Trying to ride faster on technnical terrain

I’ve been trying to ride faster and more aggressively on technical terrain. It’s hard to do, but I guess it’s at least partly mental, like anything where the more risk you take, the greater the risk of injury. But I think I’m riding faster than usual anyway. :o

Feel free to share your tips and ideas for maximizing speed on technical terrain. I shot this footage yesterday with my 24" kh MUni. The section at :37 is much steeper than it appears. :slight_smile:

Nice, this is how I’ve always tried to ride. I have a couple of buddies that have really focused on stop and hop techniques on technical muni. I always try and ride through technical sections if possible and at least one of my riding buddies has seen the value in this. Since trying to ride through sections more, his skill level has really improved.
I also think riding like this is more fluid and allows you to pick more natural, harmonious lines :wink:

Yeah, it is fun to roll as much as possible, and keep the flow, but I also love the natural “trials” aspect of MUni, where there are times when hopping up, over, across, etc, is necessary, and adds variety and fun. Plus, I love catching air, and not always being land-locked. I’ve been running 150mm cranks on my MUni for years now, and they seem to be a good all-around size, but I’ve been thinking of experimenting with different lengths to see what works best for riding fast technical.

At first blush, I would think shorter, like 125-137, would be best, but on super rocky stuff, that might be a negative, since you wouldn’t have as much leverage on the really jaggy/bumpy stuff. But then again, if you’ve got the speed going in, you still might be able to roll over even the most extreme terrain. I’ll have to try it.

Yeah, I played with 137’s and LOVED it for technical downhills (with a brake) but since I ride all over the place and rarely ride downhill without earning it (with some climbing), I went back to my 150’s. That was really the only drawback, I felt like I could still ride over things and in fact, better than before because I could get up to speed without as much body movement.

Perhaps when you UPD at 1:10, you could maybe try a rolling hop over that dip in the rock that caused you to UPD.

Haha, both upd clips were from the same line, but I had two cameras going at different positions, so it makes it seem like there were two upd’s. I actually made that line on my second attempt, at :23 and :46. And I was going faster the second time! :smiley:

I get bored when I see videos of people riding and then they get to the tech section and stop and hop their way through the whole thing. That fluidity of rolling makes it interesting. Was riding with timekeeper yesterday and he was riding up rocks and things that I would normally ride around. So that is what I am going to practice now.

It depends totally on the type of terrain and if there are natural obstacles that would require you to either go around or hop your way through them, like a trials course.

But yeah, if it’s possible to roll over technical terrain, then yes, I’m for that. You can’t expect an urban trials rider to not hop through his trials course. And if you are confronted with “natural” trials out on a trail, then by pure definition, that would include at least some hopping, jumping, gapping, etc.

Again, I love the variety you find out on technical trails, vs boring fire roads and smooth, non-technical single track. And getting off the ground now and then is a huge part of the fun, at least for me. :smiley:

I switched from 150mm cranks to 125mm (on my 24" muni) for the winter, since the trails around here aren’t really rideable during the winter, and therefore I have been mostly riding on smooth surfaces. I found they took a couple weeks to get used to, but by the end of the winter I was climbing / descending the same hills I was in the fall with 150s. Either I REALLY built up my leg strength, or (more likely) I just improved my technique.
Now riding on 150s is easy as pie, and I can climb way better than I could last fall.

One thing to be aware of, is that when you go for shorter cranks, you can raise your seat higher, and you bend your legs less. The higher seat seems to make balancing easier (I think), and the straighter legs give you a muscle advantage for climbing.

I thought we were talking about muni :stuck_out_tongue:

+1 on the shorter cranks. I have only been riding the 125mm hole on my GMuni (24") for a year and a bit now. It does not detract from your climbing ability after a bit of practice and descents are a blast (if you can use your brake!). For super technical DH you might miss some of your leverage but I cope ok. Maybe 137s would be a good compromise for you Terry.


