Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am relatively new to this forum, but in my time here I have learned quite a bit about biking. I have a developing theory about biking and 29er's which I'll float here for you guys to throw darts at. It seems to me that the sport of mountain biking is comprised of four main components: Passion, Power, Endurance, and Finesse. Passion is naturally occurring. Power and endurance are the result of dedication and conditioning. Which leaves finesse.

Merriam Webster defines finesse as "skillful handling of a situation: adroit maneuvering". In terms of mountain biking, I consider finesse to be the ability to apply passion, power, and endurance to the trail. It is the abilty to pick lines and execute them artfully.

Since I have been frequenting these pages, I have seen several posts about cracked frames, bent seatposts, broken pedals, etc. These posts have influenced me (and I assume others) in deciding which gear to purchase. Most of these posts blame the manufacturer for substandard equipment or the LBS for subpar builds. While both of these are possible causes, my suspicion is that a large portion of equipment failures are actually due to a lack of finesse.

My guess is that newbies' lack of finesse results in bad lines, hard knocks, and mis-hit obstacles that could be major contributors to equipment failure. I'd bet that enthusiasts are more likely to have finesse than newbies. Furthermore, It seems to me that newbies (like myself) gravitate to major brands while enthusiasts (like the more established board regulars) choose the specialty brands. When I read about Fisher frames cracking at the seattube (DISCLOSURE: I own a Paragon), I am instantly curious what they hit while seated. This may account for the frequency of posts complaining of Fisher, Cannondale and Kona failures.

I am not accusing anyone of anything, but I'd like to see what the regulars think of my theory.

BayouBQ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
This is the first post that has brought me out of the woodwork. I am surprised there have been no other responses yet.

I care less about the breakage aspect as I do about four terms defining mountain biking.
These are a very, very good categorization of the art of riding. All of the terms are important, but the fourth - finesse – seems to the biggest differentiator between road and dirt riding.

I ride mostly roads. I have a passion. I have developed power and endurance (road centuries are a doddle :) ). Finesse on the road is within grasp, but finesse in the dirt still eludes me. It seems that many more hours are ahead of me before I feel as comfortable off-road as I do on-road. If someone invites me on a road century, no problem. It’s all paved. But when I ride a new trail, I am full of questions about the surface, slope, mud, etc. All because I have no finesse – yet.

Having said all this, finesse does affect breakage. I see riders break chains because they try a front shift under load. Or pinch flat riding over an acute edge without unweighting.

Anyways, BayouBQ’s post was very thought provoking.
 

·
45 gone, 15 to go
Joined
·
1,237 Posts
rwright said:
Anyways, BayouBQ's post was very thought provoking.
I felt bad that no had responded to this post, since BayouBQ is a recent addition (I wouldn't want him to feel like nobody cared). Glad someone did. I think BayouBQ started to feel neglected, so he started photoshoping Aquaholic riding over all sorts of situations in the Cow Hucking thread in an effort to appeal to the low-brow element of this fine forum. He may have turned to this because until now no one gave a damn about his serious stuff. Obviously, serious sorts of posts are not our strong point most of the time--thank goodness:D

Anyway--no comments on the theory, congrats on getting some feedback though!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
IMO, people tend to want to boil things down to just one thing they can hold up and say look... this is it. Most things in life aren't that simple.

Finesse, or riding style is part of the equation whether a newbie or not. Some people ride smooth some bash through crap. But other factors are the trails, hucking, weight of the rider and I'm sure there are more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Could be...

BayouBQ,

You may have a point to some extent. It seems sometimes that some folks can break a bike on a fairly simple ride, while others can put the same bike through hell and back without a scratch.

I think some of the breakages are true failures, but I think that some may be riders hitting the wrong obstacle in the wrong way with their weight on the wrong part of the bike, etc.

It's a theory worth thinking about. :idea: I know that some brands get trashed here because all it takes is one post showing a picture of a broken piece, and everyone swears they'll never buy that brand again. Most of the time we have no idea what really happened

I also think that most every brand has eagerly fixed whatever real warranty problems that have come up. That's not the case with lots of other common products you and I use every day. We're lucky in that respect. :thumbsup:
 

