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  • A view from an occasional Mountain Biker
  • Premier Icon lunge
    Full Member

    I used to ride an MTB lots, like 2 or 3 times per weeks lots, had done for 20 years. But in truth, those days are in the past, I ride road a lot I run a lot and I reckon I get off road maybe once a year, it’s been this way for at least 5 or 7 years, perhaps more if I’m honest. I always ride somewhere I can hire a bike as I sold my last MTB some time ago.

    Today was one of those occasional rides. I took myself off to Cannock and hired a bike, a Trek Rosco hardtail, and had a couple of hours around The Dog and The Monkey. I did thi a couple of years ago too and hired a Yeti SB6. And it was bloody lovely, not quite enough to make me want to buy an MTB again, but enough that I left with a smile on my face.

    I also left me with a few questions and observations that I thought I’d share with the group.

    MTB’s are so good now. The bike I hired was relatively basic but the geometry, great brakes and snappy sifting make even a basic hardtail great to ride. 1x, whilst not my cup of tea on the road, is awesome on an MTB.

    Modern tyres are amazing. The bike had 2.7″‘s I think and they grip incredibly. Took me a while to see how much you can push them, but the bike felt so planted both up and down.

    SRAM shifters are inferior to Shimano. For no other reason than the way the levers are positioned means that one is always either to close or a reach to get to. Shimano, with the ability to change with your index finger, if so much better.

    I now understand eBikes. They’re not for me, but I now get them. I love climbs on the roads and love a technical climb off road, the lung burning and the fitness aspect are a huge part of the enjoyment of riding. But, the fire road climbs at Cannock and indeed most other trail centres are dull and I can see why an eBike to get them over with quickly makes sense. Maybe trail centre designers just need to make the climbs more interesting, some of the descents would have been great fun going the other way.

    MTBers seem to stop a lot. Every climb and at the end of each section people were stopped. Not even places with a good view, just at the end of some singletrack. I found it really odd, if I’ve got 2 hours to ride then I want to be pedaling for all of those 2 hours.

    MTBers also seem to take a lot of stuff. I got round in just over 90 mins and so just took a bottle and my phone, but people who were doing the same route had huge bags of “stuff” with them.

    Dropper posts. Yeah, I still don’t get the hype for them. Yes, it was quite useful to get the saddle out of the way on some hills but it made little or no difference on the time I forgot it was there. I was just left a big indifferent on there. and to add context, I’m not a downhill God, but according to Strava I was in the top 20% of times on most of the descents, so wasn’t hanging around.

    Baggy clothes, why? It flaps on the downhills, it’s overly warm on the ups, I just don’t see how it’s better than Lycra.

    And finally, shaved legs shed mud better than hairy legs, maybe MTB riders need to get their razor out, much easier to clean up before getting in the car to go home!

    Anyway, it was great to be out on the trails again, maybe I need to get out more.

    Throw your insults below.

    Premier Icon cultsdave
    Free Member

    Agreed up until your dropper posts bit. Droppers are ace would forgo rear suspension over a dropper now.
    Baggy clothes, while you have a point, it’s just not the fashion. Knee pads and lycra for example looks really silly. Baggy clothes offer a bit more protection and pockets to put stuff in.
    Shaved legs, can’t be arsed shaving my face very often let alone legs, have done it before, just not worth the hassle.

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    MTBers also seem to take a lot of stuff. I got round in just over 90 mins and so just took a bottle and my phone, but people who were doing the same route had huge bags of “stuff” with them.

    Obviously you like an occasional long walk, they don’t.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Full Member

    Stopping a lot – I think MTBers in groups tend to ride with a wider range of ability than roadies, so stop more for their mates to catch up and take a breather. You’d not have seen the smash round in 90 mins other riders because they’re going the same direction and speed as you!

    Dropper posts – I’m not sure that Cannock has steep/rough enough terrain to really see the benefit of having your saddle out of the way, (unless you rode the little back sections, in which case hat for blasting them with a saddle up your arse)

    You’re dead right about modern MTB’s though.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    Droppers are ace as long as you’re using them right. In the last when a saddle was in the way the response was to get back behind the saddle on steeper stuff. Now you whack the dropper down and keep your weight central but just get overall lower on the bike. More slack bikes than a Roscoe also stick the wheel out further in front / have a bigger reach. If you rode mtb regularly you’d probably find you use a dropper more and more until the point where it’s hard to go without one. As above I’d rather ride a hardtail with a dropper than a full suss without one.

    The climb thing is personal preference. My mate would rather have an interesting climb with changes in steepness / some tricky bits. I’d rather just twiddle up a fireroad as it’s both easier and quicker generally so you’ve got more energy and concentration to go fast on the downhill fun bits.

