New to mountain biking, how to get better?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    256

    New to mountain biking, how to get better?

    I started at the beginning of August, and so far have put in about 18 miles, almost exclusively on the weekends. I can't go for very long, my rides have only been about an hour long. But that's not problem, I know that will get better. My problem is primarily with rocky rooty New England and obstacles. For example, yesterday I went down Tophet Loop West at Great Brook, but turned around only 1/3 of a mile down it because it was too bumpy and had to stop too often. Other challenges have been most of Cutler Park (besides the ridiculously easy section next to the lake), and the random obstacles at Beaver Brook North. I did try the pump track at Russell Mills for the first time yesterday, it was a fun experience, but of course I'm no good on it yet. I did enjoy Stow Town Forest, the roots there are easy enough for me to not have to stop. Oh, and I still can't come close to doing a wheelie on my 29er, which I think would help in going over obstacles.

    I'm interested in the NEMBA rides, but would have difficulties getting to them since they mostly seem to be at 6 PM during the week. Are there other options for instruction? Should I just keep wigging it and very gradually get better?

    Edit: Just came back from a quick ride at Beaver Brook North. Spent some time going back and forth over a 2 inch diameter log. I found that pushing down just before I hit it made going over it smoother. Is this the right thing to do? I don't suppose this technique works for very big obstacles.
    Last edited by nemesis256; 08-24-2014 at 01:40 PM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    48

    New to mountain biking, how to get better?

    Just ride, ride, and ride some more! The local nemba chapters have Facebook groups you could check out. I know folks are always organizing rides outside the nemba sanctioned rides. Every time you get out there you're going to get a little better than the time before! Best of luck and welcome to the dirty side!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Daxdagr8t's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    484

    New to mountain biking, how to get better?

    Just ride, memorize your local trail and ride some more. Watch tons of videos on youtube. Nothing wrong with dismounting and pushing the bike.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    rdb
    rdb is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    316
    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
    I started at the beginning of August, and so far have put in about 18 miles, almost exclusively on the weekends. I can't go for very long, my rides have only been about an hour long. But that's not problem, I know that will get better. My problem is primarily with rocky rooty New England and obstacles. For example, yesterday I went down Tophet Loop West at Great Brook, but turned around only 1/3 of a mile down it because it was too bumpy and had to stop too often. Other challenges have been most of Cutler Park (besides the ridiculously easy section next to the lake), and the random obstacles at Beaver Brook North.

    I'm interested in the NEMBA rides, but would have difficulties getting to them since they mostly seem to be at 6 PM during the week. Are there other options for instruction? Should I just keep wigging it and very gradually get better?
    You can find some videos on you tube that will show you some techniques.

    You say you are on a 29er, what brand and model? When you say you have to keep stopping because of roots, why? Just can't get over them? Feet come off the pedals? Are you using clipless pedals or flat pedals? If you are using flats, what brand of pedal and what shoes are you wearing?

    How much air pressure are you running in your tires? Are you running tubeless?
    How much air pressure in the front fork? Did your bike shop help you set the suspension sag properly.

    I just rode Trophet West today on my 29er and it is rooty, but with a properly set up bike you should be able to ride that trail without stopping.

  5. #5
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    3,807
    ride with $hitty brakes. that way you'll have to ride faster through the rough and on downhills. you'll thank me in like 10 years

    rog

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    256
    Quote Originally Posted by rdb View Post
    You say you are on a 29er, what brand and model? When you say you have to keep stopping because of roots, why? Just can't get over them? Feet come off the pedals? Are you using clipless pedals or flat pedals? If you are using flats, what brand of pedal and what shoes are you wearing?
    Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29 2013 model. I'm stopping for multiple reasons. Unable to go over them, due to lack of speed, inexperience/fear, and being shaken around too much. To reduce being shaken around I slow down a bit, which then means later rocks and roots are harder to go over. This is especially the case if going uphill. Other reasons to stop is for sharp turns.

    I'm using flats, crank brothers 5050 with 5 10 freerider. This is actually another question I have. The screws in my pedals are not sticking out very much, does this make the shoes less sticky? Earlier today I hit a log of little too hard once, and one of my feet flew off.

    Quote Originally Posted by rdb View Post
    How much air pressure are you running in your tires? Are you running tubeless?
    How much air pressure in the front fork? Did your bike shop help you set the suspension sag properly.
    My tires are at 30 psi, with tubes. I'm about 140 lbs if it matters. They did not help me with setting the suspension. I only have the preload dial on my bike. I did set it myself, with the help of YouTube, and found that I had to set it quite low. You mention air pressure in the front fork, is that even possible with my bike?

  7. #7
    rdb
    rdb is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    316
    Five ten freerider is a great shoe. The pedals should be fine also, but you may want longer pins, but longer pins means shredded shins if a foot comes off a pedal unless you wear shin guards. With flats, in the rough stuff, try to keep the heels down.

    30 psi, 140 lbs, you can lower the air pressure. if you go too low you can pinch flat a tube, but i think you have range to go a little lower. Try lowering the front tire pressure a bit, to say 26 to 28 psi. I weigh 160 and go as low as 22 psi, but my tires are set up tubeless.

    Kudos to you for setting the coil preload in your front fork. If you bought the bike at an LBS, they should have helped you with that. Since it is a Specialized, unless you bought it used, you must have bought it at a bike shop. I am a little surprised they didn't help you set up the fork.

    It is important to keep your speed up. Also gear selection is important. You should always be in a gear that feels almost effortless to pedal. If you feel like you are pushing down hard to pedal, you are in too high a gear. I think your bike has an 8 speed rear cassette. so jumps between gears will be a little higher than a 10 speed cassette, so gear selection is even more important.



    I think you are doing fine. You just need more experience. Nothing wrong with getting off and pushing if you need to. If you haven't already, go for a ride at the Landlocked Forest in Burlington. It does have some rooty sections, but there are long sections that are root free.

    Edit: NEMBA is having an event at Great Brook Farm on September 14 starting at 10:00 AM. There will be group rides for riders of all abilities. Check out NEMBA website for more details.
    Last edited by rdb; 08-25-2014 at 03:12 AM.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: NSrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    165
    Without seeing you ride, I could be wrong, but it sounds like you are in the saddle too much over rough tech terrain. You should be up out of the saddle and heavy on the pedals (heavy feet light hands), relaxed with both knees and elbows bent to help absorb the bumps. Imagine the bike moving under you while you remain steady. this is just a real basic beginning.

    As others have mentioned watch some videos betterride.net is a great place to start.

    And of coarse just ride and practice.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    256
    Quote Originally Posted by rdb View Post
    I think you are doing fine. You just need more experience. Nothing wrong with getting off and pushing if you need to. If you haven't already, go for a ride at the Landlocked Forest in Burlington. It does have some rooty sections, but there are long sections that are root free.
    I wasn't planning on going there until I got a little better, because the NEMBA website says it's only 25% easy. I may check it out now.

    Quote Originally Posted by rdb View Post
    Edit: NEMBA is having an event at Great Brook Farm on September 14 starting at 10:00 AM. There will be group rides for riders of all abilities. Check out NEMBA website for more details.
    I did see that, but unfortunately I'll be out of town that weekend.


    Can anyone comment on the following?
    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
    Edit: Just came back from a quick ride at Beaver Brook North. Spent some time going back and forth over a 2 inch diameter log. I found that pushing down just before I hit it made going over it smoother. Is this the right thing to do? I don't suppose this technique works for very big obstacles.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    29
    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post
    Edit: Just came back from a quick ride at Beaver Brook North. Spent some time going back and forth over a 2 inch diameter log. I found that pushing down just before I hit it made going over it smoother. Is this the right thing to do? I don't suppose this technique works for very big obstacles.
    Sounds like you are preloading the fork, which is the correct technique. Compressing the fork and tire (and your body) makes everything want to spring up, which in turn makes getting the front end up easier. Your weight will shift back as you unweight the front, and in turn will compress the rear end of the bike. You can then shift your weight towards the front again to get the rear wheel over the log.

    If your going faster you can just press the whole bike straight down before hitting the log and "float" both ends of the bike over together by pulling both ends up. This is a bit more advanced and is generally the first bunny hop everyone learns.

    Being new and learning on flat pedals, I would suggest getting some shin pads. You have an awesome setup with those pedals and shoes, but you are still going to shin yourself while learning. The scars are a badge of honor, and the wounds are pretty superficial (i.e. they won't keep you off your bike), but it can be pretty painful and gory. As others have mentioned, keep your heels down and your body weight mostly centered on your hips (heavy feet light hands) and your feet should stick to the pedals, but it's a learning process.

  11. #11
    EAT MORE GRIME
    Reputation: 127.0.0.1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,604
    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    ride with $hitty brakes. that way you'll have to ride faster through the rough and on downhills. you'll thank me in like 10 years

    rog

    in a way this is true. I have had situations where brakes were useless, so I was along for the ride whether I liked it or not. express elevator to hell going down~!!!! and sure enough somehow i managed it by steering real quick but almost panicked because -it all had to work no options- and whew....I should have been riding that downhill crazy fast in the first place and all other times...but wow it can be scary

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: noreasterbackcountry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    207
    Quote Originally Posted by NSrider View Post
    Without seeing you ride, I could be wrong, but it sounds like you are in the saddle too much over rough tech terrain. You should be up out of the saddle and heavy on the pedals (heavy feet light hands), relaxed with both knees and elbows bent to help absorb the bumps. Imagine the bike moving under you while you remain steady. this is just a real basic beginning.

    As others have mentioned watch some videos betterride.net is a great place to start.

    And of coarse just ride and practice.
    This. Picture your elbows and knees as another layer of suspension and let them absorb the rough stuff on the trail.

    Soon you will also learn to time your pedal strokes so that you can keep moving forward over obstacles and through chop.

    Get off the bike where you feel you need to get off... There's no shame in hike-a-bike. And FYI- even for an experienced biker Tophet is pretty choppy in spots. There's this one rooty climb that gets me every time.

    Look at each obstacle like a puzzle and keep working at trying to figure out a way to ride them all. Finding new puzzles and solving them on your nightly/weekly route is part of the fun of mountain biking.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    282
    I'm a pretty new rider as well. I get off the bike and hike whenever needed. I had to do alot of that recently on a very rocky and twisty trail.... no shame. I know skills will get better as I bike more and just keep doing it. I've probably put in a couple hundred miles since April though, so that's some good practice i think. I like alot of what I read on this thread, very helpful. Something I do though, that I take from snow skiing experience... is look ahead. In skiing, you always want to look, plan a turn or two ahead on the moguls. When I was able to do that, I improved quickly. When I applied that to my trail riding.... same thing. Instead of just looking over my tire at the next rock I try to look up and down the trail to see what is coming up and as I hit the stump or rock in front of me I can pedal or shift accordingly. Also, like someone said... ride a trail more than once and gain some confidence on it. As you know what is coming up, you'll attack that trail harder and faster and gain new skills to use on other trails.

  14. #14
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    3,807
    another way to get better/become a good rider is to ride a fully rigid bike. suspension is no good for learning skills, imo. rigid will force you to pick better lines and place the bike where you want/need it to go without getting sprung/bounced/flicked off of $hit on a front or full sussy bike. 26" wheels will learn you to ride better than 29". find an old trek 970 and rock out on that for a year. rigid singlespeed adds learning to carry momentum into your trapper keeper of bike learning skills.

    rog

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: iceboxsteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    755
    Honestly I wasn't going to reply because really, the only thing that makes you better is riding. I'm 26, I started back in '08/'09. I rode alone. I rode hard trails. I walked. I got beat up. Left behind. But I kept riding.

    But, I really have to +1 on what Rog says. I learned on a rigid, and early on I broke the derailleur and I was a poor college kid, so I really learned on a rigid SS. I attribute my success as a rider to nothing other than this. I was forced to pick good lines. I was forced to push hard.

    Just go spin.
    Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    29
    meh - While learning on a fully rigid single speed might be best... it's not really the best advice to give beginners. For beginners, just ride what you have and ride a lot.

Similar Threads

  1. Why Mountain biking is > than road biking.
    By Kiwi_GR_Biker in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 10-09-2014, 09:03 PM
  2. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 08-09-2014, 08:11 AM
  3. Winter mountain biking, not fat biking, on front range?
    By Training-Wheels in forum Colorado - Front Range
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-23-2013, 08:29 PM
  4. GA Fort Yargo Mountain Biking State Park Raise Prices [Targeting Mountain Biker ONLY]
    By thevincentlee in forum Southeast/Midsouth - GA, TN, AL, FL, MS, LA, AR
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 05-11-2013, 06:27 PM
  5. On Mountain Biking and Mountain Bikes
    By LeeL in forum Riding Passion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-30-2012, 09:34 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.