·
Boise
Joined
·
211 Posts
As with every product that is either hand or mass produced...failures will happen, in the end it's how the manufacture responds to the situation. But I do totaly agree with your theory on finesse and/or the lack of. Some of the guy's I ride with are 200 lber's that think they can just hammer and bomb everything with no regard to proper gear and line selection....they in turn are the ones with constant broken chains, misc componants, and wheels that need constant retruing.....coincidence? maybe, but I think it's the lack of finesse!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Law said:
I felt bad that no had responded to this post, since BayouBQ is a recent addition (I wouldn't want him to feel like nobody cared). Glad someone did. I think BayouBQ started to feel neglected, so he started photoshoping Aquaholic riding over all sorts of situations in the Cow Hucking thread in an effort to appeal to the low-brow element of this fine forum. He may have turned to this because until now no one gave a damn about his serious stuff. Obviously, serious sorts of posts are not our strong point most of the time--thank goodness:D

Anyway--no comments on the theory, congrats on getting some feedback though!
I am to thick-skinned to get my feelings hurt because no one responded to my original post. I cannot count the number of posts I have read on this board or quantify how much I have learned from you guys (and girls). Rather than remain a virtual wall flower, I was trying to contribute to the discussion. The photoshops were a byproduct of boredom because it has been raining for 8 days straight and I thought the whole cow-hucking thread was hilarious.

Back to my theory: I tend to learn by analogy. I take what I know and apply it to what I don't. While I am a novice biker, I am an expert at saltwater fishing. What do biking and fishing have in common you ask? Besides being enjoying the outdoors and giving too much of your paycheck to Shimano, not much. In the attached picture, I caught a 38 lb Black Drum on a 12 lb test rig (i.e. the fish weighed >3 times what the rod was rated to handle) over an oyster reef (the fishing equivalent of a steep, rocky downhill). This fish was easily capable of breaking the rod or burning up the drag in the reel. However, because I know just how to play the fish, I was able to land him in 45 minutes (finesse). A newbie would have broken something within 5 minutes of hooking this beast. My thought was that accomplished cyclists know just how to "play" the trail so as to get the most enjoyment out of their ride. I hope to get there someday. For now I am just a masher trying to avoid hitting the big trees.

I guess I was too philosophical for this forum. Now, back to cow-hucking...
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,657 Posts
I'm 37 now. Passion? Check. Power? Maybe. Endurance? Working on it. Finesse? Probably not...

I like riding rigid. It can get very rough on some the the cow printed fire roads I ride on. I go downhill very fast (at least to me), and I just try and relax. I THINK that means I have to have at least a little finesse, or I couldn't ride some of the trails like I do.

Does anybody think finesse and skill could be two different things? I believe I have a mot more finesse than I have skill. I can find good lines and work my way up and down pretty well, but I don't think I have much skill at least where balance is concerned. Sometimes I feel that my skills are clumsy, even if I feel like I have some finesse. Is that weird?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
BayouBQ said:
Back to my theory: I tend to learn by analogy. I take what I know and apply it to what I don't. While I am a novice biker, I am an expert at saltwater fishing. What do biking and fishing have in common you ask? Besides being enjoying the outdoors and giving too much of your paycheck to Shimano, not much. In the attached picture, I caught a 38 lb Black Drum on a 12 lb test rig (i.e. the fish weighed >3 times what the rod was rated to handle) over an oyster reef (the fishing equivalent of a steep, rocky downhill). This fish was easily capable of breaking the rod or burning up the drag in the reel. However, because I know just how to play the fish, I was able to land him in 45 minutes (finesse). A newbie would have broken something within 5 minutes of hooking this beast. My thought was that accomplished cyclists know just how to "play" the trail so as to get the most enjoyment out of their ride. I hope to get there someday. For now I am just a masher trying to avoid hitting the big trees.

I guess I was too philosophical for this forum. Now, back to cow-hucking...
Your analogy is a little fishy... unless you're talking about a newbie riding an inadequate bike for the job versus someone experienced. Because a newbie could probably land that fish without breaking something with the right equipment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
obrianmcc said:
But I do totaly agree with your theory on finesse and/or the lack of. Some of the guy's I ride with are 200 lber's that think they can just hammer and bomb everything with no regard to proper gear and line selection....they in turn are the ones with constant broken chains, misc componants, and wheels that need constant retruing.....coincidence? maybe, but I think it's the lack of finesse!
And then there are the 190 lbers that ride lighter than their 160 pound friends. In college we had a regular group that rode a lot. One guy was in super shape and FAST. He would beat everyone to the top every time. His drawback: he was not smooth ( no finesse ). He would hardly pop the front wheel on anything and always smash the rear into every obstacle. He broke A LOT of parts. Me on the other hand, I was usually at the back of the group on the climbs, but I felt like I picked better lines and put less punishment on my body/bike. At the end of a ride I felt like I did a lot less work because I was able to use some finesse instead of brute force.
Presently, I can usually keep up with faster guys because when the going gets technical I am so much smoother than them that I make up the gap they create on the hammer sections.

