Gifts

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  1. Avatar Linda Peterson on October 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm said:

    Hi didn’t get a chance to thank you for the class yesterday. so uh thank you very much I learned so good foundation Technics and had a good time . I hope to hit the intermediate class in the not so far off future.

  2. Have you considered applying to be a newspaper writer? Extremely wonderful writing!

  3. Avatar ignacio Castillo on September 15, 2015 at 12:40 pm said:

    I like to attend one of your jumping clinic, due to work I can only do it on a Friday, Saturday or sunday, please let me know when there is going to be a jump clinic on those days, I live in temecula

  4. Avatar Darren Lachel on September 21, 2015 at 5:17 pm said:

    Hey Richard I am really bummed to hear about your bike being stolen.
    I had a bike stolen a month ago. Fortunately for me is was just an old junker I just rode to the gym and back.
    Can you give a complete description (anything different from stock) of your bike? So I can send it out to all my mtn bike buddies to keep a look out.
    You can put it on the TCSD group site and I will forward it all over the place!

    Good luck getting it back
    Darren

  5. Sad! 🙁 Passing the word. And by the way, coolest car ever!!

  6. Sorry to hear about your bike and car damage. Just makes me so mad.
    Randy

  7. Avatar Alexa Price on June 17, 2016 at 5:32 pm said:

    This article is waaaay overthinking it! Go to a pump track, or a line of whoops. Practice. You can even watch videos or talk to an instructor about pumping. Eventually you’ll get lighter and lighter on the bike going over the rollers until you are actually getting air.

    Trying to think about the bike moving independently in its own arc and trying to create tension between your handlebars and pedals is enough to overload anyone. Beginners aren’t in the air for more than a second, anyway!

    The basics are so-called for a reason. You should be recommending that people learn the basics before progressing to jumps. If his feet are flying off his pedals he needs to take a step back.

  8. Avatar Aaron Lucy on June 18, 2016 at 10:47 am said:

    Hi Alexa,

    you are absolutely right, practice makes perfect! All the more important when you’re getting your wheels off the ground as the risk factor is definitely increased.

    That is why we are huge advocates of progressing through fundamental bike handling skills before approaching jumping in our lessons. We start small and build gradually.

    Sadly not everyone has access to or endless hours to spend at the pump track (something I think should be remedied immediately!)

    Riders come to us to learn skills at a rate faster than they would work them out alone. Part of how we achieve this is by increasing a riders body awareness, helping them understand the relationship between bike/body and earth. Concepts are introduced and developed throughout the lesson in a way that is progressive and digestible. When practiced on your bike pretty soon these complex thoughts turn into sweet feelings of success as everything starts to make sense!

    Developing skills takes time however and we encourage our students to contact us with questions as they learn and experiment. This article is an example of one of those questions being answered. It is not a complete tutorial on how to jump your bike but simply a small part of the picture.

    Thanks for your feedback Alexa, see you at the pump track!

    Aaron Lucy | Lead Skills Instructor

  9. Avatar Ernie Medina, Jr. on August 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm said:

    Great article! I’ve been working on incorporating this and it’s amazing when it all clicks together, how the bike just comes up beneath me and stays stuck to my feet! it’s happening more and more often, so definitely practicing makes perfect. Keep up the good work…and hope to do a jump clinic in person one of these days!

  10. Just finished with Richard and Aaron here in Santa Fe, New Mexico a two day Mountain Bike skills class. I gotta say, WOW!!!!! Picking up many skills is showing me an improved way to ride around our hills and mountains. Most of all the confidence to do drops that I otherwise ride around and high speed corners that I usually wash out on. Thanks guys and look forward to more in the future. Also big thanks to Katherine. Glad she is in our back yard. Pat Brown

  11. Avatar Bruce Hamby on September 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm said:

    Thanks Aaron, I to have had trouble keeping my line when climbing up a technical section here in Santa Fe. I know this will help my riding in those sections . Thanks again for coming down for the Great 2 day class . see you soon Bruce

  12. Avatar Patty Elliott on September 22, 2016 at 6:24 pm said:

    Thanks Aaron! What a great article.

  13. Thanks Aaron. What you describe in the article is the exact information I was looking for when I took the advanced (Ninja) class with you in May.

  14. Avatar Steve Fenn on October 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm said:

    Escondido or Liberty Station location, for Nov 3rd event?
    Don’t know who it was, but the female of short stature in Ninja kit who zoomed past me up Maple Springs Road, at the VQ, looked super fit. And then saw her singing and laughing as she rolled down Trabuco Trail. She might of finished in about 6 1/2 hours or so. Good going!!

  15. Avatar Steve Fenn on November 1, 2016 at 9:46 am said:

    Great, I’ll be there Thurs at Liberty Station. Thanks, Steve

  16. Avatar Susan Coffroth on November 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm said:

    sounds fun!!!

  17. Congrats everyone! Looking forward to an awesome season!

  18. Congratulations to all ninjas for being on this amazing team! Man, am I going to have to train hard now!

  19. Congratulations everyone !

  20. Avatar Patty Elliott on February 7, 2017 at 5:57 am said:

    Love the article!

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  25. Thanks for your blog.’Make sure the front wheel is straight as you bring the front wheel back down to the ground.’ I agree with you.

  26. Pingback: How to ride a drop, 9 steps | TEAM NINJA

  27. Avatar Tanya on July 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm said:

    Hi! Is the 2 day workshop in Santa Cruz for beginners and advanced? I am a beginner and my husband is advanced. Thanks!

  28. Avatar Curtis on July 5, 2017 at 7:26 pm said:

    Came here looking for instructions on the build per the instagram post.. could we see more details on that?

  29. Avatar Frustrated manualer on July 6, 2017 at 10:22 am said:

    Awesome, this is exactly what I need, practice at the balance point. How much for Steve to write up some blueprints so I can take this to my local carpenter to have him build one up for me? I’m totally serious by the way.

