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I posted this in the beginner's forum before I noticed this forum (technique). I can't figure out how to delete the other post... sorry for the x-post.

Anyways...

I got a new bike this summer (Yeti 575) that I love. But I just can't seem to get myself to spin on the bike. I got into the habit of spinning after about a week's worth of practice on my old bike, but I just can't get my body to do it unless I'm focusing on it. Could this suggest there is an issue with how the bike fits, or should I just give it more time/patience?

Next week I'm hoping to ride 4 or 5 times (a lot for me, normally I ride twice a week), and I'm hoping to really concentrate on spinning to see if I can get past this issue.

Being on a longer travel bike makes spinning much more important - not being able to is really hindering my riding and it's getting frustrating. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Do It Yourself
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Pedal faster...

High cadence is the key to spinning. You really can't "mash" the pedals at 120-150 rpm. You can try some drills like granny gear sprints (try to go as fast as you can in your lowest gear) to get the hang of it. It's nice to be able to quickly spin up to an obstacle or steep climb where you need all the momentum you can get.
 

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Try one-leg spinning...

If you're clipless that is. Try clipping in only one leg and do several rotations (10-20) with each leg. Then clip both feet in and give it a try. It's amazing how much smoother it makes you. I've been working on this very thing this season. I'm not strong enough to push a big gear with low cadance, but that's what I've been used to doing...not very effectively I might add. When I first started spinning at 90-100rpm, I looked like I was having a seizure on the bike. After several sessions of one-legged drills I feel much more comfortable with it. Good luck!
 

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You will find it much easier to do this on the road.

The easiest way to practice is to spin on a downhill. Resist the temptation to shift to a bigger gear and ensure you always maintain tension chain. You will learn to spin some really good rates, ensure you don't bounce around. I will do these rides and will average around 110-125rpm. However there are some hills which I will go down and spin up to 160-170rpm. It takes a lot of practice, but when you get down to a lower cadence it is natural and easy to do.

You can also try single leg drills at 60-70 rpm, but I've never had much luck with them.

HTH
 

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tips

on the mtb, a lot of folks position their saddles pretty far back. if you're one of dem folks, try sliding the seat pretty far forward, which will help your spin.

tip number two: Build up a cheapie fixed gear bike, 700c or 26" doesn't matter, what matters is the old beater frame you score from the garage sale, trash pile, etc. has horizontal dropouts. If it's that era, probably has a threaded freewheel too. Remove the freewheel, screw on a track cog. Move all the right side axle spacers to the left side, then redish the wheel by loosening the right spokes and tightening the left spokes to the rim is again centered.it ain't that hard to do.
hook up the chain to the chainring position that gives you the good chainline, maybe middle, maybe big.
select a cog and ring so you get around a 65" gear.
#front teeth divided by #rear teeth multiplied by wheel diameter = gear inches.
on a road bike something like a 42/17, maybe 42/18 for dirt roads. or a 39/15, all in the ballpark. you can figure out the MTB 26" gears, grab yer calculator and have at it.
run at least a front brake.
on downhills resist the urge to use the brake to slow down, try yer durndest to keep up with the pedals. you'll bounce around some. but after awhile, you'll be able to spin faster than before without bouncing around.

don't use 175mm cranks on the fixer. shorter cranks are easier to spin fast. I'd say 170s. trackies mostly use 165s. I used 167.5s when I raced track, but my track bike had a higher than normal bottom bracket so I wouldn't hang a pedal on the banking.
ride yer fixer a couple times a week for an hour or two, really getting after it, not just cruisin around slow. make you a much better pedaler.
Lance rides a fixer in the off season, if that matters to ya. doesn't to me, but lately it's all about Lance, lance lance...

It also helps yer spin to "think circles" picture yer feet going aorund in circles, and they will.

and when you accelerate, don't think, "pedal harder." think "pedal faster"

after awhile riding a fixer willmake you a Cycling God..
 

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Does the bike bob much when you're riding? Different full sus bikes take time to get used to.

Can you spin ok on it if the rear suspension is locked out?

On my old Marin Mount Vision you have to match your pedalling to the rear suspension movement to get anything like a smooth pedalling style.

It sounds like you just need to keep practicing until it becomes natural.

Use a lower gear than you're comfortable with and rev it as fast as possible.

As said above road miles are the best way to get a feel for how a bike pedals.:)
 
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