Rigid on downhills = slow,bumpy,endoing feeling. Anyway to improve?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Rigid on downhills = slow,bumpy,endoing feeling. Anyway to improve?

    As the thread title says. The Bukit Timah Trail consists of rooty, rocky downhill with some eroded sections that really make rigid scary to ride!

    Other then changing back to a suspension fork, any other way to improve this? Im using a soft compound ODI Cush grips now. Am thinking if getting a 670 mm kind of wide riser bar to replace my carbon Easton ec70 flat bars.

    Technique? Im riding a 26er btw... I feel like Im really slow on the downhills. And its no longer fun. Its scary.

  2. #2
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    you just can't handle it... get a suspension fork, and put some gears on your bike.
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  3. #3
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    Get a 29'er... :D
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallanaga
    you just can't handle it... get a suspension fork, and put some gears on your bike.
    +1

    and get a 29er.

  5. #5
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    bit harsh guys! I'd go back to suspension if I was you dude! No need to add gears but maybe to much of a change.... one step at a time, maybe go to some 80mm fox forks to get use to less travel!

    Risers, wide bars and a short stem works wonders too on steering but thats heading to DH setups.
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  6. #6
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    Suspension forks do an awesome job of dealing with that bumpy feeling. Get an old fox X fork and have it all.

    Some frame designs work better riding rigid.

    A big cushy tire with low pressure does all right.

    Raising the bars a bit.

    Sliding your seat back, surprisingly.

    Some rigid forks are flexier than others, and it helps.

    High quality lightweight bars have a bit of give to them. 710mm+ is my style.

    Girvin Flexstem.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg

    A big cushy tire with low pressure does all right.
    Dude this can make most the difference actually!! Completely slipped my mind!! Remember running 40psi on my DH bike...... Scariest run of my life!! After that it was 25psi on 2.35's and fun all the way!!

    Check your pressure, Some fox forks, and then happy days maybe haha!!
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  8. #8
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    The Bukit Timah trail is barely worth getting a suspension fork, IMO. Rooty, yes. Rocky? If gravel roads and rocks laid into a bumpy, stony path is too much for you on a rigid fork, by all means get a suspension fork.

    But as the name suggests, Bukit Timah is Tin Hill in Malay. Hill. As you know, there isn't much of a downhill. There are many more flats and uphill portions to enjoy the rigid with.

    But if going down the downhill portions fast is what you want, then go for it. I suggest you get a lockout fork for the rest. But it will be harder to lift your front to clear the roots.

  9. #9
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    For a non-smart-ass answer, like mentioned, get the largest front tire that you can run on that fork and leave a little room for flex or mud. Do the same for the rear. Find the pressure(s) that let you absorb as much bump with the tire as possible without bottoming against the rim and pinching. Ride with your arms and legs flexed enough to do a good bit of shock-absorption (that's the way we all rode in the 70's and 80's) and you can actually go at a pretty good clip down some rough hills. If your age or physical condition prohibits that, then a suspension fork is the next step. I'm 48 yo for what it's worth, and ride some pretty rough stuff on my rigid SS, but I also keep my speed reasonable in the rough. Part of the reason I ridge rigid is to make me slow down a bit, so that when I DO bail (and everyone does at some point) I am not going as fast and have the big impact/hospital trip, etc... Besides, learning to pick the lines and ride as smooth as possible for the situation is every bit as much a skill as just going fast and plowing over sh!t.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGenTwo
    As the thread title says. The Bukit Timah Trail consists of rooty, rocky downhill with some eroded sections that really make rigid scary to ride!

    Other then changing back to a suspension fork, any other way to improve this? Im using a soft compound ODI Cush grips now. Am thinking if getting a 670 mm kind of wide riser bar to replace my carbon Easton ec70 flat bars.

