Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Haven't mtn biked in years (roadie convert) but I bought a mountain bike this year with the intention to ride non-technical singletrack. Haven't been able to ride on tails with all this snow, so I've been hitting the local indoor bike park (Joyride in Ontario). Been there four times, riding an xc loop, plus skinnies (logs and other narrow objects), and I fall at least once each time (lose momentum and balance, can't in lip and I tip over). I've been riding clipless for 10 yrs, but I'm remembering how you're more vulnerable on a mtn bike.

Anyway, was wondering (cause I can't recall) if the indoor bike park is more challenging to ones skills...and can I expect once I hit the (non technical) trails will it be easier. I remember steep climbs with rocks and roots are challenging, but my balance skills are really pushed at the indoor bike park...to the point where it takes the fun away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,520 Posts
First thing to do is ditch the clipless. Also, drop your seat all the way and try to forget you even have one on the bike. Get in the habit of riding standing up the whole time. It'll do tons for your bike handling.


I ride indoor parks a good bit in the winter with my son. Probably a matter of experience level for me, but I find even pretty damn technical trails to be a lot easier than park riding (FWIW, I'm riding park on a 20" and working on learning more BMX-y moves). I'd be pretty comfortable stating that riding non-technical trails is far easier than park riding. If you can get around the typical park with any sort of success, you're not going to have any problems on easy trails. Challenges are different of course, but overall skill-level-wise, I think park requires quite a bit more in the way of bike handling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First thing to do is ditch the clipless. Also, drop your seat all the way and try to forget you even have one on the bike. Get in the habit of riding standing up the whole time. It'll do tons for your bike handling.


I ride indoor parks a good bit in the winter with my son. Probably a matter of experience level for me, but I find even pretty damn technical trails to be a lot easier than park riding (FWIW, I'm riding park on a 20" and working on learning more BMX-y moves). I'd be pretty comfortable stating that riding non-technical trails is far easier than park riding. If you can get around the typical park with any sort of success, you're not going to have any problems on easy trails. Challenges are different of course, but overall skill-level-wise, I think park requires quite a bit more in the way of bike handling.
Thanks...I was thinking along the same lines about the indoor park being more challenging, though I'm not discounting the different challenges offered by trails.

I wish I would've started at the bike park with platform pedals. Falling has made me timid and less confident. Good thing is yesteday, after falling in the first 10 minutes on an angled and narrow bridge (ouch), I didn't give up and tried it 5-10 more times and didn't fall.

My thought in starting with clipless is that I recalled from when I started mtn biking on trails years ago, that when I moved from platform to clipless my experience was much better (climbing, stability, etc)...but it's like I'm new again and would benefit from safely building up my skills before I use clipless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was just going to ask about shoes/pedals...I have trail running shoes with stiff soles, and others with flexible soles, I'm assuming the traditional stiff sole ones would be best?

I'm going to check out by LBS where I bought the bike as they had offered to give me, with the bike, some platform pedals (I declined, stupidly)...at least they would be free to try. And if I decide I prefer flats I can buy better platforms and five tens or something. Though I've just spent some time researching new pedals/shoes...well, because it's winter and buying stuff is fun ;-).

I'm really more xc with lots of climbs and only a little technical, versus all mountain/dh (so I do see myself going back to clipless on the mtn bike). Plus I ride clipless with my other bikes (road/cross), so I have them and I'm comfortable using them.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
31,431 Posts
Riding in the park is a fun departure from riding the trails, especially when the trails are in crappy shape.

I'm a little farther from Ray's than I used to be, so haven't made a trip there this year. But it's good to refresh the technical skills in the winter so that when it gets warm enough to ride outside, I don't have to worry about practicing tech skills and can just ride, and apply those skills to the trails and conditions I encounter along the way.

Unless I can work in a trip to the park, I'm going to be doing my learning curve on the trails this year. After riding clipless for 15 years, I'm going platforms full time for the first time this year (I have used them on and off, mostly on my commuter bike for the past 3 years or so).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,520 Posts
I was just going to ask about shoes/pedals...I have trail running shoes with stiff soles, and others with flexible soles, I'm assuming the traditional stiff sole ones would be best?
Skate/BMX style shoes are the way to go; something like Vans, DC, Etnies, et al. Buy 'em on clearance at the local big box and you should be able to keep it under $30 no problem.

I also definitely prefer clipless for any sort of trail riding.
 