  30. Avatar Rich Gibbons on July 6, 2017 at 11:41 am said:

    Wish I could RENT one of these…

  31. I love your tips on riding. You guys/girls are great.

  32. Can you please advise me regarding optimal shock & fork settings for jumping? Pressure, rebound, etc. I ride a Giant Reign and weigh 150 lbs. I find I’m struggling a bit with the compress & explode and wondering if settings have anything to do with it.

  33. Another who’d be interested in blueprints!

  34. Avatar Gman086 on July 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm said:

    #6 is flat out dead WRONG and could end up injuring someone reading this nonsense! If you keep your butt that far back after dropping you WILL land rear wheel first, slamming the front wheel down and into the cartwheel of shame. The PROPER way is to re-center your weight right after the rear wheel leaves the drop so as you can match your bike to the angle of landing (in many cases you will even need to be quite far forward and pushing on the bars if landing to steep transition).

    • Thank you for your comment! Upon review of the original steps we had outlined above, we agree the post needed a correction. You’re right, keeping your weight back after the wheels leave the drop would be potentially hazardous.

      Honestly, I think we just missed a step during the edit of this post. The orginal post was unclear at best. We’re grateful for your comment, and have updated the steps as per your suggestion.

      PS, let us know if you have any interest in being an instructor — you clearly have a great passion (and understanding) for mountain bikes. ..and, we’re guessing you shred too. ?

    • Avatar Mike Adler on December 28, 2017 at 8:20 am said:

      I couldn’t agree more with Gman086. Looks like you changed your post but still not correct. Manualing off a drop is an advanced progression that should never be taught until your student has an understanding and a grasp of the manual.
      Sorry don’t mean to troll you but some of you other posts are also questionable. Just looking at your photos I’m detecting errors in body and ankle position. And in a couple your students head is down( meaning probably their eyes as well). Sorry one other thing. Looks like in some photos your instuctors are riding clipless pedals? WTF

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mike. We’d love to get some clarification / comments from you regarding how you think a drop should be ridden for a non-advanced rider. In our article, we’re not suggesting the rider manuals off the drop, just that they move their weight (hips) back as they reach the end of the drop to arrest the front wheel from falling. It’s a similar move to the manual (but not a manual), note why we said ‘think manual’.

        Also, we would love to hear your thoughts as to why an instructor shouldn’t ride clipless pedals. We encourage our students to ride whatever equipment they have at our skills events. While we recommend flats for learning most skills learning, many of our students come from an XC or Endurance background.

        Wouldn’t you agree it’s important that riders with clipless pedals know how to corner, ride drops, jumps, etc. as well? Most of our instructors are comfortable with both pedal types and are equipped to speak to the nuances of each.

  35. About that location in pictures 2 and 5 near the top of Noble Canyon…that carsonite sign in picture 5 says to stay off. And electric bikes on Noble?

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment this post.

      You bring up a couple good points — 1st off, I was there the day those photos were taken and did not see a sign that said ‘stay off’. Are you sure it says that? I recall that being the trail maker for Penny Pines, but I could be wrong. I’ll double check the next time I’m out there.

      Regardless, we NEVER deliberately ride off trail — we are very grateful to be able to ride and teach on such great trails in the first place and would never doing anything to jeopardize that privilege.

      2nd about the Ebike. Up until that skills event, we had never had an Ebike at one of our camps. Since that weekend, I’ve reached out to a couple Park Ranger friends to find out the rules regarding them. The consensus in SoCal parks is that they’re motorized and thus not legal. Considering we teach in SoCal a lot, we’ve adopted the same stance. Unless a park permits them, they are no longer accepted at our events.

  36. One up on the blue prints. Can’t wait to make one it’s been killing me not being able to manual

  37. Avatar Jackie gough on July 13, 2017 at 4:48 am said:

    That’s killer would love to have one . Blueprints would becawesome

  38. Avatar Curtis on July 17, 2017 at 10:47 pm said:

    Great news on getting blue prints made up. That’s more of what I was asking for.
    I can’t wait to make one so I can really learn just how far back to go.

  39. Just signing in so I can find out when the blueprints will be available..

  40. Avatar old geezer on July 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm said:

    Levels of experience relative to current terrain, age, recent riding hours, and more affect one’s balance and poise and control. Knowing your comfort zone and only pushing gently on the envelope may seem to slow your advancement, but nothing slows it more than a few months of post-op rehab. Slow speed falls, where you can likely get a foot down and under, as long as your pedals are free (if cleated, clean and dry-lubed for smooth release) should be inconsequential, as long as you don’t lock your arm to brace, instead crumble and roll so no bone system is directly taking the brunt of impact. Many places you simply can’t afford to fall – exposed drop-offs, steep embankments with rocks and trees – and even moderate trails become dangerous above ten to fifteen mph if you hit something. Never let buddies bully you into ignoring your internal safety sense; they are not the ones who will bear the bruises or breaks. If no one is paying you to ride, you are an amateur riding for fun; if the fun has faded, back off and slow down.

  41. Avatar Savvy Senior on July 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm said:

    Sitting and spinning works on smooth steeps, but on the steepest trails I can barely ride, I’ve found that one gear up from lowest is the best compromise when smaller rocks and steps may be deal-breakers. It gives me a little surge to clear an obstacle, but keeps the pedal from arcing too low too close to the thing I’m trying to get over. It puts me into my red zone, so can be maintained only for a few yards at a stretch, meaning I can’t clean my hardest trails unless I’m above a decent fitness point, but can still be used for shorter sections – I just don’t last as long and eventually have to put a foot down.

  42. Avatar BobD. on July 20, 2017 at 2:10 pm said:

    Take my money.

  43. Avatar Mitch on July 21, 2017 at 6:32 pm said:

    Would love the blueprints also….

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  46. Avatar Mark Stewart on July 26, 2017 at 7:40 pm said:

    Thanks Stephen for such a great idea. I was able to build one a few weeks ago in just a couple hours from your pictures, I substituted metal in a few places as I’m blessed to have a full shop with tools and welders. I would be happy to submit pictures but can’t find any links to upload them.

