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Thread: Newbie bike question

  1. #31
    Senior Member Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    Well, that's the thing. I've really been enjoying riding the bike, taking two hour rides or so, and up until now it's been all on the road. And I want to continue to be able to enjoy that. So if it would hurt the road experience appreciably, then I'd probably rather pick up a second bike.
    Another option, of course, could be to purchase another set of rims, put knobby tires on them, and then just quickly switch them out depending on where you're riding. Would be a little less expensive than an entirely new bike and you get the benefit of riding on the same bike that you enjoy and are familiar with. Just a thought.

  2. #32
    it's all a blur mtnbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    I'm wanting to explore these kinds of roads along the bench and in the canyon.

    Which trail is that? The image suggests it is a trail in Provo Canyon, but I'm not seeing it on utahmountainbiking.com.

    For that kind of trail, I think you would really want a dedicated mountain biking frame. A hybrid is going to have geometry more suited for commutes, not for singletrack.

    And a hardtail is lighter than full suspension, but requires more technical proficiency to go over bumps, rocks, and washboard. I always had to mediate my cadence based on terrain. With a good full suspension, you can just pedal and the bike soaks up the terrain for you.

    I had 26" frames until a few years ago, when the last frame broke, and went with a 29er. It's a little different, not quite as quick in the corners, but does get over all the bumps and rocks just fine.

  3. #33
    it's all a blur mtnbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker View Post
    Which trail is that? The image suggests it is a trail in Provo Canyon, but I'm not seeing it on utahmountainbiking.com.
    Ah, I figured it out. It's the trail leading up from the parkway above Canyon Glen. My riding buddies and I have totally different names for the trails from what utahmountainbiking.com has. We call that section 'goat'. And a little challenging twist and turn near the top of that we called 'double goat trouble'. Definitely not a good spot for a hybrid bike.

  4. #34
    Strikes and Gutters chrisrenrut's Avatar
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    I have been on a hardtail 26'r since the late 80's. This year I treated myself to a full suspension 27.5 Santa Cruz. I kind of feel obligated to ride it, given how much money I spent on it, but honestly I have more fun on the hardtail. It's probably because it's what I have known for so many years and miles. I feel I can climb better on the hard tail because it is lighter and more nimble. Descending is probably slower, although I keep up with full suspension guys pretty well. It just requires more concentration and skill.

    Part of the problem is after years of descending on a hardtail, I'm used to suspending my body with my weight on my legs. On a full suspension bike you want to keep your weight on the seat so the suspension can absorb the bumps. It's a hard habit for me to break.

    There is more than just the suspension. Today's new bikes have much more slack geometry, so are more stable at higher speeds, but they take more effort in the turns. And the tire size creates the same effect as well. Also, I got rid of the dropper post because I never used it, and it was just adding weight and taking up handlebar space for the trigger.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrenrut View Post

    Part of the problem is after years of descending on a hardtail, I'm used to suspending my body with my weight on my legs. On a full suspension bike you want to keep your weight on the seat so the suspension can absorb the bumps. It's a hard habit for me to break.
    Ummmm, no you don't. In fact hard core guys have a gizmo that will raise and lower the seat depending on if you're climbing or descending. Descending that sucker goes down far enough it's hard to sit on.

  6. #36
    Strikes and Gutters chrisrenrut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaka View Post
    Ummmm, no you don't. In fact hard core guys have a gizmo that will raise and lower the seat depending on if you're climbing or descending. Descending that sucker goes down far enough it's hard to sit on.
    Yeah, I think you are talking about a dropper post, the thing I reference getting rid of.

    Here is what I have noticed while riding, which is why I think a seated position provides the most benefit on a full suspension bike.

    If you are putting your weight on your legs/pedals, your weight is centered low, and right in front of the pivot for the rear suspension. Not much leverage for the rear shock to work. If you are sitting on your seat, your weight is centered high above and a bit behind the pivot. You are getting the most leverage on your rear suspension. You will still want to stand for really steep sections or drops, but for coasting down a rocky trail, you'll get the most out of your rear suspension by putting your weight on your seat. The dropper posts allow you to move your weight a little lower while sitting.

  7. #37
    it's all a blur mtnbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrenrut View Post
    Yeah, I think you are talking about a dropper post, the thing I reference getting rid of.

    Here is what I have noticed while riding, which is why I think a seated position provides the most benefit on a full suspension bike.

