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  1. #1
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    Basic skills for freeride

    hi, my virgin post and I guess this is the best place to put it under

    I've been riding road, xc since 1996 and decided to get with the freeride program at a pretty late age, I'm 23.

    Anyway, I'm gonna take delivery of a 2005 Kona Stinky at US$1350 soon (yup, bikes are that cheap in Asia). What would you guys say are the most basic skills for freeride that I should practise first before attempting to do the "harder" stuff.

    i've read/heard bad things about the stock Drop Off triple on the Stinky, should i stump up the extra US$250 for the Jr T then (considering I'm a beginner) ?

  2. #2
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    well about the DOT as far as last year it had the same dampening as the JR T, just an iinch less travel. So im geussing for this year its basicly a junior t ( 20mm axle, 7") with a different name and graphics to save some money for the bike.

    For freeriding, id definitely say to learn to jump, its an important skill. And also just keep practicing drops and all things involving balance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse
    what were is gnarcal

  3. #3
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    JR. T isnt much better than the DOT. If you really want to progress, get a super T. However, be aware that once you get a nicer DC fork, you wont be able to trai lride as well as usual. These forks are made for drops, not rock gardens. To progress your skills, buy a book, or ask around here. A lot of people here are seasoned freeriders, and most of us are pretty helpful.

  4. #4
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    If you are coming from a road background you will not be used to riding standing up with the seat dropped. Get used to flat pedals, you don't want clipless for learning freeriding.
    Those are the two things to master before moving on to stunts, etc.
    That fork is fine.

  5. #5
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    Some of the most basic skills you'll need are the ability to wheelie, brake, stall, and bunnyhop.

    and yes, the DOT is really as bad if not worse than what people are saying. I've never ridden a JrT so I dont have much to compare, but I think that just about anything would be better than the DOT.
    "What would happen to the Weather Channel's ratings if people werent scared anymore?"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajw8899
    JR. T isnt much better than the DOT. If you really want to progress, get a super T. However, be aware that once you get a nicer DC fork, you wont be able to trai lride as well as usual. These forks are made for drops, not rock gardens. To progress your skills, buy a book, or ask around here. A lot of people here are seasoned freeriders, and most of us are pretty helpful.
    the super t has good dampening which absorbs rock gardens well...
    it's kind of the opposite. the junior t feels good on single hits like drops and jumps and riding in a parking lot. the super t will work great for anything (besides xc or road racing)

    don't get the junior t as it is almost the same as the DOT. I would go with a used super t.

  7. #7
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    keep em coming...

    thanks for the inputs so far...

    I've read somewhere in this forum that a Z1 FR 150mm of travel is way better than the DOT 170mm of travel, quality wise. However, if I put on the Z1FR on the Stinky, will it affect the geometry and the ride quality that much, 20mm difference gonna mean a lot?

  8. #8
    i should be working
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    i'd say learn to take a fall. seen lots of kids w/ broken collar bones. you got to learn to roll with the fall.

  9. #9
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    Ride with people better than you. Look for groups to ride with and ask many questions and just watch is the best advice.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
    Ride with people better than you. Look for groups to ride with and ask many questions and just watch is the best advice.
    Hell yeah, good advice Shiver.

    back to the original Q...

    The most basic skill to practice is being comfortable on your bike in stressful situations. That comes ONLY from lots of time in the saddle. No matter what you might think about the rumors... i.e., Berrecloth or Basagoitia jumping on a MTB and throwing down huge first time, the truth is that those two cats had LIFETIMES on BMX bikes before they even thought of what you would consider "freeriding". They were accomplished BMX "trails" (jump lines) riders, so doing weird shyte on a bike came naturally to them.

    Do simple things, like find a vacant parking lot and try to ride the paint stripes as slowly as you can without dabbing. Work on your body english, find out what movements cause what types of bike motions. In other words, find the small details about how to balance on your bike.

    You don't need to know how to wheelie, ignore the person who said that. Wheelies are show-off skills. They have almost nothing to do with technical freeriding.

    However, wheelies ARE good for teaching you how to be comfortable on your bike in odd positions. That much I agree with.

    The more comfortable you are in narrow confines riding VERY slowly, the more fluid you will become on the bike.

  11. #11
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    You haven't received the bike yet, and you've never ridden FR stuff, so ignore any and all advice about buying new parts, and don't worry about it yourself either.

    Stick with what comes stock on the bike. Worry about upgrading much, much later.

    Gonzo has some good advice there. Just put in a lot of saddle time, even doing stupid little stuff like riding paint lines in parking lots (which is a great skill). The basic skills will come by riding things over and over. Practicing specific stuff is fine, but if you keep riding, all of it will develop naturally.

