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Riding free's the mind
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Balance

Single tracks are tricky for keeping your balance while taking hairpin turns. I read in MTBA magazine a tip that is working for me. Start wide on the turn, aim for the apex (inside) of the turn then release the brakes and follow through. It really does speed up and smooth out the turns, though making right hand turns are easier than left.
 

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HTail... you've got it right on the money. When taking any turns that is the best and most efficient way. whether it be in a car, on a bike, or running around. The best way to keep speed and momentum thru a turn is to go wide, brake to the apex, and shoot out like a bullet. Watch F1 or Rally racers, that is the only way to take a turn for them. Well anyway, singletrack.... learn to ride a rail. B/c that is basically what you are doing. To be able to ride it.... the best advice would be to go ride it. Wrapping your handle bars around a tree once or twice makes you learn REAL fast.
 

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Riding free's the mind
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Penn State said:
Well anyway, singletrack.... learn to ride a rail. B/c that is basically what you are doing.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by this "learn to ride a rail" ?
 

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Chatham NJ
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by ride a rail he means like a railroad track, but not that skinny. Just be able to control where you are riding. If you are all over the trail you will be hitting trees since the trail wont be that wide.
 

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eman thanks for elaborating before i had time to come back and follow up on my post. Yea riding a rail... controlling exactly where your bike goes. Guess its a more apt ski term which is where i use it alot. But if you can "ride a rail" and in effect hook your bike into the best line and not derivate, you are set. I've found singletrak gets hair when you are all wibbly wobbly and can't control your bike.
 

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riding single track fast just takes practice, if you are really worried about hitting trees and stuff (yes it happens to everyone) u can just start out by riding widish single track and trying to stay near one edge or another. and one trick to stay in line is to concentrate on a spot about 10-30 feet ahead of your front wheel and your bike will go to that spot. its like trying to stand on one foot, its a lot easier and less wobbly when you stare at a specific spot on the ground.
 

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Riding free's the mind
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Depends on bike

Between my Ellsworth and my old Stumpjumper hardtail, the Stumpy "rails" way better than my Ellsworth. I think it's due to a slacker head angle or something. It's just more stable at speed, whereas my Ellsworth is quicker steering, more twitchy.

Honestly I wish the Ellsworth handled like my Stumpjumper, perhaps a 125mm travel fork will raise up the front and slacken the head angle?
 

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HTail said:
Between my Ellsworth and my old Stumpjumper hardtail, the Stumpy "rails" way better than my Ellsworth. I think it's due to a slacker head angle or something. It's just more stable at speed, whereas my Ellsworth is quicker steering, more twitchy.

Honestly I wish the Ellsworth handled like my Stumpjumper, perhaps a 125mm travel fork will raise up the front and slacken the head angle?
Depends what you mean by "rails", and what you mean by "singletrack". On tight, twisty singletrack (the kind where you're bombing through the trees changing direction constantly) I found that a shorter fork (steeper HA) makes my Stumpy (fsr) very quick handling, taller fork/steeper HA slows the steering and I would say not as good for these conditions. My Stumpy is a twitchy enough bike that even with a 4" fork it seems plenty quick steering in singletrack. My previous bike was a Kona Manomano with a 100mm Bomber fork, for some reason felt much slower steering, and seemed hard to ride in the twisties, I had to lean forward on the bars hard to keep the front tire tracking.

Switchbacks are a challenge, just don't fall into the "slide the back wheel" method...
 
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