    Clothing – when you crash lycra would generally rip – harder wearing baggy stuff tends not to. Plus men in lycra isn’t really a great look.

    Shaving legs would just be too much work – I hate shaving my face – let alone legs!

    I disagree on shifters – I have both Sram and Shimano mtb ones and I much prefer Sram. The 2 thumb levers are nicely spaced and feel good. Using thumbs on the Shimano (XT 12 speed) it’s hard to get both at a nice angle. I’m not a fan of shifting with my finger – I have tried to get back into that but it’s just not happening.

    At the end of the day cycling is fun – I do have a road bike that I enjoy, but > road for me. If you enjoyed it then try to get out more – it’s addictive 😝

    Premier Icon ElVino
    Full Member

    I was similar to you, stopped MTB for years and went road biking, my kids got me back into mtb. Now I do a bit of both and wouldn’t be without an mtb. I agree that MTBers seem to take a huge amount of kit. I often ride on my own with a water bottle and a CO2 inflator and have not had a puncture since I went tubeless.
    I take more spares when I ride with others as I don’t want to be the idiot without a tube or a pump etc.
    The constant stopping is usually because of the fitness discrepancy between groups. On the road people seem to ride with others of similar fitness, off road is more mixed.
    I love dropper posts, single best invention since tubeless tyres.

    Premier Icon chestrockwell
    Full Member

    If I’m out with my main riding pals we stop loads. Usually the only chance we get to catch up with each other so the social is as important as the ride.

    Premier Icon winston
    Free Member

    Road: Bottle, teeny tube, teeny multitool and a credit card

    MTB: camelbak as bottles get muddy, heavier tube and multitool with tyrelevers,patches, bigger volume pump, couple of spare chain links, spare hanger, credit card.

    Can’t get all the mtb stuff in a pocket and I don’t like drinking from a bottle covered in sheepcrap.

    Premier Icon airvent
    Free Member

    I used to be the person that carried a huge backpack with the kitchen sink in it. This year I’ve made an effort to ditch it where possible and head out with a bottle in a cage and a co2/tubeless worms in my pocket. Find it works well for short rides but still take a pack for proper mountain days like my recent skiddaw ride.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Full Member

    Well… I always welcome the opinions of outsiders on whats wrong with the hobby I live and breathe. Ha ha.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    Go and ride some tech trails then tell me you don’t get droppers.

    Premier Icon lunge
    Full Member

    Well… I always welcome the opinions of outsiders on whats wrong with the hobby I live and breathe.

    All written tongue in cheek of course. But I did think others may be interested in hearing things from a different perspective.

    Go and ride some tech trails then tell me you don’t get droppers.

    Not an unfair comment. But I can only comment on what I rode, and on those trails it was a “nice to have” rather than an essential.

    Premier Icon ta11pau1
    Full Member

    To corner properly a dropper is also pretty essential. Can’t get the bike leant over if the saddle is jammed against your thigh.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    On flatter single-track I leave my seat down all the time and put it up for climbs. Because the bike is more manoeuvrable with it down. Lower centre of gravity. Same reason sports cars are low. You don’t see BMW owners considering raising their suspension do you?

    Premier Icon oldagedpredator
    Full Member

    Stopping a lot

    What I find strange about road riding is dropping people is a fundamental part of the culture. I cant think of a mountain biking ride I’ve been on where you leave someone behind.

    Just been out solo round the local trail centre this afternoon – first time since June – kind of nice doing the whole slow and stopping thing. I see bum bags are in fashion, sorry on trend again.

    I haven’t been taking a backpack but I’m mostly riding the same trail centre and it’s never more than 30minutes walk to the car park. Multi tool and a flexible trail running flask stuffed in a pocket does it most times.

    Premier Icon argee
    Full Member

    Dropper posts are essential, even on my hardtail without one i’m limiting myself, i did go a couple of weeks without on recently, but hated the lack of playing i could do.

    Ebikes have their place, got one and it has its position, i know the weaknesses and i know the strengths, so will work a ride around that, no point taking it to enduro runs that i will constantly ground the bottom on, or hit tight techy stuff where the weight and turning ability is a bit less.

