SlickRock and Porcupine Rim - How Technical is Technical?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SlickRock and Porcupine Rim - How Technical is Technical?

    I'm heading to Moab for some riding this week and have been reading up for trail selection. Thinking of doing the Slick Rock loop on one day and the Porcupine Rim point to point on another (the ~16mi route).

    Question is, how technical are these trails? Some sites say very, and then I've seen some videos that don't look too bad, but maybe they are deceiving?

    Me and a buddy will be on 4" travel 29ers, so not anything close to a DH bike. Should that be enough for the bulk of the trails, realizing there will be a few crazy things like the notch? We're both average riders in terms of skill, so a bit of a challenge would be ok - but if these trails really need 6"+ bikes, we may select something else.

  2. #2
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    I'll first say that I believe what's technical / not technical is very subjective - what's an easy afterwork spin for one person may be hell and back for someone else. Having made that disclaimer, here's my 2c.
    I don't believe you need 6"+ travel to do either trail. I've done both on my Spec Epic (4 in front, 4 dampened in rear) and I consider myself average. I personally would prefer SL trail on a hardtail because of some of the climbs and you will see plenty there on HTs. IMHO the SL trail seems like more big smooth climbs and big smooth descents - not much clunky technical stuff - but I'm used to more clunky tech slickrock in my area.
    Porcupine does have more clunk and 6" might be more comfortable on some stretches, but not necessary.
    Just one piece of advice from one average rider to another - the last section of Porc, singletrack, with views of the river to your right - use some caution. There are some spots on this that are definitely "beyond average". No, that doesn't mean you need 6". You just may need to walk a few sections and save some for next time.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by UT Badger
    I'll first say that I believe what's technical / not technical is very subjective - what's an easy afterwork spin for one person may be hell and back for someone else. Having made that disclaimer, here's my 2c.
    I don't believe you need 6"+ travel to do either trail. I've done both on my Spec Epic (4 in front, 4 dampened in rear) and I consider myself average. I personally would prefer SL trail on a hardtail because of some of the climbs and you will see plenty there on HTs. IMHO the SL trail seems like more big smooth climbs and big smooth descents - not much clunky technical stuff - but I'm used to more clunky tech slickrock in my area.
    Porcupine does have more clunk and 6" might be more comfortable on some stretches, but not necessary.
    Just one piece of advice from one average rider to another - the last section of Porc, singletrack, with views of the river to your right - use some caution. There are some spots on this that are definitely "beyond average". No, that doesn't mean you need 6". You just may need to walk a few sections and save some for next time.
    Perfect feedback - much appreciated. The other guy will be on an Epic, too.

  4. #4
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    Never rode porcupine but I didn't find slickrock to be very technical. That being said it sure kicked my butt aerobically, it was kind of like being on a stair climber for 2 hours. Lots of very steep climbs. It was designed by motorocyclists who were in love with the traction you get on the rock, but all they had to do was twist the throttle a little more.

  5. #5
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    I park at the Slickrock trailhead, ride the loop, then ride up Sandflats road to ride the Porc a couple times a year on a Mach 4. You don't need more travel, just get more tire! A pair of sticky 2.2 or 2.3 inch tires make a huge difference in the more technical sections, and make the entire ride more comfortable. Doing the loop this way also makes it easy to carry less water on slickrock, then load up for the long loop. This is about a 40 mile ride. Makes a good day!

  6. #6
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    ok cool, thanks for the info.

    helibird - I've been hearing about how the grip works on that trail, so I'll try to trust in the tires.

    00vetter - I'll be on a Mach 429 with 2.3's front and back, so glad to hear that should work well. I'll be on Stouts, which are a bit knobby and I wonder if something a bit lower profile would be better... but I only have Stouts, Ignitors, and Pythons in the stable right now...

  7. #7
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    Just there

    I'm definitive an average rider from the east coast. I found Slickrock not very tech. but very steep. Porcupine is a blast and if I can do it I think most average bikers can do it. Like one of the people here said, the end of the rim ride is is very technical, if you don't feel comfortable then get off the bike and walk. I did and am glad I did. You'll have a blast. I found the biggest thing to keep in mind is HYDRATION. When we left to come back east the garage was filled with empty gallon water jugs. Have fun.

