Ask Pinkbike: Fitting a Shock Upgrade, Brake Lever Angles and Is There a Bike for Everything

Oct 2, 2015 at 14:18
by Pinkbike Staff  
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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.

How to be Sure My Shock Upgrade Will Fit

Question: Sarik asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I own a 2012 Lapierre Spicy 516 size small. I love this bike so much, except of one problem: I want to change the rear shock to a more capable one. Right now, I'm running the stock Fox Float RP2, and I want to change it. The problem is that the upper eyelet sits so close to the frame that the body of a bigger shock touches the frame. I've tried to switch to the new Fox Float-X, but the body was too big, it didn't allow the eyelet to go in its place. (BTW, no problem with the piggyback). My next choice is Rockshox Monarch Plus, but there are no shocks around here for a test fit. Has anyone changed the rear shock on a Spicy? Any insights of how the Monarch's body compared to the Float-X? Do you guys think it will fit?

bigquotesAll shock makers have engineering-style drawings of each model readily available on their websites for bike manufacturers to use to ensure that there will be no clearance issues. You may have to email their tech departments to access them, but it shouldn't be difficult. Easier still, is to use their fit compatibility charts, which usually cover recent models (one to three years back) in addition to the current model year. Unfortunately, not every shock maker has a fit guide, so you may have to stick with a sure bet.

Cane Creek's Fit Finder is the best resource in the business. I did the legwork for you, and Fit Finder indicates that the DBAir CS and InLine are compatible (with a "call Cane Creek" warning, which probably means you'll need special hardware for the yoke-type eyelet mount). Most shocks on the used market have dedicated tunes, so you may not get the performance you wish for unless you buy new and have the maker give you the correct valving for your Zesty. The advantage of choosing an aftermarket shock like the Cane Creek, is that its high and low-speed damping is completely adjustable so, new or used, you will be able to optimize its performance for your Lapierre.

Finally, you can opt for an in-line shock upgrade from any top shock maker and if there are clearance issues with the air-can end, you can simply reverse the shock and mount the can side to the yoke. The tiny increase in un-sprung mass will not affect your suspension's action enough to worry about and you will rest easier with an expensive purchase.
- RC

2012 Laierre Zesty
PB forum member Sarik's 2012 Lapierre Zesty has clearance issues near the upper shock mount that prevent him from upgrading to a Fox Float X shock.

One Bike for Everything?

Question: Pinkbike user JamisKomodo13 asked this question in the Downhill Forum: I am kinda new to DH and bike parks and I own an aluminum Santa Cruz Bronson. I spent a week at Whistler recently and had the pleasure of riding a full on DH Giant Glory. While riding the Glory there, I was very comfortable and confident in my abilities, and that was my first ever time riding DH. I enjoyed it so much that once we got back home to the States I went to our "local" DH park, Beech Mountain in Banner Elk, NC. I didn't rent a bike at Beech, instead I rode my Bronson and had zero issues.

Of course I am not skilled enough to ride the pro lines or black diamond lines yet, but I did great on all the Beginner/Intermediate lines. My bike is mainly stock, with the exception of Saint Cranks and Saint Brakes, Deity Cavity 35mm stem and converted to 1x with Wolftooth 30t ring. Everything else is just as it came from the factory. Is it dumb of me to think I would be okay with only this bike in my stable? I know most DH/FR bikes have coil suspension and at least one more inch of travel. But is it too crazy to think my Bronson will work for long term use at bike parks like this? Is there some sort of rule for using air suspension at places like this? I am not against buying a dedicated park bike, but if I can get away without it, then I'd rather not.

bigquotesAs more and more riders are figuring out, taking advantage of lift served terrain aboard a shorter travel bike can be loads of fun, but there are a few points to keep in mind in order to ensure that you and your bike emerge unscathed. On the beginner / intermediate terrain your Bronson will be fine; it's when larger drops and gaps begin to enter the picture that you may want to consider stepping up to a dedicated park bike. Large, repeated impacts, especially if you're at the point in your riding career where casing jumps is a regular occurrence can shorten a bike's lifespan, especially a bike that's aimed at more at trail and all-mountain riding.

Whether or not you purchase a dedicated park bike should also depend on how often you're planning on riding the lifts. A few weekends a summer? Stick with the Bronson, and save the extra cash for another trip to Whistler. But if you find yourself heading for the lifts every weekend, purchasing another bike will help reduce the wear and tear on your daily driver, since bike parks tend to take a toll on items like wheels and tires. And as to your question about air sprung suspension, there's definitely no rule against using it. If you were riding in an area with massive vertical and sustained steep runs a coil sprung shock could be a good option, but Beech Mountain's on the smaller side of things, and your air suspension should be just fine.
- Mike Kazimer

Shooting an old-school feature of Donny s tucked away in the woods of Nesscliffe - Laurence CE -
In the right hands, the Santa Cruz Bronson is a very capable ride. Photo: Laurence Crossman-Emms.

