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Rocks & Roots

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Rookie @ trail riding. I started trail riding w/ my buddies last year. It is a long drive so we only go 2-3 time a year. I am uncomfortable when I am riding around rocks and tree roots. My front wheel may kick off a rock to the right while my rear tire may kick off a tree root to the left, I tense up on the handle bars and it goes down hill from there.

I believe it is a comfort / balance issue. Got any good practice techniques?

I know there is nothing better than seat time, but I live on a small farm in Central Illinois, where it is flat, few trees, and little rocks. It is just planted fields, opens grass and gravel roads. I have to drive 3-4 hours to Indiana or Missouri for some good trails, not practical for an after-work drive. What can I do at home during the week to get ready?

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Balance drills. See how slow you can ride and not fall over. Practice starting and stopping without puting your foot down. See how long you can balance before having to use the clutch to move. Do figure 8's both directions with the steering as close to full turn as possible. Get a chunk of old phone pole, railroad tie, chunk of wood, etc and practice riding over it. Tractors make ruts, build a rutty section on the flat land and practice riding through it. Learn to ride wheelies and get comfortable on your back wheel. The more you practice and the better your balance, the more comfortable you will be on the trails. I do these drills around my house on more days in a week than I don't.

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????, you only ride these conditions a few times a year?, or you only ride a few times a year??. Either way PRACTICE!!!, PRACTICE, ECT.!!. If you have a tough area then ride it as much as you can, I.E., ride the tough areas as much as you can, it may be a hard time but the skills you'll learn, will help you ride everywhere!!. 😢

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I like the guy's idea of you droping some rocks and logs in your back yard. Rocks and roots take lots of them in a row a few weekends in a row to get it down. all I can add is when rocks and roots are wet they are 12 times more difficult to navigate then when dry. With as little trail riding as you do....I wouldn't go out the day after a big rain.

one more thing. It's all about the line you take. Take the simplest line that consistantly avoids rocks and roots yet don't steer away rather take the least painless route and then drive your bike over it all. See a big bent root in front of you then take the line so that one part of the root that will be at 90 degrees to the front tire is there at 90 degres when you cross it.

dance over rocks..get in a ninja turtle stance... butt up off the seat. leat the suspension work and dance right over those rocks . let the front end float and use steadt sure throttle to ride it out. Roots - go at 90 degress if you can let that front tire get over then don't hit the gas while the rear tire is on the root.

MOMEMTUM is key. when I see rocks I actually power my bike up some get that momentum moving and blast over the rocks with continous smal adjustments but kinda floating powering Dancing i call it over the rocks.

Roots are slick and get the front over then the raer over and pray you see no more big ass roots again inthe next 3 feet.

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These guys are giving some good advice.

Low speed drills and backyard obstacles are great practice.

Stand up when you are doing them, as you will learn where and how to shift your weight faster.

How far are you from Casey, Il? There's track and trails to be had there. Check out the AMA district 17 and 18 websites. There are harescrambles and enduros all around. They are a good way to ride someplace new and get some great practice.

Ask the folks around you about riding areas. There are places to go. You just haven't found them yet.

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I second Tubo's and Bigbob's comments, these practices combined are exactly what you need.

You have to have good balance on the bike as Tubo is suggesting before you can become good at rocks and roots.

And as bigbob has said, try to go straight over and through a rocky/rooty section after picking a line (hopefully the simplest line as suggested above). My approach is no matter what line I pick, I stick with it. Sometimes in a race you don't have time to pick the best line, but I think it's best to stick with it instead of trying to change the line and losing moementum.

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Do what Tubo said, but use a Mountain bike as well. If you can do it on a mountain bike, your dirt bike will be even easier.

Ride more, camp out send more time there.

Cheers,

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here is a short clip to demonstrate bigbob's "dance over" technique. notice the riders stance and how he is using speed and momentum through the trail.

also note, this video does not do justice to show how gnarly the roots are in this section, and fact you can't hardly even see them. trust me though, they are significant and you can see the rider in this video (PRO NW rider Kevin Bailey) jumping and bouncing off of them. In fact, where you see him catching air in the beginning is a massive root-wad section that he skys over, he just hits the first large root with speed and bounces over the rest.

rooted trail riding vid

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These guys have some good advise. One additional thing not yet mentioned, riding posture. In addition to the 90 degree rule (very important!!!), keep the front wheel light and skipping. So put your but as far back as possible. Doing a "micro wheelie" over the root. I keep the throttle steady, don't chop it, as that may upset the bike and make you slide out. Keep your legs and arms bent and "springy" so that you can absorb impacts. And again practise. Even if you have to "make your own trail" and throw some limbs over it.

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He wouldnt be riding our palmetto roots like that. 😢

I hate those things.Don't know if I should bring the RonCo slice & dice or just close my eyes and pray! 😢

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All good tips so far. The tricky part with roots and rocks is trying to be light on the bike when you hit the object. It really is alot like dancing. I try to build momentum before I come into a rough section, but just before I hit the object, I'll let of the gas a little or unweight to soften the suspension a little. If you hit a root with alot of power to the rear wheel, then the suspension is compressed and the rear of the bike will kick and slide more.

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All good tips so far. The tricky part with roots and rocks is trying to be light on the bike when you hit the object. It really is alot like dancing. I try to build momentum before I come into a rough section, but just before I hit the object, I'll let of the gas a little or unweight to soften the suspension a little. If you hit a root with alot of power to the rear wheel, then the suspension is compressed and the rear of the bike will kick and slide more.

There is another theory- Pin it and hold on!

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All good tips so far. The tricky part with roots and rocks is trying to be light on the bike when you hit the object. It really is alot like dancing. I try to build momentum before I come into a rough section, but just before I hit the object, I'll let of the gas a little or unweight to soften the suspension a little. If you hit a root with alot of power to the rear wheel, then the suspension is compressed and the rear of the bike will kick and slide more.

Agreed, if you plan on riding all day, let the bike take the brunt of the misery. It does help to have the suspension set up in advance, and know which tires work best in your area.

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Rookie @ trail riding.

I have to drive 3-4 hours to Indiana or Missouri for some good trails, not practical for an after-work drive.

Where exatly to you hail from? I live in west central IL and have a few favorite places to ride that are relatively close. PM me if you want some more info

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to get ready u can find a rocky place and go up and down it till u get it right, and when u go to places GO BY YOURSELF TO A SMALL PLACE THATS HARD AND PRACTICE LIKE GOING UP AND DOWN HILLS AND OVER ROOTS, O YA AND ON TOP OF THAT MAKE HARD TRAILS THROUGH OUT YOUR WOODS LIKE SOMETHING THAT IS REAL CURVE AND THAT WILL GET U READY

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Hi Trav,

Awesome website photo's. Was not able to see the video. I rode your '02 and '03 Golden Spike PR and roots and rocks describe it well!

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when I lived in vancouver we used to go to jones creek all the time, and they had some real course rock-pit riding up there. What I did was just stay loose and let the front end kick up. 😢

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