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newbie
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a runner who has been enjoying some road cycling the last couple of years. A couple months ago I picked up a hardtail MTB because it seemed like it would be fun to root around in the woods on the trails. While I'm still a noob, it's been pretty fun and is as fun a change-up as road cycling was to running.

For some reason I'm not that afraid to climb or descend the rooty sections I've come up on. But put a log on the trail and then I'm hoofing it! Log = my kryptonite, ARGH! :madman:

I don't have a problem riding either my road bike or MTB up on a small curb (like road to sidewalk sized curbs), but I want to be able to get over what is probably minor stuff to other trail riders (8-12 inch logs) without having to dismount. When I get up curbs, it seems like as long as I clear the front wheel, I get the rear wheel over without bashing it, but when I see a log on the trail I'm totally gun shy.

How much skill do you need to clear a log around 8 to 12 inches in diameter? If I get the front wheel over is the rear wheel going to get over most of the time without much effort? I'm not sure if I have the timing down for unweighting the rear to bunnyhop.

Additional: I can't wheelie or manual to save my life, but guessing that's more not leaning my hips/body far enough back?
 

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You're right to be nervous.. going over a curb vs a log is different. When you go up a curb, you're going up a step. When you go over a log, you're going over an obstacle. A level piece of ground with a log on it. Therefore your wheel is up then down. Not up and staying up. So when you go over that log, you KNOW you're going to be dragging your front sprocket unless you're goin fast enough to bunny hop it.
 

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At least I'm not the only one. I've ridden toward a few logs with full intention of going over them, and then at the last moment, I puss out. One had a large rut in it, and it was right in my line, and I got over with no problem. But, I'm still trying to build up the courage to hit a full log head on.
 

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Picture Unrelated
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Riding log crossings is the same as the way you get to Carnegie hall, practice. I can recommend replacing your big ring with a bash guard, I can recommend bunny hopping the whole mess, I can tell you that you need to go faster or slower, but in the end you need to practice. Honestly a bash guard would keep you from hanging up on the log and it would actually let you slide a little bit instead of digging in. But more than anything you'll get the hang of it the more you do it.

I always try and get the front wheel on top of or over the log (depending on the size of the log) and get set up to hop the back wheel onto or over the log. It does have a lot to do with body position and learning how to bunny hop certainly won't hurt. Actually, any skill you can learn on a bike will move onto your trail riding. If you learn how to manual or bunny hop or wheelie you'll never realize how often you use those skills on the trail.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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You gotta be able to loft your front wheel. You don't need to be able to actually stay on balance, or even reach your balance point. But you need to be able to loft your front wheel consistently, and without preloading or other stupidity.

Check out some of the videos on wheelies or manuals (I prefer using drivetrain torque, but go with whatever's easier for you) and devote an hour or so to screwing around with it. I bet you at least learn to loft your front wheel. Work on riding up curbs you can already do that way. Then do something bigger. You'll start being able to do the bigger logs next.
 

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+1 on swapping your big ring for a bash. When I did it, I found myself clearing those 8" to 12" log-overs much better because the ring wasn't catching and hanging me up. I agree with zebrahum - you can develop various techniques, from the simplest to more advanced. Read up a bit and start practicing on small stuff. Me, I do it the simplest way. Slow down, loft the front a bit, get the front wheel over, shift weight forward (not too much!) and let the back hit and go over. This is how I see most riders do it.
 

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local trails rider
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Me, I do it the simplest way. Slow down, loft the front a bit, get the front wheel over, shift weight forward (not too much!) and let the back hit and go over.
I'm no good at hopping, so do it the slow way too, for the 8" to 12" ones, or so.

- maintain just enough speed that the rear wheel WILL reach the log even if the bash or big ring hits it first
- lift the front wheel to the top of the log
- align the pedals so that you can give a little push to get the rear over
- front wheel drops to the ground, keep your balance
- bashring hits, rear wheel hits, allow it to come up at you, maybe give that pedal a push to help it
- rear wheel drops to the ground
 

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Speed + hop = log cleared.

I would suggest trying to wheelie over too, but since you aren't at that skill level yet, it's not an option.

As others said, it's gonna take a lot of practice. Find a spot in the woods your fairly comfortable with and work on clearing a log. Start small, and work your way up in size, and have fun. You'll probably fall, but like I say, it's a part of the sport.
 

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No need for bash rings etc, just learn the technique properly...

Really a dead easy skill...

Front wheel comes up at least as high as the log....

Once clear push front end down with your arms....(rear end will come up) and over you go easy peasy...

Of course you can jump up and/or pull up with your feet if you are wearing cleats...

Momentum is your friend, practice lots on curbs parking bumps, logs etc.
 

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Thread Killer
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1. Keep your momentum up, don't slow down as you approach the obstacle (log).
2. Don't stare at the obstacle, look forward past the log and keep pedaling.
3. Lean slightly back while lifting up the front wheel just prior to the log and then back to normal ride position, then slightly forward off of the saddle (keep pedaling) to help bring the rear over.

Where alot of riders get in trouble is staring at the obstacle and/or they stop pedaling.
 

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Probably drunk right now
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A little clarity...

You've been given some good advice by experienced riders. If I may add a little detail that they've left out, it will significantly help you clear the log.

0 (zero) degrees is at the top of the wheel and log. 180 degrees is at the bottom of the wheel and the log.


> 0 <<<Wheel

270 + 90

180


> 0 <<< Log

270 + 90

180

You want to loft your wheel and place the contact patch of the wheel (170 - 180 degrees) at the 350-360 degree spot on the log. Then follow the instructions that other have provided regarding bring the back wheel over the log.

Sorry for the horrible illustration. Pressed for time.

Edit to add: This doesn't make any sense because I'm not able to format the illustration correctly. I'll have to fix it later if someone else doesn't beat me to it.
 

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You've been given some good advice by experienced riders. If I may add a little detail that they've left out, it will significantly help you clear the log.

0 (zero) degrees is at the top of the wheel and log. 180 degrees is at the bottom of the wheel and the log.


> 0 <<<Wheel

270 + 90

180


> 0 <<< Log

270 + 90

180

You want to loft your wheel and place the contact patch of the wheel (170 - 180 degrees) at the 350-360 degree spot on the log. Then follow the instructions that other have provided regarding bring the back wheel over the log.

Sorry for the horrible illustration. Pressed for time.

Edit to add: This doesn't make any sense because I'm not able to format the illustration correctly. I'll have to fix it later if someone else doesn't beat me to it.
Put the front wheel on top of the log...maybe just a bit in front of the top.....

That about does it.

Anyway not to critical you after a while you can pull the front end up clear the log then push down and lift the rear without even touching the log.
 

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Probably drunk right now
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Here you go...

Put the front wheel on top of the log...maybe just a bit in front of the top.....

That about does it.

Anyway not to critical you after a while you can pull the front end up clear the log then push down and lift the rear without even touching the log.
What Jeff said...
 

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Probably drunk right now
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6,753 Posts
Another question...

What's your gender? Physiological differences between the genders means different approaches to getting over a log.

Guys: Just lift up on your handlebars.
Gals: Rock back toward the rear of the bike to get the front end off the ground.
 

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newbie
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
What Jeff said...
Thanks, that illo makes sense of what was posted above! Also, the hippity hop sequence of photos explained it a lot too, better than the videos I've watched -- which kinda went too fast to figure out the exact sequence of events. Gonna try it on some smaller obstacles first though! :)
 
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