@MadCowRider: I agree. I used to think my line picking skills were great, then I got a rigid bike. Holy crap. Since going rigid, I feel like I have made light years progress in line picking. Pain is a good teacher :)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,426 Posts
I think that you are right on target.

I have been riding mountain bikes since the mid eighties and I have gotten to the point that parts will just wear out. I know I am jinxing myself but I haven't had a part break on a ride in at least a decade of which the majority of time was spent riding hard trails in Arizona.

There comes a time when everything becomes so instinctual that you really just rely on your body to do the things that it does with out your brain becoming involved.

Your eyes automatically picks the line the distance.

Your legs apply power when needed.

Your arms absorb the terrain.

Your body changes its center of gravity to compensate for trail vagarities.

This all leaves your brain free to find and pick new lines which is what mountain biking is really all about.

Finesse, power, endurance and Passion all combine to allow you to pick new and exciting lines to ride.

Eventually you will reach a point where you can no longer find new lines on your local trails and terrains and you will fall into a lull. People begin to do other things, it pulls them away from mountain biking. The solution of course is the adoption of a different type of mountain bike. This is sorta the reason for the success of SS. It reinterprets your trail. It changes the way that your brain works as your rest does its job.

The best way to stay with mountain biking is to change your bike style every few years. Rigid. Full suspension XC/AM/DH, 29er, 36er, Uni, whatever.

and the best part is 20years down the road you will never break a part due to lack of finesse, you will have more passion than you could ever imaging, your endurance will be legendary and you will have as much power as you will ever need because your finesse will allow you to use less energy tackle obstacles, your endurance will get you there fresher and your Passion will get you there more enthusiastically. Rinse and repeat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dumbaSS said:
Your analogy is a little fishy... unless you're talking about a newbie riding an inadequate bike for the job versus someone experienced. Because a newbie could probably land that fish without breaking something with the right equipment.
I disagree. Fishing with light tackle is more like riding full rigid. It takes skill to do it.
 

·
I am Walt
Joined
·
6,392 Posts
Whatever

I stopped reading halfway down the thread. I wanted to respond to this:
BayouBQ said:
Since I have been frequenting these pages, I have seen several posts about cracked frames, bent seatposts, broken pedals, etc. These posts have influenced me (and I assume others) in deciding which gear to purchase. Most of these posts blame the manufacturer for substandard equipment or the LBS for subpar builds. While both of these are possible causes, my suspicion is that a large portion of equipment failures are actually due to a lack of finesse.

My guess is that newbies' lack of finesse results in bad lines, hard knocks, and mis-hit obstacles that could be major contributors to equipment failure. I'd bet that enthusiasts are more likely to have finesse than newbies. Furthermore, It seems to me that newbies (like myself) gravitate to major brands while enthusiasts (like the more established board regulars) choose the specialty brands. When I read about Fisher frames cracking at the seattube (DISCLOSURE: I own a Paragon), I am instantly curious what they hit while seated. This may account for the frequency of posts complaining of Fisher, Cannondale and Kona failures.
I'm not a newbie. I've cracked two Kona's. I didn't blame anybody - they just...cracked. I weight 190 lbs, I ride hard; I ride with finesse sometimes, I ride without finesse sometimes. It's mountain biking - sh*t happens. It's not fishing.

Here's me, on little wheels, before I growed up...
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,835 Posts
MadCowRider said:
My experience has been that riding a full rigid bike develops rider finesse more quickly than riding a squishy bike.
Yup, I completely agree. It forces you to become a better rider as for picking lines, riding more smoothly and working the bike and your body to act as the suspension.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,426 Posts
I have to agree with waltaz though.

I have only ridden on higher end frames since my mountain biking inception.

Ride crap components but makes sure that which ties them together is high quality and proven.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,657 Posts
waltaz said:
I stopped reading halfway down the thread. I wanted to respond to this:

I'm not a newbie. I've cracked two Kona's. I didn't blame anybody - they just...cracked. I weight 190 lbs, I ride hard; I ride with finesse sometimes, I ride without finesse sometimes. It's mountain biking - sh*t happens. It's not fishing.
I weight 190, but if I had those arms I'd weigh 220. :eekster:
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top