CLimbing & Descending Switchbacks- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Hairnet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    126

    CLimbing & Descending Switchbacks

    Hi y'all. There is this nice big park with some short quick trails right behind my home that I love to ride. I have always had some trouble getting up and down the tight and steep switch backs. Sometimes I do it just fine while other times I on the edge ready to slide out or go over the handle bar.

    Today I managed well (maybe it's the new tires) and took some photos. I suppose descending is the same for all bike while going up is different for SS.


    Here is one I am usually going uphill on. The solid line is what I usually take and the dashed lines are what I think I could take but can't quite do. I always feel very unstable going up these standing and muscling. Is going wide the wrong way to do this?


    I am usually descending on this and a few others that aren't as eroded. Again, I always end up going wide all the way around trying to steer it and trying not to look down towards the wheel. I'm going slow with some weight shifted back and on the outside pedal as I brake. I have crashed here many times but I keep trying.

    I'm also curious how my height (6'5") and bike set up affect all this. The bike Your advice is appreciated.
    Los Angelino looking to escape the clamor.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,141
    It's usually easier to go wide on switchbacks, whether going up or down - it gives you more room to maneuver and on the uphills it's less steep and you can get in a few more turns of the crank to keep up your momentum.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    345
    TO ME, the line you take looks like the best one, no matter SS or geared. The ground looks pretty sandy so making a sharp turn at the bottom to get up the inside without getting squirrelly would be pretty difficult.

    On the descent, I would also follow the outside line. Smooth and steady.
    My other bike is a /7.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,510
    Definitely take the outside line. What you need to concentrate on is looking at the exit of the corner and not the apex of the turn. If you look at the apex your body is already squaring up for the turn. It sounds easy but harder than it sounds. I have had people practice a corner and I place there camelback where they should be looking and it makes it much easier

  5. #5
    Keep on Rockin...
    Reputation: Miker J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    6,442
    Wider the better.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Hairnet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    126
    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    Definitely take the outside line. What you need to concentrate on is looking at the exit of the corner and not the apex of the turn. If you look at the apex your body is already squaring up for the turn. It sounds easy but harder than it sounds. I have had people practice a corner and I place there camelback where they should be looking and it makes it much easier
    For sure, I try to do this every time and I know how difficult it is to not fixate on the apex. I practice on these trails a lot because I haven't found switchbacks anywhere this tight where I would otherwise ride. The first time I crashed there I slide half way down the hill on my back
    Los Angelino looking to escape the clamor.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    639
    Quote Originally Posted by Hairnet View Post
    For sure, I try to do this every time and I know how difficult it is to not fixate on the apex. I practice on these trails a lot because I haven't found switchbacks anywhere this tight where I would otherwise ride. The first time I crashed there I slide half way down the hill on my back
    What's the name of that park? It looks an awful lot like the park that used to be by my old house in Whittier

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    398
    Good for you for taking a pic and trying to improve! Your uphill line looks good. Just practice on being smooth and following a consistent flow around the corner, instead of jerky and sudden bursts and you'll be fine.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    861

    Stay on the red line

    When you are on trails that have the nice bright red solid lines stay on those lines. Avoid the dotted lines and when there is no line stop and paint one so others can see the best line.

    Actually, the best thing to do is ride with some people who know the trail really good and follow wheels and/or try different lines until you really learn the specific trail. Going in a group always helps me find the faster line because when I look at the guy in front of me I can see if their line was good and adjust mine based on what I see them doing.

  10. #10
    Unpredictable
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,187
    A couple of thoughts - your saddle is very high so you will always have that as an issue when descending. Get off the saddle and lean your bike in more than your body so you have better weight distribution and grip and more ease of movement over the bike. Definitely look ahead through the corner. When ascending, accelerate before the corner and try to run the outside like a climbing berm. I agree, the inside line is not the place to climb unless something happens to get you off line. Although I would never suggest it, hanging a good cuttie before the turn on descent makes tight corners easier as well. ie in your pictured turns you skid, or more accurately flick your back wheel to the right to shed speed, then hook it up and flick it to the left rapidly to make an abrupt direction change in line with the exit of the corner - we are talking the Scandinavian Flick of rally driving on a bike. Be aware you will be criticised for trail damage if you are seen doing it (especially if you fail to make the corner like a boss).