Flat Brake Lever Position

Question: Pinkbike user ShreddieMercury commented in the EWS Photo Epic: Wow. Look how high Barelli rides his brakes.

bigquotesWow, they are super high, almost flat. I asked Yoann today, because we are homeboys and we Whatsapp each other on the regular. His reply was:

Motocross style! I started to ride with my brakes really high mid-season. After watching Damien Oton riding (and some downhillers), I noticed this particularly on their bikes and decided to try it. The result is simple: no arm pump anymore, and it allows me to ride with my upper body higher and head more up, which is convenient in enduro, as you can see obstacles and the trail coming earlier. I love it!

Coincidentally, I was riding with Nico Vouilloz today, and I noticed his levers were also horizontal. He said that he used to line everything up in a straight line when sat in pedalling position, arms, wrists, hands, fingers and brake lever's, but as he gets older they keep getting flatter, the flatter they get the more he feels in control on steep stuff with his weight pushing behind the bar and front axle. He says that when he makes them steeper, he has the feeling of his hands falling over the front of the grips.

Personally, I have been running my brake levers high (not as high as Yoann or Nico though) for a couple of reasons:

I find it easier to weight the handlebar and front wheel, while not creating as much fatigue and arm pump on long rough trails. Why? If your arm, wrist, and hand are in a straight line, muscles need to be tensed to prevent the wrist rolling forwards or backward. Tense muscles mean tired muscles, and relaxing too much then hitting a bump at the wrong angle could send your hand flying off the front of the grip. If the levers are flatter, it forces you to drop your wrists down like Yoann's left hand in the picture. With your hand in this position you can lean on the handlebar without having to grip as tightly and braces the wrist for impact. I would go as far as saying whatever angle the trail is, if it's smooth I could ride with my fingers completely open just using my thumb to grip. The downside of this is that some people get sore wrists - something I have never struggled with personally, either because of practice/training this method for years, or just my body's mechanics.

Of course, there's ergonomic and mobility issues, as well as personal preference to consider, but in general, I think you should consider the angle of your preferred terrain to dictate the angle of your levers. Like riding on flat trails? Then set them steep. Like riding steep downhills? Then make them flatter.
- Paul Aston

Yoann Barelli started the day optimistic after podium finishes the past two rounds but would end the day frustrated and way down the order after a pair of bad crashes.
At the end of the day, lever angle is personal preference, but a bunch of Frenchies run them near flat and there were seven of them in the top ten in Finale last Sunday.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


  • 75 2
 I tried to make a nomad my do it all bike and it managed pretty well. That was until I rode a full on DH bike and it ruined me. Bought one a few weeks later and could not be happier. Sure you can ride most stuff on a solid am bike but damn DH bikes are loads of fun!
  • 9 1
 likewise. Used my nomad as my park bike last year and got a demo this spring. It took a few rides to get used to the weight, but by the end of the season I was in love.
  • 30 1
 The lust factor of a DH bike is high.
  • 10 1
 Now I own an "enduro" bike and a DH bike. The enduro is the do it all but DH bike, and the DH is the fun one...
  • 7 6
  • 10 1
 Fatigue. I get by just fine riding DH on my Remedy but boy does that beat me up. On the DH bike I can do laps all day.
  • 4 3
 Canfield the One, 32 lbs , 8 " travel, and climbs all day long. My fav do-it-all bike
  • 3 1
 I wa fine with the enduro29 being my park/dh bike until I got a lot better and now I'm at the limits of what it can do. Getting a dh bike befor next summer!
  • 3 1
 What @DARKSTAR63 wrote.

I am pretty sure most all mountain bikes - even trail bikes - these days have margins of safety and strength that would allow for the occasional week in the bike park. The bikes are not the issue - its going to be the accumulated abuse on knees and back and arms from casing jumps or riding ruts on a shorter travel bike that will be the limiting factor. Go to the DH bike for fun all day, all week.
  • 3 2
 I rode the enduro and the DH bike at Whistler, and I have to agree that on every trail rated single black or less the enduro was more fun to ride, since you can't simply blast through the trail without picking a line, but it does take a toll on the rider AND de bike. Sore hands, sore back and creaky bike in just a few laps...
  • 2 2
 I'm still on the fence about a dedicated DH sled; Highland is 3.5 hours away so if I get there once a month that's a score. I did the math and I can rent a bike from them a few times a year for many seasons and still be ahead of throwing down for a decent used bike that will become obsolete before I have the time to wear it out. That all said if/when I live closer to a park the equation will shift.

