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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Was wondering what you do or have done to keep your front wheel planted and improve cornering speed? Fortunately and unfortunately I don't weigh much ~135lbs. During cornering, I have a hard time keeping the front end planted. I am running the stock El Capi-tan tires that came with the bike. The advice I've received so far includes:

1. Move your body more towards the front.
2. Depending on the situation, it may help if you keep your outside pedal down.
3. Weigh your handle bars by pressing down.
4. Stick a fatter tire on the front than the rear.
5. Choose your line so you cut the apex of the corner.
6. Look for terrain that will give you traction and push into it.


So... again, what do you do to keep your front wheel planted during cornering?

--Update--

Would probably help if I provided more information! How noob of me. I've got an 08 Stumpy Elite. When climbing I try to keep around 35 - 40 psi in the tires. When descending I run ~25 psi. I also ride a motorcycle so some of those skills have transferred over. I am leaning the bike and that's usually where I feel that the front wants to wash out.
 

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wht i did to mine is put the stem lower and use 1" riser bar to get more control
also recently change to roval traversee wheels which re stiffer @ front end

on a xc/ long ride then ll stuck my seat up to lean more forward and get more speed
on a dh track or doin bigger stuff, normally just lower the seat and try to stay at the centre of the bike(apart from drops or rough track) + keep the front end down on a berm will help as well

btw
what year stumpy you have? and whats your setup?
 

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dtang21 said:
Was wondering what you do or have done to keep your front wheel planted and improve cornering speed? Fortunately and unfortunately I don't weigh much ~135lbs. During cornering, I have a hard time keeping the front end planted. I am running the stock El Capi-tan tires that came with the bike. The advice I've received so far includes:

1. Move your body more towards the front.
2. Depending on the situation, it may help if you keep your outside pedal down.
3. Weigh your handle bars by pressing down.
4. Stick a fatter tire on the front than the rear.
5. Choose your line so you cut the apex of the corner.
6. Look for terrain that will give you traction and push into it.

So... again, what do you do to keep your front wheel planted during cornering?
Your fork could have a lot to do with it also.... if you have the compression cranked on it then it doesn't get a chance to do its proper job in cornering. Also if the rebound is too "bouncy" same issue... no chance for damping in the corners.
Many factors can change a bikes cornering ability.
Play around with your fork abit ...if its air check the pressure may be too high.
Check your tire pressure... also may be too high.
If you're cornering hard and fast, keep your butt at seat level but lean forward a bit to help the front end grab some dirt to help it out...
Iam recently experiencing the same problem. I changed the fork on my dually and now in corners it chatters too much and feels like the front end will wash out.. the spring in it is far too stiff so I will put the other fork back on this weekend, as it cornered beautifully before I swappied out the fork.
Being you're a light guy, distributing your weight across your bike properly will certainly help a lot...just a few things for you to look at.
 

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At 140 lbs have long had the same problem. Three thing made the biggest difference, 1,Lower the stem (this will also help greatly in climbing). 2, Play with tire pressure, ignore pressure rating on the sidewall, I run 24-28 lbs in the front and 1-2 lbs higher in the rear, depending on conditions. (I run tubeless and 2.0 - 2.2 in tires)
Finally, get loose on the bike, butt slightly off the seat, allows you to move weight around almost instantly.
 

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wickerman1 said:
Your fork could have a lot to do with it also.... if you have the compression cranked on it then it doesn't get a chance to do its proper job in cornering. Also if the rebound is too "bouncy" same issue... no chance for damping in the corners.
Many factors can change a bikes cornering ability.
Play around with your fork abit ...if its air check the pressure may be too high.
Check your tire pressure... also may be too high.
If you're cornering hard and fast, keep your butt at seat level but lean forward a bit to help the front end grab some dirt to help it out...
Iam recently experiencing the same problem. I changed the fork on my dually and now in corners it chatters too much and feels like the front end will wash out.. the spring in it is far too stiff so I will put the other fork back on this weekend, as it cornered beautifully before I swappied out the fork.
Being you're a light guy, distributing your weight across your bike properly will certainly help a lot...just a few things for you to look at.
"its not me, its the bike! no seriously guys, I promise!" :D

but seriously, that sounds like pretty poor advice as far as suspension setup goes, it sounds to me like you're still kind of figuring it out, which is cool, just telling other people how to do it might be a bad idea. Compression damping is a good thing in corners. There is such a thing as too much, but its all about finding a balance between that and the springrate.

at any rate, keep your feet level, and only put the outside pedal down as much as you need to for ground/rock clearance with the inside pedal.