    Technique? Im riding a 26er btw... I feel like Im really slow on the downhills. And its no longer fun. Its scary.
    What works for me is looking way way out in front when picking your line, and then let her rip. Biggest improvement for me was getting off the brakes using speed to launch and clear obstacles instead of going around them or slowing way down to go over them. Seems much smoother at speed than not. Braking less but harder was challenging to learn. I use way more body english and skills on the rigid over my suspension bikes. I am slower on the downs on the rigid than my hardtail or full squish, but all are FUN. Scary to me means I am riding over my abilities.

  11. #11
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    TheGenTwo, reading over your post I get a general sense of feeling out of control on that trail, not just sore from the rigid. Personally, I always felt out of control on rough trails with a narrow flat bar like that EC70 you have... its in the 22-23" wide range, correct? A wider bar (26" is the minimum for me, 28" is preferred, 30" intrigues me) gives you control over the bike. You have move leverage to tell the wheel where to go and the rocks have less leverage to push your steering off in other directions. It won't make a difference for comfort over the rocky stuff, but you will probably feel more confident riding those sections

    I will second the recommendation for looking at your tire setup. A front tire with more volume can be run at a lower pressure.

  12. #12
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    Anything less than 700mm is narrow. Get a wide bar, then raise and shorter your cockpit. Then ride it for 2 months, at least.

    You're not going to get comfortable riding tech with a rigid fork overnight.

  13. #13
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    Get off and run.

  14. #14
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    ESI grips, different bar, bigger tire, tubeless with lower PSI, wider rim, body geometry. There are lots of suggestions to take some of the harshness off but when all said and done it is a rigid fork. At some point on trails riding the rigid single speed is not fun. While it may be a challenge.

  15. #15
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    I think there is certainly a change needed to ride a rigid fork well. I greatly prefer rigid in the PNW, but I was just in Tucson and the trails were so rocky and technical that I was pretty happy with the suspension fork, though I kinda sucked because I don't know how to do anything with a suspension fork. Have any photos of your terrain?There are just places where you need the suspension. I think.

  16. #16
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    Wow, if your not having fun riding your bicycle, then you really do have a problem. I have both suspended and rigid bikes. My current go to bike is my 650b rigid SASS. Riding rigid has it's own plus and minuses, adding some more challenges to your riding can fall into either category, or both for that matter. The nature of a rigid bike is it removes a mechanical advantage from the equation, so by definition you will less comfortable and riding slower. But, if you are not having fun then you need stop what your doing; the whole idea is to have a good time.
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  17. #17
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    A wider bar would help with control. Also, put your stem at max highest on the steerer tube. Get a fat front tire and a tube to match, and lower the pressure to the minimum. For the "endoing feeling", get a shorter stem. Mostly, it will just need some getting used to.

  18. #18
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    go faster! SERIOUSLY... Don't mess with your equipment either if it fits you as it is.

    If you get your weight back and go faster it will get easier.

  19. #19
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    Do you have room for a 650b or 29" wheel up front? The slackened head angle and easier roll-over might help reduce the OTB feeling. The wider bars should definitely help with handling.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by medieval
    Do you have room for a 650b or 29" wheel up front? The slackened head angle and easier roll-over might help reduce the OTB feeling. The wider bars should definitely help with handling.
    +1 I should have added the bigger wheels. My 26" rigid is more punishing than my 650b, maybe not a deal breaker, but certainly noticeable.
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  21. #21
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    I just ordered a 680mm bar and a new 18T cog. Will see how it goes! Im using a 60mm race face ride xc stem right now with a 6 degrees tilt that feels great.

    Something about wide bars got me thinking the other day. Will the increased length of the bar increase flex and enhance climbing leverage?

  22. #22
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    If you plan on upgrading to a wider handlebar, which you should do and will greatly improve your climbing leverage, you should consider a riser handlebar. Get the handlebar up a bit more and the "over the bars" feeling will go away.

    Also, you should definitely take the suggestion of switching to the largest front tire you can fit and running it tubeless. I ride rigid exclusively and this is absolutely the best upgrade I have made.

    Good luck!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbryant2
    If you plan on upgrading to a wider handlebar, which you should do and will greatly improve your climbing leverage, you should consider a riser handlebar. Get the handlebar up a bit more and the "over the bars" feeling will go away.