    Backpack for me, i take everything, i’ve had to use a few bits recently, from my first aid kit for pedal rash to assisting others with a quick clean and plaster. CO2 and spare tubes, had to use those two weeks ago after killing the rear tyre on a heavy landing, without the kit it would have been day over, same with the water/food/tools i carry, without them it would be a long old day for me or others that i help out with basics, always amazes me when i see folk going out on a day ride with minimal kit and heading back home early due to lack of kit on their back, or at the car.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Cannock doesn’t really need a dropper to be fair, I’m not surprised you didn’t miss it. Sounds like you had a bunch of fun though. I think MTB is social in a different way to roadie, with it’s emphasis on group speeds and “getting on” 1 stop at the cafe, and then back sur la plaque. I think MTB’s vibe is more chilled out really, it’s more “messing about in the woods” than distance/speed for most folk. Clothes are just personal choice really, and there’s lots of variables to “baggy”, there’s some that are a bit “It ain’t ‘alf hot mum” but you can get more slim fitting stuff now.

    Premier Icon imnotverygood
    Full Member

    If you only ride off road once a year then maybe its ok to risk having a mechanical you can’t fix. If you are riding a couple of times a week then perhaps not so much.
    On the road you can chat to each other while you ride. You can’t do that so much on singletrack hence the stops for a sociable natter.

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Full Member

    As a roadie and infrequent mountain biker I’d agree with most of what’s been said. I’m generally a mincer on the Mtb, but think there was only one section in Cannock where I wanted the dropper post, steepish section with a couple of decent sized drops.
    But I do tend to take a camelback for the reason mentioned above, a bottle tends to get covered in cr@p.
    Agree with the mtb’inh being more social than road riding. As a roadie the social side of the riding is done in sections, start of the ride, coffee shop and WhatsApp after the ride! Agree roadies tend to ride in similar ability groups so tend to be used as “training” rides, aka d1ck measuring rides!! (Just kidding it’s not all like that)

    Premier Icon OwenP
    Full Member

    30 PSI in my Minions….

    😉

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    I found it really odd, if I’ve got 2 hours to ride then I want to be pedaling for all of those 2 hours.

    You’re thinking like a roadie. Think like a golfer. If you’ve Only got one lap of the dog and monkey in you whatever speed you go; and you’ve got yourself out away from the wife/kids/housework/PlayStation/staring at your own ceiling in boredom; you want to drag it out as long as possible, particularly if you are with friends.

    I agree with you on the massive bags, especially in a forested trail centre type environment.
    While there are more tools and greater chance of using them than may be practically required on a road bike, it’s fairly easy to know what clothes you will need in the next two hours and how much water.

    There does exist a wide variety of clothing that is neither skin tight, nor MC Hammer loose; both in mtb kit and general sportswear. It’s excellent, allows a full range of movement, doesn’t catch or snag on anything, Regulates temperature well and doesn’t look ridiculous on anyone that doesn’t have the physique of a pro racer (most of us). These criticisms can ALL be applied to clothes that are both too tight, and too baggy.
    If you sling yourself too far to either end of the spectrum and forget the middle ground exists, it’s easy to decide that ‘the other camp’ is dressed inappropriately.

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    I’m generally a mincer on the Mtb, but think there was only one section in Cannock where I wanted the dropper post, steepish section with a couple of decent sized drops.

    As a former roadie and former mincer (and former dropper denier); I was once like you; get past the mindset of using it as a tool for when you could otherwise not do something, and start thinking about how you can use it to make things better, faster, smoother, more enjoyable

    Premier Icon Marin
    Free Member

    MTB is more social. Roadying is trying to get away from other blokes who wear black and are desperate to be run over.

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    What I find strange about road riding is dropping people is a fundamental part of the culture. I cant think of a mountain biking ride I’ve been on where you leave someone behind.

    I used to do nothing but MTB; road riding looked so boring. Now I mostly do road rides with a handful of MTB rides a year, and this is kinda interesting. Road riding IS boring – that’s why you end up obsessing over numbers, because (unless you live in the countryside) there’s not much else to get excited about. Whereas MTB you’re focusing on the trail, the next tree, hitting that berm juuuuuust right, shifting your weight back then forward, and the short sharp “hunnghhhh” of getting the bike up and over the side of that chute.

    But really road riding is just about going for a time or a distance, then stopping, then maybe going some more. MTBing feels more like enjoying little sections of trail (where ‘little’ could be 2 minutes or half the ride), then having a breather before starting the next great little section.

    As for clobber, tbh I don’t understand why roadies are so sniffy about carrying things like a pump, tubes, food, an extra layer, a proper amount of water.

    Premier Icon lunge
    Full Member

    I think the sociable element of MTB I’ve never got as I either ride alone or with 2 or 3 other liked minded people who like to go fast and nonstop. Even as a kid it was “how fast can you get up that hill”, closely followed by “don’t stop at the top or he’ll overtake us”. The social bit is in the pub or the cafe at the end of the ride.

    Road can be sociable, you can chat in a group, but the emphasis is on going somewhere, which I guess I like. It’s not boring though, a good hill or a fast downhill road are anything but boring.

