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Riding up or down hill through mud?

MarcBCMarcBC Posts: 333
edited October 2010 in MTB beginners
I seem to have a real problem getting up or done mud slopes.

I have tried several sets of (all different Schwabes) tyres but no good. The girl I was riding with today had no problem (also on Schwabes) and so I assume it is my technique.

Fairly frequently my front washes out on downhills (three times today) and on uphill, the rear frequently spins out.

Is to do with weight transfer and/or gearing choice?

Thoughts?

Posts

  • FSR SiFSR Si Posts: 147
    Make sure your tyre pressures arnt to high, I run mine about 30psi in winter to give me extra traction.
    My Rides......91 GT Talera SingleSpeed, 97 Klein pulse race, 2010 Boardman HT Pro
  • I seem to have a problem riding in mud as well, even on flat ground, sometimes feels like the two wheels arnt connected, so would be interested in the replys you get....

    :D
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    If it's proper mud then you need a proper mud spike
    Panaracer: Trailraker
    Maxxis: Medusa/wet scream
    etc.

    Basically anything with a widely spaced fairly tall pointy tread.

    Depending on the mud consistency/depth you vary width, sticky mud tends to work best with really skinny tyres whereas thinner mud you can go wider.

    Run the pressure as low as you dare.
  • Concentrate on a smooth pedal stroke as well. Think circles!

    Agreeing with ride_whenever medusas especially the exceptions are awesome!
  • Neily03Neily03 Posts: 295
    MarcBC wrote:
    Fairly frequently my front washes out on downhills (three times today) and on uphill, the rear frequently spins out.

    Don't touch the front brake, even if it's doesn't wash out it'll only slow you down.
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    My Nobby Nics were falling al over the place today even with 22 in the front and 24 in the back.

    I should have put the mud tyres on.

    But then again it could dry out and the Nobby Nics will be fine. :D
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • I love mud riding, Mud tyres do help massively, but also choosing a good line and being smooth, for going down or up, in both cases getting the weight where it's needed helps.

    what tyres are you running and how deep was the mud?
  • MarcBCMarcBC Posts: 333
    I love mud riding, Mud tyres do help massively, but also choosing a good line and being smooth, for going down or up, in both cases getting the weight where it's needed helps.

    what tyres are you running and how deep was the mud?

    The mud was not deep and this time I was on Nobby Nics. Re the line, the track was only about 10" wide, so not much choice in line.
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 20,618
    all about being smooth
  • MarcBC wrote:
    I love mud riding, Mud tyres do help massively, but also choosing a good line and being smooth, for going down or up, in both cases getting the weight where it's needed helps.

    what tyres are you running and how deep was the mud?

    The mud was not deep and this time I was on Nobby Nics. Re the line, the track was only about 10" wide, so not much choice in line.

    My bet would be smoothness, if the mud was more of a film over the ground then the nics should have gripped.

    The word to think of is "flow" you shouldn't be braking hard or making sudden changes of direction. you should just flow down the hill.

    thats the theory the practice can take a while!
  • lastwordslastwords Posts: 304
    i find that in muddy sections sometimes hovering above the saddle can help, just lift my weight off the saddle slightly and let the bike move about under me, let it find the grip normally it sees me through.

    Up hill can be hard to find grip i think a steady smooth pedalling style helps no end.
  • bennett_346bennett_346 Posts: 5,029
    As above, going down weight the back and have just enough on the front to steer. Going up is difficult, just sit down and spin not mash.
  • paulboxpaulbox Posts: 1,203
    I went out on Sunday with HighRoller on the front and Crossmark rear, was all over the place... :lol:

    Smoothness uphill, cahoonas down... :wink:

    Mud tyres will be fitted this week.
    XC: Giant Anthem X
    Fun: Yeti SB66
    Road: Litespeed C1, Cannondale Supersix Evo, Cervelo R5
    Trainer: Bianchi via Nirone
    Hack: GT hardtail with Schwalbe City Jets
  • Riding in mud is the ultimate test of bike handling skill and a real leveller. No matter how light your bike is or how much travel you have, it all means nothing when you've got no grip.

    My top tips for descending are: Death grip with your front braking hand (fingers off the brake levers) this reduces the temptation to pull the brake. Don't pedal, use the terrain to increase your speed by pumping. Accept that the wheel will slide but will find grip at the edge of the trail (usually), pre-empt the slide and just go with it. Weight the front wheel more than the back, so many novices put their weight way off the back of the bike, this doesn't help matters, get right over the bars and push down on that front wheel. Losing the back wheel is not a problem if the front is gripping.

    For climbing short sharp climbs get as much momentum in the middle ring before as possible then change down to the granny ring right at the bottom of the slope, choose a low gear and stay in it. Sit at the front of your saddle and prepare to stand up just hovering above the saddle, drop your elbows and compress your abdominal muscles. Pedal as smoothly as possible, applying power throughout the entire stroke, this will be significantly easier if you're clipped in. Back off the power as the rear wheel hits obstacles like roots and rocks and re-apply power once the bikes' momentum has cleared it. If the rear wheel breaks traction, again, just go with the slide and steadily reduce power, it will eventually find grip, this is why it's important to be in a low gear

    For longer, draggy climbs choose the highest gear that you can comfortably push without standing up as the reduced torque will stop the wheel from spinning.