  47. Avatar Steve on July 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm said:

    Thanks for this. Any idea, what is the max width rear tire you can use with this design?

  48. Manual machine is a great idea! How about a bunny hop version that allows rear wheel to travel vertically but constrains lateral and fore/aft movement?

  49. I have been doing this with an indoor trainer. No strap. The con to doing this on an indoor trainer is it gets loose at the skewer.

    I like the strap idea, and I will add that to mine. As for the rest I am too lazy, and will continue to deal with the skewer loosening up. I still dont have my manuals performed naturally yet.

    Thanks for posting, keep sharing.

    • exactly! and i agree, the front wheel strap is a good addition.

      A small indoor trainer works well to get a feel for the body position and the leg motion but it doesn’t help with balancing side to side or feathering the brake. its also better to allow the rear wheel to spin so you can readjust the pedals properly. I can do a good wheelie but still the manual eludes me because i always grab too much brake. i think i need some kind of extra wide wheelie bar attached to my bike so it stops me from falling over sideways and backward but leaves enough “play” to learn the balance. Im going to set mine up again today and add the front wheel strap. good luck all.

  50. Avatar Tony Robinson on August 17, 2017 at 7:01 pm said:

    In order to do a real manual vs. a wheelie, you have to take the chain off the chainring. With the back wheel locked down, your foot pressure on the pedals drives the front of the bike up and makes it much easier to balance. Try it both ways to see what I mean.

    • Avatar Jerry wiatrowski on March 3, 2018 at 7:07 pm said:

      Thanks, that makes sense. I did see another manual machine demonstrated with the chain off and wondered about that.

  51. Links are to a nonexistent website. It is currently on Kickstarter with only $2000+ of the $18,000 goal. $230 retail for an oversized caddy does not seem worth it, not to mention the space it will take up compared to a large messenger bag which I have been using to fit all of my gear.

    • Hi HBD!

      We appreciate your comments. We initially thought Kickstarter would be the best option for us as we launched our business and The Bullfrog into full production. But after many messages and comments, we’ve listened and learned our fans would prefer to connect with us directly. On Monday we transitioned our website to an online store, which is why the site was down for a few hours. It’s back up now. I’m sorry you experienced a not-so-great first impression!

      We understand your comments about price. With Kickstarter’s fees and having to include shipping, we were in a corner and had to list much higher than what we intended. Yet another reason why we’ve invested in the new website and connect with people directly.

      As far as the size goes, we worked for years trying to determine the perfect size. We think the current size is ideal for most gear, even accomodating a full face helmet. We understand some people won’t have a need for that but it’s nice to have the room when traveling on longer, overnight trips.

      To help with space and storage, we’ve integrated a storage loop on the back to help get your gear up and out of the way. You can even tuck the mesh top in on itself. I ride a lot straight from my house. My Bullfrog is hanging on the wall and acts like a gear shelving unit. Then when I need to, I take it down, zip the top up and throw it in the car.

      I will share that we are planning to launch our online store Labor Day Weekend. We’ll be offering a 20% discount to The Ninja crew off of the $139.99 online price.

      Thanks again for the comments! Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions or comments at mike@terragear.com.

  52. Avatar Mark Burzynski on August 21, 2017 at 1:16 pm said:

    Where can I get a Terra Gear Bullfrog?? Their web domain is a dead end.
    Looks like a great product. Can I get one without joining the kickstarter??

    • Hi Mark! Thanks so much for your comment. We’re in process of improving our website, which will include an online store. Unfortunately, the site will be down for a few hours today while everything gets done. As soon as it’s back up, I’ll message you. Thanks again!

      • I had posted a comment a couple days ago but it seems to have been deleted. I guess positive comments only or else they get deleted.

      • Hi Mark,

        Quick update; the new website is up and running. I’m excited to share we will be launching our online store Labor Day weekend! We’ve got a special 20% off code for the Ninja Crew. I’ll be sending over details to Richard so he can make a site wide announcement. Please email me at mike@terragear if you have any questions.

  53. Avatar falllinemaniac on August 31, 2017 at 10:53 am said:

    Assessment is key, crashing can dump major adrenaline and you really gotta take an extra half minute to make sure arms still bend, shoulders mobile and hands still grip. Stand up if you are up bend knees, ankles.

    If there is a injury you should know by now, check the bike.

  54. Avatar falllinemaniac on September 1, 2017 at 8:51 pm said:

    Seated climbing can be more dynamic with the addition of a firm push forward on the grips. Time them with the weak part of the pedal stroke.

    I originally saw elite cross country riders on a furious pace on steep hills, they were so smooth at it I could hardly tell what they were doing.

  55. Avatar falllinemaniac on September 1, 2017 at 11:52 pm said:

    I have the hardest time keeping the finger on the brake lever.

    I even have the reach adjusted, my preference is to let em run and brake as late as possible.

    Launching and manuals seem to flow better too. It took a long time getting accustomed to not using the brakes all the time on descents. Like skiing, there are counter-intuitive techniques and letting them run is not what a sane person does.

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  57. aprender a dominar a su bici y podrqan hacer muchos trucos en cada salida

  58. Avatar Michael Regimbal on September 12, 2017 at 4:42 pm said:

    Hi,

    I signed up for the 2 day Santa Cruz adventure class and I have a question. I’ve been a roadie for 20+ years and now about 6 mos of MtB riding in at mostly blue square level. Are there any skills I should work on in advance to best take advantage of the sessions. Looking forward to it.

    Mike

  59. Hi Michael —

    There inst any specific pre-training required, but you’d get a big jump on the camp is you take some time to read / study the articles in our how-to section here: https://sandiegomountainbikeskills.com/how-to/

    See ya at the camp!

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  61. Avatar Damon Poor on September 29, 2017 at 11:24 pm said:

    Trying to reach Karen. I work at Black Mountain Bicycles and am a member of Linked cycling San Diego. i had planned to come and help but am having an outpatient procedure on Thursday. I would still like to help as best I can. I was thinking about bringing a stand and tools and help if anyone needs last minute repairs. if I feel well enough I may also bring a bike and help in the way also. Please let me know.