Similar to what @jlhenterprises wrote, I've got an eye on the new Delerium as a quiver slayer for all but the most pedaling days; I'll keep my old 5 Spot around for those. I've just progressed to riding blacks and spending any air time of consequence, though definitely in the category of casing lots of jumps as I gain skill and confidence to faster and bigger...
  • 1 9
flag torero (Oct 7, 2015 at 13:04) (Below Threshold)
 DH bikes are hell in most situations, only fun in the descents very, very steep and technical.
  • 2 1
 I'm wary of renting bikes since they are so often trashed. You never know it you will be able to convince them to swap the springs (always a must if, like me, you weigh 160 and ride an XL) or if the tires will have any tread. It's worth paying more IMO to have a bike that's dialed in for you and rides the same every weekend.
  • 5 1
 2005 26" 18kg kona stinky dee lux all day long... For everything!
  • 2 2
 voila le 1er comment resume bien ma situation je crois @wizido Big Grin c'est vrai que le dh a un de ces fun ... mais sur des pistes de dh
  • 47 1
 No arm in trying it
  • 32 2
 handy tips
  • 37 0
 Sounds like the french have it fingered out
  • 17 0
 Flat out great idea...
  • 4 6
 All the above.....booooo....but funny.
  • 4 6
 " some people get sore wrists" yep i know a few of those boys lol
  • 4 7
 I like my brakes as high as I can get them too...unfortunately I also prefer Shimano brakes and once, about three bikes ago, I had a good wreck and due to the reservoir being above the bar it got gnarled and cracked. It leaked and I had to replace it, so I rotated the brakes back down enough so that the reservoir was just below the bar.

I say I "prefer" Shimano brakes, but the truth is that I have not ridden anything else since I took the Elixir's off a complete Stumpjumper I purchased years ago and put on XT's. They feel the best, but I do think the reservoir being where it is makes it easier to destroy. The Guide's look good though.
  • 6 4
 At wrist it works.
  • 6 0
 Hard to brake the habit
  • 2 0
 You don't need to twist my arm to convince me. It is all in the wrist.
  • 12 1
 You guys are so Humerus.
  • 10 1
 I watched these puns Avidly looking for the right Formula for my pun then decided Hayes this is Hopeless!
  • 5 0
 I thought about getting avid brakes once but thought to myself, "Shi* man no way" and bought XT
  • 3 0
 Hahahaha, hands down, Weekev wins.
  • 35 1
 I find that the "correct" angle is also very closely related to how far from the bar you like your brakes to engage. If you like them way out there a flatter angle works well. Conversely, if you like them (as I do) to bite very close to the bars you need a steeper angle to allow the correct part of your finger to engage the lever while you maintain an ergonomic hand wrap around the grip.
  • 8 1
 Good food for thought here. Never considered it that way.
  • 3 1
 And I would like to add. Pointing the break leaver down forces you to keep your weight on the front wheel allowing for traction and speed when you are not comfortable with it but need it. Not the best option if you are worrying about going OTB more than going faster on the steeps.
  • 2 0
 @SithBike: Ahemm... Did you see any of the Frenchies mentioned in the article actually ride? What Barelli does never looked like "just surviving the steeps" to me.
  • 6 2
 all sounds like theoretical bull to me. Preference and familiarity wins every time.
  • 3 1
 Markus Klausmann has been doing that for ages and everyone made fun of him... maybe he was right ^^

I went from a fairly flat (less thant 45°) position (that I was talked in to at the beginning of the season) back to a steeper one (about 45°, maybe more), because I felt like it made me less aggressive. But when I'm in a bike park and get really hard arm pump at the end of the day I turn them up a bit and that really helps for a few minutes.

So I guess it's not for everyone, but you should give it a try!
  • 25 1
 Throw back to 2012 when the Zesty was a good looking bike
  • 4 1
 The OP says he has a spicy though... what's the relevance of the Zesty here?
  • 14 1
 Just fyi I used to run my levers pretty flat. But after riding 3-5 days a week and always having a fun technical decent, my fingers were starting to ache bad. Bad enough that in the morning after the ride I didn't want to touch the steering wheel in my car. I moved my brakes downward and since then everything has been great! For me at least, keep my wrists and arms in a straight line let me put more pressure on the lower plan of my hand, vs the upper Palm by the fingers. Also, my turning improved vastly because it promotes more of widened back and elbows. To each his own!
  • 1 0
 Yeah the carpel tunnel doesn't like running your brakes flat. It can damage your nerves. Pros may be fines with destroying their bodies, but I will stick with what is ergonomic.
  • 3 0
 Having an angle in your wrists and leaning on it is indeed bad for your wrists. Better ride more or start doing push ups (with push up bars) for extra arm strength than let your joints handle all the impacts instead of your muscles.

