Here at Pinkbike, we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers?" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech-oriented.
Should I Mess With My Rebound?
Question:@Artjr asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I have the Rockshox Pike dialed in around 90% of my course. One section is a very rooty downhill into a berm. I'm having a rough time getting across the roots at a good speed without the feeling of losing control. I get such a shake it feels like the bars could be ripped from my hands. Never messed with rebound, is it something I should try?
Yes, messing with rebound is something everyone should try, but before you go spinning that red dial it's worth taking a step back and looking at your overall setup. Start by checking your air pressure. If you need a starting point, there should be a sticker on the back of the lowers that provides suggested air pressures for different rider weights, or you can visit RockShox's web site for those base settings. Too much pressure could cause your fork to feel like it's trying to rattle your fillings out in rough terrain, even if it felt fine on smoother sections of trail.
Once you're confident that the air pressure is in a reasonable realm, I'd suggest checking your compression settings. Depending on the fork model, you'll either have low-speed compression or high-and low-speed compression adjustments accessible on the top right side of the fork. How many clicks are you from fully closed? If the dial (or dials) are nearly all the way closed, opening them up by a couple clicks may help.
With those details taken care of, now it's time to tackle the rebound settings. Ideally, you want your fork to be able to absorb repeated hits without packing up (that's when it rebounds too slowly to deal with the next impact). Stand next to the bike and compress the fork by pushing down on the handlebar. Unweight the fork, and attention to how fast it returns to full extension. Does it seem like the front wheel wants to spring off the ground? Or is is rebounding like it's full of molasses? In general, it's better to have a fork rebound on the quicker rather than the slower side of things, but personal preference plays a role here.
Find a section of trail that's easily repeatable, and change one thing at a time to see what feels best. Keep track of your air pressure and rebound / compression clicks, so that you can easily return to a setting that felt good. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the possible combinations, but don't be afraid to experiment – those dials aren't just for show, and they can make a big difference when if comes to how your bike feels out on the trail.
Riding in Prescott, AZ so riding on forest trails, some rock / loose rock, decomposed granite. I have a Pivot 429 v2 w/ 27.5 wheels and want to move to a lighter / faster machine. If I went Canyon, it would probably be Spectral 29 CF 8.0. A lot of bike for less $$$ than the Pivot. Any words of wisdom, pro and/or con? I ride about 3000 miles/yr, 3-5x/wk.
Kudos for still getting after it! I sure hope I'm shopping for a sweet new ride when I hit 70. As for which bike to go with, you've listed two very different options. The 429 is a quick and snappy short-travel machine, while the Spectral is significantly longer and slacker. Given your desire for a lighter / faster bike, I'd steer you towards the 429. It'll work well for the trails in your area, and you won't ever feel like you're dragging around more bike than you need. Yes, there's a significant price difference, but you only live once, right?
Pivot Mach 429
Tire Buzz Prevention?
Question:@markmrobbins asks in the 29ers forum: Twice in the past two weeks I've had the very new and very painful experience of racking myself when descending steep bumpy terrain - my butt hits my rear tire and pushes my crotch into the back of my saddle. Has anyone experienced this or know why this is happening?
I recently switched from a 27+ intense ACV to a 29er fezzari la sal peak. So I'm guessing it has something to do with the bigger wheel size and/or higher seat tube angle. And I'd assume it's just a technique issue where I'm pushing my hips too far back and low. But I'm also wondering if it's a bike fit issue. I currently have a 125mm dropper on but think I have just enough room to fit a 150mm dropper and am wondering if that will solve the issue, tho I think there would still be just enough room between the saddle and rear tire to still pinch myself in there.
Thoughts? I really want to make sure I never do this again! Without going into too much detail it's really really painful!
The ol' crotch to back of the seat smash is a painful, annoying experience, no matter how hilarious your buddies think it is when they find you doubled over on the side of the trail. You've pretty much mentioned all the potential culprits – those bigger wheels and a riding position where you're too far off the back of the bike can certainly make this a more common occurrence. I think that going for a 150mm dropper is a very reasonable next step. While it won't eliminate this issue, you'll at least have more room to shift your body around, and create more clearance between you and the back of the seat.
Speaking of seats, how's the padding situation at the very back of the saddle you're currently using? I've had saddles with a hard plastic portion at the back that seemed like it was designed purely to inflict harm. Swapping saddles might be a way to at least reduce the pain if this situation happens again.
Not all seats are designed with crotch-smashing comfort in mind.
Older Rider Starting Out - What's Realistic and Safe?
Question:@o4Msf7 asks in the Beginners forum: I am turning 49 later this year and bought a Norco Fluid FS1 and a Trance X E bike last year so our family could ride together. My tween son is a keen rider and hits big jumps and some very steep slopes on his Trance Jr. This year we have been to a few mountain bike parks and despite having zero experience I have followed my son down some blue/intermediate DH trails and have to admit to being pretty scared on some sections. My son meanwhile flies over the jumps with great skill and comfort...
I want to support my son in his riding and he is too young to be left riding at MTB parks by himself so I feel like I need to ride down the trails with him. As a complete beginner at nearly 50 have I left it too late to ride on DH trails at this level? Has anyone else started this late in life with no prior riding experience? I really can't afford a serious injury workwise so I need to stay safe (within reason) but want to support my kid. Any tips or advice?
It's never to late to start mountain biking, and I'm positive you'll be able to confidently make it down blue / intermediate DH trails, but that's going to take patience, and some lessons.
In the early days of mountain biking lessons were basically unheard of. You just went off into the woods and crashed until you stopped crashing so much, and if you made it through that phase you were officially a mountain biker. Luckily, things have changed, and there are lots of reputable mountain bike coaches that can help you progress. Just like with skiing, you wouldn't point yourself down a steep run without at least having some idea of what to expect – lessons will dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes you to get comfortable on the bike. If private lessons are too pricey, group clinics can be a way to reduce the cost and still gain some valuable skills.
I'd also recommend getting your son connected with other riders his age – lessons or at least a group of riding buddies will help him progress even faster, and you won't need to worry as much about trying to keep up with his high-flying antics.