Video: Pro Tips For Riding Roots with Christina Chappetta

Jun 24, 2020
by Pinkbike Originals  


Ever get to a spider web of roots and come to a screeching halt? Christina is here to show you how to tackle those tricky tree snakes.








98 Comments

  • 46 0
 Yeah, I kick it root down
I put my root down
I kick it root down, I put my root down
So how we gonna’ kick it?
  • 22 0
 Gonna’ kick it root down!
  • 8 0
 Good tune!
  • 13 0
 @christinachappetta: kick ass video, well done Smile
  • 3 0
 @christinachappetta: really well done.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Most appreciated!
  • 16 2
 Incredibly good video ! ! ! all the tips are right on point ! and although I was a dick a few episodes before I think she does an amaizing job.Like there is nothing you could AD to this,you did an amaizing job breaking down everything that matters.Body position ( ease the bike - like jumping a bit but not quiet jumping ) ,Bike setup ( tires - tire pressures - suspension setup )

That was spot on Christina ! Very good job !


If you think you can put some energy into flats on a rainy day with heels dropped and maybe even softer suspension vs cleats ( that you did in the vid ) thats just an idea as Im super scared to ride flats now.
  • 23 0
 THANKS! I'm stoked to have converted you to my side hahah kidding, but really, thank you. Once bike park opens and I'm on the dirt jumper more, you'll see me on flats again.
  • 4 0
 @christinachappetta: nice video and tips Chris...what are those sunglasses? looks rad !
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: yeah call me a FreeHater recently converted to peace and wheelies.Awkwardly frustrated I moved to Qc from Whis but screw it Ill move to the island next year to get back with those calm laid back westies vibes
  • 2 0
 @fabriciofracchia: that are Smith Wildcat. Bought myself a pair can really recommend them, very comfortable and good quality with hardcase and clear lense! And all that for a price totally worth it (bought mine for 130€)
  • 2 0
 @fabriciofracchia: smith optics wildcat
  • 1 0
 @fabriciofracchia: Smith Wildcats! Clear lens was perfect for the rainy action. Feels like goggles, but less sweaty hah
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: Good use of slow motion too. It actually cool to see what's going on with the tires. And you seemed to have fun, which always makes it fun to watch Smile .
  • 15 0
 Would love to see more from Christina!
  • 10 21
flag vhdh666 (Jun 24, 2020 at 11:41) (Below Threshold)
 I bet you mean more videos
  • 12 0
 Don't panic on roots. If you're loose on the bike, you'll be better able to flow with the bike sliding a bit over them.
  • 86 1
 Wrong. Real pros know that holding your arms, legs, and core as rigid as possible while letting your Ibis do the job is the correct technique for roots.
  • 8 0
 The best tire setup for wet roots are the hardest rubber compound you can find and 10psi more than you'd typically run. Run your shock rebound slow enough to make that loud "thhhhhhpp" sound.
  • 6 1
 Whenever im cruising on slick roots on the Shore or Squamish i say to myself "TIPPY TIPPY TIPPY TOES!!" in a high-pitched voice in my mind. Works every time......and you're welcome.
  • 18 0
 If the roots are wet, stop for a bit and think again about your life choices.
  • 1 0
 and heels down!
  • 14 1
 No brakes
  • 21 1
 Blows me away that this was not the #1 tip in the video lol also choosing lines that allow your tires to run over roots that are perpendicular to your line. Diagonal roots are deadly roots.
  • 3 0
 And super sticky meats
  • 1 2
 To be honest I don't quite master this properly, but I've heard several times that in order to maintain traction on climbs it indeed helps to feather the (rear) brake. This takes the spikes out of your pedal stroke and helps to maintain traction. That said, of course don't use a gearing that's too easy in the first place. But if the climb is littered with bigger obstacles, I can imagine it would actually be convenient to have a lighter gearing where you'd feather the brake on the slippery stuff and then momentarily release it when you need to boost up an obstacle. I don't have the super light gearing that is in fashion now nor do I raise my saddle on the climbs, but I've seen people shift to the big cog and spin out on the climbs because it is probably too hard to modulate your power in the super light gearing without having the rear brake applied.
  • 3 0
 @vinay: The last thing i think of on a climb is touching my brakes.
  • 1 2
 @nyhc00: That's why I'm here to help you with some advice Smile . Actually, it applies to mountain unicycling (MUni) too as it is pretty hard to recover (stay upright) when you spin out. That said, no I don't use the brake on unicycle climbs either but that only goes to show why I don't make it up every climb.
  • 10 1
 Climbing wet roots - I have found that slightly lowering the dropper post to be helpful ( about a third) - slightly lowered COG plus a bit of space to move if I need to. Works for me
  • 8 0
 For sure! Hard to push up and over those snakes when the saddle is up your ***!! It's a tricky thing if it's new to someone. Thank goodness for dropper posts.
  • 10 0
 Two crucial wet roots riding tips I’ve come across:

1. Hit them square when possible.
2. Never brake on a wet root.

Ignore #2 at your peril.
  • 3 0
 YES! I feel like line choice was not properly addressed in the video. If you've got room to pick your line, roll with your tire as close to perpendicular to the root as possible. The closer the root is to parallel (especially a wet one), the more likely it is to redirect your wheel path.
  • 8 0
 "Un-weighting the bike" segment led to me re-watching the 2011 Champery Worlds yet again. Uncanny how far Danny floats before briefly touching down for traction and then skimming off again.
  • 3 0
 That was by far the best tip for intermediate/advanced level riders in the video. I've never really thought about compressing the suspension right before coming into an off camber or sketchy section so that I can float over things. Going to have to try this!
  • 3 0
 I forget who said it, but I think some WC racer said half of WC DH racers stay loose and smooth and just float over techy sections, and the other half are always jumping from little grip section to little grip section, skimming in between. I definitely try to practice both, and think about that a lot when choosing lines.
  • 8 2
 When I ride wet trails with roots, I choose Minions, 28psi.
When I ride trails with roots, I choose Minions, 28psi
When I ride trails without roots, I choose Minions, 28psi
When I ride trails with just rocks, I choose Minions, 28psi

Why cause tires are 60 bucks a piece, and why Minions cause ever since I’ve been on pinkbike, everyone says ‘ride Minions’
Glad you were all right. Cause I can’t afford to swap out tires for different trails.
  • 10 0
 But changing your tire pressure is free!
  • 5 1
 @toddball: haha, I realized that after I typed it.
I think I may just be the most set and set forget it rider ever.
  • 3 1
 I'm 200lbs and if I ran 22psi in the rear I'm pretty sure the rim would be rolling on the ground. I run 28 rear for puncture resistance and 25 in the front. Can't drop the fronts because I'm running 2.5wt tires on 25mm rims and they start to roll over with less pressure, but that's my own doing for not following directions.
  • 2 0
 @friendlyfoe: ooooo sounds spicy! Good luck with that front tire!
  • 7 0
 Whatever you do.....keep Christina!!!! She's believable, relevant, and understandable........unlike some of your scientific n'th degree technical diatribes.
  • 4 0
 @ christinachappetta, how about a video on riding dirt jump style jumps on your trail/Enduro bike. Have no problems with normal jumps and drops but when trail builders throw in those super steep dirt jump ramps it just doesn’t feel natural anymore.
  • 2 0
 oooo I like that one! Great idea thank you! And a fun one ;-)
  • 6 0
 Lets face it . We all have a wet root out there with our name on just sitting quietly waiting for us !
  • 3 0
 Excellent video @christinachappetta, good length and information but not too much to lose people.

I'm curious about your thoughts for rebound speed. Do you feel the slower rebound helps you more on technical climbing, to avoid the pogo bounce coming over roots? I mostly descend on roots and tend towards faster rebound (especially on my fork) to keep the suspension from packing up.