This is why I think it would be good for most people to ride a hardtail bike with rigid forks for a while. Suspension covers up your mistakes and wrong body positions, but when riding without any suspension you'll learn yourself the correct positions because else it will hurt. Also good for your bike handling skills.
  • 11 0
 After riding my Nomad at my local park, I'm deciding to sell the DH bike. The nomad isn't as fast or as fun on double black tech trails, but most of my park is buffed out jump and flow, and the nomad is faster there. Moreover now the blues are fun for me, on the DH they just weren't steep enough to get the beast flying. I've gotten to a point where I'm a bit stale on the DH, and the Nomad opens up new parts of the Mtn that were just boring as fuck on my DH. Biking for me is about change and progress, I won't be surprised if I buy another DH bike in a season or two, but for now the Nomad is the cats ass.
  • 7 0
 I've used my nomad in some gnarly stuff one would only think a dh bike is capable of. You just have to modify certain aspects of your riding that you got used to on your dh rig. I'm in the same boat. Selling my dh rig because the nomad is just so capable. Keep riding it and pushing the envelope, that bike will handle it. It's also fun to get looks from guys at the park wondering how a dude on a nomad is faster than them in their full dh rigs!
  • 6 8
 timed yourself? You might be surprised to see what your times are even if you think youre going faster.

And getting looks from beginners/ intermediates? Please.....but whatever make you feel good I guess
  • 4 2
 Gosh. Surprisingly my Strava time went DOWN on my Nomad. Whole big bunches... must be a GPS fluke, eh russthedog?
  • 1 1
 Be sure to compare apples to apples for tires and wheels as well. Those gigantic 1200+ gram wire bead tires on DH rigs make a huge difference if you are accustomed to lighter-weight, climb-friendly tires. I'm thinking of building a 32 spoke bomproof set with supergravity casing tires next season.
  • 6 0
 I have not ridden a Nomad at length, parking lot test only but I am not shocked at all to hear you like it better than your DH. Bikes like those really make a full blown DH bike obsolete for all but the gnarliest of tracks. Consider this... the Nomad sports similar geometry to DH race bikes of just a few years ago. And it's lighter.
  • 3 5
 when you say a few years ago i assume you mean ten? Geometry is similar, not the same - but everything makes a difference, like @ryan83 says, tyres, weight, weight distrib etc.

Cool your times went down on your blue flow trail.

Worldwide trend:
More flow trails
More people saying all mountain/ enduro bikes are faster than dh bikes downhill.

I dont agree they are obsolete for all but the gnarliest of tracks. Any half decent DH track will be much more fun, faster and safer on a dh bike.
  • 3 1
 I said similar not same... meaning pretty low and slack for what trail bikes were willing to go a few years ago. For a tame DH track I suspect the Nomad is just fine.
  • 6 4
That russthedog is a badass!
I hope one day to rise above my blue rated flow trails like him. And I wish I could hang on the past with such ferocity too. Damn the innovations! 26 forever man! I'm dumping my 27.5" wheels and carbon rims now! The clipless pedals and that electronic shifting, my dropper post are all conspiring to make me a flow rider!
How could I ever have come unstuck from my DH roots?
I blame the marketing machine!
It's the new shiny products that got ahold of me.

