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Dealing with rocky downhills

Shaunw1973Shaunw1973 Posts: 31
edited September 2010 in MTB beginners
What's the best way to deal with rocky decents?

I'm new to the MTB scene, and this is something that's become a bit of a problem for me.

My natural instict is to brake, especially as I pick more speed coming down hill, but I've managed to avoid doing that. Is it just a case of get over it and keep moving?

Thanks

Posts

  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,899
    A bit of speed is your friend.If you have to brake feather it on and off and try not to drag them,you want to maintain momentum.
    Make sure your weight is over the rear wheel not the front so you need to hang of the back of the bike.Dropping your saddle will help 8)
    As you get more confident you'll speed up :D
    Where are you based?Following more experienced riders will also help with line choice etc.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I used to hate rocky descents. Speed really helps, as you go faster the wheels just skip over the tops of the rocks. Stay off the front brake as well & keep your weight back.
  • mobilekatmobilekat Posts: 245
    Using the attack position will help- get bum in air, and knees apart so that bike can move side to side under you, you can then move weight back or forwards depending upon the slope you are heading down.

    If you have the time/cash/sense, try to get onto a skills course as a few hours with a decent instructor is worth so much- as its often hard to know if you are getting the basics right! They can then help you perfect your technique and get even faster!
    Wheeze..... Gasp..... Ruddy hills.......
  • bambabamba Posts: 856
    Following some else who no's def helps (cheers ibbo), what are you ridding ? fs or ht ?
    im a recent convert to fs an tend to find my self looking for the rougher options on the downhill routes now instead of the smoother .
  • Ride a HT (Rockhopper Expert), which I've had a few months and is useful for other types of riding. Planning on getting a FS if I keep my interest in it up.
  • Thanks for the tips Ibbo, I'm not far from you mate, and in Burncross.
  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    keep light, get your weight LOW, use your arms and now heavily bent legs to act as suspension and float over the rocks.

    Speed is your friends, unless you have a censored fork, then it's a problem that can be fixed with your wallet =-)
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,899
    Shaunw1973 wrote:
    Thanks for the tips Ibbo, I'm not far from you mate, and in Burncross.
    I was in Burncross until they changed the boundary :roll:
    You'll have to come along on one of our Peak rides,we're steady in general and very steady on the ups(old & fat :wink: ).
  • popstarpopstar Posts: 1,392
    Skills course is worth more than any fork. Also, can't even point out where do OP struggles without seeing his actual riding. Skills course is certainly the first thing to do before any upgrade.
    Some sound advice from people, but it may work for them and it may not for you. Not always do you have to hover over your backwheel riding descents.
    What could have been (Video)

    I'll choose not put too much stake into someone's opinion who is admittingly terrible though
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,899
    popstar wrote:
    Some sound advice from people, but it may work for them and it may not for you. Not always do you have to hover over your backwheel riding descents.
    You do when you're riding down a steep rocky mountainside :wink:
  • ibbo68 wrote:
    Shaunw1973 wrote:
    Thanks for the tips Ibbo, I'm not far from you mate, and in Burncross.
    I was in Burncross until they changed the boundary :roll:
    You'll have to come along on one of our Peak rides,we're steady in general and very steady on the ups(old & fat :wink: ).

    I'd love to. I'm definitely in the old and fat category ;-)
    A bit worried about making an censored of myself at the minute, but when I've got some confidence I'd definitely be up for a ride. Going out on my own all the time makes my wife a bit worried!
  • popstarpopstar Posts: 1,392
    ibbo68 wrote:
    popstar wrote:
    Some sound advice from people, but it may work for them and it may not for you. Not always do you have to hover over your backwheel riding descents.
    You do when you're riding down a steep rocky mountainside :wink:

    It may look steep in my eyes and not in yours, thats the drift about it.
    But being on a safe side it's not too bad to hover over back wheel until that moment you don't weigh enough on front in order to steer, then shoot happens and rider washes away. To be honest you really need to put rider into real riding conditions and see from there, all this e-net advice isn't worth the penny.
    What could have been (Video)

    I'll choose not put too much stake into someone's opinion who is admittingly terrible though
  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    Weight should be low, noobs and XC riders put it back.

    Watch a good DH guy, is their weight that far back (unless very steep)?
    No

    Pushing your weight too far back limits manauverability which lets you control your bike over this type of terrain.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
  • cavegiant wrote:
    Weight should be low, noobs and XC riders put it back.

