Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 60 Posts

·
Kneel before Zod!!
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a newbie to mountain biking and am really enjoying my new found passion. I have been biking since Spring and as a result has lost some weight and am getting in better shape with each ride.

Yesterday I stumbled upon a disturbing story on the internet about a mountain biker who went over the bars and broke his neck. As a result of this injury he is now paralyzed from the neck down. I felt horrible for this man and the story made me re evaluate my passion.

We all know most sports have their dangers and we all must calculate the risks and constantly evaluate what we are capable of on the trail.

However it appears that in mountain biking "going endo" is a right of passage and an inevitable event that happens in our sport.

Maybe I am naive but flying over the handle bars and diving into the ground head first is not something I look forward to and the risks of a catastrophic spine injury seems extremely high.

Can one ride in a conservative way and not endo or crash hard?

Am i over reacting?

Do all endos result in a head dive into the ground?

I ride very conservative and am well aware of my limits but this story really made me think.

Anybody else go thru this when they started?

I appreciate the input
 

·
Ultimate Slacker
Joined
·
49 Posts
The best way to avoid an endo is to get up off your seat and put your butt over your wheel. Put your weight on the back of your bike when rolling down hills or over technical spots. Even if you do endo, you should try to tuck and roll if can remember to do it when this happens. And just because you endo does not mean you will land on your head. Most of the times I have endoed have resulted in me landing sideways, or doing the wrong thing and catching myself with my arms stretched out which is bad because you can break your collar bone or dislocate your shoulder. The most important thing is to look far ahead enough to anticipate where your weight needs to be on your bike in reference to the trail obstacles ahead of you. Hope thos helps and you continue riding. We need more people to join and support this great sport :)
 

·
Chilling out
Joined
·
6,030 Posts
For my 2c, you are probably over-reacting.

There is NO contesting the fact that people have hurt themselves in notable ways. However, it is definitely the exception and not the rule.

You WILL fall at some point, no matter how lucky or conservative you are. I do believe the people which ride very tentatively will tend to crash more than those who are a little more outgoing.

All endos do not result in a head dive.

Endos that DO result in a head dive rarely result in anything more than bruises and contusions.

A much more common result than neck problems will be wrist/arm/collar-bone injuries. Those range from scrapes and bruises to an actual break.

I honestly don't know how I felt when learning these kinds of riding, but I started back in the 70's as a punk kid so I don't think our experience base is similar enough to compare.

What would I advise?

Be reasonable, not excessive. Both in protection, learning, and worrying.

If you can, a skills clinic can be very helpful, beginners and intermediates alike.

Consider getting some inexpensive body armor ( knee pads, elbow pads, that kind of thing ). I roll with a helmet that has good back-of-the-head coverage (made by Fox I think).

No need to go over board, any of the reputable stuff will take the major edge of any wipeout you experience. If other people can find their comfortable level with it all I'm sure you can, and still have a blast.

Such as my friend Marti B. in Texas, a 60-something lady who started mountain biking five or six years ago if I recall correctly ...

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
989 Posts
I agree with the other responders. Not only do all endos not result in landing on your head, but neither do the ones that are unlucky enough to end with a landing on your head result in breaking your neck, necessarily.

If there were any strength in the correlation "endo = paralysis", you'd see much fewer mountain bikers everywhere.

Would you be safer by staying at home and sitting in front of the TV? Very much so. Is it worth fretting over? Not at all. Can anyone prescribe a guaranteed way of never breaking your neck while biking? I'd like to see them try. Should that stop you from mountain biking? Only you can decide that one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Unfortunately I have enduring a few endos over the bars. *L* I have never landed on my head or even hurt my neck. Most of the time, as mentioned before, if you tuck and roll you come out fine...I usually get up shaking my head and laughing. I did hurt my ribs once... I simply wasn't paying close enough attention the the trail ahead. If I Pay Attention to the trail ahead I usually don't have any problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,033 Posts
ive endo'd probably 50+ times since i started riding at 8 or 9 years old (27 now), never actually landed flat on my head or ever hurt my neck. these days im more worried about breaking a collar bone or tearing my shoulder again.

bottom line.. if you ride hard you crash hard. if you dont want to get hurt, consider skipping those huge drops and jumps and slowing down over rocks.

accidents happen though, but thats life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I've pulled a few endos as well, and have only gotten cuts and scrapes, usually on my elbows and knees - not once did my head even hit the ground. Tuck and roll is the key. This being said, my endos were all at reasonably low speeds, and I've been able to react accordingly before I hit the ground. If an endo would occur at high speed, may not be possible to control your landing at all.

