Some newbie questions

Dayz Posts: 33
edited July 2014 in MTB beginners
Hey everyone, been lurking on this forum for a while now, recently picked myself up a 2012 voodoo hoodoo (with the "better" air forks/chainset and brakes). With an idea to get back to various types of mountainbiking I did when I was a teenager; competition XC/DH and spare time dirt jumps (obviously mainly XC with this bike). Now I have had a few outings I have a few questions if i can get answers :)

I race motorbikes as my other, main, hobby... so things like relaxed grip, loose limbs, looking ahead, remembering to breath are all pre-programmed in my brain (although i was surprised that they didn't immediately come second nature when i was flying down a hill through the trees) but it's all improving my ride now I'm consciously making the effort...anyway;

My seat height is set what I and the internet would describe as just right with my leg almost fully extended when my ass is on the seat and heel on the pedal, and works really nicely going into town and on steeper offroad climbs, but when I'm trying to maneuver around through the trails I feel a bit impeded, mostly when I'm trying to get my weight back I can only just clear the back of the saddle and sometimes some sensitive bits get a little tap in the right/wrong scenario. Is the only solution to drop the seat and compromise optimum climbing poisiton? I've moved the seat forward a bit to try get some clearance, I've also thought about tilting the nose up....?

Secondly I'm using an old pair of lonsdale trainers and find that it only takes a few prolonged bumpy rooty sections and my feet slip forward from on the toes to on the heels, I've worked on my technique and try to take a bit more of the shock through my legs but still feel like its something that occasionally happens and is effecting how hard I attack. Would a proper cycling shoe be a noticeable difference (softer soles?) or any other cheaper alternative? Heard "skate" shoes offer a good option? Or maybe some techniques to practice to get me better, more stable, grip?

Lastly; when I purchased the bike there was no problems but after a few pretty hard rides, for the bike (lack of technique), and some harsh crashes and rough landings the bottom bracket has properly started squeeking, I dont mind replacing the BB if it needs doing, just wondering if there are any recommended aftermarket options/upgrades that are a little bit more rugged, or shall I just throw another standard equipment in which should take less of a battering as my technique improves?

Thanks for any help offered

See you soon



  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    Too late for a long reply, so what pedals do you have/get some decent ones (Wellgo MG1 are good, light and cheap - also prepare for lots of random arguments).
    What BB does the bike have?
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  • Dayz
    Dayz Posts: 33
    cooldad wrote:
    Too late for a long reply, so what pedals do you have/get some decent ones (Wellgo MG1 are good, light and cheap - also prepare for lots of random arguments).
    What BB does the bike have?

    Understandable :). No idea what BB is in there without taking it apart but the crank is a Shimano FC-M430 if that helps. Again, no idea what the pedals are without looking (i'll try to remember to note them after i get back from aston hill tomorrow). Although I have noted they don't seem as "gnarly" as the ones on my friends giant...
  • bigmitch41
    bigmitch41 Posts: 685
    Sounds like you need a set of spd's and a dropper post, nearly as expensive as racing motorbikes this mtb lark!

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  • Dayz
    Dayz Posts: 33
    BigMitch41 wrote:
    Sounds like you need a set of spd's and a dropper post, nearly as expensive as racing motorbikes this mtb lark!

    Welcome aboard!

    It would seem so yes, the MTB was supposed to be a CHEAP something to do whilst off the bike, and maybe help strengthen my legs which is my current weak spot, and relive a little bit of my childhood :D

    I've never been a big fan of SPD's never got used to the feeling of being "attached". I'll look into dropper posts however but would prefer cheaper solutions :D
  • Posts: 4,067
    yeah - unless you're doing one big climb then I'd drop your saddle a bit from the 'optimum' position. Just drop it half inch or so and see how you get on with that, then maybe drop it some more. All really depends where and what you ride. And yeah - I'd hold off on splashing out £200+ on a dropper post because someone in a forum said you 'needed' one!

    Get some decent pedals first as per CD's suggestion - those or Superstar Nano's are the goto pedal really.

    I've found that DC skate shoes with this type of sole are far grippier (and can be got a whole lot cheaper!) than my Five Tens (dedicated mountain bike flat pedal shoe/sole)

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  • Qui3tman
    Qui3tman Posts: 94
    Vans shoes have pretty decent soles for locking onto "spiked" pedals.

    I bought myself a set of the Superstar Nanos the other day for my new bike and they are lovely, nice square platform whilst still being light.

    As for the saddle, I generally just reach down and pull the QR and drop it a few inches for a big descent. Undoubtedly a dropper post is more convenient but it is more than doable unless every second counts on Strava :P
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 4,986
    Your seat height description sounds more on road than off. Most will set this a inch or more lower for trails. I'm sure a dropper would be great if I had the money.

    I can't make my mind up about spds. I love the connected feeling on fire roads and moderate inclines (up and down) but have had a lot of low speed tumbles, usually on steep climbs when I lose grip and can't dab down in time. Ended up in nettles yesterday, fortunately no one around to see me.
  • Dayz
    Dayz Posts: 33
    Thanks all for the advice; been out a bunch more times since. Dropped the seat an inch which burns the thighs a bit more on climbs but a lot more room for maneuvering on descents and over humps and bumps.

    Started loosening up the limbs a bit more which meant the feet aren't coming off as often, although I'm popping into the local sports shop tomorrow, see if I can find some shoes with a sole like pictured.

    Spent the other evening in the woods with a colleague and we spent a good hour hitting one of the safer jumps, now feel a lot more confident man handling the bike which was holding me back when hitting some of the other trails.

    Also picked up a shock pump and reduced the pressure slightly as I was only getting 8-9% rider sag, bumped that up to 20-25% and the front end isnt trying to shake my hands off the bars which has increased by speed again.
  • Myster101
    Myster101 Posts: 856
    Bet it feels much better with 25% sag rather than 9%!

    I always run my seat slightly lower than the recommend height when on trails (drop it even further for DH parts with jumps etc) which allows me to chuck the bike around easier.

    Sounds like you're getting the hang of it, pair of skate shoes and some decent flats and you'll be sorted :wink:
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  • bartimaeus
    bartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    Dropper post - or just use a QR and drop your post for downhill tech sections... but stick it back up for the climbs.

    I'm not a fan of spds... so I'd say decent flats (MG1s, Superstar Nanos) and some soft soled shoes. Most important, as Fabien Barel says, "eels low". Drop your heels, especially your front foot, and you won't bounce off the pedals so much.

    Sounds like you have an Alivio chainset, so is the BB one of these - an octolink unit that screws in? They are about £10, though you need a crank extracter and a BB tool
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