    Also, you should definitely take the suggestion of switching to the largest front tire you can fit and running it tubeless. I ride rigid exclusively and this is absolutely the best upgrade I have made.

    Good luck!

    Hello matt. Im using a 2.4 Conti Mountain King front tire right now which I pump to 20 psi. For my rear , I use a 2.0 Larsen TT which I pump higher, at around 30-40 psi. Im using Bontrager race X Lite tubeless ready rims. They dont seem to be UST though. Anyway the question is, will using a stans kit on the tires alone be sufficient?

  24. #24
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    get a 29er and pick better lineups

  25. #25
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    ^^ kidding about picking better lines, but I noticed a huge difference with 29" wheels ^^

  26. #26
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    Hello. To answer the other kind replies and constructive answers I would like to say that

    Im still young, 14.
    It is the loss of control at these downhills thats concerning me
    And yes, it may not be really rocky but still bumpy enough to make me lose control
    Im running a 2.4 Mountain King tire with tube. Will prolly go tubeless next year? Birthday?
    I just ordered a 680mm wide DMR Wing Bar Alloy which I hope will give me more control and leverage!
    Im already running a short stem(60mm 6 deg Raceface stem)

    Btw... talking about techniques. I usually have the endoing feeling on very small(or small?) drops. Will simply letting my bike roll as fast as it can over these help? Or will I be sprawled upon the ground before I even reach 50% of it? Thanks guys!

  27. #27
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    Pull the front wheel up on drops.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGenTwo
    Hello. To answer the other kind replies and constructive answers I would like to say that

    Im still young, 14.
    It is the loss of control at these downhills thats concerning me
    And yes, it may not be really rocky but still bumpy enough to make me lose control
    Im running a 2.4 Mountain King tire with tube. Will prolly go tubeless next year? Birthday?
    I just ordered a 680mm wide DMR Wing Bar Alloy which I hope will give me more control and leverage!
    Im already running a short stem(60mm 6 deg Raceface stem)

    Btw... talking about techniques. I usually have the endoing feeling on very small(or small?) drops. Will simply letting my bike roll as fast as it can over these help? Or will I be sprawled upon the ground before I even reach 50% of it? Thanks guys!
    Wow, 14. You're practically still a baby.

    Seriously, at 14, you are just about in puberty. Your body is growing and your brain has not have the chance to catch up and get used to the new arm and leg lengths. But that was me when I was still young, and kids nowadays grow up faster and younger.

    The wider bar will definitely help with the control, so get as wide a bar which is still comfortable. Comfort is a personal thing a comfortable width for me is as wide as my palms positions are when doing a push up. Your shoulder width may not have widened to his max yet so you may still have some play with that.

    Tubeless will also definitely help, along with a wider tire. You can't go wrong with 2.4 Kings. Lower the tire pressure as much as you can.

    As for technique, perhaps you are going a bit slow. Like most other posters advise, choose your line and float your bike over the bumps with some speed. Don't mow into roots and rocks but glide over them. You will need to place more weight rearward while letting your arms absorb a lot of the shock up front.

    As for grip, I personally like to hold the grips like holding a soaked towel firm but not hard enough to have water squish out. Or perhaps like holding a bird firm enough to not let it fly but not hard enough to kill it. Then let the bike dance under you while you glide down the trail.

    Drop techniques vary you can do two methods: 1) Stand and place your weight rearward, probably by putting your butt behind the saddle. Then let the front drop and the rest of the bike follow. That should keep the center of gravity on the bike and not over the handlebars. 2) Right before the drop, push down on the pedal hard while lifting your front. This will move your bike forward with your front in the air, then land at the bottom with your rear tire and then place your front down. Place, not drop. There is a difference, and you will feel the difference on a rigid. Either methods will do depending on the terrain and the size of the drop.

    Keep the rigid and keep riding for a bit longer. If you still feel you can't make it, don't feel like you failed if you go to suspension forks. The point of riding is to have fun.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2silent
    go faster! SERIOUSLY... Don't mess with your equipment either if it fits you as it is.