Seat height is also very important. I always drop the seat low if unsure of the trail ahead. Gotta be ready and able to shift your ass behind it quickly - this will save you from 95% of endos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,110 Posts
My worst endo resulted in a broken helmet,broken nose and 75 stitches in my forehead.
I had no neck pain whatsoever!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
if you worry about everything that can hurt or kill you you'll never leave the house. I've found that the more i think or worry about a section the worse i do. Just relax enjoy the ride and ride within your skill level. Don't give up the sport just yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
989 Posts
Since we're all sharing our endo experiences here, I should add that my most interesting one was where I hurt my hip bone (in the front) when I landed and nothing else. That should give you an idea as to how much like Superman I must have flown off the bars in order to land "hip-first". I can't say I wish to repeat that, but it was one of my safest landings after an endo, actually.

Usually, though, I'm lucky (and slow) enough to be able to "step over" my handlebars to land on my feet during an endo, and my bike is the only thing that tumbles...

A friend of mine experienced a head-first landing after an endo once where his helmet was split clear into three separate pieces. He suffered from nothing more than a small bruise on his forehead and being a little shaken up. He was able to do the remaining three-mile climb back to the trailhead with no problem at all (minus a helmet). After witnessing that, I wouldn't even ride to the corner store without a helmet!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts
I posted this a couple of months ago - yes neck injuries certainly can happen

A few mates and I regulary get together for a Thursday afternoon ride around the Smithfield Mountain Bike park here in Cairns, Australia.
This park is fantastic and covers all types of terrain from fairly tame XC to full on Black Diamond down hill [they held the world cup at the venue in 1996].
This particular Thursday there were 4 of us.
2 extremely experienced free ride, down hill experts Phill and John, me [average skill but experienced] and Allan, brand new to the game, with a brand new Specialized Enduro,
What Allan lacked in skill he made up for in enthusiasm.
Allan was very fit, played rugby, born athlete, he had just never riden very much at all before he through himself in to MTB
On our loop is a particular drop off about 9 feet high.
Its a gentle flat run in then it drops vertically for maybe 6 feet before the bottom rolls out in transition very quickly for the last 3 vertical feet.
Essentially you are rolling off/down a 9 feet high verticle clay bank
I have done it about 10 times, but had since decided I did not particularly enjoy the sensation of thinking I was going to go head first in to the ground so I retired from that obstacle.
Allan had tried it once previously but had put too much weight over the rear wheel when he went off the edge that when he hit to roll out at the bottom he accellerated so fast horizontaly that he flipped the bike and wound up on his arse.
No harm done.
This day he did the opposite, determined not to repeat his previous failure.
I did not see what happened as I was taking the B line but I heard the thud as he hit the bottom of the drop.
He had rolled too quick off the edge and gone straight over the bars and landed on his head from at least 14 feet up.
All I heard were the thud and Phill and John go "OH ****".
By the time I got round to the bottom Allan was concious but clearly in big pain.
His helmet had split clean in half and he had a cut on his head from the impact.

Before I go on I must point out one important fact:
Phill is an anesthetist at a local hospital and Allan [our casualty] is an emergency room doctor at the same hospital
No ****.

After a few minutes Allan insisted he has OK and would walk back to the car, despite our repeated attemps to get him to stay still and for us to get a vehicle or ambulance he instisted on walking the 1km back to the car park.
Very quickly it was clear he was not at all well, he was holding his neck and supporting his head, complaining of stars in his eyes and his vision was getting worse.
By the time we got back to the car he was basically shuffling along as he could not move his head at all and could not see the ground.He was also being supported on both sides by us.

He still refused an ambulance so his girl friend came and got him.
2 hours later she eventually got him to go to the same emergency room he worked.

Allan had 7 [SEVEN] neck fractures.
Apparently he was a hairs width away from death or premanent disability.

All our wives and girlfriends gave us other boys heaps of **** - Why did we not call an ambulance? how could we let him walk out ? etc etc.

He was a doctor for heavens sake! we thought he would have known his own body.

Scariest damn thing I have every seen - 7 neck fractures!
He made a full recovery after months of rehab and surgery to stabilise his neck etc but personally I will never ride anything I don't want to or am totaly comfortable with.

I still get goose bumps when I ride past the drop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,019 Posts
Interesting story. The take away from it should be to ride within your abilities or push your abilities gradually. Hopefully a newbie won't try hucking off a 9 foot drop off nor be frightened away from mountain biking by stories of the consequences of such stunts. Don't bite off more then you can chew.

I just went over the bars yesterday. It happens. Frankly I was more concerned with damage to my bike then me. We were both fine. Generally its not nearly as bad as you'd think. The possibility is less dangerous then road cycling around cars. The worst injury I've suffered in my endos was a sprained ankle because I tried to land upright.

