Riding Style

Discussion in 'Mountain Biking' started by kjg48359, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. kjg48359

    kjg48359 Fuji Hero

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    Hi, I finally upgraded my Mt Bike after 16 years. I originally had what I thought was one of the better suspension designs on the market at the time: a GT "iDrive" that isolated the peddling forces from the suspension movement.

    So, my front fork's seals are finally starting to go, and it's almost impossible to get a kit for it since it's so old, no shop in my area (Greater Detroit) will touch it.

    So I got a new bike, a Marian "Hawk Hill" (https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/hawk-hill-2). This is an entirely different setup, different body position and suspension philosophy. I'm also going from a 3x7 gearing to a 1x11 gearing.

    However with the time of year and weather here (now that there's snow, I generally rarely ride below 40 degrees) I did get one crack at riding a favorite trail in the area. It had been about 3-4 weeks since I had been on a bike when I did so.

    So with that in mind, it felt like the lowest gear ratio was not quite as low as my older bike, my knees feel strained a little bit (I'm mid-50's now, no longer a spring chicken).

    with the older GT, I'd almost never climb a hill out of saddle. With this bike, while I was impressed how it felt going up a hill. But I'm wondering if climbing out saddle would dramatically alter the suspension characteristics such that I might not want to do that?

    Is there some kind of general guideline when climbing with these newer designs, or can some one point me to something that I can research/read?

    And my other question is to ask if I do, do I just replace the front chain ring with one with a couple of less teeth if I decide that I still want to lower my gearing a little?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. cwtch

    cwtch Well-Known Member

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    Most modern full suspension bikes tend climb best if one stays seated. But personal rider preference does play in. At times I stand but keep my weight back over the rear wheel. It is slightly awkward until used to it but works.

    The bike you have is really nice. Has a 30 tooth upfront with an 11-42 rear cassette. A 30:42 is low but probably not as low as you had with the triple. One thing you could do is change the front ring to a 28 or they make an 11-46 rear cassette.
     

  3. kjg48359

    kjg48359 Fuji Hero

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    Thanks cwtch, I'll look into the research behind what I might want to do with the gearing. Of course part of me is inclined to say that it might be a little conditioning factor that should go away once regular season starts. If I make drop the front chain ring, does that affect the chain length? Will I need to remove a few extra links in the chain?
     
  4. Dos_Ruedas

    Dos_Ruedas Well-Known Member

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    @cwtch great advice.
    @kjg48359 congrats on the new ride. How about posting a pic?
     
  5. i12ride

    i12ride Spin Spin Spin Tavern Member

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    I wouldn't do anything to the chain going from 30 down to 28. That way if you choose, later on, can go back with the 30 without messing with anything else. 4 teeth or more changes, whether chainring or cassette, I would adjust chain length.
     
  6. rola643

    rola643 Two skinny Js Staff Member Admin Staff Mod Team Tavern Member

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    On a mtb I almost always stay in the saddle and that's mostly because without switching the trail climb descend I feel like I give up to much. I never thought about staying to the rear as if in a decent or rocks, etc. Might give that a try and see, it sounds very awkward tho to be honest :D

    On a road bike I MUCH prefer to stand but it comes at a cost of much more wear on the legs vs more spin and cardio sitting and spinning a bit more.
     
  7. i12ride

    i12ride Spin Spin Spin Tavern Member

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    I stand and ride on road rides to rest my ass from being on the dang seat. MTB, will stand and climb when needed, which depends mostly on being on a geared bike or single speed. Lots more standing mashing on a ss. Completely different riding even style on same trails.....or on same greenbelts for that matter on the ss pavement monster.
     
  8. newleaf150

    newleaf150 Deranged Touring Cyclist Tavern Member

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    Assuming I correctly understand Cwtch's recommendation, you're right: it feels awkward as all heck to shift your weight waaay back for a steep descent. Totally works, though. I did that a lot when I played off road on my FS MTB. I'd recommend starting small and working your way into more technical stuff. A good place to practice, if you can find one, is a 1/4 flight of stairs.