    Damon Poor

  62. Please know REI started this because they
    1) don’t offer “black Friday” specials and always had A LOT of people asking what the specials were. Customers were, more often than not, irritated that REI didn’t have specials…which led to unhappy customers…
    2) business was always slow on “black Friday”

    So from this number cruncher, it was/is cheaper for REI to close. AND it’s a marketing strategy for them to close and avoid have angry customers who were search for discounts…

    This is what led to the creation of #optoutside…

    It would be a sincere effort if it had been prompted by a PURE altruistic thought, versus a marketing strategy to save $$ by marketing. Those are the two issues, $$ and marketing, closing is supposed to be standing against :/

  63. I submitted an email inquiry – so stoked to hear more about any opportunities you have in my area.

    Shawn Gentry 213-999-6173

  64. Avatar Kamala Slight on January 10, 2018 at 9:20 pm said:

    Great demo, Hannah!

  65. Avatar Dayrdrai on February 5, 2018 at 9:45 am said:

    Cool article . Very helpful:)

  66. Avatar Ricky Lo on February 19, 2018 at 8:55 am said:

    Where can I download a copy of the blueprints?

  67. Avatar blakely on March 1, 2018 at 10:53 am said:

    i admit it. i am a so called “brake hog” i love to use the brakes to adjust my speed whenever going down hill but is mostly do to my fear of running into another rider. i will try to practice with this. thanks for the tip

  68. Avatar Nate Glass on April 2, 2018 at 11:34 am said:

    All good points! I’d add that practicing track stands is a good skill for when it’s time for Skinnies. This way you can come to a full stop if you need to, correct your steering and continue on. Practice Practice Practice is absolutely correct!

  69. hey, not sure I understand step #3. It seems to state that the wheel is 45 degrees in the direction of your front foot. But, both pictures show the wheel pointed “away” from your front foot.

  70. That’s an excellent observation Chris! When first learning to track-stand, we’ve found it’s easier when your front wheel is pointed towards your foot. However, we should have mentioned, that in *all cases* your front wheel should be pointed up-hill.

    So, if your riding right foot forward, it’d be potentially easier to learn to track-stand pointing your wheel to the right, up hill. Makes sense?

    • Richard, It seems that you didn’t address the point of Chris’s question (same question I had). The photo of the rider demonstrating the track stand has LEFT foot forward and has the front wheel pointed uphill to the RGHT; hence away from the forward foot rather than towards it. So, the photo contradicts your description of the technique in step #3. Please address the contradiction. Is the rider in the photo simply not doing what you recommend?

      • Hi Mike — I just re-read the article and see your point. That really wasn’t clear. I edited #3 above to hopefully provide clarification on this skill re: wheel and foot placement. We’ll head out shortly to get some better photos (and video) to clean this ‘how-to’ up a bit. Thanks so much for your feedback / comment.

  71. love the video! it really shows how good form helps keep your head so still!

  72. Avatar Steve Fischer on April 24, 2018 at 4:56 pm said:

    sign up for a clinic. ez pz!

  73. Avatar Gary Nowicki on April 25, 2018 at 3:51 pm said:

    Interested, do you allow class 1 ebikes?

  74. Avatar Matt Martel on May 3, 2018 at 8:55 am said:

    Cory appears to be too high and too far forward. Hannah did it perfectly!

  75. Avatar falllinemaniac on May 4, 2018 at 6:32 pm said:

    Step 8, rail your corners whenever possible. Riding across the carpark while your buddy fidgets with her bike, straight shots back from the trail and going around corners in the neighborhood all offer opportunity to practice.

  76. Avatar Brian Graybush on May 17, 2018 at 9:19 am said:

    Interested in skills camp for my 13yo son. He just finished his first season with NICA/Cape Fear Fins and is looking forward to next year already. Can you please add us to your email list.

  77. Avatar Steve rivera on May 23, 2018 at 11:15 am said:

    If anything opens up please let me know

  78. Avatar falllinemaniac on June 5, 2018 at 11:24 am said:

    Thanks,
    In the good old days of 26″ wheels and clicked in pedals bunnyhops were stupid easy with the ability to lift the feet and the bike.

    Now on a modern steed with flats, this is a good way to put a knee into the rear tire (I have a scar from this). I have been working on a proper bunnyhop.

    The main driver for amplitude is in your step 3 involving thrusting the hips forward more than bringing the bars towards the chest.

    Your instructions appear to be more of a punch technique that I can perform easier than a full hip thrust. Those require far more core strength to explode forward than my fat old body can effectively muster. This looks similar but is much different when installing into muscle memory.

  79. Avatar VADIM GOZIKER on July 19, 2018 at 3:18 pm said:

    Awesome!

  80. Avatar falllinemaniac on September 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm said:

    This is the most excellent pointer regarding the front brake that I have ever seen.

  81. Can you do this if you don’t have disc brakes? Does it work with the cantelever brakes?

    • Hi Eli! Thanks for your question. It most cases, yes — you should use one finger (your index finger) for braking regardless of your braking system. However, I can see where (with cantilever brakes) you might find situations (steep / fast descents) where one finger isn’t enough — and unfortunately, you’re going to have to sacrifice some handling / grip control and add another finger to your brake levers. Keeping your brake pads clean and properly aligned can go a long way for maintaining the best possible braking power.

  82. Avatar Ralph Campbell on September 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm said:

    Took the Knoxville fundamentals clinic. The teachers were excellent. They tailored the session to the ability of the group. I’ve been MTBing for 5 years. Learned a lot. Plenty of critically important skills that I needed to correct. Great experience. Well worth the time and cost.

    The only improvement I would suggest would be to send the participants home with written key points of what was learned.

