Hardtails and OTBs

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  • Hardtails and OTBs
  • Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Following my recent trip over the bars and subsequent broken arm I’ve been reviewing various things about setup and technique. One thing I read, which makes sense, is that the rebound of the rear shock should never be any faster than the front. So how does this work with a hardtail? You’ve got at least an inch of suspension from the rear tyre, plus a bit from the frame, all un-damped. So, does anybody run faster rebound on their HT forks to deal with this and is there any (anecdotal) evidence to suggest that you have more trips over the bars on a hardail?

    bob_summers
    Member

    All my OTBs (there have been a few!) have been user error 🙁

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Yes, I’m happy to take it as a given that it’s not the bikes fault and that competent riders can tackle anything on a hardtail. I just wonder if it’s really true that a full suss makes trips over the bars less likely. Probably best to ignore risk compensation here as well.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    You are the rear shock.

    Premier Icon BillOddie
    Subscriber

    It’s the Compression tune that more impoartnat than the rebound in preventing OTBs I reckon. Nice composed mid stroke is needed rather than a mushy divey fork.

    Slack HA and Short stem helps too.

    Premier Icon brant
    Subscriber

    Drop your heels. Rotate your bars back. Drop your wrists.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    You are the rear shock.

    +1

    Bend those knees, want more controlled “Rebound”? Why not try doing some squats as a bit of “HT specific training”

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    The argument that you (or your legs) are the rear shock makes sense, but couldn’t the same argument be applied to the front end and your arms?

    If you ride a HT and a full suss down the same trail at the same speed presumably you do have to work a bit harder to resist the OTB forces on the HT.

    Drop your heels. Rotate your bars back. Drop your wrists.

    Yes, that’s precisely what I’m going to be working on as soon as I get back on the bike 🙂

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Yes it could, just you were asking about rear shocks etc. The most important skill to master is body weight and position on the bike. This will keep your wheels in traction (steering/propelling) and on and off the ground when required in the right order (generally front one first)

    Good luck don’t be afraid of some coaching.

    kudos100
    Member

    you’ve got at least an inch of suspension from the rear tyre, plus a bit from the frame, all un-damped

    Plus 2 foot of travel when you bend your legs.

    From what you have said it sounds like you are too stiff and probably have your weight back too far, so when you hit something it is bucking you over the front.

    maxtorque
    Member

    I’d say for every OTB caused by a big bottom out and then a rapid rebound (like casing the lip of a landing from a jump etc) there are probably 1000 caused by simply ‘hanging up’ the front wheel with your body mass in the wrong place………

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Yes, I’m not trying to blame the bike here. I’m sure my OTB was caused (or at least exacerbated) by being too stiff and too upright and I’m probably getting ahead of myself as it may be a while before I’m back on the bike. But I’m just wondering which bike to start with when I do come back.

    My first thought was to stick with the HT for a while. Forget about speed and focus on developing a smoother more controlled style. But I’m naturally going to be wary of the OTB moments at first, so maybe the full suss would make more sense.

    By the way, I love a bit of coaching, but even the coach last time thought that I should just get out and ride for a while before considering more coaching. I’ve got the theory down pat, but am obviously still struggling to put it into practice when things get a bit tricky.

    Premier Icon brant
    Subscriber

    I’d also suggest that riders who started out on rigid bikes way back when, should be aware that a modern slacker hardtail does need to be ridden down hills in a quite different manner.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    But I’m naturally going to be wary of the OTB moments at first, so maybe the full suss would make more sense.

    You will learn more on the Hard Tail than you will by buying a FS. Maybe get someone to take a look at your set-up when your riding and tweak it a bit.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Not buying anything. There is a HT and a full suss in the shed. Just wondering which to take out first. I know it’s a pointless question, but bear with me. Not being able to ride is doing my head in. These pointless debates are all I have 🙂

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    I’d also suggest that riders who started out on rigid bikes way back when, should be aware that a modern slacker hardtail does need to be ridden down hills in a quite different manner.

    So, by extension, do you need a different technique to ride a HT to a full suss?

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    One thing I read, which makes sense, is that the rebound of the rear shock should never be any faster than the front

    Well that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in a while. How do you even measure that for a start?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    yes riding a HT requires a different technique or perhaps an approach to riding a FS, I’d follow it by saying riding a FS with the technique and skills of a HT is a very good skill to have.

    Van Halen
    Member

    its a bike. ride it!

    not much different unless you have extreme examples of each breed.

    bit more squidge in the corners on a FS but you still load it up like pumping a HT.

    riding down stuff is the same. ideally central but as steepness increases this central moves back (unless you are really shit-hot skills wise).

    My first thought was to stick with the HT for a while. Forget about speed and focus on developing a smoother more controlled style.

    That’s it.

    kudos100
    Member

    My first thought was to stick with the HT for a while. Forget about speed and focus on developing a smoother more controlled style.

    That’s what i’d go for. I’ve probably had more OTB on a full susser than on a hardtail due to being able to go faster and get away with more.

    Once you get the hang of pumping and using your legs as suspension on a hardtail, you can then take it to the full susser.

    Also I’d suggest riding flats if you are not doing so already as they can help with getting your weight distribution right.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    I just wonder if it’s really true that a full suss makes trips over the bars less likely.