Oh wait. I just lost my mind.
The new shit is better and faster on just about everything I've ever ridden in the last 30 years.
Except the gnar dh trails I'm so afraid of.
  • 3 0
 I went to 5.5 and 6" travel rigs because they are fun when the trails are tame. I find DH bikes to be more capable than I am, and 7" travel bikes soak up small stuff. It may be lame, but launching a couple of feet into the air off a small bum is a lot more fun than just soaking it up and having to look for big drops to get my thrills. I still manage to pull a 5 foot drop out of my smaller rig now and then without needing a rolling sponge under me.
Fact is, super rough stuff is the primary purpose of long travel, and I never really loved that stuff anyway. A few baby head sections now and then are nice, but it is no way to spend my day if I can help it.
  • 2 0
 Right I'm 41 so top 10 strava times At my local park are fine by me. There's no money in it either way!! And yes pussdog any time you'd like to race it's on like your mom.
  • 9 1
 My hands go numb sometimes and I have tried pitching the brake levers lower to see if that would help. Maybe I should try a flatter position. Lots of variables here (tire pressure, fork pressure, damping/rebound settings). I'll sort it out eventually. This is why I love to see the way the pros have their bikes set up. Thanks PB.
  • 61 3
 When my hand goes numb, I just switch to the hand holding the tissue
  • 25 2
 Get a fleshlight with desk mount. Game changer.
  • 11 2
 No, no, no! That is a plot of the industry so that you start riding this way and break plenty of levers when crashing.
  • 12 3
 is the santa cruz bronson aluminium?
  • 21 2
 No. Its aluminium.
  • 9 3
 My nomad rides everything great. I actually like it better than my dh rig. These enduro bikes as they say, are so capable and fun as hell too!
  • 5 1
 They are also more fun to jump.
  • 2 0
  • 4 9
flag russthedog (Oct 7, 2015 at 7:18) (Below Threshold)
 cool story bro!
  • 2 0
 I'm riding a Nomad and a YT Tues. No way I'm taking the Nomad on a full on DH track. People talking about Nomad riding everything great either don't ride everything or don't have experience with a top of the line modern DH rig. But anyway, whatever serves you best.
  • 2 1
 maybe you should consider a bronson as your second bike, Why have the nomad when you have a full DH?
  • 8 5
 To each, but flat lever is typically a classic newbie mistake. It means you're riding straight arm, ass out back... wrong wrong wrong! Roll those levers down for correct body attack position, and loading up the front end to rail those berms.
  • 5 1
 Yeah but when attacking the berms you shouldn't be hard on the brakes, and when you're braking hard it's good to have your ass out and your arms straight.
  • 2 5
 What, breaking hard is more wrong than straight arm bro, let it go and scrub a little.
  • 2 2
 I'm betting Yohan rides with all fingers on the bars most of the time. for those of us who need to keep our index riding on the lever to be ready to brake, having to get your finger up & over the lever to brake is probably going to take too long.
  • 4 1
 in motocross, your always in attack position with your elbows up, hence levers down. When I raced pro it was drilled into me to keep my damn elbows up, up, up......always. Mt biking your elbows are not always up. Our elbows are up, down or in between depending on the type of riding and the specific obstacle your currently navigating at any given moment. If levers could swivel up and down as we ride to match the terrain, that would be ideal....but thats not an option (now anyway); levers are ideally placed midway, about 45 degrees, to accommodate the varying elbow levels mt biking requires. Maybe a spring loaded swivel lever that when unloaded is up, and can be pressed down with fingers when your elbows are high is a good product idea?? The spring could even be tension adjustable, with a clutch!! It could become a new standard, enduro required. think of the sales it would generate. wow, you heard it here first!
  • 4 0
 I run my levers for "attack" position riding. If I am not in that position I am climbing or navigating tricky flat rock gardens, neither scenario requires me to use the brakes very much. So while I agree lever position is always a compromise I think it's best to set them up for the most strenuous of braking situations.
  • 1 0
 Sorry, apparently I should have responded here instead of creating the post above. In short, just don't set the lever that tight and you can always adjust it on the fly. Unless you're running those Shimano dual control units. But you aren't, are you?
  • 2 0
 Think of the angle your bike is in on the super steeps when you use the brakes. Not your average motocross terrain.
And YES it is all a huge compromise where you set things up!
Especially for most of us "SET IT AND FORGET IT" riders.
  • 1 0
 what if you made the lever blade shaped so that for mild braking you set your fingers where it made sense, but could slide them into a different position on the same lever for aggressive descending?
  • 2 0
 I get a lot of pain in my knuckles and finger joints after a few runs at the park. It usually hurts the most during high speed runs on jump trails. My hands hurt for several days after riding and it has made it hard for me to weight lift. I've tried changing my grips and adjusting lever position to no avail. I also ride downhill weekly or every other week.
  • 1 0
 I had the same problem last season on my v10c outfitted with a fox 40rc2. This year I switched to fatter, cushier grips and also swapped the fox 40 for a 888 rc3 evo. No more all. Couldn't be happier!
  • 1 0
 Well right now I'm running a Marzocchi 350 NCR air fork. I went for the Zocchi because I heard it was a little softer than the pike. I might switch to 170 or even 180mm Yari fork when they become available. I bought the Zocchi used so I wouldn't lose much. I'm also probably gonna get a fatter tire and switch to tubeless so I can run lower pressures. That should dampen vibrations to the bars.
  • 6 4
 Just so you all know brakes only slow you down.Try just not using them and enjoy the new blistering speed.
  • 3 0
 Give the fat grips a try too...I find they fit my hands much nicer and feel like I'm "clenching up" on the bar a lot less. I'm using race face strafe now. They're also wearing at an impressively low rate

