Wet roots with a slack head angle - what's your technique?

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Wet roots with a slack head angle - what's your technique?
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Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 8:48 Quote
I'm looking for some advice on riding position after upgrading my ride to something with a 63 degree head angle and moving from 27.5 to mullet.

In dry conditions everything is wonderful. The bike feels great. However, in wet rooty conditions the front wheel can be sliding sideways on a root before I even feel like I'm near it.

The standard advice is to move your weight forward etc. This is easy enough to do when it's dry and I'm confident of grip but very hard to get my head around when I'm riding over a root with a 50% chance of sliding. On my old rig it always felt like a manageable problem as the slide happened "beneath" me. Now the slide seems to happen "in front" of me, before I'm able to control it.

Should I just put my brave pants on and get over the front more?

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 8:53 Quote
evilbert222 wrote:
I'm looking for some advice on riding position after upgrading my ride to something with a 63 degree head angle and moving from 27.5 to mullet.

In dry conditions everything is wonderful. The bike feels great. However, in wet rooty conditions the front wheel can be sliding sideways on a root before I even feel like I'm near it.

The standard advice is to move your weight forward etc. This is easy enough to do when it's dry and I'm confident of grip but very hard to get my head around when I'm riding over a root with a 50% chance of sliding. On my old rig it always felt like a manageable problem as the slide happened "beneath" me. Now the slide seems to happen "in front" of me, before I'm able to control it.

Should I just put my brave pants on and get over the front more?

Yes

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 10:39 Quote
Change your approach angle or go faster. It ain't the bike.

The #1 guaranteed fix for wet roots is go faster to minimize the time your tires touch them (opportunity to slip/duration of slip). If its slow tech, you need to change your angles so your weight is opposing the plane your contact patch is going to slip on.

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 13:35 Quote
I believe HTA should be based on the grade and/or speed the bike is ridden on. You shouldn't have to move forward to weight the front if you're riding super steep terrain. However, 63° on flattish terrain is another story. Ideally you'd just stay centered on the bike because the bike is designed for the terrain you ride.

The problem with moving forward is you shift more weight onto your hands. This makes the bike a bit harder to control as you're now using your hands both supporting your weight and steering/controlling the bike.

I'd try staying centered and loose. Maybe get a grippier front tire.

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 13:46 Quote
The best way to get used to riding roots is to ride as many of them as you can. Ideally trails with larger sections or that have a lot of roots present. Also ride them in the wet. Try different weighting and speed each time and see what feels good.

You can analyze technique until the cows come home but there's no substitute for experience and training your body to react subconsciously to roots when they come up. Every one of them is different and then different again with changing trail conditions.

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 13:48 Quote
jeremy3220 wrote:
I believe HTA should be based on the grade and/or speed the bike is ridden on. You shouldn't have to move forward to weight the front if you're riding super steep terrain. However, 63° on flattish terrain is another story. Ideally you'd just stay centered on the bike because the bike is designed for the terrain you ride.

The problem with moving forward is you shift more weight onto your hands. This makes the bike a bit harder to control as you're now using your hands both supporting your weight and steering/controlling the bike.

I'd try staying centered and loose. Maybe get a grippier front tire.

Well this really depends on the specific bike as well. Clearly he's not centered on the bike if he's slipping "50% of the time". Weight on the front wheel creates front wheel traction... If you ride a bike without weight on your hands you are going to have a bad time haha.

I do agree with the HTA and terrain statements though. It does make a large difference in ride quality and feel.

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 14:09 Quote
Thanks folks. The problem is not practice or terrain. I've been riding the same steep trails in the Scottish rain for years. The problem is adjusting to the new bike and the front wheel being much further in front of me.

It's hard to describe, it feels like the front wheel is sliding on the roots before I fully "get there".

I had a similar problem with front brake control until I lowered the bars. Prior to this the brakes (same as last bike) we're impossible to modulate. More weight on the wheel fixed this

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 14:21 Quote
Is the reach a lot longer on the new bike?

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 15:01 Quote
same tires in dry and wet? tires can be huge diff?

my feeling is your not used to de-weighting soon enough with a longer slacker bike? i agree with Haggered shins pick up speed, minimize your time on the root and i say de-weight slightly sooner.

i ride a chromag stylus 27.5. so long low and slack, i'm generally always centered on the bike with weight on the bars, but at any moment ready to deweight and take the chowder pop and hover over stuff especially in the wet.. riding a 2.5" DHF

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 16:37 Quote
I would say try to pick up a bit more speed so you're spending less time in contact with the roots. Also maybe look a bit more ahead than you used to so you anticipate the roots a wee bit sooner. You'll get used to it soon enough!

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 19:29 Quote
HaggeredShins wrote:
Change your approach angle or go faster. It ain't the bike.

The #1 guaranteed fix for wet roots is go faster to minimize the time your tires touch them (opportunity to slip/duration of slip). If its slow tech, you need to change your angles so your weight is opposing the plane your contact patch is going to slip on.

This 100%. You should be looking to unweight over the roots, hit them straight on so you’re not sliding or go faster so you’re not getting pinged off your line as much. Sliding on wet roots is a recipe for disaster

Posted: Jun 30, 2022 at 22:54 Quote
Thanks folks. I'll try adding a bit more speed and commitment

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 21:18 Quote
Sticky rubber makes a huge difference. I'll happily pay more for a sticky tire knowing it'll keep me healthy.

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