  83. Avatar Renee hasserodt on October 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm said:

    Awesome- couldn’t help but laugh at a few of these- pretty much have heard some of this advise coming out of my mouth……ouch!! Way to bring it home!

  84. Sunshine Cycles in Athens, GA is amazing. Jimmy, the owner, always goes above and beyond. I drive by 10 other shops, and travel over an hour to have my bike worked on by him.

    • Hey Mitzi!
      We know the Sunshine Crew, too! Say hi to Howie, Raa, and Elizabeth for me 🙂 I lived in Athens for three years and loved it. If you’re ever looking for a group ladies’ ride, check out the 706P Chicks Club.
      Enjoy riding in that sweet Southern Autumn!
      Amy

  85. Thanks for this great post. While Outerbike is like a festival (yes we have food, beer & guided rides) we still keep the bike demo experience as the #1 priority of the weekend. some balk at the $240 price to get in, but if you try to rent/demo a high end bike in Moab these days it’s at least $90/ day. Plus shuttles to Mag 7, plus food, etc. If you’re serious about testing bikes it’s hard to beat the experience of all those brands and getting to try them back to back to back. For 2019 here’s our dates:
    Sun Valley June 21-23, 2019
    CB August 16-18, 2019
    Moab October 4-6, 2019
    Bentonville October 25-27, 2019

    • Thanks for the Outerbike deets, Mark! I’ve attended your October Moab event and had an incredible experience. You and your team put together a seamlessly executed weekend full of rad bikes, stoked folks, and delicious food. We’re already looking forward to your Sun Valley stop next year!

  86. Avatar peter connors on October 25, 2018 at 2:32 pm said:

    If you add volume spaces…do you go back to step 1?

  87. Avatar isartrails on November 29, 2018 at 10:37 am said:

    You are missing the most important point: your cockpit. Handlebar, stem, fork steerer connections. And everything on the handlebar: grips, shifter bolt, brake bolts.

  88. Avatar SC Nomad on December 13, 2018 at 9:32 am said:

    2. “…loosing the wheelie”? Is that the opposite of tightening the wheelie?

  89. Avatar Fatbiker100 on December 13, 2018 at 4:29 pm said:

    This past spring, at (a very athletic) 55 yrs old I gave it a try. I wheelied across a car park for about 80 ft when I leaned a bit far back.
    As I went to put my feet down I realized I WAS IN MY CLIPLESS pedals!
    I couldn’t escape and as I fell backwards I saw the blue sky. I landed with a very audible thud on my spine.
    My back slammed into the ground. I thought I’d broken my back.
    I still did my 20 km Fat Bike ride and in 3 days I’d recovered 🙂

    • Avatar Jared Daley on December 14, 2018 at 8:33 pm said:

      I did a 40 mile ride and at the end, I pulled a wheelie on my road bike while clipped in. I went too far and landed on my back. I fractured my T4 vertebrae. Had to sit out the entire summer. Fortunately no surgery was needed. Now I only do wheelies on my mountain bikes with flat pedals. I was 51 at the time, and in very good shape.

  90. Yes, Peter — exactly.

  91. Avatar M. Webb on January 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm said:

    Lots of great tips thanks!

  92. Totally disagree with 1 and 3. First off your bike does want to just roll over stuff. It is our hesitation and inoppurtune rider inputs that stymie your bike’s natural tendencies.
    Second, riders who are faster than you are often more skillful too. Following them often allows one to see the better more efficient line. However remember that you do not possess all their skills yet so don’t abandon good judgment. On the other hand riding lines slowly to figure out lines is good also but slow. Combining the two is the ticket.

    • Hey Walt, Thanks for the dialogue here. I definitely agree that our bikes are very capable but I would argue that they only work if we give the right input. If you send your bike down a steep, rocky shoot without a rider it will fall / cartwheel / crash. The bike doesn’t stay upright and magically roll through the smoothest line on it’s own. It requires a rider with proper body positioning, even weight on the pedals, a slight bend in the elbows, eyes looking ahead down the trail etc.

      My concern with the advice “Just let it roll…the bike knows what to do!” is that it assumes the rider already knows all of these skills. To your point, it is often times poor technique – hesitation or stiffness, a dropped pedal that clips a rock, or being too far off the back of the bike – that gets us into trouble. I’m trying to get the point across that you can’t make a blanket statement to “let the bike roll” unless you are confident the rider has all the other foundational riding skills dialed. If that’s the case, I’d yell out “You know what to do – put those skills to work!”.

      As for riding with people who are faster than you, I completely agree that riding with faster and more skilled riders can have it’s benefits. However, from my personal experience and from watching lots of other riders getting into the sport, riding with people who are 10 levels above you often means you either a) get dropped on the ride and don’t actually get to see the more skilled riders pick their lines or b) you abandon good judgment, forget your limitations and ride out of control. My point here is NOT that you should always ride slowly with people at your same skills level or below. Rather, I’m offering a friendly reminder that you don’t magically gain skills and master techniques simply by adding more speed to the equation.

      Shred on my friend! ✌️

  93. I agree mostly with Walt but some things are better ridden over faster. Your tires will roll over gaps with a bit of speed but drop in and get stuck while going slow.

    • Good point, Jim. Absolutely agree that in certain situations, speed and momentum can be your friend. This can be especially true in chunky, rocky terrain. My point is simply that trying to keep up with faster riders doesn’t necessarily improve your skills. Pedaling as hard as you can to keep up – and then riding the brakes all the way through the corner – and pedaling again to catch back up, is not going to make you a better rider. If you want to become a faster, more skilled rider in the long run, you may need to slow down a little to give your body and mind a chance to pickup the correct techniques. 🐢💨

  94. Avatar Stephen Heseltine on January 26, 2019 at 1:57 am said:

    Hi I’m going over some jumps that have a downward slope landing but my front wheel is hitting the ground way before my second wheel. What advice could you suggest please?

    • Hi Stephen — If the jump has a descending landing, you should land on your front wheel right before your rear wheel. This will give you more directional control and smooth out the landing. If you land rear wheel first on a descending landing, the front of the bike is likely to pivot forward and slam the ground thus thrusting your weight abruptly forward and potentially over the front of the bike.