I personally think hand size/comfort should dictate grip size. Rock hard, skinny grips aren't for everyone!
  • 1 0
 Well I'm an old guy, but I regularly ride a long steep downhill at the end of my ride, so lots of pressure on the hands. Tried numerous grips, all ok buy none relieved the pain I was getting in the thumb joint. Just tried my zillionth pair of grips, basic Lizard Skins single compound Charger grip, not lock-ons. Result? No pain, best grip so far.
  • 2 2
 Arm pump is more likely to come from using grips that are too fat for the size of one's hand rather than grips that are too skinny. Grips that are too skinny tend to create ulna nerve problems or flexor tendon problems at the metacarpophalangeal joint.

Best grips ever: ESI Racer (but they explode if you crash on them).
Best grips that last: Ergon GE1 Slim (single inner lock ring/ ergo shape).
  • 3 0
 ^^^ Perhaps, but what he was describing (the same problem I had last year) isn't "arm pump". Also, you say "for the size of one's hand" which I agree with. Find the grip that works for YOU...don't just automatically jump on the skinny grip bandwagon. Speaking from personal experience, they don't work for everyone.

As far as bike parts go, $30 grips are the cheapest experimenting you'll ever do, so try a variety!
  • 2 0
 It's not really about bigger grips, but more which part of your hands/fingers gets the most abuse.
I have big hands (XXL gloves) and had fairly big grips last year (chromags), and my fingers were killing me.
Now I switched to the Renthal tie-on bmx grips (smallest grips I've ever seen) and couldn't be happier. I can easily do 15 laps in Queenstown bike park in a day, 2 days in a row now.
  • 1 0
 Check how much low speed compression you are running. I find when my hands are getting sore in the park, I back off the amount of low speed compression on the fork just a bit and it helps a lot. I am also running a older Marzo 66 (2011) and found even when it felt very plush with more low speed compression, it was still the cause of my hand pain issues.
  • 2 0
 Guys, solving arm pump has a lot less to do with your grips than you're making out. Yes you want to make it as easy as possible to relax your hands and fingers by setting up your levers in a way that means you're not stretching to reach them and hand comfort is a part of the arm pump equation. BUT...

The secret of getting rid of arm pump is in your feet. Weight your bike properly and put your weight through your feet using dropped heels will take all that arm pump away. Lock your legs out as much as you can get away with and you'll reduce the fatigue at your quads too. Of course you'll need good hip, hamstring and calf flexibility to make this happen.

I'm gonna bet that the French riders that use the high lever position have ridiculous flexibility so they can put their arms in whatever position they want. If you're riding 5 minute long sections totally gassed out and taking huge square edged hits on bikes with 6" of travel then a high brake lever position is probably going to help you not to go otb...
  • 1 0
 I seldom suffer bad arm pump. I wasn't aware it was a big issue.
  • 2 0
 I coach MTB skill clinics and believe that flat is good, but yes definitely depends on where the bulk of your riding is spent i.e. flat or steep trails Is the little things that are overlooked and make a huge difference
  • 5 2
 beech mountain on the smaller side of things? okay pb, maybe your forgetting that some of us live in places where mountains arent really a thing
  • 7 0
 PB lives the wet dream
  • 6 6
 helping you understand the wider context of the sport and yes, your trails are weak ass, short, and not steep
  • 4 0
 Colorado checking in. Would definitely like to try a park/trail center that doesn't involve gigantic mountains and/or mountain lions.
  • 1 0
 @defineindecline I think Snowshoe is as good as it gets for East coats USA. If you like shorter runs Beech is a blast also. Beech is a newer park open for a few years now. It gets better every time I go there. Beech has one of the coolest rock gardens of any park Iv been to. gnarbar must be a trail diva because everyone I know enjoys a trip to Beech and returns for more.
  • 3 0
 If you think everything on the east coast is "weak ass, short and not steep" you just haven't been to the right places. I've ridden all over the country and in BC. We have plenty of shit that compares just fine to the west, surely not as big (elevation) in most cases, but just as good or better in all other aspects. The key is knowing where to find it and in a lot of cases not getting caught riding it!
  • 2 3
 keep your east coast hipster pants on, just having banter with you is all. too much PB serious. no need to ride big mountain 5,000' descents every day, a little fun and mellow good times is always sweet
  • 1 0
 @ gnarbar We have great trails on the east coast. I also think Utah has more to offer than anywhere I have rode. Ask mom or dad to take you there if you have so much skill on a bike. Don't forget your big boy pants if you get to Utah.
  • 1 2
 thanks pal I'm actually an orphan but I appreciate the sentiment and banter. now do be a good boy and go wax your hipster moustache
  • 4 0
 It's cool gaybar, lots of kids get abandoned because their family's are ashamed of their repetitive and lame jokes.
  • 1 3
 oh my so much butthurt, you really are sensitive about your weak ass flat trails
  • 1 0
 Interesting perspective on the brake levers... I've always run the levers in a natural line from my pedaling position but I get terrible pump riding more aggressive dh, gonna have to try flattening things out a bit and see how it changes things.
  • 2 1
 Levers make a lot of difference, I used to run closer to flat on ye olde xtr mechanicals with god knows what levers, but now using the horrible loose levers on a set of avid elixirs. My issue with these is that I cannot move from a full grip to braking without knocking my knuckles on the inner/undersides, so I have to have them much lower than id like. Also ive noticed I get rsi pains if they're high, which is related to yet another issue, numb hands. And that is solely down to the larger backsweep 5/9 of the bars. My old bars were 3/5 and I never had any numbness or rsi.

