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Going down steep sections safely

ageisageis Posts: 49
edited July 2016 in MTB beginners
On my mtb trip and various videos I have watched they recommend you to put your weight back so you're actually stood behind the saddle.

I can't seem to be able to do this, I keep ending up sitting on the back tyre which is very bad idea. I don't think i have the muscles to keep that position. Also the fact I need to get into my head this is actually a safe position to be in when going downhill.

My question if you just lowered your saddle wouldn't that lower your centre of gravity anyway? Is there anything else I can do to increase my stability. Also maybe some tips on reducing confiudence breaking? My tires are screaming at me.

Posts

  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    You could lower your saddle, dropper posts are for that very reason, so you can pedal more efficiently on flatter ground with a high saddle and it doesn't get in the way when you need to hang off the back as you can drop it down.

    But the purpose of lowering the saddle is as above, its not so you can remain seated going down hill, where you want your body weight more over the back wheel, so your legs are stabilising the bike through the pedals and you shift your body weight around accordingly, so that needs leg strength and core stregnth.

    If you remain seated, you become more unstable as your hips and body are basically stuck in one position and you cant move the bulk of your body around, so youve basically got 3 options

    1.Keep your saddle at a higher height for better pedaling efficiency, knowing you have to be very carefull going downhill

    2.Drop it down so you can go down hill, and put up with a low efficiency pedalling position in flatter terrain

    3.Get a dropper post

    For 2.or 3.it sounds like you need to build some leg/core strength also.
  • JGTRJGTR Posts: 1,404
    Get a dropper post if you haven't already, allows you to maintain a better body position by moving the bike underneath you - if your butt is touching the tyre it also sounds like you a too far back, butt/tyre contact should only really be for the really short/steep sections. If your seat is in the way then you may be having to move too far back which is where a dropper will help.

    Other point, which is just my opinion, you shouldn't be struggling to hold any position as it should be the bike moving under you and not the other way round with your weight still going down through the pedals and not supported by your body - if that makes sense???
  • kickaxekickaxe Posts: 446
    Don't think about getting your hips back necessarily, just try to keep you hips directly above the cranks. Where this position is depends on the gradient of the terrain, but with some practice you will not have to even think about it.
    -Cube Acid 29" 2013
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Should have hips behind the cranks and centre of gravity above the cranks.
    Arms and knees should be bent and relaxed.
    It also depends a lot on having your bike set up correctly with the right bar position and stem height, the right size bike, correct reach, correct lever position.
    Forget dropper posts for now, they're just a convenience so you don't have to keep stopping to adjust saddle height. No matter how tempting it may seem NEVER remain in the saddle for steep stuff, one root or rock and your face WILL hit the dirt.
    Get it right and you can roll in to vertical faces as long as there's a top and bottom transition.
    A coaching session would probably be a good investment, a coach will check your bike set up as well as perfect your skills.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    It sounds like you are actually moving your weight back to far, you only need to be hanging right off the back when its very steep, your weight (C of G as RMSC) points out should still be above the pedals, so if you found yourself hanging onto the bars to stop yourself falling back, you had gone to far back already. Its just like standing up when walking down a steep hill, your C of G is still over your feet (or you would fall over).
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Even with your body position back your arms should still be bent and ideally no tension in them so not pulling on the bars. You need to stay loose otherwise you won't be able to hold a line or steer properly.
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Having been a roadie most of my life, but had a 90's rigid MTB that I still use, going down steep hills is scary.

    The new 650B has just had a dropper post fitted.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Stay off the brakes, relax and enjoy the ride. Never touch the front brake on anything steep.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Agreed, if you must brake drag the back brake lightly but at least if it locks you can stay rubbery side down.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    The Rookie wrote:
    Agreed, if you must brake drag the back brake lightly but at least if it locks you can stay rubbery side down.

    Even rear brake is bad. Being unloaded, the rear tyre will lock very easily, giving you limited control and steering.
    90% of the time you can just ride it out with no brakes. Just remember, trail builders want you to have fun, not get hurt.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    That's assuming you're riding trail centres. Natural stuff is often less forgiving.
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    There's no such thing as natural trails. Someone has cleared the trail and made sure it's rideable.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    I think he is. Must be the trail fairies.
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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Most of what I thought were natural trails I ride I thought were created by sheep, I suppose as you say it could by the trail fairies who make it for us and the sheep just borrow them.

    Some of the downhill sections I ride in India look like water washaways from Monsoon, they can be quite steep in places and fairly rocky (slippery vulcanic rock as this is the Deccan Plateau) and with a lot of loose gravel between - dragging the back brake works well, I wouldn't go down without braking on the 100mm travel XC HT's I can hire (having 'euro' brake orientation can make that inadvertently exiting as well), the trail fairies need to visit more often as it's not really rideable without braking, perhaps RMSC has a contact number for them?
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Some bits are sheep tracks but they get modified, the line changes as it gets ridden and it all gets linked up by trail fairies.
    My local spot is known for natural and gnarly trails but none if it is particularly natural.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    Still doesn't mean the sheep or fairies planned a nice safe bermy exit though. I ride down a few that go straight from steep scary into a strategically placed tree, stream, fence etc. Going down flat out would result in certain death, or at the very least, embarrasing YT footage and pain.
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  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    It depends where you ride. Most of the trails I ride have developed naturally from use and are not designed for mountain biking. This means unlike in a trail centre where the trail is designed to be ridden so easy enough on more natural trails you can get caught out as they are not designed to be mountain bike trails.

    On the steep downhill advice on some very steep drops I find gently using the front brake does help but jamming it on would not be a good idea.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Some bits are sheep tracks but they get modified, the line changes as it gets ridden and it all gets linked up by trail fairies.
    Not some of the parts I ride don't, you should try some variation.....
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