      When you say your front wheel is hitting the ground ‘WAY’ before your rear wheel, can you be more specific? Are you riding a nose wheelie when landing?

      Also, we recently updated this article with better photos and slo-mo video that might help as well. Check here: https://sandiegomountainbikeskills.com/2018/10/23/pro-jumping-techniques-revealed/

  95. I love my cargo pants

  96. Avatar Chris Bosnall on February 7, 2019 at 10:01 am said:

    Great Article and even Better MTB Relationship Advice! Only think you forgot is the Mid Ride Excursion to a Lake, Ocean Side or Mountain Top View. Our personal favorite was any Swimming Hole or Lake. In my previous life, MTBiking made for a greater relationship.

    • So glad you enjoy this article. Great call on adding a fun excursion into the ride. Anytime I have the option to hike/ride out to a viewpoint, I take it. And a mid or post-ride swim in the summer is the BEST! Plus, having a mid-ride destination is another great way to build in a forced break – must stop for a scenic snack!

  97. It never ends well, when training & exercise is the goal. Another’s significant other rarely match for rides. That said, realize that one of you will be sacrificing a normal ride day for a more social one. And even there appeasing those others may not go well. Wait until ASO sandbags the ride far enough away from home by wearing long blue jeans pants, has to stop every mile for hydration, has to choose the eating spot. Some are needier than others. Doesn’t matter if you simply gave up any say in any of it. Even what time the ride happens on their schedule. Hey, you know I’m just keeping it real.

  98. Avatar daniel lee on February 12, 2019 at 8:42 pm said:

    It’s really great. Thanks

  99. Avatar Victoria on February 14, 2019 at 4:14 pm said:

    Get in the moment, don’t feel like you should or need to stay on each others’ wheel and shut up and ride!

  100. Avatar stephen fullerton on February 16, 2019 at 7:12 am said:

    All good points, but why are there 6 points when the title says 5?

  101. Avatar Mike Ruzicka on February 21, 2019 at 2:05 pm said:

    I have an ohlins coil spring fork, the travel is 150 mm. I believe that the spring may be to heavy for my weight, even on heavy hits there is still at least 30%travel left?

    • Avatar Sam Livingston on March 13, 2019 at 10:02 am said:

      Yes, sounds like your spring is way too stiff for your weight. On the biggest hits you should use 90-95% of your travel.

  102. Sorry, but I totally disagree with you guys about index finger braking. Using your middle finger gives you a wider grip on the bars and thus, more control, and allows you to shift with the index finger while braking if needed. That tendon thing you describe has nothing to do with this. With the middle finger on the brake lever the ring finger still has full grip power. Try this: Put you middle finger out and see if you can still grip the bar with your ring finger, yes, you can!

    • After braking with just my middle finger for 6 years now, I read through this article thinking that there was no way it would change me. Then I did the little ‘middle finger on the table experiment’ and instantly thought: “that’s it…I am going to change my riding style tomorrow”…then I read this comment and thought: “yeah…wait, he’s right: I CAN grip my bar with my other 3 fingers just fine”
      So…thank you Mark…You restored my faith in my own goofy riding style!
      Cheers mate!

      • First off, I just re-read this article and agree with you and Mark … to an extent. I think we got too caught up in the catchy title.

        In hindsight, this article would have been better written as “When Not to Brake with Two Fingers”. Referring to your middle finger AND your index finger [which we commonly see in riders attending our events].

        As you’ve both indicated, you still get a pretty good grip with your index, ring and pinky finger on the bars, BUT still not as strong as the grip (and control) you get from your middle, ring and pinky.

        Additionally, there’s one other factor you’re both overlooking …

        When you brake with your middle finger, your index finger is in the way of your brake lever. In order to engage your brake with your index finger on the grip, you have to set your brake levers engagement point way out in front of your handgrips.

        Most Professional Enduro/DH riders ride with their brake levers very close to the bars, often barley touching or less than 1mm off the bars when fully actuated. This give them lots of grip / control and keep the brake levers quickly accessible.

        I appreciate your feedback / comments and would love to keep the discussion going.

        • Thanks for the response and validation! I totally agree that with modern disc brakes 2 finger braking is not needed or desired.

          I don’t know if I’d get a stronger grip when braking with my index finger, but I do know that I grip over a wider area when braking with my middle finger, which gives better control.

          That’s an interesting point about the index finger being in the way when braking with the middle finger. I’ve never actually changed the engagement point on any of my brakes and it’s not an issue. If my brake lever is getting that close to the bars, something is wrong and needs to be addressed, like a brake bleed or new pads. I have no idea about DH or Enduro racers, but normal riders do not set their brakes up with levers that close to the bars.

          I guess I’m a bit of an outlier, as most people brake with their index finger…

  103. Avatar Ken Frank on February 25, 2019 at 7:05 pm said:

    I had on-going issues with “tennis elbow” that seemed to be related to my riding. When I switched to single finger braking using my index fingers, the elbow pain went away and has never returned.

  104. Avatar Troy Pfuntner on March 8, 2019 at 2:33 am said:

    Great article. As a “beginner” these really help me a lot. I do question “being stronger” with elbows out. The further from your body a “joint” gets (elbow) the weaker you become. I do agree that you have more control with elbows out. More planes of movement, but not stronger. Love your articles! Can’t wait till spring. Built a Knolly Fugitvive late last fall, super excited about the upcoming season. Keep up the great work!

  105. Hey Troy!

    So glad you are enjoying the articles – we love hearing that these are helping you with your riding.

    When I think about having my elbows out in my ready position, I think about doing a push-up at the gym. When I try to do a push up with my elbows tucked in at my side, I’m using primarily my triceps, and it’s hard. When I bring my elbows out and give myself a wider platform for the push-up, I start to engage more muscle groups including shoulders and chest, where I’m much stronger. Riding a bike is pretty much doing mini pushups on repeat! Hope that helps to explain the added strength you get from the wider arm stance.

