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Hopping front wheel...technique or setup?

Iain CIain C Posts: 464
edited April 2008 in XC and Enduro
Hi

Been back into cycling for a couple of months now and trying out some more adventurous stuff on my bike. However I have noticed that on some steep hills I sometimes struggle a little to keep the front wheel on the ground...obviously I'm not going up the hill pulling some amazing wheelie, but it feels light and skittish and if it hits a root or similar it can bounce quite high.

Basically I'm wondering if this is a technique thing or I need to change the setup of my bike.

It's a Trek Fuel EX7 full susser, RockShox recon air forks with lockout at the front, and Fox Float at the back, with 3 settings, full squishy, "propedal" and locked out. I'll usually ride XC uphill on propedal on the back and full travel on the front. Is this right?

Also, I notice that my stem seems to have a lot of spacers under it compared to my mates' bikes..do I perhaps need to get rid of some of these and get the bars down and get some more weight over the front of the bike? Have a look at the pinkbike photo at the bottom...there's at least an inch of spacers. Or if I get rid of these will I struggle downhill?

Or is it just technique? If so, any more pointers apart from what has been covered on other threads (i.e. arms in, elbows down, sit down and spin fast).

Thanks!

Posts

  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    Shift your weight forwards a little by sitting on the nose of the saddle, lock the forks out (or wind them down to the lowest travel if you have a U-Turn fork)
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • as above, lock out the front fork and rear shock for climbing and move your weight forward closer to the bars a little more, that will help keep the wheel pressured as such and in more control! (pro pedal for trails etc and normal boucy mode for decents, thats how i would use it,)

    Int. 14 by any chance in you r avatar?? heard the hydrafoils have made it onto some of the ones pushing the development rules! mental!
    Timmo.
    After all, I am Cornish!
    http://cornwallmtb.kk5.org/
    Cotic Soul, The bike of Legends!:wink: Yes, I Am a bike tart!
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... 1#16297481
  • Iain CIain C Posts: 464
    Ok thanks for the advice guys...as I thought, user error! So I guess I'm best off keeping the stem height as is then.

    Timmo it's actually a Cherub, although now sold as I am building a new one. It will have a T foil rudder, as the I14s do these days, however although fully foiling has been played with it's actaully slower round a course than a boat with just a T foil.
  • blimey! although i suppose your having to chase the apparent wind all the time so would end up sailing a lot further?? 505 man myself!;)

    stem wise, if your comfortable witht he length of it and the position you ride in then leave it as it is! trhe spacers may be becuase the steerer tube is uncut, often the way with new bikes, space it up and then if its too high the owner can reduce it to suit etc.! also makes resale of the forks a lot easier! (think of it as an unlocked mobile phone incomparison to one locked to vodaphone for example! can be used by an awful lot more people,)
    Timmo.
    After all, I am Cornish!
    http://cornwallmtb.kk5.org/
    Cotic Soul, The bike of Legends!:wink: Yes, I Am a bike tart!
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... 1#16297481
  • MatteeboyMatteeboy Posts: 996
    Hang off the front of the bike, angle your elbows down so they "point" at the bottom of your back wheel and pull them towards that point.

    You'll get up almost anything!
    Two Stumpjumpers, a Rockhopper Disk and an old British Eagle.

    http://www.cornwallmtb.kk5.org
  • KonaMikeKonaMike Posts: 805
    Elbows in,weight forward and lock the fork out ! I stay seated but some people prefer to be out of the saddle,just play around and see what works for you :)
  • Iain CIain C Posts: 464
    Timmo...505, beautiful boat, although never sailed one! Too many toys I'm afraid, got a Fireball which I club race, a share in an 18 foot skiff, a Cherub I'm building, and we've got a NZ 12' skiff arriving next week...not mine, but we've got it for the year and we're sailing it in the 2008 series.

    Back to bikes, looks like I've been doing it all wrong with regards to suss settings. I knew that locking the front out prevented wasted energy on roads or smoother stuff but I thought that keeping it soft would make the forks absorb the bumps from tree roots etc rather than bouncing the front wheel into the air.

    Re the back shock, someone told me that propedal was some ninja maximum traction climbing setting, however I think that part of the problem might be that as I am quite big (14st) and I try and stay in the saddle I find it quite easy to just compress the rear suss on steep hills making the front even lighter. I'll double check my air setting and try it locked out instead, but certainly on the flat it seems about right, as I get on it sinks about 25%.

    I might have a play about with the stem height, presumably I can just take some of the spacers off and put them back on above the stem. If I find it better this way, is there anything to stop me just leaving as is? I guess it might look a bit odd, and a face to stem interface might be more painful...does anyone do this or shall I just chop it if it is better? Re your good analogy about mobile phones, I think it's highly unlikely that I will ever sell those forks without them being attached to the bike, and if I do ever decide to upgrade (not for a LONG time as I've just bought it!) my missus will probably have it anyway...
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Dare I say, give bar ends a trial?! Ok, they are chooped straight off demons heads, but they work ;-)
  • gs3gs3 Posts: 249
    When climbing, try placing your thumbs on top of the bar beside your index finger instead of the usual "grip" position under the bar - you'll automatically drop your elbows in towards your body resulting in your weight shifting forwards and the front wheel remaining on the deck. When gripping in the normal position it is very easy to pull up and back on the bars thereby lifting the front wheel. In the "thumbs on top" position" you tend to pull down and back reducing the chance of any lift.

