to the simple weights.

    I think people are making this too complicated.

    When I hear guys talk about arm pump it almost always from guys who might be fast, skilled riders but might lack over all physical fitness and strength.

    Hard core trail work like bench cutting with a heavy mattock one or twice a week will rid you of any arm pump.

    Dead lifts and chin ups will rid you of arm pump.

    These things will make your entire body tough, strong, and powerful.


    Or, like above, just ride the chunk - a lot.


    Don't feel too bad, I rode Pisgah the first time last summer. It had some of the toughest trail riding I'd ever been on. Long brutal climbs that wore you down and softened you up, then some brutal, slick, chunky downs. Can't wait to get back.
    Yeah I think this is the other part of the puzzle, we took a break or two when descending to work on line choices, and every time I had fresh arms I road a lot faster (imagine that )


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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Honestly, that trail is really narrow and speed is a relative thing. One wrong move or one rock that knocks you off your line will throw you hard into the trees and cause pain. Have not watched the video's but honestly, those things never show how steep or narrow or rocky a trail is. Just saying.
    I don't disagree. There's a video of Phil riding double blacks at Whistler that I do find genuinely scary and chunky at times,v things that I'd find way above my level. I worry far more about the loose than chunk. I suppose we all have our challenges.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    I wasnít getting my ass handed to me and I was going at a decent speed, the fast guys were just a lot faster and I didnít have an explanation of why, but like I said before I think braking is a huge part of it


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    In which case if you back yourself for reasonable speed it will have come down to line choice, commitment and confidence.

    I back myself to be able to ride chunk faster than most. I'll call m self a pretty fast 48 year old dude. But i'm not pro enduro/dh fast. I won local dh races, my best placing when racing DH nationally was 3rd in the 30+ category. I ride with a pretty fast old dude crew with ex dh racers, current enduro racers and motor riders. When i'm mentally on my game i can hold onto the fastest guys, sometimes go faster than them if they are off there game. But if i'm a slight bit off theres mentally no way i can keep up. Slightly off mentally and i'll be 30-40 seconds slower on a 10 min dh run.

    The notable difference i see with the real fast guys is their line choice. They are the line wispers. Its small subtle differences, they'l go a little bit higher then normal, or a little bit wider or cut in sooner. Each little line improvement gives them a meter here, a meter there, you thinking you a doing a good job but they are slowy pulling a gap. Those buggers are also super consistant. You could be holding onto them and then one small error and they pull a gap, then another and boom they are gone.


    If you can hold on to them next time take a real close look at their line choice. Even ask a guy to go a bit slower so you can follow, or ask one of them to follow you down and give some pointers.


    One of my crew is an ex pro world cup racer from back in the day. He is just a tacktician when it comes to lines and corners. He see's all this stuff I wouldnt normally see. Uses a little knob to pop over there, cuts the track through here... its a thing to behold following him down a track.

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    "chunk"

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfxc View Post
    "chunk"

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    Don't make fun, chunk just won the heavyweight championship of the world...(:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    IME, this is a big key between being able to ride down the chunk trail the whole way, and the guys that have to stop every few hundred feet down Predator to "rest their body" on the gnarly downhill. Being able to do drops and jumps and keep your body rigid and not "collapse" is huge. The more you can do that, the more you can keep it up all day or all the way down the trail.

    Also, sometimes the easiest line looks the worst, as in the steepest or most gnarly, but sometimes the bumps hold your wheels up and above and you keep momentum, which is the real key in that kind of terrain. Sometimes you need the zen approach and imagine yourself as water flowing down the trail looking for the path of least resistance.
    Yes, "collapsing" is almost exactly how I'd describe it. Just running out of the strength to keep centered on the bike in a fast berm. I was riding a lot back then but I really needed the cross training to improve my strength for that kind of stuff. Same goes for arm pump. I do lots of heavy trail work so that isn't an issue for me, except for WBP... But Whistler is definitely an outlier. The sheer amount of time you can spend descending there is outrageous.



    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I've found MORE is actually better!
    Man, I don't know how you guys do it. All I want to do is eat and take a nap. But hey, whatever works for ya!


    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    Go ride that trail and get back to me if you think that YouTube video accurately shows it


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    I will admit that I thought "that doesn't look too bad" when I watched the videos but I also know that video doesn't accurately represent trails. There are some local videos of really, really gnarly bits of trail that look like nothing on video.

    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    I don't disagree. There's a video of Phil riding double blacks at Whistler that I do find genuinely scary and chunky at times,v things that I'd find way above my level. I worry far more about the loose than chunk. I suppose we all have our challenges.
    All you need to know about Phil Kmetz's riding skills can be summed up this way: Yoann Barelli rolled into a gnarly gap on Schleyer in the Whistler bike park and stopped before hitting it. Phil rolled in first time and did it like it was nothing. All documented in the video I posted on page one.

    And going back to the point that video flattens everything out, I've ridden Schleyer a hundred times and that rock face is a serious feature. I can roll it no problem but jumping that left hand side is decidedly in the pro realm. It's also a case where the hard looking line is actually the easiest one. Most people roll it on the right hand side but rolling it where they were jumping it is the easier line and it sets you up better for the next piece of trail. It took a lot of convincing for me to believe that but when I actually did it, I was amazed at how easy it was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    I generally dont like slow lsc and lsr. But i take buttery plush over pedal efficient but harsher platform.

    Sure I agree, tyre pressure is key. Super soft may not be the go. Particularly if its really fast chunk with burms to smash.

