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Not a beginner but a beginner to full-sus

mediamonkeymediamonkey Posts: 128
edited March 2008 in MTB beginners
I have just upgraded from my ancient 1992 fully rigid GT to a Specialized FSR XC Pro. I got it for effectively half price through bike-to-work (2007 model) and it's a nice machine. I have a few questions though...

Should I change my riding style with a full-sus? On the old bike I spent a lot of time out of the saddle over rough stuff or when climbing (the old bike climbed beautifully incidentally - I often overtook people on much newer and more expensive bikes who had got off and pushed :twisted: ). However I have heard that on a full-sus you should "sit and spin" more. I try this and find it a bit frustrating as I don't feel I am going as fast as I could be if I stood up and went for it!

On a related note, I feel like my weight is a long way back compared to on the old bike. My GT had the saddle quite a way above the bars and quite a "long and low" riding position, so I took more of the weight on my arms. Again I've heard that this is a bad thing, although I found it comfortable. I have the seatpost on the new bike up as far as it will go (there's a hole in the frame to show the max allowable extension) and even though the saddle is exactly the same height above the ground as on the old bike, my legs don't feel quite extended enough. I think a longer seatpost will fix this and I intend to get one ASAP!

But when I sit on the bike, the rear suspension sags (as it is supposed to) a lot more than the forks, so I feel almost like I'm sitting back into a big comfy armchair rather than in a "race ready" position! I have checked the pressure and sag and it is as it should be, so I guess it's just something you have to get used to, right?

One last question - the rear shock is a Fox Triad which has three settings - fully open, "propedal" (for better pedalling efficiency) and fully locked. Is it OK to reach down and lock out the suspension while riding (which would lock it in a "sagged" position) or should I get off and lock it with no load on the shock?

Don't get me wrong, I love the bike, and the lumpy stuff is *so* much more comfortable than on the old boneshaker (not to mention smooth shifting, brilliant brakes etc etc!) but I feel like I need to modify my technique a bit to get the most out of it. Any tips?

If it makes any difference I ride mostly cross-country, e.g forest trails, single-track, the odd light downhill and small drop-offs but nothing too hard-core!


  • have recently converted to a full sus too (cannondale prophet) and have exactly the same issues as you. shall be watching this space..and to contribute
  • GhallTN6GhallTN6 Posts: 505
    I converted to a full sus last June, took me ages to get used to it, I was always looking at the back wheel because i thought i had a flat, and one of the first steep hills on the South Downs Way that I could do on my HT I had to walk up on my Full suss.

    However, persevere, because after a couple of weeks, i found i was clearing not only the downhills but uphill technical stuff that i couldn't do on my HT, and doing it quicker as well.

    I've got the fox triad as well, I've never really figured it out and tend to keep it on the propedal setting unless I hit the really bumpy stuff like Afan and so.
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    XC is quite a relaxed riding position.

    You might want to drop the bars more if you can (spacers on top of headset) if you want a more 'head down' position.

    When climbing I tend to sit to the front of the saddle & 'get out' if I need to. This way you keep your legs spinning longer (more efficient). I find I can climb faster and further than many on hardtails too.
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50
  • Chaka PingChaka Ping Posts: 1,451
    There's a lot of questions there and I don't think I'm the best person to answer all of them, but there's a couple of points I'd make - having only upgraded from fully-rigid myself in the last year or 18 months.

    Assuming the bike is the right size for you, I suspect you've still got to get used to the riding position a bit.

    One of my friends still rides an early 90s GT (Karakoram) and whenever we swap bikes for a bit in a ride I'm amazed at the riding position he endures (and that I used to).

    Basically, all but the most full-on XC race bikes now have a much more relaxed, upright riding position - and it seems to me that weight distribution has crept backwards over the years too.

    You don't say where you do most of your riding, but if you'd ever taken the old bike away to the mountains or to any trail centres you'd probably have realised that having your weight over the bars was a bit scary on the downhill bits?

    Take the new bike awayfor a weekend at one of the Welsh or Scottish trail centres and you might start to see it in a different light.

    Don't worry about switching the propedal on and off while riding, it doesn't lock immediately in the way you're thinking. You're fine.

    As for modifying your riding style, I wouldn't worry too much about that if I were you. Still stand up and pedal when you need to, the suspension will still be working.

    Just ride how you think the terrain demands to be ridden and as you spend more time on the bike you'll begin to understand how it wants to be ridden - if that makes sense?

    I mean you'll become aware of the bike's capabilities and realise you don't NEED to stand up sometimes or that you can go faster and maybe not take the smoothest possible line all the time.

    Hope some of that helps!
  • mediamonkeymediamonkey Posts: 128
    Been out for my first full-day ride on the new bike today - 29.7 miles according to the new computer, a mixture of towpath, forest trails, single-track, bridleways and the odd bit of road :)

    I really feel I've got used to the bike now - the new seatpost (400mm instead of 350mm) makes a big difference - and I certainly appreciate the suspension. After about 20 miles my mate on a hard-tail was feeling the fatigue from all the bumpy stuff but I was gliding over it! Seem to have got climbing sorted too.

    Only annoying thing is after taking the front wheel off to put the bike in the car I think I must have pressed the brake lever accidentally, pads got stuck and despite a lot of fiddling I can't get them to stop rubbing :(
  • push the caliper back with a tyre lever and you shoulld be alright
    Marin Nail Trail with a few modifications...
  • yeah as john said, tyre lever or flathead screwdriver should do the trick :D
    i just switched to ful sus, but i kinda' dived in the deep end and got an 8 inch freeride bike, ooops! :?
    people said i was dumb, but i showed them...
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