    From what I’ve ridden I’d say a lower BB / higher front axle relationship makes it less likely – ie for a given BB and bar height, a shorter-travel or rigid forked 29er is harder to go OTB than a long-forked 26″ bike. Better fore-aft stability, less change due to sus movement etc. That doesn’t apply to a CX bike with the grip area so far over the front axle though – been OTB of my CX bike more than anything else. And a rigid front has it’s own drawbacks.

    But you can mess up a steep rocky section on anything.

    Van Halen
    Member

    Also I’d suggest riding flats if you are not doing so already as they can help with getting your weight distribution right.

    i disagree – it improves confidence on tricky bits only. which you sometimes need to be able to progress. you can still be in a crap position on a bike!

    dannyh
    Member

    It all depends on what ‘kind’ of over the bars.

    Landing a jump nose heavy and grabbing the brake in a panic?

    Steep section rolling quite slowly, but weight too far forward?

    Rode into something you didn’t see?

    As I recall, certain rear suss layouts also lent themselves to front door exits as they were very prone to ‘brake-jack’ meaning that the initial poor body position was exacerbated by the back of the bike being thrown up under braking.

    There are so many variables here for a proper answer, but generally speaking getting a lot lower and flexed will help. Not necessarily hanging right off the back if it steep bits that cause the problem (if you do this too much you’ll just unweight the front wheel to the point where it has no grip and it will understeer (or wash out) leaving you on your side rather than your head!

    Brant’s advice is what you are after – dropping heels and wrists puts more of your weight behind the critical pivot points meaning an OTB is less likely to start, and more avoidable if it does.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Right thanks folks, that’s that problem solved then. First up it will be the FF29 (120mm HT 29er) and focus on heels, body position etc.

    Now how long did the doc think it would take to get back on the bike? 6-12 weeks? Aaargh. Shuffles off to see if he can get the turbo trainer set up in the shed with one arm.

    rsl1
    Member

    I’d say it helps that generally you can drop the saddle a lot further out the way on HT.

    kudos100
    Member

    i disagree – it improves confidence on tricky bits only. which you sometimes need to be able to progress. you can still be in a crap position on a bike!

    Notice I said CAN help weight distribution, not flats are a magical cure for not going over the bars.

    hora
    Member

    Off Rivi Pike last Sat I was about to launch myself off one of the rocky bits at the top of the tower and got it wrong and ended up with my front pointing down into a lovely OTB. Luckily I had my saddle really low so my arse on the tyre saved me and turned it into a front wheel off rollin.

    I personally think (I’m a zero-talent rider) having your saddle in the way of letting you move round the bike at a split-seconds notice really does contribute to OTB.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    roverpig – Member

    You’ve got at least an inch of suspension from the rear tyre

    And pretty much the same in the front, so forget about it.

    So, by extension, do you need a different technique to ride a HT to a full suss?

    IMO the on a slack/low/modern HT you have top put weight back and react to the ground to get the bike over bumps. FS you get your weight back in the same way but to an extent the limiting factor is no longer absorbing bumps, it’s keeping your bodyweight acting below/behind the front axle (as soon as it’s above/infront the leverage is pushing you OTB).

    Rigid or XC hardtails are a bit different and require more ballance over the wheels to finess them through. I feel like I get back and let the bike deal with the trail much sooner on a 456 style bike than an XC bike.

    Well that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in a while. How do you even measure that for a start?

    Not measured, but the stock tune on my Pitch didn’t work for me, the high speed reboud was far too quick so over jumps it would kick the bike/me forewards, a larger air can to reduce the spring pressure deeper in the travel, and a custom tune so that it didn’t top out when speeded up.

    So the OP’s correct, it’s just fairly specific to wheels off the ground type stuff. And a HT effectively had really slow rebound in this case as theres no travel so it can’t kick you forewards. I doubt fork rebound affects it much, as your arms deal with it quicker/better?

    Now how long did the doc think it would take to get back on the bike? 6-12 weeks? Aaargh. Shuffles off to see if he can get the turbo trainer set up in the shed with one arm

    Depends on the break and fixation, did they do an ORIF, or just straighten it and put it in a cast? For the former I was out of the cast in 10 days and on the road bike, doing black runs at a trail center a week later!

    On the other hand, I broke it again 5 months later. Apparently excessive exercise/vibration/traction may have weakened the new bone, so take it easy! Regardles, after 3-5 months it should only be about 70% as strong as it was, after about a year it’s >100% (bone actualy grows back stronger), then it drops back to normal over the next year.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Thanks. Had the first fracture clinic yesterday. They still seem worryingly vague on whether it might need some pins, but the consensus was that it seems to be staying in place OK, so stick with it and hope it sticks. I fear that the “10 day recovery” gets less likely as you push 50, but it does sound as though I may be able to physically ride a bike in a few weeks. The worry is the dire warnings about not falling on it again for “at least 6 months”. Six months without a crash. Is that even possible? I guess I’m about to find out.

    Interesting observations about the difference in style required for slack and XC style hardtails.

    robinlaidlaw
    Member

    Well that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in a while. How do you even measure that for a start?

    You either hop and land with all your weight on your feet, or pump your weight straight down into the pedals to compress both ends (hopefully by the same amount if your suspension set-up is right) and have a friend watch the bike rebound. It should come back up level, or slightly faster at the front. You can tell what it’s doing yourself to some degree but an external observer, or a chance to see your reflection in a big window is a big help.

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