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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I've been browsing these forums for some time now and among the multitude of "what bike to buy" / "which components/clothing will make for a better bike" and "which shades will get me the most chicks on the trail", I've hardly noticed many quesitons about actual Riding.
So here are a few that have been bugging this newb's mind.

1. I feel like I'm underutilizing all my available 24 speeds. Do you change gears in certain order, is there a better place on the trail where you would change gears? How far ahead to you plan? Am I making this unnecessarily complicated? Generally, I'll use the Smallest and Medium front chainrings(?) in an offroad trail and the Largest Front for ashpalt roads, mainly though, keeping it on 1 ring for better part of the ride and switching in case of extreme circumstances.
How do You do it?

2. Clearing logs. Larger logs... Okay, I can't bunny hop / rabbit hop / hop in general. If I can't simply ride over it, I generally pick up my front wheel, stammer over the log, then kinda drag the rest of the bike over. My Front Gears have been complaining about this type of "strategy". For now, however, I've shut them up.
Any suggestions?

3. How do you know your riding has improved? Do you time your rides on a trail? Count how many times you've fallen off? Does the crowd of curious bystanders pointing fingers and laffing at you slowly deminish in size?
Please share.

Thx.
 

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Bike to the Bone...
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kirrill said:
Hi,
I've been browsing these forums for some time now and among the multitude of "what bike to buy" / "which components/clothing will make for a better bike" and "which shades will get me the most chicks on the trail", I've hardly noticed many quesitons about actual Riding.
So here are a few that have been bugging this newb's mind.

1. I feel like I'm underutilizing all my available 24 speeds. Do you change gears in certain order, is there a better place on the trail where you would change gears? How far ahead to you plan? Am I making this unnecessarily complicated? Generally, I'll use the Smallest and Medium front chainrings(?) in an offroad trail and the Largest Front for ashpalt roads, mainly though, keeping it on 1 ring for better part of the ride and switching in case of extreme circumstances.
How do You do it?

2. Clearing logs. Larger logs... Okay, I can't bunny hop / rabbit hop / hop in general. If I can't simply ride over it, I generally pick up my front wheel, stammer over the log, then kinda drag the rest of the bike over. My Front Gears have been complaining about this type of "strategy". For now, however, I've shut them up.
Any suggestions?

3. How do you know your riding has improved? Do you time your rides on a trail? Count how many times you've fallen off? Does the crowd of curious bystanders pointing fingers and laffing at you slowly deminish in size?
Please share.

Thx.
Hi

1.- Well, as to underutilizing the 24 gears, don't worry. Although there are 24 gears, some aren't 'safe'. Its not as if you use the combination your bike will break, but over time some part of the components get used. Basically, what you don't want to do is to bend too much the chain sideways. On the front deraileur you have 3 different cogs, the smallest is 1, the middle is 2, and the biggest 3. On the back Casette, the biggest cog is 1 and the smallest 8. If you run 1 in front and 8 in back, and you look from the top at the chain, you'll see that it is too inclined (same if you run 3 front and 1 back). This misalignment hurts the cogs and the chain. As I said, it's not from one time you use it too much, is just from overtime. Usually, on an 8 speed, I use when I'm on the 1 front, I go from 1 to 4. For the middle ring front, from 3 to 6, and on the biggest ring in front, from 5 to 8.

Try to shift in advance, since when you're puffing uphill the front ring won't shift because of too much pressure in the pedals. Well, it may, but you would have to first peddal faster to have some momentum so that you could lower your pedal cadence and shift, but it is a lot better to shift in advance, specially on your front deraileur. If you're starting an uphill going 2-4, it may go well at the beggining, but if you feel tired or the hill getting stepper, shifting to 1-3 or 1-2 is harder. So you could shift to 1-4 before the slope, and you can go to 1-3 or 1-2 going up.

Remember to try to lower a little bit your cadence when shifting to give a little slack to the chain.

2.- Basically, I can't bunny hop a dime, so I don't try that on logs. Depending on the obstacle, you may still have to continue using your current technique or wait for someone to offer you a tip here.

3. In knowing you're riding better.... hmmm.... It's not the time you're looking after. It may be that you can go farther, ride parts that before you couldn't even think on doing, going in the middle of the group where before you rode at the end, etc.. I think that one of the best ways to know how you have advanced is by going to begginers group rides and measure how you ride. It's not showing off, and don't have a snotty attitude, but sometimes going with someone who's starting the sport and you have spent some time can give you a feel on how you have improved. I have a friend that's starting mtb, so sometimes I get a hang on how I was at the beggining. Well, it doesn't always work, another friend who's also starting is going very fast (well, he is a runner and is in a great physical shape, and doesn't have that self preserving neurones in his head ;) ), and he outclimbes and outdescents me.

Time only works if you're riding the same trail, and you're going alone (if you're get to expert, but ride with a friend that's slow, the time won't reflect it), and decide to go to the circuit as fast as possible. I ride for fun, so I don't care on time, I usually stop now and then to rest, or enjoy the view, talk with friends, so my riding times are not a good way to test me.