    Anyway, different stokes for different folks.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    MTBers seem to stop a lot. Every climb and at the end of each section people were stopped. Not even places with a good view, just at the end of some singletrack. I found it really odd, if I’ve got 2 hours to ride then I want to be pedaling for all of those 2 hours.

    Before I started training for races AND had a fall out with my group this was me.  Now I find it hard to be on such a ride, I’d also prefer to ride continuously.  On the odd occasion I see my former riding group – and I have made up with them over a few beers – I’ve enjoyed the ride and remembered it’s not all about me. But still I’m in agreement with you. YMMV is  very much a thing to be remembered.

    This year is had planned to spend a weekend in Wales by myself, enjoying the trail centre rides by myself at my pace and dictat for the first time ever.  Alas the current situation has prevented that.

    Premier Icon vazaha
    Free Member

    Also, apropos the continual stopping, bear in mind that many riders on the Chase are taking many different paths.

    I will be taking a break somewhere along the Dog as part of a much longer ride – i rarely follow all of it at once, but will often take on a bit of it on the way to somewhere else.

    I’ll be doing it on a twenty-year-old bike, though, so i’ll duck out of the rest of the convo.

    TBF there are only two real ‘fire road’ climbs on the Dog/Monkey, and one of them can be avoided once you’ve just got up that first hump, take the tyre trails to your left.

    Premier Icon oikeith
    Full Member

    And finally, shaved legs shed mud better than hairy legs, maybe MTB riders need to get their razor out, much easier to clean up before getting in the car to go home!

    Every winter I get tempted to shave my legs…

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Don’t judge us all based on the (probable) noobs you met at Cannock.

    And ride somewhere more fun next time anyway.

    😉

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    All the mention of MTB on this thread is about riding man-made trails, usually in a closed loop somewhere you’re never far from a road. There is a whole other world of MTB out there where big packs are necessary, folk don’t stop to chat every few minutes and inadequate clothing could seriously ruin your day.

    Bur yeah, the shaved legs thing keeps occurring to me too.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    Baggy clothes, why? It flaps on the downhills, it’s overly warm on the ups, I just don’t see how it’s better than Lycra.

    And finally, shaved legs shed mud better than hairy legs, maybe MTB riders need to get their razor out, much easier to clean up before getting in the car to go home!

    “roadie”
    : )

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    Throw your insults below.

    Roadie…

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Full Member

    What I find strange about road riding is dropping people is a fundamental part of the culture. I cant think of a mountain biking ride I’ve been on where you leave someone behind.

    Maybe for club riders and arseholes, but me and my roadie mates will stop and wait for one another if climbing pace differs a bit…

    That said whenever I go riding with my MTBing mates (generally a different group) yes they stop way too much (IMO) and yes carrying a camelback full of miscellaneous junk is still part of the “uniform” for many.

    I can appreciate most of what the OP said. Like many I’d not be without a dropper, but not everyone will find them essential and the terrain you’re riding is generally what makes them more or less useful.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Road riding you regroup at the top, MTB you regroup at the bottom. Simple.

    You might pause at the top to organise the order for dropping in though.

    Dropping people (on descents) is a fundamental part of MTB for lots of people, eh?

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    Baggy clothes, why? It flaps on the downhills, it’s overly warm on the ups, I just don’t see how it’s better than Lycra.

    Because it doesn’t make you look like someone in lycra.

    Fashions change,

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    An MTB ride is divided into sections, because of the trail diversity. A descent, a singletrack section, a climb. All of which will be done at different paces by the riders in a group. And you can’t really chat whilst doing most of the fun bits because you’re not side by side. So it becomes a collection of small efforts rather than one big one. A bit like rock climbing at say Stanage where you do loads of short routes, compared to doing one long mountain route.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    ^ what he said.

    Unless solo, then you just keep going. Unless knackered. Then the view from the top gets interesting, as does a drink/peanut butter sarnie 😀

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    Dropping people (on descents) is a fundamental part of MTB for lots of people, eh?

    Nah, not if you’re not racing. Always wait at suitable sections for mates, particularly if it’s a gnarly track. Then it’s all meet at the bottom for woops and fist bumps 🤘😊👊

    Premier Icon Duggan
    Free Member

    Dropping people definitely is not and never has been a part of roadie culture, not sure why people would think that.

    I’ve never been on any club ride that hasn’t had a non-drop policy and any roadie club will make sure stragglers are looked after.

    The only exception maybe would be a chain-gang where its made explicit and clear from the start that if you can’t keep up the rest push on (or a race of course).

    Premier Icon dobiejessmo
    Free Member

    Mind the greatest think about riding a MTB off-road over road bikes is no one in a car is trying to take you out.

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