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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a newbie, first post to this website. I just bought a bike a week or so ago, got a new Trek 4300. It's all I can afford right now, and it is a damn good bike.
anyway, i'm having trouble keeping the front wheel down when climbing, i can climb pretty well, but once i get to a certain point it seems like the wheel is coming off the ground and this is why i can't climb anymore, i have the leg strength to get up it, i am normally sitting down, and in a 1-2 or 1-1 gear combo. should i go to a different gear and stand up or what? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
 

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dochall22 said:
I'm a newbie, first post to this website. I just bought a bike a week or so ago, got a new Trek 4300. It's all I can afford right now, and it is a damn good bike.
anyway, i'm having trouble keeping the front wheel down when climbing, i can climb pretty well, but once i get to a certain point it seems like the wheel is coming off the ground and this is why i can't climb anymore, i have the leg strength to get up it, i am normally sitting down, and in a 1-2 or 1-1 gear combo. should i go to a different gear and stand up or what? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Don't stand up, just make sure that your weight is over the front wheel as much as possible. Lean forward and shift up a gear if you need to. Also make sure that your seat is high enough to make pedalling like this comfortable.
 

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Lean forward, breathe through the nose and try to get a rhythm going, that's how I climb and most of the time it works. Although my front wheel sometimes loses traction on muddy/rocky/wet inclines if I'm not careful.

PS: My dad just got a Trek 4300, he couldn't be more happier with it, I gave it a once over and it's really quiet a good bike.
 

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Breath through your nose...

I agree....with getting your weight over the front, maybe using a longer stem...and I know the theory of breathing through your nose. If your on a long climb...and if your doing a wheelie at certain piont, I was guess it is steep...your breathing will be labored and those two little holes in your nose just won't allow enough air in...or out for that matter.

Get your weight forward, find a comfortable gear and keep trying until you get it. After you make that particular hill...it will be easy from that piont on...I bet.
 

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I have a 4300, same problem. The handlebar is really high and a riser also. I switched to a flat bar to bring it down some, planned on putting one of the many spacers on top of the stem to go a little lower but never have got around to it. I just try to move as far forward on the seat as I can and really get low on the bike.
 

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Sounds like a good plan. I forgot about the bars. I like mine kind of high for some reason...and I climb pretty good. My bars and seat are about the same height...but I think most XC guys run the seat a little higher...yes?

24601 said:
I have a 4300, same problem. The handlebar is really high and a riser also. I switched to a flat bar to bring it down some, planned on putting one of the many spacers on top of the stem to go a little lower but never have got around to it. I just try to move as far forward on the seat as I can and really get low on the bike.
 

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There are a few things that can explain the problem that you're having:

1) bad technique
2) bad bike setup
3) bad bike fit

First, assuming that your bike setup and fit are correct, proper technique for keeping your front tire down while climbing is to bend your arms and bring your chest closer to the handlebars. On steeper climbs, as noted previously by Strafer, you need to scoot forward onto the nose of your seat while keeping you chest low. On yet steeper climbs, you will need to get out of the saddle completely and shift your weight forward enough to keep the front tire down, but not so far forward that your rear tire loses traction. The attached image shows the technique for getting out of the saddle and shifting weight forward on a really steep climb

Second, improper bike setup can cause problems with climbing. Specifically, if your bike frame was designed for a short travel suspension fork and someone has installed a long travel fork. This causes the front of the bike to be raised and also causes weight to be shifted rearward, both of which will tend to make the front tire come up when climbing.

Third, if your bike hasn't been fitted correctly, it is possible that your seat may be too far back, your stem may be too short, or the bike may not be the right size for you. All of which may cause problems. There have been a few suggestions here to lengthen your stem. Don't just go off chaning your stem length because this may not be the problem, and If your bike fit is correct, changing the stem length may help keep the front end down, but it may make the bike uncomfortable to ride.

Most likeley, you just need to adjust your climbing technique.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanksf or all the sugestions.
the local dealer guy suggested a size 16 bike. i walked in and told him which bike i wanted and he looked at me and had me get on a 17 and then he said, no try this, and handed me a 16 that he had just finished putting together and said yeah that looks better, i dont even know what he was looking for to be honest. but today when i was riding i was doing a little better on the shorter hills, i was catching more momentum before i approached the hill, but my main problem is a hill i can't get a run on, i just can't keep the wheel down, i will have to try to adjust my body over the front part of the seat, and see how that works. i played around with a higher gear and standing up and it helped a little bit, but i wasnt on any of the hills i had problems with before, the hills i'm trying to climb are actually fourwheeler trails, i dont have any nice bike trails within riding distance from the house so i just hit the four wheeler trails for some exercise and practice. anyway, thanks for all the help guys, i'll see what i can do and i'll try to get some pictures of me in the action and you can see whats wrong,
 

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dochall22 said:
thanksf or all the sugestions.
the local dealer guy suggested a size 16 bike. i walked in and told him which bike i wanted and he looked at me and had me get on a 17 and then he said, no try this, and handed me a 16 that he had just finished putting together and said yeah that looks better, i dont even know what he was looking for to be honest. but today when i was riding i was doing a little better on the shorter hills, i was catching more momentum before i approached the hill, but my main problem is a hill i can't get a run on, i just can't keep the wheel down, i will have to try to adjust my body over the front part of the seat, and see how that works. i played around with a higher gear and standing up and it helped a little bit, but i wasnt on any of the hills i had problems with before, the hills i'm trying to climb are actually fourwheeler trails, i dont have any nice bike trails within riding distance from the house so i just hit the four wheeler trails for some exercise and practice. anyway, thanks for all the help guys, i'll see what i can do and i'll try to get some pictures of me in the action and you can see whats wrong,
To add to what Strafer and FRC said:

Try to remember that on a really steep climb, the tip of the seat should be almost poking you right in the poop-shooter. I know that sounds bad, but if it is exactly where you should be. on a really sketcky climb, you should almost be thinking "this is going to hurt if I slip".

Sounds like you are taking the right approach. It is a learning curve, and you just need to find the balance where your front tire stays down, and your back tire does not slip. As you go steeper, the tollerable range is going to get smaller. (Eventually, some hills are just too steep to climb.) Keep working it, and get to know your comfort zone. Also modulate your power so you don't spin, It is a lot like trying to start a car in the snow, on an uphill.
 

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I think keeping your center of gravity low, and your feet firmly on the pedals while pedaling at a smooth uniform tempo helps a lot. Bounding of the pedals and loosing traction are the main things that prevent me from finishing a climb.
 

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Agree with what everyone said about leaning foward and sitting really far forward on the saddle. In addition, even though you may not realize it, unless you come from a road riding background, you're probably not very smooth (i.e. jerky, uneven pedal stroke - think smooth, relatively fast spin). Just put in some miles and you'll be riding much smoother in no time.
 

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One thing I read long ago that seems to work for me is to keep my elbows down and almost tucked into your side, rather than letting them stick up and out like Prince Charles' ears. Not sure why this works - probably because it forces you to keep your weight low and forward - but it does.
 

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I am fairly new at this MTB thing also.
I have discovered that adjusting my grip before the climb is a big help. I grab the bars with my elbows pointed as straight down to the ground as I can... like you are trying to PULL the bar DOWN instead of pushing it down. This will force your elbows inward and reduce your tendency to jerk back with each pedal stroke. I hope you understand what I am saying and it helps.

Happy Trails!
 
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