Braking is the biggest factor for sure. Any good dirt on a slick rooty trail should be used for braking or turning, then try picking the straightest line through roots and let 'er rip.
  • 1 0
 Thanks a lot!! To address your question... for me personally, I fun a pretty fast rebound front and rear. As a lighter person, it is also recommended from the suspension guru's that faster rebound is required to get a similar effect as a heavier person. Hope that makes sense. So my suspension obviously wouldn't feel the same to anyone else. If you like to adjust your settings AND can remember to change them again at the top of the trail, then I don't see how a slightly slower fork rebound could hurt for climbing. Just a side note, I always run low compression as well because I find it helps with my wrist sensitivity on those bumpy bits. Cheers :-)
  • 6 0
 Thanks Cristina for the Info ! Awesome Video !!
  • 6 0
 Great presentation voice, competent script, this was really well done!
  • 4 0
 Agree! Interspersing slo mo helped focus the message too. Only thing I can suggest could have been useful was a quick explanation of ‘why’ to look for the root free zones to apply brakes...beginner riders don’t typically know that braking stiffens up suspension.
  • 1 0
 @frorider2: "beginner riders don’t typically know that braking stiffens up suspension."

True, no do many know that braking in the right spot can help you load the suspension for the float over things unweighting the bike. It takes practice and skill though.
  • 6 1
 Dry roots are mostly fine. Wet roots can get very tricky.
  • 5 1
 Confirmed this last weekend. Day 1, lift access trail, dry, lots of severely off camber roots, high lines were golden, grip was good, no issue rolling them or popping them. Day 2 same trail, heavy rain downpour that night, tried to take the same high line at the same speed, instantly slapped down before I knew what was happening. Retreated to the truck for ice-pack and a beer, thankfully it was the final run.
  • 6 0
 @krashDH85: hahaha happens all the time! I got caught out in the rain ALLL day on Summer Solstice and had quite a few moments on the slippery roots before I accepted the conditions and starting taking different lines than the usual. What's that saying?? "Adapt and overcome' or something like that...
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: Adapt and overcome is correct.

It was more of a "I shouldn't take this line in these conditions but I'm going to anyway because it's faster even though I can see the low line over there that's safer".

I suppose it was a faster line to end the day. Some things I never learn...
  • 2 1
 I manual over roots or pop the first root send the rest. Then there are trails that are just roots and very little dirt. Then you just hang on baby and enjoy the ride. If you like super steep ultra old school trails you learn to deal with plenty of roots. No hard breaking , no quick turns and .... Well wet roots you may still go down .
  • 5 0
 To quote Sepultura "Roots, bloody roots".
  • 2 0
 I try to channel my inner Remo Williams and float over roots, i.e., I try to stay light above the bike, carry as much speed as possible, stay off the brakes, and roll and pump when I can.
  • 3 0
 Now i finally know where Remi got his stylish riding goggle taste! Thanks for the tips, think its time for me to finally drop the PSI ive been using for the past few years.
  • 3 0
 Username is epic.
  • 3 0
 It wasn't until I saw male enduro racers with less psi sending it into rock gardens! I was enlightened
  • 2 0
 @DirkMcClerkin: haha thanks man, im a nuclear engineer so have to play on that beautiful mispronunciation!
  • 3 0
 Move to Nova Scotia.