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    520
    I could not stand the SB8 on my bike. Maybe in the back it isn't too bad, but in the front it was horrible. Your front tire looks like it could have more bite to it as some of the areas look loamy and loose. On going downhill I will usually go wide so I do not overshoot my turn as that can be very bad in some situations. On going uphill it just depends on how steep the hill is and how much traction is available. It looks like in your case it is pretty steep so I would probably go wide. However, sometimes I find it easier to take the inside line and grunt it out a couple strokes and pop over it instead of grind away on the outside.

    Your handlebars are almost more forward than the center of your front hub. I have found that that is a problem with descending and isn't very confidence inspiring. A shorter stem might help. There is a reason why DH's use a short stem and really wide bars. However being comfortable and relaxed on your bike is the most important.

    You have the seat tube up pretty high, a decent amount of spacers under the stem, the stem angled upwards, a pretty long stem, and a riser bar. It looks to me that your frame may be a tad small.

    I may be in the minority, but I would rather ride a too large of frame and shorten up my cockpit than ride too large of a frame and need everything extended.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    345
    Quote Originally Posted by tooclosetosee View Post
    I may be in the minority, but I would rather ride a too large of frame and shorten up my cockpit than ride too large of a frame and need everything extended.
    I agree. Since the OP asked about his bike, I am nearly his same size and my bike looks a lot different. At 6'3" I ride a 22" El Mariachi with an 80mm stem and sometimes a post with a bit of setback. I know everyone is different, so I won't tell you that bike doesn't fit you, but the frame looks small for someone who is 6'5". Perhaps it suits you just fine, but I can tell just looking at it that it wouldn't fit me. Being tall puts you at a disadvantage when descending (by the fact that you are up higher) and your setup seems to put you EVEN MORE over top the bike.

    If you were looking for justification to buy a new frame, you are welcome.
    My other bike is a /7.

  13. #13
    Occasionally engagedů
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,706
    The solid red looks good for up, but be aware that you can often turn sharply uphill when partway through the corner and take some distance of the corner -- so, instead of a smooth arc all the way through the uphill hairpin, start wide and swing it in sharply half way through the corner. The more familiar I am with a tight hairpin the more often I can square off the corner, decreasing the turn radius and moving through it more quickly.

    I don't think your frame looks small, but unless you have abnormally short femurs for a guy your size, I'd think you would be better served with a set back seat post (at least 25 mm, maybe 50) and a correspondingly shorter stem (keeps the reach the same, and you would lower your saddle a bit with the setback seatpost, an advantage for cornering). The shorter stem will get more weight on the front wheel when you're out of the saddle (as you should be for cornering) and that will help you in downhill corners.

    YMMV
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Hairnet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    126
    I did get the bike used and it is a 20" but I havent had much fit issues through discomfort. I can get behind the saddle fine, if the terrain looks particularly rough or steep I will stop and lower the saddle. I have played around with different stem lengths so I'm not set on that one. I have also felt a lot better since getting that 780mm bar.

    I actually felt more confident with those tires than with my previous Nevegal on front. I didn't feel like I was ever loosing traction climbing or descending. I wanted to try different treads and the small knobs feel good out here.

    Overall I don't have many issues when I ride, it's just these hairpins that have always been difficult. I still suck at lifting the front wheel for various things so maybe a setback post could help.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Los Angelino looking to escape the clamor.

  15. #15
    Bro Mountainbiker
    Reputation: Sheepo5669's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    3,583
    Going wide up that switchback should be the fastest/easiest line.