    Practice, practice, practice. When you get really good you'll be able to ride in complete slop on summer tyres.
    I had to beat them to death with their own shoes...
    HiFi Pro Carbon '09

    LTS DH '96

    The Mighty Dyna-Sore - The 90's?
  • MarcBCMarcBC Posts: 333
    Some good tips here. Thanks guys

    Using these and getting the miles under my belt will make a difference

    Re the smoothnes, I consider myself a low gear twiddler so perhaps I am somewhere there.

    I have also fitted a longer bar stem as the exisitng one made the front very twichy which did not help.
  • FunBusFunBus Posts: 394
    Sorry but i have to disagree with Shaggy_Dog on the comments for descending.

    "So many novices put all their weight to the back".......this is exactly what i'd advise. Taking most of the weight off the front will allow you to "glide" over the mud rather than trudge through it. If you lean forward and hit a deep patch, you'll bin it 9 times out of 10.

    Practice popping your front wheel up to get used to taking the weight off, then as you hit a patch of mud, do this to get you through it carrying speed.


    For going back up hill, stay sat down, but with your weight on the back - this will help get traction. Again, by putting your weight forward, your wheel is more prone to spinning - exactly the same reason why rear wheel drive cars are so leathal on wet roads!

    Again, a lot of this will boil down to personal preference, but i have always favoured weight off the back (and at worst sliding off the back) rather than weight over the front (and chewing your stem in a crash!!)
  • FunBus wrote:
    Sorry but i have to disagree with Shaggy_Dog on the comments for descending.

    "So many novices put all their weight to the back".......this is exactly what i'd advise. Taking most of the weight off the front will allow you to "glide" over the mud rather than trudge through it. If you lean forward and hit a deep patch, you'll bin it 9 times out of 10.

    "Glide" - as in lose traction, on your front wheel. Yeah, great, that's exactly what you want.
    I had to beat them to death with their own shoes...
    HiFi Pro Carbon '09

    LTS DH '96

    The Mighty Dyna-Sore - The 90's?
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    Depends on the mud again. Sometimes you need to keep the front wheel pushed in, particularly for turning etc. Equally if you're hitting a particularly boggy patch then if you loft the front wheel you carry your momentum much further and have more grip for powering across the boggy bit.
  • Luke-DobLuke-Dob Posts: 121
    Shaggy_Dog wrote:
    *snip* Weight the front wheel more than the back, so many novices put their weight way off the back of the bike, this doesn't help matters, get right over the bars and push down on that front wheel. Losing the back wheel is not a problem if the front is gripping.

    Exactly what you need to do!

    Spread your weight more to the front of the bike, which if combined with a decent mud tyre (wetscream, swampthing etc) will give you the grip you require. Having more to the rear means it won't bite in as well, increasing your chances of washing out.

    Also, get loose! Stiffening up on the bike will guarantee a trip into the undergrowth if that front wheel goes, keeping loose means the bike will slid under you, giving more of a chance to control it.

    http://www.pinkbike.com/video/141548/ look at this vid of a mate of mine riding in the mud. Particulaty at the bottom in which all the water collects, you can see (behind the mud) that he allows the bike to slid under him. Also excuse his complaining, he is more of a fair weather cyclist...
    "If I Was Falling, YOU BETTER FREAKING CATCH ME!!!"
    6 years riding bikes, 8 broken bones, gravity can be a b**ch
    http://dobby.pinkbike.com/album/My-Bikes-D/
  • FunBusFunBus Posts: 394
    depends on the mud, the steepness of the hill and your riding style.

    When i mentioned putting your weight back to take the pressure off the front, i was talking about going downhill. This sparked pointless sarcastic responses, but how many times would you go down a steep muddy hill and lean forward to dig into the mud??

    I still say take your weight off the back - but again, that's just the way i ride, im sure others have different opinions.
  • alexj2233alexj2233 Posts: 381
    FunBus wrote:
    depends on the mud, the steepness of the hill and your riding style.

    When i mentioned putting your weight back to take the pressure off the front, i was talking about going downhill. This sparked pointless sarcastic responses, but how many times would you go down a steep muddy hill and lean forward to dig into the mud??

    I still say take your weight off the back - but again, that's just the way i ride, im sure others have different opinions.

    As ride_whenever said, there are different situations to keep your weight of the back and put weight on the front. If you try to negotiate a turn with weight on the back, your front wheel will have no grip and you'll wash out. Like you say though, if you try to go through a thick bog with weight over the front you'll lose all of your speed.

    So simple answer is that there is no simple answer. You just have to practise and gain experience, hopefully getting better :D
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