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    I am an XC/AM rider from Canada. I have ridden Moab for the past 5 years spending a week down there at a time. Slickrock is one of my least favorite trails, but something that you probably have to do once to take it off your bucket list. Like the other posters said, it is more of a two hour endurance test rather than a technical ride. For a different slickrock experience you could also try Barlett Wash. PPR is a a technical ride and one of my favorites. You might want to take a shuttle up to Hazard County. AM riding at it's best! You will hit Kokopelli, UPS/LPS and end with PPR. A great day. The bikes you have will work but make sure you have 2.3 tires. More rubber = more fun. I have always ridden a
    6" travel bike there and never once wished I had less travel. The rocks, drops and speed of the descents make it worth hauling 31lbs of bike around. Ride safe...ride often. www.ridethe780.wordpress.com

  9. #9
    JMH
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    Slickrock is not really technical per se, but it is a unique type of riding that might require some familiarity to ride dab-free. Porcupine Rim has a handful of test-piece challenges, particularly on the singletrack, that will confound the best riders on the planet. They are rideable on a 4" travel 29er but the only time I have cleaned everything on Porc was on a 7" bike, and I didn't make it out of Jackass Wash on that particular ride. I guess that means I didn't clean everything.

    Suffice it to say, bring what you are comfortable with and you will have the time of your life.

    JMH

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    I am a mid range east coast rider and did PPR on a 4", once from Hazard, once from the lower shuttle drop (?). There was a short, steep notch (walked it) and a slabby technical section at the end (walked it). Flew down everything else and had a blast. Speed helps. Ditto what the others say on Slick Rock.

  11. #11
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    I definitley prefer the slickrock trail on a hardtail, but I mostly ride my 6" travel bike everywhere, and it does fine on it.

    My 6" bike on Porcupine is awesome. It is a technical trail, but very doable. I think just the very end of the trail, as has been mentioned above, is the hardest part and the only part I had to walk on.

    Here is a picture:


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH
    Slickrock is not really technical per se, but it is a unique type of riding that might require some familiarity to ride dab-free. Porcupine Rim has a handful of test-piece challenges, particularly on the singletrack, that will confound the best riders on the planet. They are rideable on a 4" travel 29er but the only time I have cleaned everything on Porc was on a 7" bike, and I didn't make it out of Jackass Wash on that particular ride. I guess that means I didn't clean everything.

    Suffice it to say, bring what you are comfortable with and you will have the time of your life.

    JMH
    Yeah, I'll probably be able to make it down the Notch before I make it through that wash. That's burly.

    The last time I was on Slickrock, we were riding away from the Abyss (where the trail is marked as switchbacks on the rock face) when a dude on a Gary Fisher hardtail 29er rode a nose wheelie down the hill towards us, and then dropped straight into the bowl and rocked it like a skate park. Moral of that story: ride what you wanna ride.

  13. #13
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    Technicality is certainly subjective, although at some level tough trails are tough trails any way you look at it. My own feeling is that any bike is fine for any trail. I switch back and forth between a rigid 29er singlespeed and a 6" Norco Fluid LT, and have ridden both bikes on pretty much every trail in Moab. Always do fine and have a blast on either, but the way I ride each bike differs tremendously. Don't sweat the details, just get out, ride these trails and enjoy the hell out of them! Also, for the record, I think Sovereign Singletrack system is a better ride than Slickrock, but if you've never ridden the Slickrock I guess it would be a very unique experience while in Moab!

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    I took my first trip to Moab last week. We rode Porc Rim twice (the second time as part of Whole Enchilada) and Slickrock once. First trip down Porc Rim was on a 4" 29er, 2nd on a 6" 26er. I personally had a much better ride on the 29er. With the exception of "the Notch" and some of the nasty stuff near the end of the ride, Porc Rim is a little techy but very doable with some stunning views as a bonus. Very fun trail and one that you should not miss. The 29er should be fine for Slickrock (one of my buddies was on a Sultan). It is unlike any trail I've ever ridden. STEEP up and down. A really tough ride physically and mentally. I'm glad I did it but don't know if I would ride it again next time I'm in Moab.

    Don't put too much stock in the trail reviews/descriptions. Just go out and rip it up on that 29er and enjoy it.

  15. #15
    JMH
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive
    Yeah, I'll probably be able to make it down the Notch before I make it through that wash. That's burly.
    You're going to dial it next weekend, it's in great shape.

    That's the beauty of that ride... Some days it's a lamb and some times a monster. I don't know which game I have brought until I drop in the Notch on LPS. I have made all the moves but never in one ride, and maybe I never will. The Notch has been kind to me twice. The Jackass exit at the bottom was one magic day when I was underwhelming everywhere else. It was just the right time, right bike, right feel.

    Always a beautiful trail, always challenges to rise to.

    JMH

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