    If you take the inside line, you have to lose momentum to make the sharp corner, followed by a steep grade.

    In the outside line, you should be able to keep the most constant speed on the most constant grade.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  16. #16
    WillWorkForTrail
    Reputation: Cotharyus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    4,919
    The ability to put power down while maneuvering a bike is often overlooked, and trails that require that are written of as no fun rather than technical, since maybe they don't have rocks. But it's a skill that will serve you well, so keep tackling those uphill turns. Most likely, the outside lines are the original trails in the pictures you posted, and the inside lines developed where people cut the turns. As such, the outside lines will be easier on a bike in most cases.

    For the record, I laid my SS down yesterday in a tight, steep turn in front of a guy who thought I was a bullet proof rider. When I dusted myself off, he was just staring at me, like I had three heads. He asked what happened, and I told him - simple, I made a mistake. My weight was too far forward, and hung the front wheel. Two hours later he still couldn't believe I'd crashed. What I'm telling you is, you can get to a point where you can ride almost everything you come across 98% of the time, and you'll still find something that will put you on the ground every now and again. Facing up to it like you're doing, and figuring out how to work through it is the best way to keep overcoming those places.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mattbryant2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,166
    Quote Originally Posted by Hairnet View Post
    I did get the bike used and it is a 20" but I havent had much fit issues through discomfort. I can get behind the saddle fine, if the terrain looks particularly rough or steep I will stop and lower the saddle. I have played around with different stem lengths so I'm not set on that one. I have also felt a lot better since getting that 780mm bar.

    I actually felt more confident with those tires than with my previous Nevegal on front. I didn't feel like I was ever loosing traction climbing or descending. I wanted to try different treads and the small knobs feel good out here.

    Overall I don't have many issues when I ride, it's just these hairpins that have always been difficult. I still suck at lifting the front wheel for various things so maybe a setback post could help.

    Thanks for the advice.
    The frame is too small for you. For sure. You need the 22, even if you think you don't.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Hairnet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    126
    Not denying it. Just limited in the used bike market
    Los Angelino looking to escape the clamor.

  19. #19
    Unpredictable
    Reputation: Ridnparadise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,187
    Well good on us. Hairnet has gone from asking a tech question to needing a new stem, new bars and now a larger frame. Glad to have been of assistance bleeding you dry.....

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    345
    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    Well good on us. Hairnet has gone from asking a tech question to needing a new stem, new bars and now a larger frame. Glad to have been of assistance bleeding you dry.....
    Well, technically, he did ask for bike setup help.
    My other bike is a /7.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    520
    You are welcome Hairnet.

    I kept having issues with my old bike washing out on tight switchbacks while coming down. I was on a 17" (HT) frame with a ETT of 600 and a 120mm stem to get the proper reach. I am now on a 19" (FS) with a ETT of 615 and riding with a 90mm stem and I feel much more confident in tight loose switchbacks. I am 5' 10".

    A longer stem puts your weight forward and helps keep your front wheel planted when climbing.

    For me I didn't know that I had a bad fit until I started riding other bikes and testing out different cockpits. Now I can jump on just about any bike and pretty quickly diagnose what I don't like about it.

    It seems that the really good riders can ride just about anything and make the adjustments themselves to the cockpit that they have, but I'm not a really good rider.

Similar Threads

  1. Need help with Switchbacks
    By JoshF in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 01-17-2013, 07:39 PM
  2. Why is Descending < Climbing?
    By Dion in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 141
    Last Post: 09-27-2012, 12:58 PM
  3. Clipless vs Flats Climbing and Descending
    By rxsenduro in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 159
    Last Post: 03-14-2012, 10:08 AM
  4. I like climbing clipped in, and descending on platforms.
    By D93 in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-06-2012, 01:23 PM
  5. Replies: 16
    Last Post: 06-06-2011, 02:37 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 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.