    Watch a good DH guy, is their weight that far back (unless very steep)?
    No

    Pushing your weight too far back limits manauverability which lets you control your bike over this type of terrain.
    But they're on DH bikes, the suspension is doing part of that work for them.
  • PXR5PXR5 Posts: 203
    Listened into a lesson in the alps for riding XC down steep slopes (so we are talking XC bikes here - not something with wacking great front forks that makes you look like a raleigh chopper on acid on the flat)

    Try to keep some sort of momentum up - not necessarily high speed, but try to keep moving as fast as you dare - its impossible to balance when not moving, plus too slow and every bump you hit you feel, or chucks you about.

    Nothing worse than coming down over some rocky decent with almost no speed, you'll be over the handlebars as the front wheel will stop dead as the forks compress.

    Stand up slightly, move your weight over the back wheel, but now try to squat down a little, think of trying to hold the back of the saddle between your thighs and almost push down - you'd be suprised how much extra braking power this gives you on the back end before the rear brake locks and skids..

    This moving back also means you arms are now fairly straight, helping to keep weight off of the front end, but keep arms flexible to help absorb bumps..

    Keep pedals horizontal, push down slightly, again to keep balance and centre of gravity as low as possible.

    Use the back brake for controlling speed, only use the front when necessary to shed a bit more speed, but keep it very feathered and light, again when coming down even a few inches if the front is unweighted and the brake on it will stop turning, which is not what you want..

    I'm sure there were a few other bits, and i'm sure others will not agree - but it definately helped or at least gave me more confidence..
    Every time I go out, I think I'm being checked out, faceless people watching on a TV screen.....
  • Surely if he's riding HT, he wants his weight were the suspension will absorb impacts, ie the front, if he hangs off the back, the front suspension will be redundant and he'll take an censored pounding.

    When I ride my HT I really lean on the forks and let the back end skip and float over the obstacles.
  • PXR5PXR5 Posts: 203
    Surely if he's riding HT, he wants his weight were the suspension will absorb impacts, ie the front, if he hangs off the back, the front suspension will be redundant and he'll take an censored pounding.

    When I ride my HT I really lean on the forks and let the back end skip and float over the obstacles.

    Its going to be a bag of worms this one isn't it, probably won't get as heated as the SPuDs vs Flats weekly arguement though...

    Standing up on a hardtail (saddle between thighs approach as described above) allows you to use your legs as the shockabsorbers, helping to push the back end down, and increasing the effectiveness of the back brake, putting your weight over the front will reduce the back brake to useless, leaving only the front brake to stop you :shock:

    In an ideal case i just we'd just all bomb down the slope not bothering to brake at all, but i've not yet had the courage to do that.....and having seen the lessons in the alps this wasn't their technique either...
    Every time I go out, I think I'm being checked out, faceless people watching on a TV screen.....
  • mac_manmac_man Posts: 916
    Just got back from a skills day....

    Their advice on going downhill, over any kind of terrain.

    DON'T hang your censored out over the back wheel. It makes the front unstable. And if your arms are stretched out you have no control over the bike. Your body should be in a position that makes the bike stable at all times. Your centre of gravity should be through the BB/cranks at all times for maximum stability. So if climbing you'll lean forward. Going downhill you will be back a little, but not waaaaay back.

    When braking downhill keep your cranks horizontal, lean back a little more and rotate your feet on the pedals so your pushing onto them.

    When braking remember... you have no real control over the bike when it's braking... Wheels can only do one thing at once, as it were, i.e. steering, cornering, stopping. Trying to steer and brake is a no-no. Trailing your brakes is a sure way to come off.

    Brake with conviction, like you mean to. Make it firm and confident so that you shed speed properly rather than trying to drag on the brakes to keep your speed constant. And pick lines where you can see it's safe to brake. Keep looking ahead down the trail rather than concentrating on what's immediately in front of you.

    And... as already mentioned... £60 on a skills day will do more for your riding than any £3ks worth of carbon fibered bike bling :lol:
    Cool, retro and sometimes downright rude MTB and cycling themed T shirts. Just MTFU.

    By day: http://www.mtfu.co.uk
  • Ultimately I guess it's down to whatever the individual is successful with feels most comfortable.

    Thanks to everyone that's contributed and answered, it's given me some ideas to [put into practice this weekend.
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