·
Picture Unrelated
Joined
·
5,123 Posts
I was just going to ask about shoes/pedals...I have trail running shoes with stiff soles, and others with flexible soles, I'm assuming the traditional stiff sole ones would be best?

I'm going to check out by LBS where I bought the bike as they had offered to give me, with the bike, some platform pedals (I declined, stupidly)...at least they would be free to try. And if I decide I prefer flats I can buy better platforms and five tens or something. Though I've just spent some time researching new pedals/shoes...well, because it's winter and buying stuff is fun ;-).

I'm really more xc with lots of climbs and only a little technical, versus all mountain/dh (so I do see myself going back to clipless on the mtn bike). Plus I ride clipless with my other bikes (road/cross), so I have them and I'm comfortable using them.
I would also recommend flats for bike parks and learning technical skills. You might find that you (like many of us) will end up not going back to clipless.

As for choosing a particular pedal remember that you have winter every year so if you plan on keeping riding bikes you'll probably end up continuing to ride at the indoor park in the winter. Don't buy a throw-away pair of pedals like the shop was going to offer to give you. Buy something with removable traction pins which will offer a good amount of grip. There is nothing worse than slipping a pedal and that will leave as bad a taste as crashing because you get stuck in the clips.

Good pedals will grip poor shoes much better than good shoes will grip poor pedals; if you're going to spend money then spend it on pedals.

You're going to find that any time spent on the bike is good toward getting your skills up and time spent at an indoor park is really good practice. When you get out on the trails again you'll have better balance and better bike handling and it will definitely help your riding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,520 Posts
As for choosing a particular pedal remember that you have winter every year so if you plan on keeping riding bikes you'll probably end up continuing to ride at the indoor park in the winter. Don't buy a throw-away pair of pedals like the shop was going to offer to give you. Buy something with removable traction pins which will offer a good amount of grip. There is nothing worse than slipping a pedal and that will leave as bad a taste as crashing because you get stuck in the clips.
I would personally stay far away from any sort of metal pedals for park riding; plastic BMX units are where it's at (just make sure you get the9/16" spindles). Super cheap, plenty of grip (not like it's going to be muddy indoors), won't tear you apart when you mess up. IMO, they're better in every way for park riding (some parks actualy require them, as they don't want their nice ramps getting trashed). As far as performance, there are kids pulling moves on these a million times a day that have probably never even been attempted on a mountain bike. They're more than adequate for the likes of us.

Bmx Platform Pedals at Danscomp
 

·
Picture Unrelated
Joined
·
5,123 Posts
I would personally stay far away from any sort of metal pedals for park riding; plastic BMX units are where it's at (just make sure you get the9/16" spindles). Super cheap, plenty of grip (not like it's going to be muddy indoors), won't tear you apart when you mess up. IMO, they're better in every way for park riding (some parks actualy require them, as they don't want their nice ramps getting trashed). As far as performance, there are kids pulling moves on these a million times a day that have probably never even been attempted on a mountain bike. They're more than adequate for the likes of us.

Bmx Platform Pedals at Danscomp
Different kind of park (indoor mountain bike park vs skate park) but there are some nice plastic pedals out there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,520 Posts
Different kind of park (indoor mountain bike park vs skate park)
Yeah, I guess that's true in a way, but figure the sections of indoor parks that are aimed more towards mtbers require even less of a serious pedal interface than the those geared more towards typical BMX style riding. Less vert, less air, less technical, etc. I think aggressively pinned pedals are really only called for in fast and rough terrain where you're going to get bounced around a lot, or in sloppy conditions; nothing you're going to run into indoors, or even on any sort of smoothish dry dirt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,726 Posts
I have never been to a bike park, but I will say that you can learn alot from skills work. A few weeks back I spent 1 hour in the back yard on my patio going in circles and figure 8's. I ride clipless pedals on the trails and the road bike, but turned to my old trusty beginner/loaner bike. I slammed the seat all the way down and used regular shoes on flat pedals and practiced going slow. I spent time working on going as slow as I could around a 15x20 foot patio are first in a circle then in figure 8 around a post and a firepit. I tried to do that loop without a full pedal stroke mostly keep the pedals level and occasionally a little rocking on the pedals to keep me moving. The flats were prefect for the many time I had put a foot down.

Just that 1 hour was very valuable to me as it gave me alot more low speed balance and control that I have been able to apply on the trails. Now when I come to spot where I need to slow for tight switchback and a 1-2 mph it no longer worry about falling over. I have the confidence to balance and ride it out.