    If you get your weight back and go faster it will get easier.
    Agree speed will help.

    Get up on the pedals. If you are in the saddle, you are asking to be bucked. Think/visualize smooth and light. Soak things up with your elbows and knees. "Hover" over your bike. This also allows you to keep pedalling in the sh!t.

    While hovering over the bike, and thinking smooth and light.... keep in mind that your body weight is much more of a factor than your bike weight. Try to let your body float over stuff over the ground, maintaining its momentum and velocity. Let the bike work, and soak it up with knees and elbows.

    And for Dog's sake, don't hang onto the bars with a death grip. Just grasp them. I have a wide carbon bar with Ritchey WCS foam grips.... and a fat front tire. But all these have been mentioned.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheGenTwo
    Im using a 60mm race face ride xc stem right now with a 6 degrees tilt that feels great.
    I was just going to suggest a short stem, but see you are already there. The short stem helps you get back on the bike, while enhancing the point and shoot nature of the rigid fork.



    Props to a young rider on rigid. You will learn much. Much more than your boinger friends.
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  30. #30
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    Riding rigid is all about picking a line. Give it some time (and crashes, some scary bumpy rides) and you will start to learn how to pick a line better. Looking ahead is a big part of this dont just stare at the front wheel..know whats coming up in 50 feet, where you want to be, and how your going to get there. Also one trick ive learned is to "unweight" the bike or take your weight off of it in the rough stuff. Im not saying to jump off of the pedals, or bunny hop...I dont know how to explain it you just kinda pull your weight up off of the bike and let the bike roll through the tech. section. maybe someone that knows what i mean can help me explain this better...hope this helped

  31. #31
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    one equipment thing I could get onboard with is what is your seat height? Could you lower it just a couple MMs and be better able to get "behind" the bike?

    I like the other changes- but beware that many of the other suggestions will slow you down in other situations.

  32. #32
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    I learned to ride down hill on a rigid 29er.

    Tubeless, Ouri grips, low seat, loose body >>>>> all necessary.

    Pick your line and let it rip. Your body is going to be the suspension. Learn how to move around in the cockpit, you will have much better control in the long run.

    After I got a suspension bike, I mainly use the SS as a XC bike. Do some real DH and then get back on the rigid to open a new world of explosive power and bike handling.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destin
    Riding rigid is all about picking a line. Give it some time (and crashes, some scary bumpy rides) and you will start to learn how to pick a line better. Looking ahead is a big part of this dont just stare at the front wheel..know whats coming up in 50 feet, where you want to be, and how your going to get there. Also one trick ive learned is to "unweight" the bike or take your weight off of it in the rough stuff. Im not saying to jump off of the pedals, or bunny hop...I dont know how to explain it you just kinda pull your weight up off of the bike and let the bike roll through the tech. section. maybe someone that knows what i mean can help me explain this better...hope this helped
    Lots of great advice in the thread -- wider bars, get your butt behind the saddle, fatty front tire. I like this ^^^ bit a lot.

    While crashing sucks and I'm not saying you should ride "to" crash, I've heard it said (and agree) that if we don't crash once in a while, we're not really pushing our limits. If we don't push ourselves, we don't grow. You're pushing yourself by working to ride fully rigid. Major props to you for the effort.

    Some have mentioned the grip you have on the bars. I like the bird analogy. If you find yourself getting forearm pump, you're gripping too tightly. And the interesting thing about grip is that it gets expressed throughout the entire body. If we're gripping the bars with a death grip, the rest of our body will be tense, too. Since you're needing your entire body to get in on the act, be sure to check in with your hands before a descent. How's the grip? Making a quick check of your hand tension can serve a cue you can use to loosen up and stay loose as you drop in to a descent -- particularly the one you mention. If we allow a trail or terrain feature to become our bogey man, then we will tense up just at the thought of the thing, and that's not what we want...