    Due to my FS bike's frame geometry, it wasn't possible to drop the saddle low for descents in the way it is with an unsuspended DF. I found I could compensate by pushing my butt back off the saddle, until it was more or less over the rear axle. That put my stomach or chest up against the saddle, which allowed for added stability and a sort of 'body english' means of balance and steering correction.

    It feels really weird and more than a little awkward at first, but that fades quickly as muscle memory and skill come together.
     
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  9. i12ride

    i12ride Spin Spin Spin Tavern Member

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    Oh, the seat in the stomach with butt pushed back off back of it to keep from going OTB on steep descents feels much more natural than going OTB and trying to find "good" landing spot and trying to not get hit by the bike tumbling down behind you......dropper or not.

    Never had much use if ever for that technique on the road bike but did use it a coupla times avoiding being over my head on some trail spots on the gravel bike. I will agree that seat in stomach holding onto drop bars is an odd situation, but so is a road bike with bigger tires and discs being ridden on serious offroad stuff............
     
  10. rola643

    rola643 Two skinny Js Staff Member Admin Staff Mod Team Tavern Member

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    I thought she was talking climbing :)
     
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  11. newleaf150

    newleaf150 Deranged Touring Cyclist Tavern Member

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    Wow, fail. Perhaps it's time for me to take a break :oops:
     
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  12. cwtch

    cwtch Well-Known Member

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    I meant climbing. It is way awkward to keep your butt back and stand on a climb. It works and gets normal if used to it. Still faster to stay seated. But if almost stalled out it can get the bike over an obstacle to stand.
    I of course get way behind the saddle on DH sections. Still awkward but less so.
    NewLeaf I think explained that technic perfect.
     
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  13. rola643

    rola643 Two skinny Js Staff Member Admin Staff Mod Team Tavern Member

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    I just can't imagine getting back like that on a climb. Is that something you do on longer climbs with less grade? What is the actual benefit? I stay over the bars to keep the front end down, usually.
     
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  14. i12ride

    i12ride Spin Spin Spin Tavern Member

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    wow, yeah, reading comprehension fail, lol.....like rola said, usually over the seat leaning forward toward or over bars to keep front down......closest i get to that position climbing would be for slow speed crawling over obstacles or any situationn calling for "trials" type technique. i'll have to chk it out on general climb.
     
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  15. kjg48359

    kjg48359 Fuji Hero

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    Hi Dos_Ruedas, not need for me to post a picture (I've only been on a single ride so far), but it's on the web at https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/hawk-hill-2. But one thing I'll mention is that it has a "Dropper" post. There's a lever (like a gear thumb lever) that I press, then I ram by butt on the seat and it slides down in a special stem and stays there for as long as I want. When the decent is over, I press the lever again and the seat springs back to full height making the awkward body positioning of having your stomach on top of the seat not be a problem. We do have some hills in MI, but it's unlikely that I'll be using it a ton (although I can think of a few trails where I think it will come in handy, just not a lot).
     
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  16. kjg48359

    kjg48359 Fuji Hero

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    Thanks I12Ride: I appreciate the advice (assuming that the derailleur won't have any issues with a couple of extra links).
     
  17. cwtch

    cwtch Well-Known Member

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    The only time I get out of the saddle is when there is something technical at the top of a really steep climb and I can't spin up it. Example climbing in my lowest gear because of steepness and at the top there is stair steps. As soon as the front end gets up and I am about to stall out I stand but keep my butt back so the rear wheel won't spin. Most my bikes do not have a super low gear but if they do I would also drop to a higher rear cog.
    The only reason to keep your booty back is to not lose rear wheel traction. Once the rear is near half way over the obstacle I throw my weight forward like a reverse wheelie motion and as the wheel cleans I am back in the saddle and down shifting to accelerate.
    Feels über awkward but once you get used to it in my experience it is the only way to stand for power on techy stuff without spinning the rear wheel. The catch is do not pull on the bars or the front wheel comes up. If it starts to come up I sorta track stand for a second and the subtly shift my weight back and give it a second go.
    On any other kind of climb on the mtb I stay seated for the most part. Sometimes standing at the base of a short steep climb to power up, then seated for the climb unless I can coast it like a pump track berm.
    Can not say any of this would work for others. I don't know.
     
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