Point is the trails a great, but things like a bike park or even the back yard can be very useful to learn specific skills that you can use on the trails. I don't think you can learn everything in a bike park, but you can learn a lot from these artificial settings and you don't need nice bike to learn the either. BTW I was using cheap plastic pedals and simple tennis shoes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: slapheadmofo

·
Picture Unrelated
Joined
·
5,123 Posts
Yeah, I guess that's true in a way, but figure the sections of indoor parks that are aimed more towards mtbers require even less of a serious pedal interface than the those geared more towards typical BMX style riding. Less vert, less air, less technical, etc. I think aggressively pinned pedals are really only called for in fast and rough terrain where you're going to get bounced around a lot, or in sloppy conditions; nothing you're going to run into indoors, or even on any sort of smoothish dry dirt.
Sorry, I sort of rushed my earlier response because I was on my break. I mostly meant that if you were at a skate park style place with lots of expensive ramps then a plastic pedal would be appropriate and frequently required but if you were at a mountain bike indoor park (Ray's is a great benchmark of this) then a pinned pedal is completely appropriate. Indoor parks often include mock rock gardens, climbs, and log crossings in addition to the jumps and pump tracks which you may think of first. This means that a pinned pedal is a good choice unless it is banned. Also a pinned pedal is more versatile as it can be transferred to trail duty when you're feeling frisky. I think my original point was that if you spend a little more money up front on a good quality pedal that will last you longer and work better then you'll be happier in the long run. I have flat pedals that I've been running for nearly a decade because I spent a little bit more up front. I usually disagree with buying a cheaper product with an eye to upgrade later, it's almost always a better experience if you buy a mid range or better product up front because they work better for longer. However if you're looking for plastic I'm a really big fan of the Deity Compound pedals because they have a good quality body with good quality bearings and replaceable pins if you happen to knock them on rocks all the time like I do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,520 Posts
,, A few weeks back I spent 1 hour in the back yard on my patio going in circles and figure 8's,,,
Joe's got a great point. Never underestimate how much you can learn just dicking around in the yard. Log-overs, bunnyhops, stalls, jumping, 2x12's, slow tight turns...the power of the trackstand alone is immeasurable. Yeah, the neighbors will think you're a dork, but it's a price you pay.

I've actually got a number of wooden park elements at home, as well as small pump track (one of many benefits to having a kid that rides and an understanding wife). Sessioning particular moves until you dial them in is integral to progressing as a a rider IMO. What better place to do it than right out the door?

OP- I checked out some videos of Joyride and I'm going to make a couple assumptions as far as what you're riding while your there, and how it relates to what will actually come in useful to you in real-world conditions. The XC loop is good for loosening up, skinnies are kind of a novelty, not something you're typically going to have to deal with. The thing I'd concentrate on getting competent with is the pump track. Make a point of learning to get around it w/o pedalling and your overall bike handling skills will skyrocket, and it will all translate to riding trails no matter the pedal type. Don't be shy about hitting up other riders for advice either; park riding is a pretty sociable scene IME.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
OP- I checked out some videos of Joyride and I'm going to make a couple assumptions as far as what you're riding while your there, and how it relates to what will actually come in useful to you in real-world conditions. The XC loop is good for loosening up, skinnies are kind of a novelty, not something you're typically going to have to deal with. The thing I'd concentrate on getting competent with is the pump track. Make a point of learning to get around it w/o pedalling and your overall bike handling skills will skyrocket, and it will all translate to riding trails no matter the pedal type. Don't be shy about hitting up other riders for advice either; park riding is a pretty sociable scene IME.
I've been there four times. I use the xc loop to get a workout, and the pump tack, rock gardens, and drop-offs to work on basic skills. I use the dedicated pump track and skinnies for bike handling and balance.

I put on some aluminum pedals with short, metal pins and shoes with a flat soul...tried track stands and slow, tight turns out front of my house and it worked well.

Thx
 

·
Fat-tired Roadie
Joined
·
18,453 Posts
I haven't done an indoor park, but I used to live next to a couple skills parks.

The big difference I notice is that while elements at skills parks are often designed to be tricky, they're all designed to be ridden. On trails outdoors, there may or may not be added elements, but there are a lot of technical elements that just happen or are functions of the terrain or climate. Stuff like rutted out or eroded portions, root beds, switchbacks, off-camber turns, benches that get narrow or slope downslope a lot, etc.

Riding the indoor park certainly can't hurt. I wish I had one! Just be prepared for a bit of a transition in the spring.

And go ride some interesting singletrack. ;)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top