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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I got a new summer job and one of my co-workers convinced me to give heading out to the local singletrack a try (on my 15" schwinn from about 10 years ago, when i was 10. I'm 5'11", 150 lbs if you can picture that lol) and i had a blast. I shortly after got my hands on a 08' Rock Hopper disc. The trail has some decent hills for NW indiana, switch backs, log jumps, lots of roots, and SAND.

Some of the stuff i try to do that i can think of:
  • I try to shift gears before hills to aviod messing up the drivetrain
  • try to ride in a lower gear to keep a constant cadance while pedaling
  • stand up and keep weight back while decending to keep control of bike

I have a lot of common sense of how to ride just from riding a bike as a kid, but im just looking for tips to improve my riding skillz. I have friends out going to school in colorado, oregon, and cali. I cant wait to visit them with my bike. I'm hooked :thumbsup: :D
 

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Welcome fellow Hoosier!! I'm on the other side of the state in Fort Wayne, if you ever head east, check out the trails in Winona Lake.

Do you have any questions in particular? Ask away. See you out on the dirt.
 

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the biggest tip i can give it get out there and ride. ride, crash, get up and ride again. if something looks too difficult, get off the rig and look it over. if you decide to ride it and clean it, congrats, if not, keep riding, you'll get it. the biggest thing is to learn the bike you are on. learn how it handles. learn what you can get away with and what you cannot.. it will come. most of all... have some fun!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, when i try to do sharp turns that arent banked, it seems like the tires lose traction a lot on the leaves and dirt. Is it my riding or the tires? What would be some better tires i should take a look at? I do remember some people saying the stock tires on the RH are pretty weak.. and it seems that way to me
 

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Relax! Be loose on the bike. Let your body absorb the blow from the trail. Keeping your elbows bent helps alot with that. Dont have a death grip on the hadle bars just a firm one. Also make sure you look down the trail. Dont look just inches in front of your tire but more like 10ft up the trail for things comming. Just look where you want to go your bike will follow. Fall a couple times, after you hit the ground enough you wont even worry about it. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, why do i start feeling a pinch on the outside of my palms mid way thru the ride? the LBS said its probibly from leaning on the handlebars, and he'd adjust my stem so i rode more upright. Sound correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
emtnate said:
Welcome fellow Hoosier!! I'm on the other side of the state in Fort Wayne, if you ever head east, check out the trails in Winona Lake.

Do you have any questions in particular? Ask away. See you out on the dirt.
I have heard of that place and i'll probibly head out there sometime soon. I havent had a chance to get out of the area yet, because i usually golf or wakeboard on weekends. I also wanna get out to michigan or southern Indiana. I also heard about a few spots down by purdue... thats where i'll be going back to school in the fall.
 

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tkulchawick135 said:
Also, why do i start feeling a pinch on the outside of my palms mid way thru the ride?
The exact position of the bar and levers can make a difference.
Also, there may be a tendency to grip the bar too hard, which obviously leads to fatigue and pain.

tkulchawick135 said:
when i try to do sharp turns that arent banked, it seems like the tires lose traction a lot on the leaves and dirt.
Tyres can make a difference, so can tyre pressures. Up to a point, lower pressure gives better traction. Too low and you start getting "pinch flats". Any tyre will lose traction if you turn too fast. Braking while turning reduces the amount of traction you have left for turning. You also need to have your weight distribution on the bike so that there's weight on both tyres.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
perttime said:
The exact position of the bar and levers can make a difference.
Also, there may be a tendency to grip the bar too hard, which obviously leads to fatigue and pain.

Tyres can make a difference, so can tyre pressures. Up to a point, lower pressure gives better traction. Too low and you start getting "pinch flats". Any tyre will lose traction if you turn too fast. Braking while turning reduces the amount of traction you have left for turning. You also need to have your weight distribution on the bike so that there's weight on both tyres.
yeah i do have my tires lowered to 38psi (150lbs) and it does make a difference. Thx for the info everyone! Any good XC tire recommendations? Usually just riding packed dirt, no mud or snow or anything yet
 

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on packed dirt you can raise your pressure a bit to 55psi. Unless you do a lot of roots or rocks. This will lower the rolling resistance.

I agree with the fellow above, ride loose, but direct the bike. Let the bike do the work, but don't let the bike steer.
 

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mlepito said:
on packed dirt you can raise your pressure a bit to 55psi. Unless you do a lot of roots or rocks. This will lower the rolling resistance.
That kind of pressures would kill me on the local rocky/rooty trails... and I am no lightweight.
 