I don't care if I'm better than others, just that I'm better than I was before. When I feel I do somethings I couldn't do before is a very good motivation to go further :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your answer :) and taking the time to write all that up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Sharp rocks hurt...
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Spartak said:
I know I've gotten better by how many less times I fall :eek:
I take the exact same approach! Last month I fell 2 times which resulted in a nasty scar on my leg, this month I only fell once and it didn't even break the skin. W00t Im getting way better :D
 

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Bike to the Bone...
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While I think that the times you fall is, well, just an estimate.... for one think, one you start to get the hang of things, I think you'll start to fall more often. It will probably be because you start going through more dificult challenges than at the start.

There are two groups of rides, the ones that haven't fallen...yet, and the ones that will fall....again.

Have fun!
 

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I railed it like Kong
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There is a book out by brian lopes and another rider(con't remember who), that is an updated how to ride guide. Sounds like it may be a good investment- it gives technique on everything from shifting to taking turns to drops.

I found you question, how do you know your getting better? to be quite interesting. I don't believe less falling means your doing better. Although clearing tech sections without falling would obviously show improvement. If your asking, how do you know your better, you probably don't ride techy stuff because then you wouldn't need to ask. When you ride with guys who are better and you can keep up and ride their lines, that's how i knew i was becoming a better rider.
 

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I had a read of that book in a bookstore, it was comprehensive sure, but maybe too simplistic... even for me! It also carried a heavy pricetag, mind you it was probably shipped across the entire Pacific.
 

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too tired to be clever
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The Lone Wolf said:
I take the exact same approach! Last month I fell 2 times which resulted in a nasty scar on my leg, this month I only fell once and it didn't even break the skin. W00t Im getting way better :D
Wow, I count the times I fall EACH RIDE, and use those to see if I'm progressing :p

I don't have enough fingers and toes to add up the falls in an entire month (even with a hole in my pocket :D )
 

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the target bike basher
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OK simply put, bunnyhopping for me was inpossible...after i rode a bmx bike, and learned on that it helped, alot. i never change my gears, i dontt know why, but even while im racing, i dont change my gears at all. you know your getting better when you dont walk climbs, start to pass people, and ofcourse, the more you fall the better you are-if you catch my drift(bigger hucks, etc)
 

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rzozaya1969 said:
1.- Well, as to underutilizing the 24 gears, don't worry. Although there are 24 gears, some aren't 'safe'. Its not as if you use the combination your bike will break, but over time some part of the components get used. Basically, what you don't want to do is to bend too much the chain sideways. On the front deraileur you have 3 different cogs, the smallest is 1, the middle is 2, and the biggest 3. On the back Casette, the biggest cog is 1 and the smallest 8. If you run 1 in front and 8 in back, and you look from the top at the chain, you'll see that it is too inclined (same if you run 3 front and 1 back). This misalignment hurts the cogs and the chain. As I said, it's not from one time you use it too much, is just from overtime. Usually, on an 8 speed, I use when I'm on the 1 front, I go from 1 to 4. For the middle ring front, from 3 to 6, and on the biggest ring in front, from 5 to 8.
So, based upon what I've bolded in rzozaya1969's post, I shouldn't run 1-7 (I only have seven cogs on the rear {21 Speed}). It's what I found to be most comfortable, but is it best for the cogs and the chain? Should I find a comfortable ratio with the 2 cog?

Thanks,
Bill
 

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Kirrill, kudos to you for starting this thread. It seems like a lot of people including me are wrapped up on other issues, we don't think about the basic questions/techniques.

rzozaya1969, thanks for thanks for taking the time to explain in details of gearing.

I'm with most of you on, the more you fall the better you're getting. I believe if you don't get hurt often than you're not trying hard enough. I fall because I push myself to go bigger and better than last. Forward progression is a painful process.
 

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For me

I know I'm getting better as my level of enjoyment increases. Sounds kinda simplistic, but it has some truth. When you can ride that track that totally kicked your butt 6 monthas ago, but now your are not quite as out of breath, you are high fivin' your buddies because you cleaned "that section", and you are now having the thrill of ripping through the section that you had to walk (or rode too slowly in the past), then you know you've improved. This is also an indication that you should try some newer, harder trails too....

For gearing, I use the generalization as follows:

For the big and/or little ring, I use the corresponding 2/3 of the cassette. (So for little ring on a 27-speed bike, I'll use gears 1-6 in the back, but I don't cross into 7-9) For middle ring, anything goes. I break this rule from time to time, but it seems to work. Some people might be more strict, or more liberal, but it is a good way to think of it in simplistic terms.

Logs. Practice getting your front wheel over first. Then practice shifting your weight so your back wheel goes over without too much "pain" to your rings. When you can do this smoothly, it is time to start learning to hop your rear wheel over. You can do this by placing your front wheel on the log while moving slowly, then hopping the back wheel up. Sounds complicated but it isn't. There is a link from "way back when" on this forum. It is www dot adirondek dot something.... Very good tutorial on this fairly simple move.

Good question. Hope you enjoy finding the answers through trial and error... :)
 
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