    The vision thing is huge, too. The closer the gaze is to the front wheel, the slower we go. Let your eyes seek out the trail, keep your head up. See objects or features in the trail once: see them, make a decision, move on to the next thing. No target fixation. Trust your body to work as a unit and maneuver your bike where it needs to be to clear an obstacle without having to stare at it -- granted, for something sizable like a log or big rock, you may have to give a little more direct attention, but hopefully you get my point.

    Also, as for the vision thing, take a careful look at the trail and see 1. what's the line that's most worn, where everyone seems to ride and ask yourself, 2. is there a better line than what everyone is riding? Just because there may be a worn-in track, that doesn't mean that you can't deviate from that and find a better, perhaps smoother, line.

    Destin's point about "un-weighting" is big. Your body is your suspension. Allow your knees and elbows to flex -- we're back to the body tension thing. Visualize a dancing skeleton, or a rag doll. Don't fight it. Granted, I suppose one could get too loose, but since you'll be aware of what you're after, you won't get too stupid loose...

    Finally, (yes, I'll shut up now) don't run the rear tire too hard. While the lower pressure in the front is important, the rear tire is just as important. If that tire is too hard, your rear end is going to be bouncing off of stuff, knocking you off-line and causing you to get out of shape. Rear tire pressure is tricky because, as we know, if it's too low you'll be blanging the rim and flatting, and that sucks.

    Let us know how it goes. I think it's great to hear about a young gun working to rip a full rigid set up. You will be a terror on a full-squish bike if you keep working on your technique like this.

  34. #34
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    Rigid on downhills = slow,bumpy,endoing feeling. Anyway to improve?

    I've only ever owned rigid bikes. The times I rode a suspended fork, I had a smoother ride, sure, but when that fork traveled going downhill, I almost came over the bars! So for me, the endo-feeling is worse on front suspension going downhill. I'll agree with the slow, bumpy part. Picking lines better and standing in back of the seat....and practice......helped me a bunch....that and staying off the front brake!
    Misfit DiSSent

  35. #35
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    don't buy into the hype

    Suspension works.don't think you're not a "real" onespeeder because you want to ride suspension. we all rode suspension forks on our bike 10 years ago and guess what? they still only had one gear. It has only been the last few years that all these guys got it into their head that you have to run a rigid fork to be a "real" onespeeder. If you like getting the snot kicked out of you while you haul arse down rocky descents then go for it. but if you want to go fast and enjoy really long rocky rides in the Sierras or the Rockies, then you might want to get at least 80mm of air in your forks to play with. bottom line, it's a bike not a fashion statement. leave all that BS to the hipsters and queens. Ride what you like.

  36. #36
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    why do they give kids so much money these days ? when I was 14 I couldnt even buy a brand new bike , they were always really old
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  37. #37
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    I'm sorry that I don't have time to read through the whole thread so I'm probably repeating things everyone else has said:

    * Big front tire; dial in the psi as low as you can go without pinch flatting too often.

    * Look up the trail and hone the skill of picking the best line, which is often NOT the line other riders are wearing into the trail, so you have to be creative. Play with different lines.

    * The biggest one...your body is your suspension. It's not the case that a rigid bike is "suspension-less" when you take this into account. In fact, your legs, arms and core are potentially the most fine-tuned suspension available because they are connected to a brain that is capable of very complex and almost instantaneous information processing.

  38. #38
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    These are all good replies. One thing I don't see anyone mentioning is to go out and ride with more experienced riders. Follow the lines they take, and watch how they use their bodies as suspension. Rigid SS takes a different style of riding than riding with some boing.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainflow
    These are all good replies. One thing I don't see anyone mentioning is to go out and ride with more experienced riders. Follow the lines they take, and watch how they use their bodies as suspension. Rigid SS takes a different style of riding than riding with some boing.
    That is huge. I didnt even think of that!!!

  40. #40
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    Yeah, I remember when I was 14 (a long, long, time ago) and was into racing moto-x. I was just switching from 80cc to 125cc, and following the big boys to see their lines and match their speed helped me immensely.