The best thing you can do is keep the bike as straight as possible. When your wheels are inline you'll track better.

Don't turn the front wheel. Or rather, turn the front wheel as little as possible (since you probably wont be drifting 180 degree switchbacks yet, you can ignore it for switchbacks). Lean the bike over as much as necessary to make the corner, but turn the front wheel/handlebars as little as possible.

Don't brake in the corners. Your tires have a finite amount of grip, and braking in corners will only use up that grip they have. They'll be much more likely to wash if you have your brakes on. If you feel like you're out of control and cornering is too hard/fast, then you should be braking more before the corner. You can't stress not touching your brakes in corners enough.

Basically lean the bike, don't turn the bars, and don't brake in corners. Start there, because those are the fundamentals that the best mtb'rs in the world work on or strong cornering.
 

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The first thing is...what kind of Stumpjumper is this?...hardtail, fully, old, new, what? I'm gonna take a stab and guess '08/'09 SJ FSR of some kind because of the tires. Yes, your technique makes a massive difference in how your bike will handle. Many bicycle guys are not into moving around on the bike very much. Riding dirt motors really trains you to do this. Since dirt motors are heavier, you really have to move a decent amount to make handling influences, but being a two-wheeled vehicle, it is required. Transitioning over to an MTB, it takes a little less body english, but it takes some all the same.

I don't like to set up a bike with a strong bias that loads the front end with a long stem, low bar, etc. because you're stuck with that setup. Your arms are only so long, and when you really need to get back from the bar, you're pretty well stuck there with some setups. Keep your bike in more neutral setup and just move your body fore, aft, and otherwise to influence handling. Sure, sometimes a component geometry change is necessary when a bike is too far out of whack, but body english is a critical element in handling.

If you do have an '08/'09 SJ FSR, they are long, stable bikes and "usually" don't need much in the way of changing bars, stems, and such. Frankly on my '08 I got a taller bar and a shorter stem, as I though the OEM stuff was too far oriented to the XC end of things. The bike responds well to body english for handling input. If you have another Stumpjumper, well, disregard.

Oh...on those Captain tires...they're OK, but usually a slightly larger with a more aggressive tread pattern goes a long way to improving front end bite.
 

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The front of my Pitch was wanting to wash in the turns. I have played with tire pressure which cured some of the issue. I recently swapped out from 660mm to 680mm bars and the washing sensation is all but gone. The difference was night and day.

My advice....measure your bars and go 1" wider. The wider grip will give you the same effect as going to a longer stem by causing a slight weight transfer to the front. I even shortened my stem 5mm(which you should make the front end lighter) and with the wider bars the front sticks much better.
 

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You may be running too much pressure in the front tire. If your'e going as high as 40 psi in the front, that's just too much pressure. If you're running 25 when descending, you can run way lower for regular trail riding.
 

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1. Make sure rebound is set correclty and you don't have too much air pressure, if you routinely only use 1/2 to 2/3 of your travel on your fork you likely have too much air pressure.

2. Make sure seat is not so high that you can't sit off of it and move around a lil

3. Put outside pedal down and stand on it, this goes with #2, you can't stand on the outside pedal if the seat is so high that you're still sitting on the seat, that makes your weight go on the seat and not on that outside pedal

4. Put your ass back a little and be very loose on the bars. Make sure you don't have a deathgrip on the bars

5. Look through the turn
 

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I think you're on the right track in your first post.

The biggest things that have helped me on my bikes (road and mountain) have been:

  • Get off of the front brake. Use your rear brake to control speed/direction through the corner.
  • Lean the bike, not your body
  • While leaning, put the outside pedal DOWN and put your weight on it

Weight on the outside pedal has made the most noticeable difference for me. You can't always, and don't always need to do that, but you should still be leaning the bike in sharper turns while trying to keep your body centered over the bike. You don't need to have your weight back unless you're going down a steep-ish hill, but you should be off the saddle regardless for most corners.