    If you are putting your weight on your legs/pedals, your weight is centered low, and right in front of the pivot for the rear suspension. Not much leverage for the rear shock to work. If you are sitting on your seat, your weight is centered high above and a bit behind the pivot. You are getting the most leverage on your rear suspension. You will still want to stand for really steep sections or drops, but for coasting down a rocky trail, you'll get the most out of your rear suspension by putting your weight on your seat. The dropper posts allow you to move your weight a little lower while sitting.
    I had to think about this for a bit, and I don't think I quite agree with it. But it might also have to do with the type of bike and suspension. I don't have any experience with slack-geometry downhill-style bikes and drop posts. I've always ridden cross-country style bikes.

    You say that when standing, your weight is on your pedals. Yes, it is, but when going downhill, I always have my weight back behind the saddle, and the center of gravity is behind the pivot, not centered over the pedals. Therefore, I have better weight distribution and leverage in the suspension. If I just sat on my saddle, the suspension would throw me up and forward on every bump of any size. (I tried it a bit today.) Someone posted a video here a couple of years ago about a downhill cyclist who had been paralyzed from the waist down. He strapped into a bike and went flying downhill with his buddies. You could tell from the video that he was pretty much getting launched by the suspension every time he hit a bump or compression. I thought he was pretty lucky (and skilled) to keep the tire side down all through the ride. He had no choice but to sit on the saddle the entire time, whereas when I go downhill, I'm always either out of the saddle with my weight back or at least sitting well back on the saddle, practically squeezing it with my thighs. So, for me at least, it's better to be back and out of the saddle.

  8. #38
    Strikes and Gutters chrisrenrut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker View Post
    I had to think about this for a bit, and I don't think I quite agree with it. But it might also have to do with the type of bike and suspension. I don't have any experience with slack-geometry downhill-style bikes and drop posts. I've always ridden cross-country style bikes.

    You say that when standing, your weight is on your pedals. Yes, it is, but when going downhill, I always have my weight back behind the saddle, and the center of gravity is behind the pivot, not centered over the pedals. Therefore, I have better weight distribution and leverage in the suspension. If I just sat on my saddle, the suspension would throw me up and forward on every bump of any size. (I tried it a bit today.) Someone posted a video here a couple of years ago about a downhill cyclist who had been paralyzed from the waist down. He strapped into a bike and went flying downhill with his buddies. You could tell from the video that he was pretty much getting launched by the suspension every time he hit a bump or compression. I thought he was pretty lucky (and skilled) to keep the tire side down all through the ride. He had no choice but to sit on the saddle the entire time, whereas when I go downhill, I'm always either out of the saddle with my weight back or at least sitting well back on the saddle, practically squeezing it with my thighs. So, for me at least, it's better to be back and out of the saddle.
    Despite all the words I wrote, I am far from an expert and still quite inexperienced with full suspension. I just have noted better bump absorption with my weight on my seat. But perhaps that is because I am not shifting my weight back far enough when standing on the pedals.

    The bouncing effect should be minimized by proper dampening on the rear shock. I never feel like the suspension is pushing my body up.

  9. #39
    Strikes and Gutters chrisrenrut's Avatar
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    Duplicate post, somehow.
    Last edited by chrisrenrut; 07-11-2017 at 03:46 PM.

  10. #40

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    Here's an idea. Go up to Sundance and rent a full suspension bike for a day and do some lift serve mountain biking. Those bikes are freeride bikes and will give you a decent idea of what full suspension is like.

  11. #41

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    So, I picked up a used full suspension bike. It was close to what I was looking for and the right size, and the guy basically gave it to me for $100(!). 2002 Trek Fuel 80. https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/sear....aspx?id=37537 The gears weren't working right, but I knew from experience that this is typically easy to fix. I took it down to the DIY repair shop in Provo, and Kai helped me there. This is the third time he's helped me. Each time they charge me $5. I call him the bike healer. I think this bike must have been in someone's garage since they bought it, because it has all original parts, including tires, and everything was working well.

    I am freaking loving this bike. I have been giving it a beating on rocky, bumpy trails, and having a blast. I originally thought I'd buy it as an experiment to see if I liked it. And then get a nicer one if I did. It doesn't have disk brakes. But the shocks are great. What I call "super bouncy". And it definitely works for what I need, at least so far.

    One thing is I probably need new tires. I'm spinning and having a hard time getting traction, going uphill on rocky/gravely roads. I know part of this is technique and just difficult trail to go on. What's a good suggestion on new tires for this bike? It has 26 x 2.1 right now. I think it can go a little fatter.