So consider the bar angles in this as well, I'm pretty sure it plays a part. Although finding parts these days that dont follow the same setup as all the rest is a problem. Everyone following the middle of the crowd, not many offering options outside that.
Big nasty grimmace at the lack of 26" tyres for example ????????
  • 2 1
 So it says that the levers should be in line with hands, elbows and shoulders. My levers are pretty much vertical and still in line with my upper body.
I don't feel like there's a problem with my riding and I hate the obsession for over-analysis that we have in the mtb community, but am I riding too much over the front??
  • 14 1
  • 8 0
 don't know
  • 9 0
  • 8 0
 Ask again.
  • 7 0
 so so
  • 8 0
 Can you repeat the question?
  • 7 0
 How long are your arms?
  • 8 0
 I'd like to give you a definite answer on this, but I'm really out of my league here, so let me just call a buddy of mine who's an expert on riding too much over the front and we'll see what he has to say about it.
  • 8 0
 a little more to the right
  • 13 0
 Your shoulders should be positioned over the leading edge of your front wheel, this reduces wear on your rear tire.
  • 1 0
 is there such a thing as too much?
  • 3 0
 Too much is the new black.
  • 3 0
 try to invert the stem
  • 1 0
 go moto style
  • 2 0
 Only if you think you are.
  • 1 0
 ::can't answer; laughing too hard::
  • 2 1
 Ok, so I called my buddy and here's the deal: I can't definitely vouch for ridding too much over the front so I'm willing to offer you pushing the bike way back instead. Anyway that's my 2 cents it's really all I can do.
  • 3 0
 2psi in you left ear should do it
  • 2 0
 ya think 2 is enough? i'd go 3.
  • 2 1
 I tighten the clamp of my brake levers just enough so that they don't move when I'm using them, which isn't that tight at all. They swivel out of harms way in case of crash, rather than snap. Also in this context, I can easily adjust them during my ride. Low when I'm climbing or sprinting out of the saddle so that the lever blade doesn't hit my knuckles and fairly flat indeed for the steeper bits. It becomes natural eventually so I rarely forget to set it flat for the descends, but when I discover I did, I just push it flat with my thumb.

I wouldn't recommend twisting my wrist like in that picture, rather leave it straight. Even if it feels convenient because you're giving your muscles a break, you could eventually get injured. Really you won't slip over the handlebar as long as your thumb is in place, right? Otherwise just drop your elbows a little to absorb the impact and your (still straight) wrist will tilt into that recommended angle.

One advice I once implemented in my riding came from Steve Jones from Dirt (mountainbike magazine) well over a decade ago. Use the middle finger for braking so that you still have a wide grip between index finger and pinky. Against popular taste, I therefore also don't like to have my lever set too close to the handlebar as my index finger gets stuck when braking.
  • 1 0
 Flat levers were the "in" thing in moto in the early 2000s. Vuillemin was probably the most-guilty of this, but tons of pros rode with their levers high, just like they're referencing in this article. Interesting that it is coming around in mtb - never even noticed. I'm curious to raise mine up a bit to see how it feels.

