So I began mountain biking about 3 months ago after I was in a serious motocross accident that left me with a broken back. I decided that I would stay away from motocross and stick to mountain biking due to it being a little safer (sometimes!). Anyways, I have fallen in love with my bike and I try to get out and ride as much as I possibly can now.
The bike I currently have is a bike I bought off a guy I worked with who is really into biking. The bike is a Ellsworth Moment with all sorts of goodies on it. The bike came with clip-in pedals but I was not use to this and did not have the shoes for it so I simply went out and bought a pair of flat pedals for now. The type of trails I ride are a mix of single-track but I also do a lot of free riding around my house where I will ride down power lines, old pipelines, 4-wheeler trails and logging trails. The bike I have currently has Marzoochi Z1 Bomber front forks which I am still trying to figure out if I like them or not. They are air compressed forks but being a lightweight rider (145) I have yet to find the right pressure for my riding style. Also, the rear shock is an older spring shock that I do find to be a smooth riding shock but does not offer a lot of travel or adjustments. So here are some questions I have:
1. Since I do a mixture of freeriding and singletrack, would it be more beneficial to stick with flat pedals or switch over to clip in pedals. I'm a little hesitant to clip-ins because of my riding style of hanging my leg out through tight corners, being my background comes from motocross.
2. I have been looking at different forks and I have been particularly interested in the Fox 36 Van 180mm or the Fox 36 Talas 180mm. Since I do some free riding I want to stick to something that has a lot of travel without having to use DH forks. Also, I have been think of upgrading the rear shock as well to the newer Fox DHX Air 5.0. Does anyone think what I have now is okay, just need to work with it a little more and tweak it until I'm satisfied or is suspension (like in motocross) simply a preference thing?
3. Also, as of now my bike is currently running a 3x9 gearing set up which I find sometimes completely unnecessary. I find myself most of the time in between my first and second gear up front which gets annoying and wish I could find a gear that was in between them because I never use the big gear on the bike, EVER. Just wanting to know any different kind of set-ups people are running and since I am fairly new to this I do not know much about different gearing options.
Man, everybody seems to be breaking their backs nowadays. It's like it's the new stubbed toe. Glad to hear you're back up and running. Here's my three cents on your questions.
1. Eventually, when you start to love climbing, you should get some clipless pedals. In the mean time, go ahead and rock the flats. Having fun is not a competition and the flats seem to fit your style.
2. In terms of the suspension, I'd rather drag around more travel when I don't need it, than not have enough when I do need it. Also, longer travel forks make for a slacker head angle which I like. Though it also makes for a higher BB, which I don't so much like. In the back, switching to a longer shock to get more travel will seriously mess up the geometry and suspension action of the bike. Not recommended. You could however upgrade to a shock of the same length and stroke, but with more adjustment options to tune it to your taste.
3. Ditch the triple. Personally, I haven't run more than one gear up front since the chainguide was invented, including for cross country. You can see pretty much all of the options in the Product section above. You can go as low as a 32 tooth ring to keep it climbable.
big bird nailed it.
i have never run clips, however. i may not climb as efficiently or fast, but i don't care. most climbs i do aren't technical (rocks, roots etc). in Virginia, however, w/ all the rocks and tech, clipless pedals/shoes would help a lot going uphill.
glad you're in one piece and stoked on MTB!
Thanks for the input guys. Went for a ride today to try and figure some more things out and I believe I am going to be sticking with flat pedals for now. I just get a little too wild going downhill for me to be clipped in haha. Also, I found a great deal on a free riding bike that I am more than likely going to purchase so with that said I am not going to worry so much about changing the gearing and suspension on my Ellsworth right now. Going to keep the Ellsworth for when I do more XC riding which may result in starting to use clip-ins and also going to let me girlfriend start riding it as she is starting to show interest (AWESOME!).
I just started riding this year as well and come from a 20 year motocross history. I'm fading out of motocross and trail mtn biking has become very interesting to me. However, I have owned a quite old Specialized full suspension for about 15 years and bought it used. I am much too tall for the bike (6'2" and medium frame) and have been looking into getting a Specialized Camber or Stumpjumper.
Being in Utah, we have a lot of climbing trails so I want something that will handle climbing above all. But I also need something that will help me on the steep and technical down-hills. My style of riding would be mainly trail, mountain (rocky and rough so full suspension is a must), and Moab style cross country.
Any suggestion on other bikes, models to choose from? My budget is between $1500 and $3500. Also, would a 29" benefit me given my riding style and size?
Also, the original post was a great post and answered a lot of my own questions. Thanks to any replies you guys could provide.
good to see another moto guy that's enjoying mtb as much as I am. Can't really answer a lot of your questions cause I really do not know that much about the sport and and haven't had a chance to ride a lot of different bikes yet. However, go check out pinkbike.com because they have a lot of good used bikes for sales that would fit into your budget. Great site for finding used stuff for sale.
Also, pretty jealous that you get the chance to ride in Utah. After watching Where The Trail Ends movie I want to make the trip out to ride some of that terrain, looks like a lot of fun.
thanks for the responses.
I did a demo on the 2013 Specialized Camber Comp, 29er this weekend and wow... amazing ride. Climbing was effortless and I felt right at home going down as well. The only complaint I had was getting momentum to climb from a stop, I think a 26 would help in this regard. Make that two complaints, the second being the hard knee-slapper shifting while pedalling in a climb... However, I'm sure I will learn some better technique as for when to shift as I ride more.
I'm going to try and demo the 26" Stumpy before I make my final decision, but I will say that the 29" Camber was a very sweet ride.
@Mikey590 - Utah is actually pretty epic for any type of recreation, i'm just getting into mountain-biking so hopefully I will get to enjoy it all. There are some pretty cool Utah-mtnbiking websites that I check out daily, I can't wait to start hitting some of these trails!
Likewise regarding the moto background, I wouldn't take any of it back besides the major injuries of course. Hope your back heals up proper. Cheers
@peelout sounds great man, its starting to get pretty cold here in VA so my time on the trails is pretty limited and I only get out if the weather is 50+ degrees.
Only thing I am looking forward to is maybe going out for some rides when it snows if it ever does. Weather does allow me to get some good maintenance done on my bike and let me back get back to 100%. I am excited about getting some upgrades done to make my riding next year even better.