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  107. Avatar Randy Inglis on March 13, 2019 at 7:58 am said:

    I always get a little anxiety when I show up to ride with a new group. Good article Hannah.

    Randy

  108. Avatar Molly Winters on March 13, 2019 at 9:21 am said:

    This is very well written, thank you! You’ve done a great job of simplifying a complex topic. You might just want to re-read and replace “dampening” with “damping.” I don’t think you meant to say that you were getting the suspension a little soggy 🙂 And for people learning suspension theory, seeing two different words for the same thing can be confusing.

  109. Avatar Sam Livingston on March 13, 2019 at 10:01 am said:

    Pretty good article, although I do see a technical error.

    It has been shown that if your shock pump and valve interface are working properly you DO NOT lose any air pressure when removing your hose, you lose air pressure when CONNECTING the hose.

    When you figure out what pressure yo need, just remember when you RE-CONNECT the hose it will drop and show (maybe 8-10 lbs) less than what was actually in the shock or fork.

  110. Avatar Max Lent on March 13, 2019 at 10:24 am said:

    “You will probably notice that some air escapes as you remove the pump, this will mean that your air pressure may now be slightly less than what you recorded it as”

    That air you hear “escaping” is just from the pump. Not the actual shock. The Schrader valve does not allow any air to escape. The reason you see less PSI when you reattached the pump is from the air in the shock filling the pump to that pressure. This is a common misconception we should try and clear up. Good article overall.

  111. Avatar Holly Hoffman on March 20, 2019 at 2:32 pm said:

    Just finished my second lesson with Gail Schaffer, she is amazing! I ask a LOT of questions and she is always happy to answer them. She is great at breaking down the process and techniques so you have a full understanding of what is going to happen. Then how to do it; and even redo it , haha. She has been integral at me becoming a stronger downhill rider and now I can fly through rock gardens with confidence and correct TECHNIQUE! I don’t have to hike-a-bike each drop anymore or those silly switchbacks. THANKS GAIL and NINJA BIKE.

  112. How about #8, sign up for some spring trail maintenance days? This time of year they are hugely important and serve as the best way to educate riders on how to be good trail users and stewards. They will also learn the how to best decide when to ride and when to stay home (or do a trail walk and clean up deadfall, spot drainage problems, and any other light work that is permitted).

  113. Avatar jwilli on March 26, 2019 at 2:31 pm said:

    One of the best and easy to follow suspension setup articles I have read. Good job Richard!

  114. Avatar Mogsie on March 27, 2019 at 5:12 am said:

    I’ve read a lot of pages about suspension setup and I also think that this one is really nice: clear and simple yet complete…
    I have 2 questions:
    I’m a pretty heavy rider (240 pounds with all my gears) but I don’t really jump anything big. I just ride in trails. When you say that 90-95% of the shock should be used, is it for the agressive rider that do bigger features and then I could say that maybe for me it should be about maybe 80% of the travel or it just doesn’t work this way?
    Also, I removed all the spacers in my fork suspension even if I’m the heavy side of a rider and I find it better this way… If so, does it mean that it should be the same with the back suspension ( there is no spacer there right now) or should I experiment as the back suspension seems to be more sollicitated and I found it less plush than the front. I already use less pressure that recommended on trek website ( fuel ex 9.8). 20% less up front and 8% less in the back… Thanks!

  115. I think I’d kill someone because I suck at riding on the road never mind rocks. Went mountain one time and crashed 6 times in 3 miles; scared to bring my body out again never mind someone else. Obviously I need a lesson on how to ride a bike through wet rocks and roots where I’d actually go faster dismounting and portaging the bike. It wasn’t fun at all and depressing getting 3 miles behind me and no real progress, scenery (got lost to boot). Heck, I need to get up an work for a living; hard to do with broken bones (from experience road cycling) and this 50 year old bod doesn’t heal quite like it used to. I don’t care who’s the better biker, if you really want to enjoy each others company and return in one piece HIKE! It’s just as healthy, gets you to more cool places than a bike, and allows for more conversation/togetherness time while not completely out of breath. We both want to end up happy and bloodless if possible. I find that on a bike regardless of most riding environments; I paying to much attention to the road conditions, traffic, etc to be able to ride with someone as a leisure pursuit. When I see people riding together (not a training pack) they tend to be all over the place and not paying attention to others riders because they’re having a converstion and pointing out the “sights”. Maybe when I find someone who sucks as much as I do we can both fall off immediately and share an ambulance ride.

  116. Avatar ZeroKewl on March 27, 2019 at 10:00 am said:

    I Just read this article. It’s written really well and much easier to understand. I really liked how you even went as far as talking about the colors of the switches. In the past I’ve read a lot of articles and even watched some youtube videos on how to setup a full suspension bike. I just didn’t feel like I understood or retained all the info when trying to do the tasks. BUT now, I have a much better understanding all due to this article. Thanks for the science.

  117. Avatar CyclinAl on March 27, 2019 at 9:29 pm said:

    If I may, I’d like to add a couple of tips to “riding in sand”. I live on the coast north of Perth, Western Australia and although I actively hunt out the firmer patches, I still have to deal with a lot of soft sand. I use 2.25 & 2.3 tyres @ 17-19psi.
    1- Keep your weight right back on the saddle. Your front wheel should be as light as possible to stop it from digging in, which is the source of all the problems when riding sand. In this position, you can actually enter sand patches (traps) at speed without any problem.
    2- Stay flexible at the waist. As your front wheel encounters irregularities in the sand surface (wheel ruts, foot prints…) and the resistance they create, fluctuates, it will cause your back wheel to lose traction and squirm around. Untrained riders see this as requiring corrective action, usually backing off on the pedals, which only ends up bringing them to a full stop. The best way is to ignore the squirming, keep your waist flexible, let your bum follow your back wheel as it wanders around while your upper body keeps the front wheel pointed in the right direction. Maintain a smooth cadence and you’ll find your rear wheel naturally comes back in line with your front wheel. Feathering your rear brake will help your back wheel maintain traction, if necessary.
    I hope this helps.

