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  1. #1
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    Need Advice

    Hi
    I am only new to the sport. About 6 weeks ago, myself, my two sons, daughter, and a few friends decided to get fit, so we went and bought ourselves some mountain bikes - Specialized Hardrock Sport. We couldn’t believe the price of bikes and said we would never spend thousands on a bike, BUT LOL wait for it. We go out about four evenings a week and have gone from the stage of nearly throwing up whilst going up hills; wanting to die; to really enjoying ourselves. The places that we cycle are forests in the mountains with Tarmac roads, gravel roads, single track forest paths and mountain paths
    The problem that we are having is on the descent. We used to come down at a snails pace but as we have got more confident and so faster, the bikes are bouncing all over the place especially the rear and many times it feels like an uncontrolled mad dissent but what a buzz.
    None of us have a clue about bikes. I have just found this forum and 90% of what you talk about is going straight over my head so it is going to take awhile to get my head around all the jargon. The lad in our local bike shop has recommended that we get Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp that, he ‘says’ will handle the steep climbs and the rough descents. But in order to pay that sort of money we want to be absolutely sure that this is not sales talk. Can any of you offer us any advice?
    Thank you in advance
    Patrick

  2. #2
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    You don't NEED a FS to ride down a hill. It helps, but you don't need it. First, try dropping the air pressure in the tires to 35psi (or even 25 if you want but it increases the risk of pinch flats and rim damage). You don't need to slow down a lot, but new riders tend to either use no brakes, or all brakes. Be nicer to your brakes. It's ok to apply just a little pressure at times to manage your speed. Don't be afraid to use both the front and rear brakes. Your fork isn't the best. It will tend to be bouncy, especially if you are heaver then 160lbs. You may want to try an upgrade on that, but to be honest the hardrock sport is a beginner's bike. The rockhopper may still be a hardtail, but will act a lot different.

    You can ride hardtails and not die. But you just bought those, unless the bike shop guy is going to do a trade-in, tell him to shove it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks mlepito
    we have our tires at 35psi we have tried them lower but it felt harder to climb so we put them back up. I know our technique stinks but we were thinking better bikes would be more forgiving and do not know what to upgrade to. the shop guy will do trade-in. He rides Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp himself and loves it. Do you think he is biased.

  4. #4
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    "Do you think he is biased."

    Yes! Get more practice, have fun, use the brakes as suggested above, get your backside off the saddle and hang it out the back, use your arms and legs as 'shock absorbers' to soak up the bumps (far better than any FS or front fork shocks).

    Try going slower downhill but keep it controlled, using the brakes to ease off when the bike threatens to take over, then take the same downhill faster next time but still under control. Choose your lines carefully so you're not bouncing off rocks and roots. By the sound of it you're making amazing progress anyway so it won't be long before you're bombing those downhills again - but under control.

    6 weeks is far too soon to think about hanging up your hardtails and going FS. Most riders start out with hardtails and many riders say your skills will ultimately be much better for riding hardtail for a while before switching, should you decide to make that change.

  5. #5
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    Possibly the single thing that helped me most when it came to going downhill was when I learned to take my weight on my feet rather than just sitting on the saddle. Even just lifting your butt off the saddle half-an-inch can make the difference sometimes.

    The Stumpjumper FSR is indeed a nice bike, but you have what, four people in your immediate family? It's gonna cost a lot to buy four Stumpys.

    Does your bikeshop have Stumpjumper that they will loan you, or perhaps rent to you? I know my local specialized dealer keeps a handful of demo bikes in stock during the season. Perhaps yours does as well.

    Congrats, btw, on your progress.

  6. #6
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    I have always like specialized. They are predictable during downhills, and climb well. I don't like the cables running under the downtube. And their frames are not guaranteed for life. With my last full suspension bike, I could have used that.

    I did test ride the fsr and I really liked it. It comes down to the ferrari principle. It's worth the price if you can afford it. If you can afford the fsr, you won't be disappointed. I personally ended up getting a trek fuel ex because of the warranty, it has a shimano group I liked, and the cables are not routed under the down tube.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qatarbhoy
    "Do you think he is biased."

