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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
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    473

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    TM, I think it's really interesting that the fit involved cutting your bars down. Are these guys used to fitting roadies? Every thing I am learning about MTB technique with my coaching certs points to wider bars being more stable, and have many other advantages but that certainly did not used to be the case. Example, my 2001 FS came with 22" bars, the one I bought in 07 had 25" and now 28" or more is standard. The shops I work with want you to start wide, try and then cut them down after you've ridden them for a bit. And sure, they can be intimidating and feel pretty strange if you are used to narrow bars.
    The LBS that I went to fit all types of riders, from MTB to Cyclocross to Roadies. I had no complaints riding my MTB with the original handlebars, but after the ends were cut off, I felt I had more control with the narrower handlebars; so I am very happy that my LBS did that. In addition, since my current handle bars are only a slight bit wider than my "optimal" and your coach recommends that wider bars are more stable, then my current handlebar width is probably perfect for me.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
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    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403

    Tight downhill single track switchbacks

    Mostly I'm just thinking out loud as I learn more and more about tech stuff and adjustments, and how minor tweaks can affect riding. If something is working for you , totally awesome and stick with it.
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  3. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    So here's my view on the whole handlebar width deal. In general most shops think wider is better. The theory is that you have a longer lever to work from so you can affect a larger change in your front end alignment with a smaller movement of your body. That's great from a bicycle physics point of view and hence...

    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    The shops I work with want you to start wide, try and then cut them down after you've ridden them for a bit. And sure, they can be intimidating and feel pretty strange if you are used to narrow bars.
    Unfortunately, what that doesn't take into account is the riders's physique and strength.

    My advice when it comes to mtn bike handlebar width is this... find the distance between your hands that you can hold a push-up position for at least 20 sec with elbows going outwards. The measurement should be from the outer edge of your hand. Start with that and then go narrower as needed.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

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  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,352
    From what I've been told by the guy MTBers is the bike is less squirrely with wider bars, but more nimble/responsive with narrow bars. I immediately chopped mine because where I like to ride the trail is narrow with lots of trees to catch the bars on.
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  5. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    I don't know if the following things that I have been doing are "safe" mountain biking techniques, but they seem to work for me (I am very, very slow going downhill, especially in mountain biking).

    1. I know that you are supposed to feather the brakes when going downhill (so that the brakes don't overheat and fail), but I feather the brakes in an alternate fashion....left hand, then right hand, left, than right, etc. unless going on a very steep, short downhill where I brake lightly with both hands.

    2. When going around a tight curve while going downhill, you are still supposed to accelerate around the turn (if you go too slow, the bike will just flop over). I used to lightly let go of both brakes to get around the turn which made me fearful of losing control. I finally realized that I can keep the same grip on my right hand (rear) brake and just let go of my left hand (front) brake to accelerate around the corner. I just have to remember NOT to squeeze my right hand harder than I was already squeezing when entering the turn. Now I feel like I am still in control while accelerating around a corner (although I still need to practice my lines and look ahead at the trail instead of looking over at the cliff next to me). Sadly, I only figured this out yesterday (when I have been doing switchbacks for over 6 months now).

    Thanks to everyone at TeamEstrogen, I am climbing better now that I practice and know my trails more. There is still one tough 20% grade sandy, rocky, curvy, hilly single track that I am walking up (because I am still "pulling" up too hard and lose traction on my front tires), but I am able to climb some of the 15%-18% fireroads now, even with the deep cracks, which requires the correct aiming of my bike along the side of the cracks and correct timing if I need to cross over the crack. I know bikers that go downhill on this curvy half mile section that I climb up but the steepness of the hill with the big crack.....NOT safe in my book.
    Last edited by TigerMom; 02-24-2014 at 10:42 AM.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,697
    Reviving this thread because it looks pretty good. I’ll read it tomorrow, though. My eyes won’t stay open.

    Night!
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

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  7. #22
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,078
    Actually, this would be a good thread to revive. I agree. Lots of issues, here, and I'd be glad to share my experiences and thoughts. Here's a few thoughts.

    Wider bars: we gals have to be very careful, here. We don't have the upper body strength to manhandle those super wide bars like the guys do and, trust me, it takes strength to turn those big fat wheels on my fat bike when the trail goes soft. Super wide is all the rage, today, though, and it's being marketed, heavily. Yes, wider bars are helpful on downhill runs for stability, but only if you have the strength to handle them. Wider bars are slower and more awkward to turn - this from experience - and if you're riding in the soft stuff or the tight, techy stuff, strength and timing counts for a lot. We can lose that when we go too wide. Wide bars also mean more of a chance to snag in tight spots. For my trail work, I like a bar that is just a tad wider than my best length for the sake of strength. For me, I'm at my best strength at 690-700mm, so a 710mm bar is a good compromise. No wider, though. The good news is that wide flat bars that come with bikes as standard, these days, are built to be cut down, if needed.

    Pedal position: Never, ever ride on single track downhill with one pedal down. Yes, it may be better for balance though a turn, but I can tell you from personal experience that it takes almost nothing in the way of a snag on a pedal to flip you and the bike. Been there and done that and more than once. Pedal position awareness is vital when riding single track, especially rough single track with roots and rocks. You can get away with a pedal down in a turn on the road, but on single track, especially single track you don't know, pedals at the level is always the safest way to ride when not pedaling.

    Braking: When I brake on downhill runs, it's either lightly feathering with the rear brake or with both brakes, but never, ever with only the front (left) brake. One tiny mistake with too much force applied to the front brake when using the front brake, only, is setting you up for a serious endo. Going too heavy on the brakes with the hydraulic brakes that most MTBs have, these days, is all too easy to do, all the more so on a rough, bouncy trail. I always test my brakes for feel before starting a steep downhill.

    When things turn slick, as with snow or mud, on a downhill, I find that lightly feathering the rear brake, only, helps to keep the front wheel going straight. On the slick stuff, locking the front wheel makes for a much greater chance of sliding out. Done that one, too.

    Drop posts: These are all the rage, today, and I have tried them, but I don't really find that I need them on my trails, anyway. If I was doing single track in the mountains, I might find dropper posts useful. I do run my seats a bit lower for trail riding than road riding, though. Remember, we gals can go very low on our seats compared to guys. Guys do have more stuff to damage, after all, when they go low. Dropper posts are expensive and they are also much heavier than a good aluminum seat post and it's one more thing to mess with and adjust when riding. They don't do much for me, but they might work better for you. Try and see for yourself.

    Steering on the downhill runs: I steer with a very light hold on the handlebars and pretty much let the bike find it's way down through a run, applying just enough steering to avoid the obstacles. I run pedals at the level, weight up off the seat, knees flexed, torso in a low crouch and back behind the seat, and actually do as much steering with my feet and legs as with the bars.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 08-10-2018 at 08:01 AM.

 

 

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