    In my world of natural steep gnarly old tramping tracks with no bike park burms and slippery rounded roots as low pressure as possible is generally key. Then when i'm back at the bike part with bench in burms to slam hard and fast chunk more pressure is required.

    Maybe i should rephrase my statement to optimse the tire pressure for the terrain. And thats typically letting the tyres now until you feel a disadvantage and then pumping them back up a few psi.

    I reckon 50% of dudes are charging around with way to much pressure wondering why their arms are pumped and how they hell can their buddies go so fast.
    My riding partner two days ago had that epiphany. He always pumped his tires to around 28psi, then complains that the ride is chattery and loose downhill. This time he forgot his pump, so I gave his tires a quick squeeze and told him to just ride. Suddenly he's right on my tail on descents and amazed at his grip levels (well, it was hero dirt but still). No tire collapses, no burps, didn't ding a rim either.

    We got back to the truck and dug out his tire gauge. 21psi front, 23psi rear. I think he'll be running 1 or 2 psi above that, but the point finally made it through.

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  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    I wasnít getting my ass handed to me and I was going at a decent speed, the fast guys were just a lot faster and I didnít have an explanation of why, but like I said before I think braking is a huge part of it


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    I think you're seeing an effect dating all the way back to rigid bikes. Above a certain speed, with a reasonably relaxed rider, the bike starts to skim over the chunk instead of sinking into the holes. I remember trails in my teens that I'd finally hit that threshold on and suddenly have a big leap in speed. You'd struggle mightily to get up to, say, 14mph but if you could make 15 you could just as easily go 20mph or more.

    There was one trail in particular near Snowshoe back then that was just 50 yards of babyhead rocks. The group ride I was on hit it, and numerous riders got bucked off. I charged into it blind at high speed, had a brief moment of "oh poop", then relaxed and committed. Somehow managed to surf the rocks all the way through, but had to stop and take a few deep breaths afterwards.

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  66. #66
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    Little update

    Sessioned fire mountain in Cherokee North Carolina this weekend (if you havenít ridden this trail system your blowing it, Jesus Christ this was given to us by the gods) and I had the chance to really dial in my fork.

    I ended up with a single air token (removed 1), about 23% sag, no LSC, and 2-3 clicks of rebound from full open. This felt really good on fire mountains diverse trails.

    I may throw the token back in, but I think I need to keep the rebound more open and the sag higher then what I was riding before.


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  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sender420shred View Post
    Little update

    Sessioned fire mountain in Cherokee North Carolina this weekend (if you havenít ridden this trail system your blowing it, Jesus Christ this was given to us by the gods) and I had the chance to really dial in my fork.

    I ended up with a single air token (removed 1), about 23% sag, no LSC, and 2-3 clicks of rebound from full open. This felt really good on fire mountains diverse trails.

    I may throw the token back in, but I think I need to keep the rebound more open and the sag higher then what I was riding before.


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    I'm gonna have to ride up there and check those trails out one day.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolltide386 View Post
    I'm gonna have to ride up there and check those trails out one day.
    Very well built trails with still feeling like your out in nature. Itís basically an enduro bike park


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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post
    1. When you're riding over your head (without confidence) you tend to ride tight. Maybe trail familiarity is an issue?

    2. 80% archer / 20% arrow. Pretty much impossible to tell you how to set up your suspension over the internets without more info.

    Just thoughts, feel free to disregard...
    Totally agree with the trail familiarity cause has a big impact when I ride chunky stuff I tend to ride stiffer causing me to fatigue quicker


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  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Spend a bunch of time riding harder trails with actual chunk and rock gardens, then go back and rip through all that little chattery shit like it's not even there.
    Best comment yet. You ****in rock bro. The 420 definitely relaxes the mind & body for gnar.

  71. #71
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    Might not be popular opinion, but everyone I ride with that does the "420" thing is slow. Every rock and boulder needs analyzing, and they seem to get overwhelmed REAL fast. They can go okay on trails they know very well. But once in new territory, they struggle to keep up.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Might not be popular opinion, but everyone I ride with that does the "420" thing is slow. Every rock and boulder needs analyzing, and they seem to get overwhelmed REAL fast. They can go okay on trails they know very well. But once in new territory, they struggle to keep up.
    Do you think the 420 thing can be my problem even if i don't smoke?
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Do you think the 420 thing can be my problem even if i don't smoke?
    Yes!

    But seriously, why is it a problem that you're not as fast as someone else?

    If you want to be faster you gotta get off the brakes, take more chances, and don't look down
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  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Yes!

    But seriously, why is it a problem that you're not as fast as someone else?

    If you want to be faster you gotta get off the brakes, take more chances, and don't look down
    When you say don't look down you mean because we should be looking a few meters ahead right.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Might not be popular opinion, but everyone I ride with that does the "420" thing is slow. Every rock and boulder needs analyzing, and they seem to get overwhelmed REAL fast. They can go okay on trails they know very well. But once in new territory, they struggle to keep up.
    Obviously amateurs.
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  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Might not be popular opinion, but everyone I ride with that does the "420" thing is slow. Every rock and boulder needs analyzing, and they seem to get overwhelmed REAL fast. They can go okay on trails they know very well. But once in new territory, they struggle to keep up.
    IMO the 420 thing applies only to certain individuals. I am naturally critical and analytical so it helps me to lower guard, loosen up, lay off the brakes and try to let her rip.

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