Also - on the tire pressures..with your weight, you could probably get away with lower pressures than you're running, and for me, pumping up and airing down all day sounds like a pain in the ass. If you're running tubes, and not hitting a ton of rocks, try running 30 psi and adjusting up or down based on pinch flat frequency. Go tubeless and you can really rock the low PSI - I weigh 190-200lbs depending on time of the year and run 35 on the rear of my Epic (26x2.0 Capt. Control) and about 24 psi on the front (26x2.2 Capt. Control) without cross-hatching the tire or banging off the rims. Rims on my Epic are Mavic 819, and I'm getting even lower pressures out of my 29x2.2 Captains on Stan's Arch rims on my 29er ;)
 

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Try a larger front tire when you wear those captains out, or take them back to the shop and grab a set of eskars in 2.3. Specialized still does the tire replacment thing I think.
 

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I have been chasing the same problem since I got my Stumpjumper FSR. I am far from a mountain bike expert but it seems so are my local bike shops here in Milwaukee.

My last bike was a 2006 Hardrock - Large frame, my new bike is a 2008 SJ FSR medium frame. I loved the way my Hardrock handled - (minus the hardtail feel). It seemed really stable on my local landfill/ski hill downhill, pounded over roots/rocks, and cornered awesome. My SJ feels sketchy too me on the down hill and corners like my friends XC race bikes..

I have upgraded to 2.1 Nevegals which did help a lot. My next thoughts were to go with a 27" bar and a shorter stem - like several people mentioned here... maybe it's just the geometry of the SJ but I would think it should have better feel to me then my $600 Hardrock.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is that a hardtail will generally go a bit slower through a rougher section. You can "feel" everything. A well set up FS bike will "feel" less because it's not telegraphing every little bump to you. You generally go a bit faster and sometimes that means hitting the corners a bit faster.

The hardtail has better pop out of the corners because of the acceleration advantage. The hardtail is more of a point and shoot bike since it can't take the same bumps at the same speed.

To the OP, one of the techniques I use to get a bit more front end grip is to drag the rear brakes a bit. Not locking up the rear tire or really braking, but just enough to check your speed and transfer a little weight to the front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
wickerman1 said:
Your fork could have a lot to do with it also.... if you have the compression cranked on it then it doesn't get a chance to do its proper job in cornering. Also if the rebound is too "bouncy" same issue... no chance for damping in the corners.
Many factors can change a bikes cornering ability.
Play around with your fork abit ...if its air check the pressure may be too high.
Check your tire pressure... also may be too high.
If you're cornering hard and fast, keep your butt at seat level but lean forward a bit to help the front end grab some dirt to help it out...
Iam recently experiencing the same problem. I changed the fork on my dually and now in corners it chatters too much and feels like the front end will wash out.. the spring in it is far too stiff so I will put the other fork back on this weekend, as it cornered beautifully before I swappied out the fork.
Being you're a light guy, distributing your weight across your bike properly will certainly help a lot...just a few things for you to look at.
wickerman1, I actually read your advice again and thought about it... and it hit me! When I last visited my LBS, I recall that the manager of the store wanted to adjust my suspension settings telling me that I had it setup "incorrectly." I rewatched the Specialized Stumpjumper Suspension setup video on YouTube and it turns out that the manager had put too much air in my front and rear shock for my weight! Now, I'm sure theres a lot I can do to fix my technique, but I think with the suspension dialed in to work properly, I'll have a better starting point to evaluate and improve my riding skills. Thanks for bringing this up!

I also put on a brand new 2.3 inch Specialized Resolution Pro tire that i had purchased for my old Specialied P2. I'll provide an update after I ride my local trail tommorow evening. Thanks!
 

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dtang21 said:
wickerman1, I actually read your advice again and thought about it... and it hit me! When I last visited my LBS, I recall that the manager of the store wanted to adjust my suspension settings telling me that I had it setup "incorrectly." I rewatched the Specialized Stumpjumper Suspension setup video on YouTube and it turns out that the manager had put too much air in my front and rear shock for my weight! Now, I'm sure theres a lot I can do to fix my technique, but I think with the suspension dialed in to work properly, I'll have a better starting point to evaluate and improve my riding skills. Thanks for bringing this up!

I also put on a brand new 2.3 inch Specialized Resolution Pro tire that i had purchased for my old Specialied P2. I'll provide an update after I ride my local trail tommorow evening. Thanks!
I second what everyone says with the front tire. I use a 2.2 captain on the front and found it works great for cornering. 2.0 is ok, not as good.
 
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