    Yes! Get more practice, have fun, use the brakes as suggested above, get your backside off the saddle and hang it out the back, use your arms and legs as 'shock absorbers' to soak up the bumps (far better than any FS or front fork shocks).

    Try going slower downhill but keep it controlled, using the brakes to ease off when the bike threatens to take over, then take the same downhill faster next time but still under control. Choose your lines carefully so you're not bouncing off rocks and roots. By the sound of it you're making amazing progress anyway so it won't be long before you're bombing those downhills again - but under control.

    6 weeks is far too soon to think about hanging up your hardtails and going FS. Most riders start out with hardtails and many riders say your skills will ultimately be much better for riding hardtail for a while before switching, should you decide to make that change.
    I completely agree. newer riders should stay with hardtails. FS bikes are all different; the way they climb, the way they descend. New riders havn't figured out their style yet. You won't know if the bike really fits your likes and needs.

  8. #8
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    some thoughts for you...

    tires: it's common on long ascents to keep a harder tire, and to deflate it for the descent. If it's technical going down, consider a larger volume tire like the Kenda Nevegal Stick-e Kevlar bead.2.35.

    Brakes: most of it's done with the front, about 70%...learn to modulate it...that means feather it with use of the back tire, which you never skid. That is a trail killer and earns scorn from other trail users. Skid the front and get ready to kiss the ground. Practice the feel.

    Learn to "float". In a descent, with your favoured foot forward & feet at 3&9 o'clock, lift your butt and let the bike float under you, use your legs for shocks. If it's steep, drop your saddle 4-5".

    Watch some videos on you tube or similar, there are many instructional ones that will help.

    Lastly, on the Stumpy, while the shop is biased, it's a top rated bike. If you can get your loot back for the HT bikes, and you're really stoked, you won't be sorry if you upgrade.

    Good luck, Jim

  9. #9
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    Thank you for all your helpful advice.
    There are between 5 and 9 of us go out together and we all learn from each others mistakes. We have learned to use the brakes together after the back wheel coming round to meet the front and a few over the handlebars jobbies.

    We all like to climb just to see if we can get up the steepest hills without passing out and with as few stops as possible, it always feels good when you get to the top. We know once you get there it is brilliant fun coming back down so we were just wondering where we on proper bikes we are only doing small jumps. We would rather be safe than sorry.
    We have also learned to stand up and keep our weight back after a few over the handlebars events on steep sections and it is too painful to sit; there seems to be more control standing. We are learning the hard way but the wipeouts have not been too serious but it helps the learning curve when one of us do something stupid, then the rest know not to go there, lol.

    We are doing these things but I would say if you see us we are probably doing them wrong. Don’t be afraid to correct me, I am here to learn from those that know. None of us have ever done any mountain biking before. In the six weeks we have been going out we have only ever seen another couple of bikers out so it mustn’t be a big sport in this part of Ireland. Or everyone is just avoiding us lol

    I didn’t know to keep the knees and arms bent so will pass this information on.

    We will practice the braking techniques

    As for the Stumpy we are only going on the advice of the shop. Remember if you set a full suspension and a hard tale in front of me with no price tags on and asked me which is the better bike? I couldn’t tell you. I do not fully understand the difference between the hard tail and full suspension except I would guess that the full suspension would be for the very rough stuff. Hence me been on here looking for advice.

  10. #10
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    You might try running your back tire a few PSI higher than your front. The back carries most of your weight when you're climbing, and the front when you're descending, so it works out pretty well. I go about 35 rear and 30 front.

    As others noted, get off the seat on the descents and use your legs and arms as shocks, you should be OK. I don't know how much adjustment that fork has, but you'll want it stiffer for heavy riders and soft for lighter ones. The shop should be able to help you set it up.

    Congratulations on getting the family into biking! I did some road biking in Ireland many years ago, loved it.

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