|It sounds like you've ridden your brother's Mega and you're not just taking his word for it, and we both know that your EVO is a hell of a bike, which leaves one possible reason for your lack of faith: poor bike setup. The two things that you'll need to look at are tire pressure and suspension setup, and I can tell you that the latter will certainly need some tinkering with. Your quoted thirty percent sag figure will work on the back of your bike, but running that much sag up front will only result in way too much fork dive which in turn can make for very unpredictable handling. Here's why: picture yourself riding along quickly on a relatively flat trail, taking corners while off the brakes as you're supposed to and having a good time. Now, picture yourself attacking a steeper or faster trail, and you applying a load of brake or even just the angle of the trail will cause your fork to compress deep into its travel, thereby effectively steepening your bike's head angle and making it handle about as well as a '90s era cross-country race bike. The problem is that your under-sprung fork is making your EVO handle a certain way in one corner but then in a completely different way in the next. It will also unweight the bike's rear end, which will make it lose traction under braking earlier than it should. I always tell people to forget about running a set sag percentage when it comes to front suspension, and instead go with what feels right, which is usually way stiffer than even fifteen percent sag. Too little rebound and too soft of a spring rate will make for a very unpredictable bike, so be sure to add rebound damping as you go up in spring rate.|
The other thing to look at is tire choice and air pressure. Are you running shitty tires, or are your tires pumped up too hard? Or maybe your shitty tires are pumped up too hard, which would be even worse. Buy yourself a digital pressure gauge and tinker with it; you might be able to go as low as 20 PSI depending on terrain, weight, and tire and rim choice, which is going to greatly improve traction. Use that gauge to see what your brother runs his tires at as well - it might be as simple as dropping down from 30 PSI to 25 PSI, which is enough to make a world of difference. - Mike Levy
|Your Santa Cruz Nomad has a lot of performance waiting for you that is yet to be unlocked. You don't need a bike with deviant geometry like the Mojo Geometron. Your riding is probably only limited by experience and the difficulty of your local trails. Skills coaching at a venue that offers a lot more variety of terrain and features would get you to where you want to be in one week, while switching to a new bike with exaggerated geometry would only serve to marginally expand your comfort zone.|
If you are as good a climber as you stated, you made a good decision to purchase a bike that favors descents and technical riding. Most riders buy and set up their bikes to showcase their strengths - climbers ride lightweight bikes with steep geometry and descenders prefer slacked out monsters with lots of travel - which is totally wrong. Riders should equip themselves with a bike that provides more confidence or improves performance where they are weakest. Ten-time DH World Champion Nico Vouilloz always set his bikes up to improve his weakest attribute. If he needed to pedal faster to beat a rival, he would run lighter wheels and cut his tires into semi-slicks, knowing that his technical skills would help him to minimize the time he lost on the steeps in order to take advantage of the extra speed his equipment could give him on the flats.
Choosing a left-of-center design like the Geometron makes sense for an accomplished rider who is looking for smaller improvements to fine tune his or her performance in very specific situations. Your Nomad is a PB favorite for good reason - a proven all-mountain design that has been distilled to provide a wider, more useful range of pedaling efficiency and handling skillsets. Stick with what you have and, after you graduate from your skills clinic, consider using a suspension setup that favors descending, as well as more aggressive tires, a bit more bar width and height and perhaps, moving your cleat back 6 to 10 millimeters to better center yourself on the pedals. Bank on your climbing skills and tune your Nomad to unlock more speed and confidence. - RC
|Riding through wet roots is a tricky skill to learn, and it can be especially frustrating since they have a tendency to pull your wheels out from under in the blink of an eye, leaving you writhing on the ground and muttering (or shouting) every curse word you know. But there is hope, and with practice those slippery demons will start looking slightly less menacing.|
The first step is to find a section of root-covered trail to practice on, one that's not too steep, but with enough pitch that you can roll through it without pedaling too much, and ideally with an obstacle-free entry and exit. This will give you a chance to get used to how your bike reacts without also worrying about falling off a cliff.
Once you've found a good practice zone, remember to relax. Stay calm, and try to picture yourself hovering or floating over wet roots when you ride through them, rather than smashing through them. Extra finesse is the key here, and you'll want to try to avoid any sudden or erratic movements. A light touch on the brakes is also helpful - just like driving a car on ice, panic braking is a sure way to start skidding out of control. Whenever possible, try to run over roots at a 90 degree angle - otherwise the chances of your tires slipping are greatly increased. You may need to alter your line choice compared to the path you would normally take in dry weather to accomplish this.
As far as equipment goes, slightly lower air pressure in your tires can help provide a little extra traction in wet conditions, but there really isn't a wet root specific tire. Mud spikes can be scary on roots, since the tall knobs have a tendency of folding over, and low profile XC tires aren't usually much help either, which is why in my neck of the woods I tend to gravitate towards something like a Maxxis Minion DHR II or DHF in the winter time - they'll still slip, but they're predictable and can also handle the mud that usually precedes and follows wet roots.
No matter what, it's highly likely that your bike won't behave exactly how you want it to, which is why it's important to work on getting comfortable with a little extra rear wheel movement. Look ahead, and focus on keeping that front wheel on track. That back end may swap around from side to side, but maintaining momentum, staying calm, and looking ahead will help you get though the slippery nastiness. Before long you might even start enjoying the challenge that wet weather riding brings - there's something deeply satisfying about getting through a jumble of treacherous roots without putting a foot down. - Mike Kazimer
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