Building confidence in your riding by gradually pushing your skills is important to prepare you for technical trails. There will be times when you need to let the wheels roll over obstacles but if you're too timid you may be on the breaks too much and end up going over the bars. You don't need to be going fast for that to happen.

My advise, go out and ride. Don't worry about it. Build your skills by gradually pushing yourself. Depending on where you're located you may have some bike camps available. Gene Hamilton comes to mind. He is in the Western US.

http://betterride.net/

2wheels
 

·
dedicated beater
Joined
·
168 Posts
Falls happen. That is for sure an inevitable aspect of pretty much any sport. Injuries happen too. However, there really isn't that much of a correlation between the severity of a fall and the severity of an injury. Some people (myself included) have had some terrifying spills at high speed and jump right up afterwards without a scratch. Other times, some people have been hurt pretty badly just from tipping over from a track stand. Anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is that sh*t happens and you never know when it'll happen or what will result from it. It just happens...
 

·
Kneel before Zod!!
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey, Thanks for the input.

One question. I ride with clipless pedals. Is this unwise for a beginner? Can it make endos worse?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
I've gone over twice and in both cases it was when the front fork complete bottomed out and it happened within miliseconds and no time to react. So one lesson is don't use a low-end noodle fork! Also in both cases, my front tire unexpectedly was stopped dead in it's tracks. The 1st time was a large hole covered by leaves and I still think it was a boobie-trap setup by someone who hates MT bikes, but who knows . The 2nd time was a log pile and a large log was missing from the backside and I couldn't see it until the last second. :madman:

I now ride a rigid 29er and have never done an endo and of course fork compression is not an issue. I believe the nature of the 29er is less likely to cause an endo because the rider tends to sit within the bike instead of on top or at least mine feels that way and the wheel is less likely to be swallowed-up by a hole...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,197 Posts
While I tend to rarely go over the bars and typically ride aggressively, I had a bad OTB experience just the other day. Basically pile drived into the ground head first. Busted my pinky finger and broke my helmet but I was curiously lucky to nly have some temporary shoulder pain. Damn lucky. My hand being in a cast really sucks though and for the mean time, can't ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,450 Posts
I've been riding some good technical trails for about 4 years now and I endo every time I ride somewhere challenging. I'm not very good at getting behind my saddle, it seems unnatural to me. Usually it is only happening at low speed, which isn't a coincidence. I get nervous at going down techy steeps and combine that with my not getting behind the saddle well and that is why i end up endo'ing.

I must say though that i'm pretty good at endo'ing and land all right. Ive had a few high speed endo's, which weren't too much fun. I have to say, i'm actually pretty good at crashing. I think i was gifted with some ability to roll out of bad wrecks.

Most endo's will occur when you are descending something, try to teach yourself to let go of the breaks and gain speed in sketchy situations.
 

·
El Gato Malo
Joined
·
4,373 Posts
Ride a bike with a longer wheelbase/slacker head angle. Going from a SC Superlight (43.1 inches/70 degrees) to a Spec. Enduro ( 46.3 inches/67 degrees) has made quite a difference especially on the downhill technical stuff.
 

·
Chilling out
Joined
·
6,030 Posts
5 Star Bomb said:
One question. I ride with clipless pedals. Is this unwise for a beginner? Can it make endos worse?
Only if they don't release properly. I've spent most of the last 15 years riding clipless, sometimes on some crazy terrain, and only once had a wipeout where the clipless was a disadvantage (you can't pull your foot out sideways from the pedal if you don't twist too). In many ways clipless make life easier because you normally don't have to fight to keep your feet *on* the pedals in rough stuff. If the clips don't release properly then adjust the pedals to lessen the tension on them and/or use a dry-chain-lube on the pedals (like White Lightning) to help make them work more easily.

I will say that for an absolute beginner a lot of comfort can be provided by (improperly) lowering the saddle 1/2 to 1 inch and riding flat pedals. Combined it just makes it trivial to "walk off" the bike and let it crash without you. I do think that if you're already comfortable with riding off-road (which it sounds like you are) then I don't think either of these tactics is truly appropriate at this point - you're already beyond them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
The chance of you betting seriously hurt from an edno are slim, but it can happen, just like you can get hit be a car walking across the street. Slim, bit still possible.

If your really worried about it, find a nice gentle grassy slope, slowly ride down it, and grab a fistfull of front brake. It's really not that bad.

idbrian is right, on fast rocky decents, release the front brake and keep your momentum up, shifting weight rearward.

It's the high speed superman face first into a pile of rocks resulting in a broken helmet and nose, and a 5 mile hike out by yourself and driving yourself to the ER that will get you. I know, i've done it.
 
1 - 20 of 60 Posts
Top