Tire or Technique?

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Tire or Technique?

Postby blueflyer83 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:23 pm

Recently I broke down and bought myself my very first FS MtB; 2012 Trek Remedy 8. I couldn’t be happier with the decision; however I would like some feedback on something.

Since the major upgrade to this ride I’ve had to slow down dramatically while cornering on the downhill. The reason; it feels like I have no control over my bike, like it wants to slide out on me, typically starting with the front tire. Is this me or should I really consider upgrading my tires?

NOTE: I am currently running the stock Bontrager tires. I thought the pattern was close enough to some Maxxis tires that I didn’t think it was necessary to spend the extra $$$.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby John Fisch » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:50 pm

Tire or Technique? Probably some of both.

You say you just bought your first FS. Did you MTB before that? If so, for how long?
What kind of conditions do you ride in?

If you're still a new MTBer and riding in difficult conditions (i.e. sandy, muddy, gravelly), then it's a good bet you need to improve your technique. Cornering is one of the most important, and neglected aspects of MTB technique.

Here's a few things to remember when cornering:
1. Try to slow down to a speed you can carry through the turn BEFORE entering the turn. Panic braking while in a turn is disastrous. Carrying momentum out of the turn is far more important than carrying momentum into the turn.
2. You always want your body mass centered over your bottom bracket-fore and aft and side to side. For cornering, this means planting your weight squarely over your outside pedal while turning. Having your weight on your inside pedal is a surefire way to make the bike slide right out from under you. Even while pressing on the outside pedal, som hip angulation or torso adjustment may be necessary to keep the weight centered rather than into the turn.
3. Remember the mantra "Lean the Bike, not the Body." This is a corrolary to #2. If you do this, you're on your way to better cornering.

If you're an experienced biker and already doing all these things, then sure, new rubber may help. The best tire can never fully compensate for bad technique, but it can help a bit, if you ride it right. Of course, the best tire for you is largely dependent on what types of surface conditions you usually ride in.

Bike manufacturers often save a little money by putting cheaper tires on bikes, especially those at the lower to middle end of their line. I'm not sure what Bontragers Trek puts on the Remedy 8, but most stock Bontragers aren't the most confidence inspiring tires and an upgrade will likely be helpful.
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby fleetwood » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:11 am

skibum provides good advice.

Also, if you haven't already, check the tire pressure. If it's too high it could cause some issues. For what it's worth, the first upgrade I did on my previous bike (a Gary Fisher) was to swap out the Bonty tires. I had the same issues you describe and new rubber made a huge difference. I'm still working on the technique part. :D
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby ollysj » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:05 pm

First thing I changed on my Marlin and my FuelEx was the tires, that improved the bikes performence alot. But as already said, you need the proper technique too
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby blueflyer83 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:52 pm

Skibum: Sorry for not giving more background info. I have been riding bike since I can remember, MtB since 2001. First ride was a Gary Fisher “Wahoo”(2001?), second a 2011 Kona Fire Mountain, then massive upgrade to the Remedy. I would have stepped up to a nicer ride over the Kona, however that was all I could afford at the time; lesson learned. ;-) I’ve never had much of an issue with my bike sliding out on me till this one. Since my OP, I’ve done some serious thinking about what I’m doing wrong on this bike that I did right on my other two bikes…and it was something fairly obvious that you pointed out. My center of gravity has been off. My other two bike’s geometry and forks meant I didn’t have to lean over my bike very far, however with 6” of travel and a slightly higher top tube I’m thinking that I have not been leaning over as much as I SHOULD. These could all be excuses, but I’ll give it a shot on my next downhill run. NOTE: I live in Golden, CO and did the Chimney Gulch/Apex Trail loop on my Kona…not sure if that helps diagnose my “issue”.

Fleetwood: The last I checked I weigh about 165. I’m running tubeless and keep my tires at about 35psi (never felt very safe running lower than 30psi…especially on the rocky stuff around here).

Thanks everyone for the outstanding incite! I’m going to tool around with my stance a bit before I decide to upgrade my tires….i’m leaning more towards rider error. *face palm*
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby John Fisch » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:52 pm

BF83
All the additional info helps.

1. There's definitely some loose stuff on Apex/Chimney (especially during this very hot, dry year), so good cornering technique is important.

2. When I went from a HT to a 6" bike, I definitely felt a little squirrely for a while. It's not so much the higher top tube as the higher bottom bracket, which raises the bike's center of gravity which, in turn, exaggerates any misplaced weight, so any flaw in technique will be magnified.