I used to run them high / flat on my motorcycle, but I feel like its just a trend like a lot of things. Maybe its legit on the mtb - no idea, but easy enough to try.
  • 1 0
 I have Transition tr250 .It is a mini DH bike with 180mm travel,changed bigger rear cassette smaller front chain ring and dropper seat post and this is my do it all bike for me.I can climb almost anything on this and awesome for park riding....
  • 6 2
 Definitely checking my break leavers.
  • 40 2
 And your brake levers too.
  • 1 13
flag pinnityafairy (Oct 6, 2015 at 19:21) (Below Threshold)
 it isn't a spelling B
  • 20 0
 You mean spelling bee?
  • 7 1
 I think he meant bummbull B.
  • 5 0
 Alcohol broke my lever
  • 4 0
 Hmmm. Might have to try raising my levers up.
  • 3 0
 I already changed the levers a bit for tomorrows ride
  • 3 0
 Sarik, you have a very nice bike.
  • 2 0
 Piggyback shocks only fit on a large Spicy/Zesty (up to 2013 model). Go the CCDB Inline.
  • 1 0
 I've got a Large 2009 Zesty and I've a CCDBair (not the in-line) fitted. I did find that the piggyback end has to be near the seat-tube though, as the air can would otherwise contact the linkage through compression...

I was massively impressed at the improvement, although I have to state that I went from the stock shock which was in dire need of a service... It is night and day better on the downhill stuff, and I immediately improved many personal bests on different sections of trail. I was (and still am) extremely happy with the change. It does take a little time to find your settings but, if you follow the guide (available online if you want to have a look), it is very simple - just looping a section of trail adjusting a single setting at a time until you have the desired results. Took me maybe 30-40mins at most I think...

If you do go for the in-line there does seem to be a lot of stories of them failing (on the internet, so please take this with a pinch if salt!)? I think you'd be better placed with a new shock with warrantee to be on the safe side.
  • 1 0
 Good advice about flipping the shock, something most people don't think of. I had to do this on my Kona Operator to fit a World Cup Air, and though it looks weird and gets me heckled in the lift line, it works perfectly.
  • 2 0
 Brakes too low down causes of "grip of death" pain for me - i run mine almost flat.
  • 1 0
 I quite like how they took an interesting discussion from the comments and got some opinions from the pros about it. This could be something.
  • 3 0
 Mondraker Dune - my do-it-all bike!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 I am 2 meters one ,long frontend dh bike and levers nearly 60degrees! Most naturall feel at attack position when u r tall.....
  • 2 0
 Or just dont use your brakes and then you dont have to worry about them.
  • 1 0
 Damn, it looks like that guy put a lot of effort into that shot. Beautiful bike, beautiful pool.... enveous
  • 2 0
 1. Corset 2. Process 3. whatever
  • 3 1
 A do-it-all bike does not exist.
  • 3 2
 SX Trail
  • 2 1
 SX trail was a great bike, but sorry mate, a do-it-all bike does not exist. Companies want us to believe that it exists so we can spend money on the next do-it-all bike, but what we are always getting is a do-it-all-with-some-compromises.
  • 1 0
 Do-it-all-with-some-compromises could still make a good proper bike for doing all, you just have to be willing to live with some compromises. Those compromises typically imply that you have to work harder, maybe try to be a bit smoother, need more skills and still not be competitive (not to be confused with not being able to enter a competition). I wouldn't blame the companies there.
  • 1 0
 You can do it all OK. But there is no bike that is amazing at all of it.
  • 1 0
 I'd happily settle for less than amazing. For me personally it would be too expensive and sometimes even impractical to have amazing dedicated bikes for everything I want to ride. Some of the trails I ride have climbing bits and descends as well. On that very same trail! Kidding aside, yes you're probably going to want several bikes either if you're seriously competing (in some particular discipline and you want a competition bike for that) or to save the expensive do-it-all/enduro bike from dirtjump and street (ab)use.
  • 1 0
 Even hard reach deraileur levers at that anle
  • 2 1
 Use a Dh bike to do it all !
  • 1 0
 One bike for everything is great until it breaks, you need at least 2
  • 2 0
 that lapierre is sweet!
  • 1 0
  • 1 3
 Is here such a thing as a through axle converter? I have a 20mm axle and I have a 15mm wheelset....
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 I've a BOS Deville which is a 20mm axle, but you can buy a 15mm axle for it.

I previously had a qr Fox Float 32, where I purchased new qr15 lowers and swapped them over. I believe that the new Fox 36's might be able to take both axles but I'm not sure?

If you have certain hubs you can change the axle compatability - for example Hope Pro2's. Sometimes as simply as changing out some endcaps.

So, depending on your fork and hubs, you might be able to use your current stuff together, but without more information I can't say! Cheapest option after @justincs may be to just get a relatively cheap and decent 20mm front hub and get your LBS to swap it over, but if your forks are about to get serviced you'll probably find that the shop will change the lowers free for you if that suits better (or it is very easy to do yourself AS LONG AS YOU HAVE A TORQUE WRENCH!!! I learnt this the expensive way!)

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