    Don't be afraid to play about with the stem height Simply stack some or all of the spacers on top of the stem until you find your perfect position.

    I disagree with allthegearnoidea about locking out front and rear suspension. Unless the track/ path you are climbing is very smooth, it pays to allow the suspension to work at all times on rough surfaces to maintain ground contact improving traction.

    As they say "suck it and see!". Keep trying different techniques until you find the one which is right for you.

    .
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    gs3 wrote:
    Don't be afraid to play about with the stem height Simply stack some or all of the spacers on top of the stem until you find your perfect position.

    I disagree with allthegearnoidea about locking out front and rear suspension. Unless the track/ path you are climbing is very smooth, it pays to allow the suspension to work at all times on rough surfaces to maintain ground contact improving traction.

    As they say "suck it and see!". Keep trying different techniques until you find the one which is right for you.

    .

    Same here - I never lock out the suspension off road, although it is often recommended to lock the rear when climbing.

    You might want to try adding a little more air in the rear shock too.
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50

    http://www.visiontrack.com
  • sorry! i just went on the difference inclimbing between my old full susser and the hard tail hence the locking the rear as well on climbs!
    i suppose a lot of it is down to personal preference and what works best for you??
    Timmo.
    After all, I am Cornish!
    http://cornwallmtb.kk5.org/
    Cotic Soul, The bike of Legends!:wink: Yes, I Am a bike tart!
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... 1#16297481
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    Timmo

    Like most things in riding, it's personal preference.

    I don't 'lock out' for 2 reasons.

    1. Never noticed any difference - I've probably adapted my technique & grip seems to be better.
    2. I can't see the sense / reason to stop at the bottom of every climb to adjust my suspension, only to change back the settings when I reach the top. It would make for a very interrupted ride.
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50

    http://www.visiontrack.com
  • MatteeboyMatteeboy Posts: 996
    Whenever I do lock my forks (for a big road climb for example), I forget to unlock them and end up doing big bumpy descents with no suspension (as happened on Dartmoor) - DOH!! :oops:
    Two Stumpjumpers, a Rockhopper Disk and an old British Eagle.

    http://www.cornwallmtb.kk5.org
  • i see your point exactly mark! and yes it would be a pita to have to do that all the time, i was thinking remote lock outs when i typed it instead of manual! just i forgot to think about putting that! lol!
    please excuse me because after all, I am Cornish!;)

    Matt, you just fancied a bit of Hardcore fully rigid riding!! bone shakers!!
    Timmo.
    After all, I am Cornish!
    http://cornwallmtb.kk5.org/
    Cotic Soul, The bike of Legends!:wink: Yes, I Am a bike tart!
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... 1#16297481
  • BlundellBlundell Posts: 308
    Wow Ian, pretty scenic photos of your trek in the good old snow... fantastic!

    Yeah climbing technique is a tricky one, basically in the very first instance you have to get your weight over the front of the bike, bent elbows are esential for this one. Some people at this point like lock out I personally don't as I can't tell any difference (must be my censored bike set up!).On really steep hills you generally have to 'hover' over / on the front of the saddle in order to balance traction with front end grip.
    Only when you've tried all avenues with this would I start to mess around with the setup of your bike. On this front you could do one of the following:
    1) flip the stem if it's got a gradient from horizontal on it.
    2) take a few spacers out and put them above the stem (or saw down your steerer only when you've got the right height!)
    3) move your saddle further forward and a little higher.

    As has already been said climbing stance is alot down to personal preferences. One sure way of getting your climbing technique up to scratch is picking on a local off road hill that is really steep and is technical, (i.e. it has pebbles, gullies, roots or steps, or all of em!). It's on these 'killer hills that you really develop your climbing technique.

    Good luck!
  • BlundellBlundell Posts: 308
    Wow Ian, pretty scenic photos of your trek in the good old snow... fantastic!

    Yeah climbing technique is a tricky one, basically in the very first instance you have to get your weight over the front of the bike, bent elbows are esential for this one. Some people at this point like lock out I personally don't as I can't tell any difference (must be my censored bike set up!).On really steep hills you generally have to 'hover' over / on the front of the saddle in order to balance traction with front end grip.
    Only when you've tried all avenues with this would I start to mess around with the setup of your bike. On this front you could do one of the following:
    1) flip the stem if it's got a gradient from horizontal on it.
    2) take a few spacers out and put them above the stem (or saw down your steerer only when you've got the right height!)
    3) move your saddle further forward and a little higher.