That, combined with those stock Bonty's probably accounts for your issues.
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby stumpyfsr » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:59 pm

Let me point on one more thing, that may help to fix your issue. Did you set your suspension correctly, especially rebound? If its not right for your terrain, it can cause sliding in corners and overal weird feel.
Those high volume Bontragers can be ran with 20-25 psi with no problem (even with tubes) and you'll see how much grip you've missed by keeping pressure over 30.
Hope it'll help. Good luck on those corners ;)
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby fleetwood » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:58 am

blueflyer83 wrote:Fleetwood: The last I checked I weigh about 165. I’m running tubeless and keep my tires at about 35psi (never felt very safe running lower than 30psi…especially on the rocky stuff around here).


I'm about that weight and run about 30 PSI over all kinds of terrain and never have any issues. I run tubes, but it is my understanding that you can run tubeless at even lower PSI. Just throwing it out there.

One other suggestion -- don't make all the changes at once (technique, susp, tire, tire pressure, etc) or you may not be able to zone in on the root cause.
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby maddslacker » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:23 pm

fleetwood wrote:
blueflyer83 wrote:Fleetwood: The last I checked I weigh about 165. I’m running tubeless and keep my tires at about 35psi (never felt very safe running lower than 30psi…especially on the rocky stuff around here).


I'm about that weight and run about 30 PSI over all kinds of terrain and never have any issues. I run tubes, but it is my understanding that you can run tubeless at even lower PSI. Just throwing it out there.

One other suggestion -- don't make all the changes at once (technique, susp, tire, tire pressure, etc) or you may not be able to zone in on the root cause.

I weigh 200 and I run 29psi in the rear, 27 in the front. (tubeless)
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby Jared13 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:45 pm

fleetwood wrote:
blueflyer83 wrote:Fleetwood: The last I checked I weigh about 165. I’m running tubeless and keep my tires at about 35psi (never felt very safe running lower than 30psi…especially on the rocky stuff around here).


I'm about that weight and run about 30 PSI over all kinds of terrain and never have any issues. I run tubes, but it is my understanding that you can run tubeless at even lower PSI. Just throwing it out there.

One other suggestion -- don't make all the changes at once (technique, susp, tire, tire pressure, etc) or you may not be able to zone in on the root cause.


Great tip right there. If you change a bunch of things at once, you won't know what fixed it, or made it worse.
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby blueflyer83 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:24 pm

So I rode up Apex, Sluicebox and back down yesterday. Through all the loose gravel, sand, and rock the bike climbs like a boss; so it’s not the tires. On the descent I dropped my seat as low as it’ll go and had a field day! NOTE: when i last rode White Ranch I neglected to lower my seat, which kept getting in my way while descending the carriage road back to the car. This time I paid more attention to my body position and center of gravity. Maybe its that I adjusted my technique or that I am getting used to how my bike handles, but I didn’t have any issues this ride. I had more traction this past ride than I’ve had with any of my other bikes....with the major addition of a far smoother and controlled ride. As we were all thinking, it was mostly my cornering technique. *face palm*

Thanks again everyone for all the feedback and patience! See you on the trails!
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby maddslacker » Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:19 pm

Did you come down Enchanted Forest?
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby Jared13 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:34 pm

blueflyer83 wrote:So I rode up Apex, Sluicebox and back down yesterday. Through all the loose gravel, sand, and rock the bike climbs like a boss; so it’s not the tires. On the descent I dropped my seat as low as it’ll go and had a field day! NOTE: when i last rode White Ranch I neglected to lower my seat, which kept getting in my way while descending the carriage road back to the car. This time I paid more attention to my body position and center of gravity. Maybe its that I adjusted my technique or that I am getting used to how my bike handles, but I didn’t have any issues this ride. I had more traction this past ride than I’ve had with any of my other bikes....with the major addition of a far smoother and controlled ride. As we were all thinking, it was mostly my cornering technique. *face palm*

Thanks again everyone for all the feedback and patience! See you on the trails!


The nice thing about technique being the culprit: It's (usually) cheap to fix! :lol:

I'm glad to hear the ride went well!
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby John Fisch » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:18 pm

Ditto. Good on ya. The enjoyment only grows from this point!
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Re: Tire or Technique?

Postby blueflyer83 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:24 pm

Jared13 wrote: The nice thing about technique being the culprit: It's (usually) cheap to fix! :lol:
I'm glad to hear the ride went well!

+1, :lol: Yeah, I was really hoping I wasn’t having too much of a noob moment; tiz all good. :roll:


maddslacker wrote:Did you come down Enchanted Forest?

Did NOT this time around, I had a time constraint. I have done the loop from Heritage Road, down 6th, up Chimney Gulch, past the nature center to Apex Park, down Enchanted/Apex, and back to Heritage Road; GOOD TIMES! I'm hoping to do that again soon; maybe Kenosha this weekend. :D

skibum wrote:Ditto. Good on ya. The enjoyment only grows from this point!

+1, I’m hoping so! I got pretty discouraged after going down at Marshall Mesa because of this. In all fairness I did miscalculate the turn with the slope of the trail juuuust a little bit. It was definitely a laughable moment…felt like I was sliding into home plate! :lol:
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