    Also, technique question, what do you do when have to switch gears so fast? Like I know I'm going to have to end up in the easiest gear if I have a chance. And I can see that hill coming up, but i'm still going up and down smaller hills. Do I just hit the lowest gear early and just coast through the smaller hills? Or is this maybe a sign of a bike that doesn't have top notch components?

  12. #42
    it's all a blur mtnbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    One thing is I probably need new tires. I'm spinning and having a hard time getting traction, going uphill on rocky/gravely roads. I know part of this is technique and just difficult trail to go on. What's a good suggestion on new tires for this bike? It has 26 x 2.1 right now. I think it can go a little fatter.
    What tires are on it now? Are they worn down, or just don't match the terrain very well? Are they tubeless?

    I liked Kenda Small Block 8 tires on the rear and Kenda Nevegal in front. They evidently don't seal as well when tubeless, so I've gone to Specialized Ground Control.

    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    Also, technique question, what do you do when have to switch gears so fast? Like I know I'm going to have to end up in the easiest gear if I have a chance. And I can see that hill coming up, but i'm still going up and down smaller hills. Do I just hit the lowest gear early and just coast through the smaller hills? Or is this maybe a sign of a bike that doesn't have top notch components?
    What kind of fast gear changes are you worried about? Front derailleur? Rear?

    For the front, if I'm mostly climbing, I'll leave it in the small chainring and just shift the rear gears. For the rear, you can just let off your pedal pressure for a half second to switch gears, then get back on the throttle.

  13. #43

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    If your shocks are super bouncy they probably need serviced. A shock that's net set up right can be your downfall on certain kinds of terrain. Still kudos on finding that bikes haven't changed that much. I'd stick with that bike as long as you think it's doing the job. Keep an eye out for a disc brake setup.

  14. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaka View Post
    If your shocks are super bouncy they probably need serviced. A shock that's net set up right can be your downfall on certain kinds of terrain. Still kudos on finding that bikes haven't changed that much. I'd stick with that bike as long as you think it's doing the job. Keep an eye out for a disc brake setup.
    Ah, thanks for the heads up. I assumed if super bouncy, then it's good.

  15. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker View Post
    What tires are on it now? Are they worn down, or just don't match the terrain very well? Are they tubeless?

    I liked Kenda Small Block 8 tires on the rear and Kenda Nevegal in front. They evidently don't seal as well when tubeless, so I've gone to Specialized Ground Control.



    What kind of fast gear changes are you worried about? Front derailleur? Rear?

    For the front, if I'm mostly climbing, I'll leave it in the small chainring and just shift the rear gears. For the rear, you can just let off your pedal pressure for a half second to switch gears, then get back on the throttle.
    Tires are Bontrager Jones AC. They still have what appears to be near new tread. But they feel pretty soft, especially on the side. And I appear to have a slow flat. I've been taking it progressively on more risky trails, like riding over fields with dried up sage brush, bouncing down on sharpish rocks, etc. But I think that's part of the fun of the mountain bike, you can do that stuff, right? I need to see if can handle tubeless. I think I might need to make a modification.

  16. #46
    it's all a blur mtnbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay santos View Post
    Tires are Bontrager Jones AC. They still have what appears to be near new tread. But they feel pretty soft, especially on the side. And I appear to have a slow flat. I've been taking it progressively on more risky trails, like riding over fields with dried up sage brush, bouncing down on sharpish rocks, etc. But I think that's part of the fun of the mountain bike, you can do that stuff, right? I need to see if can handle tubeless. I think I might need to make a modification.
    I googled Bontrager Jones AC, and the first few reviews here on mtbr say it has horrible traction. So you might want to have the shock serviced, as shaka suggests, and consider better tires. You'll be fine for now, but will notice a big difference if you make those upgrades.

  17. #47
    Senior Member BrutusBuckeye's Avatar
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    One thing is I probably need new tires. I'm spinning and having a hard time getting traction, going uphill on rocky/gravely roads. I know part of this is technique and just difficult trail to go on. What's a good suggestion on new tires for this bike? It has 26 x 2.1 right now. I think it can go a little fatter.
    One of my favorite tires in the 26 inch size is the WTB Raptor. It comes in a front and rear specific tread and is not too expensive. Another good one I have liked is the Panaracer Fire XC Pro. These aren't too pricey either, but last a long time and have good tread.
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