    As has already been said climbing stance is alot down to personal preferences. One sure way of getting your climbing technique up to scratch is picking on a local off road hill that is really steep and is technical, (i.e. it has pebbles, gullies, roots or steps, or all of em!). It's on these 'killer hills that you really develop your climbing technique.

    Good luck!
  • BlundellBlundell Posts: 308
    Wow Ian, pretty scenic photos of your trek in the good old snow... fantastic!

    Yeah climbing technique is a tricky one, basically in the very first instance you have to get your weight over the front of the bike, bent elbows are esential for this one. Some people at this point like lock out I personally don't as I can't tell any difference (must be my censored bike set up!).On really steep hills you generally have to 'hover' over / on the front of the saddle in order to balance traction with front end grip.
    Only when you've tried all avenues with this would I start to mess around with the setup of your bike. On this front you could do one of the following:
    1) flip the stem if it's got a gradient from horizontal on it.
    2) take a few spacers out and put them above the stem (or saw down your steerer only when you've got the right height!)
    3) move your saddle further forward and a little higher.

    As has already been said climbing stance is alot down to personal preferences. One sure way of getting your climbing technique up to scratch is picking on a local off road hill that is really steep and is technical, (i.e. it has pebbles, gullies, roots or steps, or all of em!). It's on these 'killer hills that you really develop your climbing technique.

    Good luck!
  • BlundellBlundell Posts: 308
    Wow Ian, pretty scenic photos of your trek in the good old snow... fantastic!

    Yeah climbing technique is a tricky one, basically in the very first instance you have to get your weight over the front of the bike, bent elbows are esential for this one. Some people at this point like lock out I personally don't as I can't tell any difference (must be my censored bike set up!).On really steep hills you generally have to 'hover' over / on the front of the saddle in order to balance traction with front end grip.
    Only when you've tried all avenues with this would I start to mess around with the setup of your bike. On this front you could do one of the following:
    1) flip the stem if it's got a gradient from horizontal on it.
    2) take a few spacers out and put them above the stem (or saw down your steerer only when you've got the right height!)
    3) move your saddle further forward and a little higher.

    As has already been said climbing stance is alot down to personal preferences. One sure way of getting your climbing technique up to scratch is picking on a local off road hill that is really steep and is technical, (i.e. it has pebbles, gullies, roots or steps, or all of em!). It's on these 'killer hills that you really develop your climbing technique.

    Good luck!
  • BlundellBlundell Posts: 308
    Wow Ian, pretty scenic photos of your trek in the good old snow... fantastic!

    Yeah climbing technique is a tricky one, basically in the very first instance you have to get your weight over the front of the bike, bent elbows are esential for this one. Some people at this point like lock out I personally don't as I can't tell any difference (must be my censored bike set up!).On really steep hills you generally have to 'hover' over / on the front of the saddle in order to balance traction with front end grip.
    Only when you've tried all avenues with this would I start to mess around with the setup of your bike. On this front you could do one of the following:
    1) flip the stem if it's got a gradient from horizontal on it.
    2) take a few spacers out and put them above the stem (or saw down your steerer only when you've got the right height!)
    3) move your saddle further forward and a little higher.

    As has already been said climbing stance is alot down to personal preferences. One sure way of getting your climbing technique up to scratch is picking on a local off road hill that is really steep and is technical, (i.e. it has pebbles, gullies, roots or steps, or all of em!). It's on these 'killer hills that you really develop your climbing technique.

    Good luck!
  • BlundellBlundell Posts: 308
    DoH my computer is being a Tw*t.. sorry ! :roll:

    Any more of this and I'm off down PC World!
  • Iain CIain C Posts: 464
    Ok great tips guys, thanks for that. I guess that being quite new to it I was not aware that such subtleties as the "thumbs on top" thing or moving along the saddle would make such a difference but I'm keen to give those a go now.

    The bike is still pretty new and went in for it's first "tune" this week and the stem is now halfway down the stack of spacers rather than at the top. Of course, it was rude not to swap them for carbon spacers, and as luck would have it one of the mechanics noticed one of the stem bolt holes was stripped so swapped it from a standard Bonty to a Bonty X lite stem FOC. :D

    Thanks for the compliments on the snowy pictures...it was quite a breezy day on Rushup but we stopped for a break with our backs against the dry stone wall beautifully sheltered just drinking in that view, just amazing.
  • Chaka PingChaka Ping Posts: 1,451
    I'll second Blundell's advice about moving the saddle forward a tiny bit on it's rails.

    And definitely try moving the stem down one spacer at a time to see if you like the position better (and making sure it doesn;t make the nose too low on descents).

    I've been wishing I had bar ends on my Handjob when climbing recently, but I'm not strong enough to handle the social stigma of combining them with oversized riser bars.
  • Chaka PingChaka Ping Posts: 1,451
    Oh, and only do one of those changes at a time - so you can isolate and evaluate the effect each has!
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