  12. #12
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    last thing....when you come to a hard STEEP TECHNICAL section most people stop breathing and tighten up. Concentrate on breathing hard in and out and relax and let her rip. Also lean back and get your head down but looking forward. (lower center of gravity)

    Don't let someone push you over your abilities. Walk parts if you have to because those will be the ones you will do later. Take your time to learn your abilities.

  13. #13
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    I don't really know how skilled you are at biking in general so sorry if this is too elementary, but just specifically for freeriding, I'd say learn how to "bomb" off of small drops (go fast and pull up the front end, so you drop with your wheels fairly level) and wheelie off small drops. Also, practice balance; this will be really important as you get into riding technical terrain as well as skiniies and bridges. The best way is to just come to a stop, and try to stay on your bike without putting your feet down, by shifting your weight.

    As for upgrades, definitely don't worry about replacing anything (unless it breaks) for a good 6 months or so. The parts that come stock on the Stinky are fairly beefy, and should more than get you through the first few months of starting to FR
    "Don't just huck yourself: be skilled, be trained, be ready, be prepared, then give 'er." -Dylan Tremblay

  14. #14
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    There's alot of good advice already on here, but a few things that I worked on that really helped me.

    Simple trials moves, standing in one spot, then moving again, hoping either your front or rear tire, and other very slow speed work. This is easy to practice, I do it every day as I commute into work.

    The second item is to learn how to roll steep drops, at first you dont want to be hucking your self off of everything, learn to roll, get your ass out way over the rear tire, as a roadie, my guess is that that would be very unnatural to do, but learn to do it, and it'll save your ass from going over the bars.

    Also learn about brake modulation... when you are moving slow too much front brake + a small bump or drop = you over the front handle bars.... it is pretty easy to blow through 5" or even 6" inches of front travel very suddenly if you arent paying attention and have a hand full of front brakes.

    Dont be afraid to go practice this stuff in a park or your own back yard, I learned to ride skinies on a 2 x 12 that I laid on the ground, then went to a 2 x 8 and then a 2x6.

    Hope that helps

    Have Fun
    TP

    PS. If you have the money, I'd upgrade your fork now, $250 bucks is a lot easier to suck up now, then $600 to $700 a year from now.

  15. #15
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    I really think riding with people better then you helps a lot. Around here I look like a god on a bike, which is sad, because I am far from good.

    I personally like to ride up onto a curb, and just take it as far as you can keep your balance. I started riding about 2-3 feet before just falling off. Now I can take a curb about 70', which rocks because its awesome knowing your progressing.

    I also like to do all of the above, track stand as long as possible to catch breath, and just to calm down I guess. I try to manual a lot (to no real success) and wheelie, I do some stoppies. All in all, get myself into rough situations and try to get out.

    Cheers to Gonzo. I practice about 2-5 hours a day....and I don't really feel as progressed during weeks of that as I did when I spent a weekend at Big Bear. Hitting some of that stuff was just a culture shock for me, and I feel I did well for my first time up there. Coming back was a real gift when I thought about navigating a lot of the stuff that was thrown at me up there, and my practice routine got a lot more boring after the trip.

    People call me a dick, but I just think im clever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedro
    what he meant was 'greaser' types, most likely performing choreographed musical outakes which somehow degrade dirt jumps...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
    Don't let someone push you over your abilities. Walk parts if you have to because those will be the ones you will do later. Take your time to learn your abilities.
    I second that. Ride as much as you can, don't be afraid to try new things. You will crash sometimes, that's part of the fun. But ride within your abilities. Take risks, but take calculated risks, and work your way up gradually. And most of all, have fun. That is after all what "freeriding" is all about, right? It's about making riding more fun.

    As far as your fork choice, there's different schools of thought on that. When I first rode Northstar on my XC bike, it opened my eyes to a whole new world of having fun on a bike. I went out and bought the best bike I could afford. Fortunately I had some cash, so I bought a Foes Fly, Super T, Curnutt, the works. Some would say that was stupid, that a bike like that is totally wasted on a beginner. But since I got that bike I'm riding a lot more, my skills have improved, I'm riding stuff that I would have never considered before, and most importantly, I'm more stoked on riding and having more fun than I ever did on my XC bike. I even started racing a bit (a lot of fun btw and a good way to progess as a rider), not that that's any big deal, but it's not something I would have anticipated before. Of course, it's not the bike, it's the rider, make no mistake about that. But a good bike can sort of open up new possibilities and get you stoked on riding again, stoked rider rides more, gets more skills, has more fun, hence rides more, gets yet more skills, etc. My point is, don't let anyone tell you that a Jr T would be wasted on you since you're just a lowly beginner. If you can't afford it, that's one thing. But if you ride a lot, you will get better, no matter what you ride, fs, hardtail, econo or full bling, as long as you get out there and ride. So if you're serious about riding and progressing, don't be ashamed to buy good equipment. It also helps to have some good places to ride, and people to ride with. So what I would suggest is, if you can afford it and have some good trails to ride, pay the extra whatever $$$ and get the Super T, not the Jr T. That's just my opinion. Everybody's different so you'll have to figure out what's best for you.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornholio
    I second that. Ride as much as you can, don't be afraid to try new things. You will crash sometimes, that's part of the fun. But ride within your abilities. Take risks, but take calculated risks, and work your way up gradually. And most of all, have fun. That is after all what "freeriding" is all about, right? It's about making riding more fun.

    As far as your fork choice, there's different schools of thought on that. When I first rode Northstar on my XC bike, it opened my eyes to a whole new world of having fun on a bike. I went out and bought the best bike I could afford. Fortunately I had some cash, so I bought a Foes Fly, Super T, Curnutt, the works. Some would say that was stupid, that a bike like that is totally wasted on a beginner. But since I got that bike I'm riding a lot more, my skills have improved, I'm riding stuff that I would have never considered before, and most importantly, I'm more stoked on riding and having more fun than I ever did on my XC bike. I even started racing a bit (a lot of fun btw and a good way to progess as a rider), not that that's any big deal, but it's not something I would have anticipated before. Of course, it's not the bike, it's the rider, make no mistake about that. But a good bike can sort of open up new possibilities and get you stoked on riding again, stoked rider rides more, gets more skills, has more fun, hence rides more, gets yet more skills, etc. My point is, don't let anyone tell you that a Jr T would be wasted on you since you're just a lowly beginner. If you can't afford it, that's one thing. But if you ride a lot, you will get better, no matter what you ride, fs, hardtail, econo or full bling, as long as you get out there and ride. So if you're serious about riding and progressing, don't be ashamed to buy good equipment. It also helps to have some good places to ride, and people to ride with. So what I would suggest is, if you can afford it and have some good trails to ride, pay the extra whatever $$$ and get the Super T, not the Jr T. That's just my opinion. Everybody's different so you'll have to figure out what's best for you.
    Yup.. I second that.

  18. #18
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    Riding onto a curb

    Quote Originally Posted by Gramatica
    I I personally like to ride up onto a curb, and just take it as far as you can keep your balance. I started riding about 2-3 feet before just falling off. Now I can take a curb about 70', which rocks because its awesome knowing your progressing.
    hi, what's riding up onto a curb?

    all you guys have been great with the advice. heard before that people here are helpful, but my expectations have been exceeded . I'll to practice something on my roadbike now, haha.

  19. #19
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    You don't need to know how to wheelie, ignore the person who said that. Wheelies are show-off skills. They have almost nothing to do with technical freeriding.
    are you kidding? Come on. Being able to wheelie and be comfortable pulling the front of the bike up is an essential skill for dropping off stuff.
    "What would happen to the Weather Channel's ratings if people werent scared anymore?"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zonk0u
    are you kidding? Come on. Being able to wheelie and be comfortable pulling the front of the bike up is an essential skill for dropping off stuff.
    I think you're confusing being able to do a simple manual, and being able to do a wheelie. maybe where you come from, a "wheelie" is something very simple, takes almost no practice, and everyone can do it. sounds to me like you're talking about a simple manual, merely pulling up the front wheel and not riding rear-wheel-only for long distances.

    where I come from, and everywhere else I've lived, a "wheelie" is riding rear-wheel-only for long distances, no matter whether you pedaled up the front wheel, or pulled it up manually.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tainted
    hi, what's riding up onto a curb?
    Just ride along the top of a curb. I take that driveway "dip-to-the-street" and just ride down my block on the curb. You get funny looks sometimes, especially from your neighbors. I feel their nasty looks are coming from a worry that I'm going to fall over on their cars illegally parked in the street.
    People call me a dick, but I just think im clever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedro
    what he meant was 'greaser' types, most likely performing choreographed musical outakes which somehow degrade dirt jumps...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzostrike
    where I come from, and everywhere else I've lived, a "wheelie" is riding rear-wheel-only for long distances, no matter whether you pedaled up the front wheel, or pulled it up manually.
    where I come from, wheelies you pedal, manuals you coast.... distance traveled is irrelevant.

    Im not sure what everyone else does, but I give at least a pedal kick or two to keep my front up going off low speed drops or drops with short runouts. From my experiences it keeps my body more relaxed and neutral and prepared for the drop rather than tweaking my weight around to lift my front wheel till the rear one drops.

    It may not be the way you do it, but it's what works best for me.
    "What would happen to the Weather Channel's ratings if people werent scared anymore?"

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