+2 on shorter cranks. I’ve been using 137 on my 29 and love it. If it’s not too technical I swtich to 125’s. At first it does feel weird but you will get used to them in no time. I remember back when I first started muni everyone thought 165s on a 24 were the way to go. Boy how things have changed…

My 29er has the 125/150 cranks and I make use of both often during the same ride. If I’m going to be doing a lot of steep climbing I’ll use the 150’s, and for technical stuff, and the 125’s for DH and smoother terrain where i can really bomb it. But I can still hit pretty high speeds on my 24 with 150’s.

We are, but MUni consists of a wide variety of terrain, including stuff that you can’t always roll over, or big drops and so on. Sometimes there might be large boulders or a wide gap in your path that must be hopped onto/over. That’s what I meant by natural trials. But for those who ride mostly the smoother, singletrack terrain, that doesn’t usually come into play, and you can ride fast with not much to impede your speed.

My first reaction was “if you want to go fast ride your 29er!” :slight_smile: Having spent a lot of time riding trail on the 29er, I don’t do much hopping even on my 24. If you a “roller”, it can be annoying to be behind “hoppers” when riding with a group.

As you can see in the video, all the tech/rocky terrain was rolled, and I’ve done the same trail, and others more technical, many times on my 29er as well. I’ve just been seeing how fast I can ride the really tech stuff without losing it! :smiley: There is probably a “natural” speed limit to rolling over super technical terrain, but I’m sure I haven’t hit that limit yet, but I’m trying! :o

You’ve misinterpreted what I said. I was talking about fluidity and unnecessary hopping.

Of course if a guy is crossing large boulders or crossing log piles I would expect plenty of hopping. But you were talking about going fast on tech sections of trail. Unless I misunderstood.

I’m gonna have to disagree on crank length. I have also played around with shorter cranks and I found that a long crank gives me more control for all aspects of riding and they are no slower to spin than a short crank.

Maybe it’s a rider size thing, but at 6’/200#, anything less than a 150 is really short. And yeah, I gave it time, short cranks simply made my rides harder. When I went back to a longer crank I found the same rides easier, see?

I tend to be a “roller”, rarely doing any hopping unless I need to “reset” my balance, so flowing through obstacles is really the only way I can ride, otherwise I don’t have the inertia to keep on going. Knowing the line helps with flow as does committment.

If you really want to flow over and around obstacles, a big fat tire can really help because it absorbs more imperfections in the traail, esp with low pressure.

I suppose that if I was running a downhill with no ups, a short crank and a brake would be okay, but then I never just go down :wink:

If only we could freewheel and not die :astonished:

So you wanna go faster? Get a taller wheel of go geared. I have not tried a guni, but I’m starting to think about it more and more, esp for XC and easy tech stuff.

But seriously, Terry, you already ride very well and quite fast, so for sure you should be riding a guni on the trail. How come you ain’t got one yet?

Edit: Just watched your video, that’s a 24" right? You should try a 26", it’ll make a huge difference in your rolling speed and in bridging obstacles. A 26er is not like a 29er, which I remember you rode for a little while. See if Josh will cut loose an Oregon for you when they come in. I ride a 26er exclusively, leaving my 29er sitting on the rack 90% of the time. When I hop on my son’s 24" it feels like a little kid uni or a trials uni.

I’d agree with going the 26" route. The 26 definitely lets you rolls everything easier than the 24, and is better at the tech stuff than the 29’er. When I first switched to the 26 it was a bit of an adjustment, but was soon rolling stuff a lot faster. On the cranks side I use 150’s and don’t want to go shorter. Even though I have a brake I don’t feel confident with it enough yet to use it on the tech stuff and prefer the safety of my own legs, and I know there are sections I ride that I would not ride with shorter cranks because the loss of torque would make me loose control. Also shorter cranks uphill would, for me, just be to hard… and as Nurse Ben said … I go uphill as well as downhill :slight_smile:

I am about to go the 26 route from the 24

You can still retain flow if your speed is not impeded, as you are making your way through terrain that has stuff that must be hopped. You can roll hop stuff, rather than stopping or slowing down a lot in order to do it.

I was mainly trying to say that it’s all about integrating everything that might be in your path/line, and being able to get through it without it interrupting your speed too much. And if that means hopping up, over, across, etc, that just adds to the variety and fun! If you ever ride Cold Springs with me, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about, up close! :smiley: