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Transition From Road to MTB and Riding Position

sskellysskelly Posts: 79
edited January 2010 in MTB general
Having been a keen cyclist for many years and having done quite a bit of time trialling and some road racing (plus some mtb'ing in the early 90's), I have recently got back into mtb'ing.

For some reason on my mountain bike I do not seem to be able to generate anyway near the power that I should be able to on the flat.

I am fine going up hills but really struggle on flat parts. I was riding it home last night along the flat and was struggling to get above 12mph. I think I may be sat too upright.

If I put my elbows down on the bars I seem to be able to go better (not just because I am in a more aerodynamic position but I seem to be able to transmit more power to the pedals). I am not sure if this is a hangover from doing years of road riding in more of a forward position.

I recently went out on my old Rockhopper (circa 1989) and the bars are much lower (and narrower) and I seem to be able to hammer along the flat.

Modern MTBs seem to be very upright.

Has anybody else had problems moving from long term road riding to modern mtb'ing?

Thanks in advance


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    so what is the position like for descending steep trails?

    it has to be a compromise for most people.

    set it up to what you want. drop the stem on the spacers/change to a flat bar/flip the stem 180.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    What MTB have you got?

    My Stumpjumper HT is pretty long and low. Makes the transition between it and my road bike seem fairly small. Tight rear triangles help (but make it skittish) and near vertical forks liven up the steering. I have ridden some full suss MTBs that feel like those weird cruiser bikes. Not my cup of tea.
  • sskellysskelly Posts: 79
    The bike is a 2009 Rockhopper.
  • sskellysskelly Posts: 79
    nicklouse wrote:
    so what is the position like for descending steep trails?

    it has to be a compromise for most people.

    set it up to what you want. drop the stem on the spacers/change to a flat bar/flip the stem 180.

    The position feels OK when descending. I think I will try tweaking the height and if that does not work I may try a flat bar that brings my hands a bit closer.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    We have one of those (mostly for wife but it's a normal frame) - it's quite a relaxed frame TBH but still not too laid back. Might need some seat/stem adjustments? Make sure the saddle is as high as comfortable and the stem is low enough and maybe change to flat bars - we did on ours and it made it feel much more "racey." Other than that, not really sure!
  • Dr SDr S Posts: 146
    It might be worth checking out the saddle position fore aft, If your used to being in a different position relative to the cranks it feels weird.

    Once you've got that adjust the front end to suit.. I've just moved to a bike with risers thats more upright, I can still pedal hard.

    Kona Kula Supreme, the hardtail
    Scott Spark 20 the softtail
    Cannondale CAAD9 the roadie
  • richg1979richg1979 Posts: 1,087
    you might be better suited to somthing a bit longer and racey like a giant xtc.
  • JediJedi Posts: 827
    you're not on a road bike! it's a mtb for riding offroad. plenty of compromises are required to make the transition
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    You didn't say what surface you were riding on, tyres or pressures, these all make a big difference.

    Some of the surfaces I've ridden on lately I'd be chuffed to be doing 5 mph on the flat.

    I ride my bike with a short cockpit and have never had an issue with getting power to the pedals.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • sskellysskelly Posts: 79
    I am struggling on flat tarmac paths. I had a good look at the bike last night (for as long as I could stand the cold in the garage!), and my seat seems to be quite a way back. I have moved it forward an inch (but have yet to try it).

    I am riding Kenda Navegals, I know that are not the zippiest of tyres.

    Out of interest, what do other people use for general XC riding with occasional tarmac?
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    For general riding I use Nobby Nics at the moment Mud X and Trailracker.

    The Nevegals wouldn't be an issue not like my sticky minions which will slow you down.

    Perhaps it's just a matter of getting use to the different riding position.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • kernowajkernowaj Posts: 198
    I tried Maxxis Advantages which seem good and Maxxis Highrollers which are quicker but not too good in anything too muddy. I think these are cheaper options than NobbyNics
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