  118. Avatar AlanBardsley on April 1, 2019 at 10:38 am said:

    I always think of the bike as pivoting below the rider. It rotates, the rider doesn’t.

  119. Well written, Jeremiah! From one of our former students.

  120. Avatar Brent Feller on April 4, 2019 at 5:54 am said:

    Good, advise. You can add ebike in there. It really is all about fun.

  121. Avatar Paul Moore on April 9, 2019 at 1:26 pm said:

    OK – fun, but on 14 roadies have us beat, and I do not want to be branded that way.

  122. it looks like you skipped the transition from stair to level ground? that usually causes me some issues.

  123. Avatar Poetdro Jameson on April 25, 2019 at 7:12 pm said:

    Most helpful and especially useful for pre-ride. Well done, lad…Pedro in PA

  124. Avatar Gary Kulhanek on April 26, 2019 at 10:53 am said:

    Dog get bored?

  125. I made one of these, and I am happy to report that I am making progress

  126. #10 – Be prepared to get your butt whipped by the little shredders you have created. They learn quickly, recover faster and seem to have endless energy.

  127. Avatar Kamala Slight on April 30, 2019 at 2:55 pm said:

    Great insight, Teri!

  128. Avatar Rusty Baillie on April 30, 2019 at 3:44 pm said:

    Good practical advice………especially the post crash assessment.
    Regarding “positive thought”:
    I find those strategies most useful which do not set the mind against itself…..which means that, rather than pretending that the situation is OK — when obviously it’s not, because you crashed, you build on your Step #2 — figure out where you went wrong, but then also figure out a mini training schedule to teach you how to do it successfully. This will probably involve doing a lot of repetitions, building back up to where you wanted to be when you crashed.
    With some perseverance, all those reps should have replaced the memory of the crash with solid, real evidence that you can now pull off the trick.

    Thanks for the good tips……

  129. With bikes evolving with slacker and slacker head angles, the ‘ready position’ seems to have also evolved with more elbow bend, to get the torso more over the front wheel. This seems to help with front wheel washouts. I also seem to like a stem one size longer and a seat slid forward the same amount. Some newer bike designs, like the new Ripley 4, are steepening the seat angle and lengthening the top tube [even more] to help the front tire bite better and also aid climbing.
    One more comment about extreme elbows out – makes it more difficult to prevent the shoulders from rolling forward. If you’ve ever had rotator cuff issues, this will resonate…

  130. Avatar Steve Pacini on May 29, 2019 at 6:05 am said:

    This is amazing!

  131. Avatar Louis on May 30, 2019 at 7:50 pm said:

    Wondering about the location?

  132. Avatar Louis on May 30, 2019 at 7:51 pm said:

    location?

  133. #5 is dead on! I even have my kids trained to find the lines when we hike.

  134. Avatar Jeffrey Balmeo on May 31, 2019 at 9:32 am said:

    Lol.. Love it. All spot on, except for the hair for me. But I will wear the trucker hat.

  135. Avatar Ralph Cady on May 31, 2019 at 10:34 am said:

    #17: “You consider plaid a neutral.”

    It isn’t?

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  137. Avatar Brent Thomas on June 6, 2019 at 12:41 pm said:

    Nailed it, Hannah! Solo rides are the frosting on the cake that is mountain-biking. Thanks for the article… @thomastownusa (instagram)

  138. Avatar PeterRabbid on June 11, 2019 at 10:28 am said:

    I love to ride solo! But number 2 is so important. Had a bad fall a few years back and broke my sternum. Couldn’t ride out and had to life flighted. Now, I never ride solo without telling someone my expected itinerary!

  139. what happens when you need a new tire?? you donotbhave it!!!
    you have derailler hanger, you might never need, extra gloves, really, but much more likely you could cut your tires and you nneed a piece of gorila tape to be able to go on. Riding solo is about common sense first place and a real life experiances you do not have yet. Maybe later in your life…plus since your advise is to stay close to your car, kind of, minimalistic preparations is fine.

  140. Avatar falllinemaniac on June 12, 2019 at 4:33 am said:

    Most of my rides are solo. The youngins are too fast and the greybeards and silver ladies are way too sedate.

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  143. I don’t think this is good advice. Stretching before exercise decreases your power output and strength. Best to stretch after your ride. You still need to warm up though.

  144. Avatar Chalker on June 25, 2019 at 9:54 pm said:

    First rider too slow

  145. These are some great points.
    I get so frustrated with many MTB Youtubers (who are honestly 10x worse at riding than they think they are) who spout nonsense about “overcoming their fear” and “just sending it.”

    Every year when the Whistler videos come out, you know a handful of clowns will start making videos of themselves stiff-arming some big jumps, praying they make it through without crashing. And of course making the obligatory “I/my friend crashed on the first turn!” video, downplaying their awful form while concluding they “just needed more speed.” The worst part is many of these guys have 100,000+ subscribers, breeding a new generation of terrible, reckless riders who are too impatient to ride within their skill zone.

  146. I sure don’t miss cargo pants, but bring back the halter tops …

  147. Avatar Delton Bush on July 11, 2019 at 6:55 am said:

    Recently attended the two-day course in Bentonville, AR with Matt Beall and Cory Rimmer as the instructors. Awesome class! Learned a lot of techniques and skills that I would have never figured out on my own. The instructors obviously new their craft and would push you but never beyond your comfort level. Tried things I probably would have never tried on my own but with their tips and instructions these things were doable. Thanks again!

  148. Avatar Leadmoto on July 17, 2019 at 8:51 am said:

    If your using clipless and lifting with your feet than it’s not a bunny hop. It’s mostly an upper body move.

  149. Avatar Shanna on July 17, 2019 at 11:30 am said:

    Well, it’s Cory, Hannah, Bernadette and Shanna in order of appearance.

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