Quick Question: Bike Set-up for Buckwallow/Porcupine Ridge Newbie- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Quick Question: Bike Set-up for Buckwallow/Porcupine Ridge Newbie

    I know it's late notice, but I'm going up to Bracebridge for the long weekend with some friends to finally try these trails. Taking my Titus El Guapo so I think I'll have enough bike under me lol, but I have questions about set-up to have the most fun out on these trails for the first time.

    Keeping in mind that I'm a very good technical rider and will probably love the trails... and the El Guapo frame I have is the early version with the steeper head-angle and it climbs very very well for a 32lb coil-spring 6" bike...

    - flats or clips? I'm taking both, no question. I guess my question is more like: will I like the clips for the climbs enough to out-weigh the freedom of riding flats on challenging new terrain? or will the climbs just suck on flats because my gearing is too hard *see next question*

    - Should I bother with all the trouble of re-doing my chain guide & shortening my chain to swap a 32t ring instead of the 38t? I'm currently running a single 38t front with 32-11 rear and a chain guide. I have big legs and am good at the high-effort/slow-cadence riding style associated with technical features. That's all I have: 38t or 32t, I'm not buying a new ring at full mark-up just for this weekend.

    And finally... we're camping at the KOA Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights, probably doing Buckwallow on Saturday and Porc Ridge on Sunday, and a quick whatever ride on Monday before bailing-out for the drive home. Hopefully I'll have internet access in the camp ground but if anyone wants to meet-up and show us n00bies around, please PM and exchange cell #'s for txting!

    also known as Plaid Shirt Guy...

  2. #2
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    Flats or Clips ... hmm tough choice as it really depends on your preference. Both places demand quick power to muscle the bike up ledges, Porky's is a tougher ride than Buck which is very well groomed and designed to appeal to a wider range of visitors. Neither place has sufficient technical wood work if you need the ease of flats to bail quickly off stunts.

    I ride a 33lbs 6" travel bike and use clips in both places mainly for the climbing power. Not to say I couldn't ride them in flats, but in messy technical rock climbs the ability to keep the power on through the chunk works best for me with clips. Flats at Buck wouldn't bother me too much, but I think I'd have a tougher time making the climbs at Porky's with them.

    I use the granny a fair bit due to older knees that can't torque anymore. I was at Porky's two weeks ago and had a blast. The place isn't very fast but I just can't get enough of the technical riding in there. Best place for it's kind around the GTA imho. Reminds me a lot of Kanata Lakes near Ottawa. If you're good at slower technical riding and you've got the legs give the 38t a go. Sure the 32t might give you a slightly better edge on the climbs but if you're used to the 38t then leave it and just have fun.

    There's supposed to be a fairly big drop in Porky's around the 9ft range, not sure if you're fine with clips on that, again personal preference. I looked for it but ran out of time before locating it amongst the trail network. The 4 steps trail is basically wheelie dropping ledges, in the 3-4ft range if I remember correctly.

    Internet in the KOA campground isn't great as the wi-fi seems to be located by the entrance cabin so the further into the park you go, the weaker the signal.

    Post up next week to let us know what you thought of the places.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HubbaMan View Post
    Post up next week to let us know what you thought of the places.
    Muchas gracias, amigo... cheers!

    Sounds like clips for the first rides on both trails, and maybe Monday morning we'll go back to Porcupine with the flats and the camera/GoPro's to have some extra fun before leaving town.

    I'll gladly have a look at the big drop... in my mind I'm already cranking-up the compression damping because I know my spring rates are a bit too soft for that kind of thing... silly SW-Flatario trails!
    also known as Plaid Shirt Guy...

  4. #4
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    I rode Buck last week for the first time and I used flats. There are only a couple of sections that I was glad I had them, but for all that I rode, clips would have been more than fine. I prefer to ride flats anyplace new so I am more relaxed and more comfortable taking on the terrain and I don't care about the climbs; I suck at them with either pedals. Have not ridden Porc yet, but I hear great things about it. Post up after the ride let us know how you made out.

  5. #5
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    I would choose the 32t, no question. I run 36/24 x 11-34 and definitely use my granny in both places at times. I do often seem to run lower gears than most though, so whatever floats yer boat...

  6. #6
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    Never ridden Buck.

    I have ridden Porc on a 8" travel flat-pedal rig, and clipped into a carbon hardtail.

    Both were fine. I just walked some climbs on the big bike and skipped some drop-offs (okay all of them) on the hardtail.

    I see no reason to alter what you have.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  7. #7
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    I ride a 35 pound 29er clipped to Time pedals with a 28 tooth chainring to a 34-11 cassette.
    I do both trails weekly. I'm fastest when gravity helps a little. I like technical climbing & riding the most.

  8. #8
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    ... and if we just ... So Far So Good!

    Well it's lunch break at the campground, we had a late start due to needing a bike shop to fix one of the bikes - went to Ecclestone's in town and they were great, friendly and fixed my friends' buggered star nut quick. Plus it was their Labour Day Sale weekend, so I couldn't say no to 2for1 tires or 50% off tools & lube, and they even had pads for my ancient XT 755 brakes!

    Anyway, Near north was kind enough to meet us at Buckwallow and show us around, things were going great as we explored #15 Weasel trail until *PING* and Mark's rear axle shears-off at the drive-side dropout. That trail is tough! Thankfully no injury and he said he had parts at home to fix it. We continued on and rode the rest of the trails, albeit backwards, so after lunch we're going back to ride them all forwards haha!

    For what it's worth, #5 Pine Pitch is very similar to the riding down in Woodstock - sandy, buff pine forests and rooty mixed forest. We don't have shield rock or escarpment rock down in SW Ontario! Just whatever rocks the farmers kicked out of the fields decades ago...

    So far we all are loving the tech trails and having a great time. Kudos to Near north for showing us around. Tomorrow we try Santa's Village/Porcupine Ridge! Sorry, no pics or vids yet...
    also known as Plaid Shirt Guy...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by VR6ix View Post
    Well it's lunch break at the campground, we had a late start due to needing a bike shop to fix one of the bikes - went to Ecclestone's in town and they were great, friendly and fixed my friends' buggered star nut quick. Plus it was their Labour Day Sale weekend, so I couldn't say no to 2for1 tires or 50% off tools & lube, and they even had pads for my ancient XT 755 brakes!

    Anyway, Near north was kind enough to meet us at Buckwallow and show us around, things were going great as we explored #15 Weasel trail until *PING* and Mark's rear axle shears-off at the drive-side dropout. That trail is tough! Thankfully no injury and he said he had parts at home to fix it. We continued on and rode the rest of the trails, albeit backwards, so after lunch we're going back to ride them all forwards haha!

    For what it's worth, #5 Pine Pitch is very similar to the riding down in Woodstock - sandy, buff pine forests and rooty mixed forest. We don't have shield rock or escarpment rock down in SW Ontario! Just whatever rocks the farmers kicked out of the fields decades ago...

    So far we all are loving the tech trails and having a great time. Kudos to Near north for showing us around. Tomorrow we try Santa's Village/Porcupine Ridge! Sorry, no pics or vids yet...
    I'm also riding with XT 755s so good to know next time I'm up there

    Drag about the sheared axle but at least there were no injuries!

  10. #10
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    Hey, the axle is replaced

    Sorry I couldn't finish the ride with you guys,

    We might cross paths at the village tomorrow.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by VR6ix View Post
    so after lunch we're going back to ride them all forwards haha!
    Well we did go back and ride Buckwallow again, hitting almost all of the trails in the *correct* direction that afternoon. The variety in terrain and natural features is great!

    Having 'poached' the Bruce Trail all thru Terra Cotta in my teen youth all the rocks & roots up North were very familiar, as were track-stand stalls, ledge lunges, and bashed crank arms/rings!

    I can now answer the original question: yes, a 38t ring is wayyyy too tall for this kind of riding! Unfortunately we didn't really take time to play around on the trails, so zero photos and zero time on platform pedals yes that's genuine Northern dirt all over my bike:



    Anyway, we rode Buckwallow on Saturday, then Santa's Village/Porcupine Ridge on Sunday, then packed-up camp and hit Torrance Barrens on Monday before making like a banana and boogieing down the highway. Needless to say, we're all sore in spots that were not sore before, and for some strange reason my legs felt like lead on the last day...

    Buckwallow was cool, True north took us right into Weasel and Do Drop In after a quick warm-up and that kind of technical trail is like heroine, either you're addicted and can't get enough, or you're almost dead after the first hit and swear to never try it again! (no personal experience with opiates so please defer to the Doping Thread lol). The rest of the trails have everything to offer (besides the crazy tech) and we really enjoyed everything out there, and even had plenty of fun hitting the occasional booter on the side of the main tract as we went from trail to trail.



    Santa's Village / Porcupine Ridge was frustrating at first because we wound-up climbing-up #6 the wrong way... something about the 17 year-old in the group saying "well we're just here to ride so let's just ride!". We did eventually get straightened-out and rode most of the trails, plus most all of the stunts and drops, it's a good day when you can bottom-out off a 10' rolling drop called "The Frame Breaker"! We did miss doing #4, 5 & 6 going downhill... ended-up doing a couple laps of #15 at the end, down the rocks and off the 3 launch pads by the high-ropes. After 5 hours of Buckwallow, plus 3 hours of Porc, my legs were toast!

    Quick hint for prospective trail builders: label the exits of your trails! with a small simple sign that says Trail #xx EXIT. That will keep us n00bies from climbing-up the wrong way! It also helps new people to figure out where they are on the map... No real complaints about Porc other than the aforementioned worn-out legs! Sick trails & terrain!

    We emptied the cooler on Sunday night and had a feast on the bbq after splashing around in the KOA swimming pool:
    Quote Originally Posted by VR6ix View Post
    You should have seen last-nights' dinner: spiced baked potatoes with cheese, with pork steaks & chicken legs seasoned with sweet chili spice & Montreal steak spice, then doused in bbq sauce and chipotle hot sauce. Followed by nachos and camp-stove popcorn with a movie on the laptop! My kind of camping!


    Monday we ate the rest of the breakfast stuffs and packed-up camp... hit the Torrance Barrens on the way out of town and kept on truckin' after a bbq lunch in the parking lot, ran into BlackCanoeDog and company out there [link]. Very fascinating landscape in this park and very unlike what we rode at Buck or Santa's Village.







    Unfortunately, a great dearth of trail-riding pictures for this update... it was hard enough trying to maintain forward momentum in Buckwallow or Porcupine Ridge, so the idea of going back and playing around with the trail features & cameras quickly vanished! Next time???

    Funny, I didn't have these gouges on my frame when this trip started...



    Hope to see you folks out at the races in September: Wheatley 8hr (Sept 9th), Hardwood Epic 8hr (Sept 22nd) and Woodstock Diary Capitol Classic 6hr (Sept 30th)

    Cheers,
    Andrew.
    also known as Plaid Shirt Guy...

  12. #12
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    Hey, Good to hear you enjoyed your stay up here.
    My weekend was messed with family stuff and my mechanical problem.
    But I enjoyed meeting and riding with all of you. If you find yourself back up this way let me know I would be happy to ride with you again.

    Mark

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