  41. #41
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    Most people summed it up. Stick with the rigid bike while you're growing, hone your skills and really learn lines. Ride with riders much better and faster than you and learn as much as you can from them. Don't get discouraged if you're consistently the last to the bottom of the hill. You'll be a much better rider when you upgrade your bike.

    Oh, and full-suspension and 29ers aren't necessarily better. They're simply more comfy and more stable, but each of those traits come at the expense of other traits. Hone your skills and then choose a bike that complements your skillset. I rode a cheapo rigid bike for five years before I could afford to get a "real" MTB. I would not have learned nearly as much if I'd thrown money at my lack of skill.
    Last edited by Vlad; 12-15-2009 at 08:34 PM.

  42. #42
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    Big front tire with low pressure.

    Pick good lines.

    Let the bike do it's thing and go for the ride.

    Pick good lines.

    Make sure you're weight it positioned on the bike properly.

    Pick good lines.

    *Single speeding: I'd rather ride my bike than operate it.
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  43. #43
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    WOW, there are some harsh replies in there. Get a big front tire, with low pressure, Maybe add a Girvin Flexstem ( no just keep weight back), set seat farther back, while descending push heels down (below pedals), and most import, pretend your 20. If you wreck, you will heal. It will be a pain, but worth it. When you think your old, you start to limit yourself, and then your ARE old. Once you stop, you'll NEVER go back.

  44. #44
    mtbr member
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    My handphone's screwed so I cant post pics. But my DMR wingbar came in the wrong clamp size(OS instead of non-os) and I couldnt reuse my raceface 60mm stem so I got myself a sweet executive black baby.




    Tested the new setup on the local xc singletrack and it felt better on the downhills... better shock absorption and control!

  45. #45
    Turn off the TV
    Reputation: SMT42's Avatar
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    Riding Ridged will make you a better rider as you will have to choose lines instead of just riding over everything. Back in the day thats all we had so we had to deal suspension came and everthing seemed better. I'm now back on my 1989 Bridgestone MB3 converted to single speed. Your right, it's bumpy and it hurts and somtimes it's scarry and somtimes you go over the bars and it hurts. Thats why we do this though isn't it for the challenge and to be a little scared somtimes. Otherwise we should all just go get road bikes, wait, cars are scarry too. Just keep going you will get better or get an older Specialised Epic and turn that into a single speed. I did that for a while and it was great. My wife wanted to start to ride so I gave that to her but it was very nice. I do love my Ridged though my elbows and wrists hurt a bit. WOW that was long winded

  46. #46
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    [QUOTE=ssumo]What works for me is looking way way out in front when picking your line, and then let her rip. Biggest improvement for me was getting off the brakes using speed to launch and clear obstacles instead of going around them or slowing way down to go over them.



    i agree 100% the faster u go the smoother it gets, lean back a bit and keep the front tire light, this will also help keep the weight on the rear wheel. like that guy said learn to use the brakes later but harder dont flirt with them the whole tim going down. im 16 and on a ridgid monocog, my brother is 14 and hes on the same bike just with a smaller frame, this is what helps with us and we are both smaller skiny guys that get bounced around easy lol.hop this helps

  47. #47
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    Are you getting your butt over your rear tire, especially for dropoffs? Your saddle should be sort of cradled in your gut (I often have a bruise there from riding).

    If you do that well/consistently, you'll have virtually no chance of ever doing an endo going through 12"-18" dropoffs, unless your front wheel drops into a rut that you don't have enough speed to get through. At least this is my experience. Almost anytime I've ever endo'd, it was due to poor form.

  48. #48
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Thanks for all the replies, long and short

    I usually keep behind the saddle on downhills... Endoed once when my front wheel went into a eroded 'hole' and my bike basically jerked and could not roll out of it.. So I guess going at a greater speed might help but I always have a fear of slipping badly at a great speed and landing hard and bad!

  49. #49
    Rocket Boy
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    Point your toes to the sky

    When I first started riding back in '94, I always had a tough time with super steep downhills until a friend gave me a piece of advice: point your toes up. Helps you stay on the pedals and gave me some confidence & control.

    Arby

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