If you’re lucky there might be some dirt between the roots and the rocks.
  • 4 0
 hahah yeah nah.... I've heard it's cool over there but I'm all about the west coast vibes
  • 3 0
 @christinachappetta better watch your back after that climb switch comment - @mikelevy may come gunning for you Wink
  • 3 0
 Protect the front wheel, the back wheel can slide around and you won’t crash but once the front slides it’s game over.
  • 2 0
 Any tips on how to go across wet roots that are diagonal across the trail? Most of the roots that I come across are this way.
  • 3 0
 Just try and be light on the front end and pick your front wheel up a bit do not grip the bars too tight and try not to fight or force the bikes direction too much . do not worry about the back wheel that will usually sort itself out .
  • 1 0
 @rideronthestorm1: Like a true UK rider!
  • 1 0
 Great tips from mate there! Sorry we missed that section a bit..but in that case I usually try to line the front wheel up with/next to the diagonal/downhill root so that it can ride the line with the root and not fight it. Had an instance the other day where the front wheel made it to the right side and the rear wheel got caught on the left of the root, didn't end the best hahah BUT, had I expected the rear wheel to slip a bit and just ride it instead of fighting it I would have been fine.
  • 3 0
 Lots of wet roots in the UK.
  • 14 0
 Not today. There's this weird bright light in the sky.
  • 3 0
 hahah Just watched some Slice of British Pie last night....looks pretty loamy to me! But there were definitely some spicy roots!
  • 5 0
 @bigtim: just a shame we've only got about 6m of vertical here.
  • 4 4
 Bigger knobs = better is actually wrong for roots because they squirm more right? Best tire would be someting with a lot of tiny knobs, low pressure and sticky compound to snuggle into the root.
  • 9 0
 I would say...depends.... You won't see anyone in Whistler (aside from world cup level xc riders) riding "smooth" tires and we have a LOT of rooty terrain. Bigger knobs help shed mud better if it is raining, which is does a lot here, and my tires actually have little cuts in them to create the most grip possible with fewer "knobs"... Check out the Schwalbe Magic Mary tread pattern to see what I'm talking about :-)
  • 9 1
 I disagree for my region. A semi slick = death on wet roots here. The traction comes after the slip or deflection off the root. That’s why you want the big knobs. To hook up well in the dirt right after the root.
  • 2 1
 @christinachappetta: funnily enough, my current front tire is Magic Mary in soft compound. I don't change tires often enough to really form an opinion but i was wondering why trial motorcycle tires (and a lot of their obstacles are built from logs) have a pattern more similar to XC tires.
  • 5 0
 @SickEdit: for motorcycle trials tyres theres very specific regulations about width of tyres knobs, depth, spacing between and profile shape, knobs heave to be perpendicular to dorection of travel. Tyre has to look the same running in either direction. Acu reg tsr8 I think. It really limits possible configurations massively. I was told regs were put in place years ago to limit grip available, so things didnt get out of hand with what was possible. That didnt totally work! but would have been worse, or better depending on your point of view with out them.
  • 5 1
 I like Big Knobs, I cannot lie...
  • 1 0
 @nsteele: I was asking for that to be fair ????
  • 5 1
 She is badass
  • 2 0
 Wet roots on a bike are like big waves on a boat you have try to hit them head on
  • 5 0
 Great analogy! Probably why I wasn't as scared as everyone else last spring on a boat in the Pacific hahah the captain was full steam ahead just sending the waves. I loved it!
  • 2 0
 This very helpful. I like the slo-mo shots so I can see how the bike is responding to the roots. Thanks Christina!
  • 3 0
 Nice! You go girl
  • 3 0
 Roots Rocks Reggae!!!
  • 2 1
 are you running tire inserts at 19 psi? any time I go lower than 22 my rims take a beating - maybe im just a hack though
  • 4 1
 She's 130 pounds and runs relatively heavy tire casings (schwalbe super gravity) both of which contributes to her being able to run pressures that low.

Whatever your normal pressure is, if you run a heavier casing you can probably go down by a psi or two
  • 3 0
 Great answer from friendlyfoe, I trade heavier tires for psi. Plus a super strong carbon rim which will never dent...maybe crack one day..but never dent, so I can go quite low and never have to worry about a dented rim and ruing the tubeless setup.
  • 1 0
 good to know! i do run dh casing tires already so i guess carbon rims are what i need
  • 2 0
 Badass video. Slowing down rebound makes sense with real bad roots.
  • 4 3
 Big key to riding roots, ride a 29'r
  • 2 2
 “The bigger the knob — the better the job!”
  • 2 5
 I live in the pnw mountains and your tire pressure is a spot on favorite. Great stuff little lady.
  • 1 0
 How did I ever ride a hardtail with 28psi?!?! hahah WILD times

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