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to specifically answer the tires and traction issue.... i grew up riding in michigan. mostly hardpack this time of year with lots o leaves covering the trails. on turns that are not banked, if you carry any substantial velocity upon entering, you will get some tire slide. this is not bad. in fact, it will get you around that turn faster. there are two keys though to pulling this off successfully. STAY OFF THE BRAKES. applying your brakes will make you slide right off the trail and eat it. also, pick your line well.

it kinda feeds off my last comment of getting to know your bike well and learning what you can get away with. the most important thing is to float over the bike. find that flow (which i myself am struggling with on the new ride) ride a little quicker than you think you should. as someone said before, look 10ft ahead of you. point the front tire and the rear will follow. bite off more than you can chew. and again... have tons of fun. afterall, that is why we go out and try to kill ourselves on the bikes isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, i ride at imagination glen. The whole beginning section is a lot of flats, some sand, and just weaving back and forth. Then, theres a lot more logs, rocks, roots, and hills once you get farther into the woods so the tire pressure i have works. I was just curious because i was trying to cruise pretty fast through the beginning section and was wondering about how to not slide around so much. Thanks for all the responses

On another note, whats the best way to ride up hills? I usually ride like hell, drop the gear down at the bottom of the hill and lean forward while pedaling. Sometimes i need to stand up and pump if im gonna stop.
 

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i am a huge fan of the panaracer fire xc . or the smoke.. there are a ton of good tires out there, but these have served me well in the mid michigan area. I am riding in florida now, where there is a lot of sand and they still do pretty well. i am sure your locale and the one that i grew up riding in michigan have similar features.

you can practice shifting your weight to see where on the bike you need to be for your tires to grip the best. you will never eliminate the slide in the type of terrain you are riding but you can control it most of the time. I am envious of you and your trails.. I get beaches in the middle of woods here. good trails, just not the hardpack and MUD that I am used to.
 

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I took off the fast track tires on my rockhopper after the first couple of rides. I got a pair of WTB Weirwolf tires cheap, they get much better traction but don't shed mud that well.

Around Purdue, I heard there is a group of people trying to make some trails in Lafayette. I don't really get down that way so I don't know anything else. Check out http://www.hmba.org for more info on that. As for Michigan, I recommend TK Lawless park (If you ski it's a few miles from Swiss Valley) and Fort Custer on I-94 just west of Battle Creek.
 

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if you're going to lawless, just go north an hour or so and join us at yankee springs! =)

are you wearing gloves? that will make a difference. i'd suggest finding someone that's decent and taking a lap with them. ask them to point out things that you may want to improve.

i've learned quite a bit from my more experienced friends and i appreciate their SOLICITED advice.

btw, when you're down at purdue, check out brown county state park. good stuff.
 

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tkulchawick135 said:
whats the best way to ride up hills?
Depends on the hill :D

I ride singlespeed a lot and there it is mainly "start as fast as possible and keep it up if you can".

If you have a long climb, you want to find a gear you can turn and then just keep winching.

I like to start short climbs at some speed if possible. Then I look for a spot where I can afford to reduce the pressure a bit for shifting. Or I get out of the saddle to get up the last few meters. It takes some trial and error to find out what you can, and cannot, do.

When it gets steep, you need to move your weight forward to keep the front wheel on the ground. Not so much that you lose traction in the rear, though. More trial and error...

Obstacles are much harder going up a hill: in addition to putting your front wheel where you need it to be, you need to pay attention to maintaining some speed while doing it. Going down a hill, the slope usually takes care of maintaining enough speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
emtnate said:
I took off the fast track tires on my rockhopper after the first couple of rides. I got a pair of WTB Weirwolf tires cheap, they get much better traction but don't shed mud that well.

Around Purdue, I heard there is a group of people trying to make some trails in Lafayette. I don't really get down that way so I don't know anything else. Check out http://www.hmba.org for more info on that. As for Michigan, I recommend TK Lawless park (If you ski it's a few miles from Swiss Valley) and Fort Custer on I-94 just west of Battle Creek.
Yup, the local specialized dealer does monthly rides, and they are going to lawless in july and custer in august. Hope i make it to both otherwise i'll head there on my own. I like the news about the lafayette trails! i'll check it out.

dewthedru said:
if you're going to lawless, just go north an hour or so and join us at yankee springs! =)

are you wearing gloves? that will make a difference. i'd suggest finding someone that's decent and taking a lap with them. ask them to point out things that you may want to improve.

i've learned quite a bit from my more experienced friends and i appreciate their SOLICITED advice.

btw, when you're down at purdue, check out brown county state park. good stuff.
I am wearing gloves. I plan on heading to brown county sometime soon, i hear its amazing! i've been there camping before but they didnt have any riding trails then. Beautiful place. I also heard about 2-3 trails in the indy area. And one more in eastern ill...
 
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