Making hardtails less bumpy?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  iliketexmex 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #223606

    Anyone have some tips on making your hardtails less bumpy?

    I know its not supposed to be the smoothest ride but I find I’m constantly being bucked off my seat or my feet from the pedals. The area I ride in has more roots than anything else so if there’s anything specific to that I’d love to hear it!

    Is this just an issue I’ll have to “deal with” or is there some small way of fixing it??

  • #223608

    Using clipless pedals should keep your feet on the pedal and in the right position at all times. It has the added benefit of improving your pedaling efficiency. As for the seat you could try dropping the air pressure in your rear tire to absorb more of the bumps. Another trick might be to shift your body around on the bike rather than staying in the same position. This can distribute your weight more evenly across the bike, instead of over the rear almost entirely. When I ride my HT, I’ll lean up and push forward as my rear tire hits big bumps, but that’s mostly to soften the blow on my wheel to keep it from wearing out. It may help you in some way. Lastly, there are suspension seat posts you could look into but I’ve never used one and I rarely see them around so maybe they don’t really work very well. It might be something to at least check out.

  • #223609

    Go with wide tires especially on front wheel

  • #223610

    Good tips above. I prefer to keep it simple though. A bicycle saddle in the case of a mountain bike is more a “perch” than a place to plop your ass. Think more edge of a window sill than lazyboy. You in fact are off of it more than on it during technical (roots, rocks, trail riding in general). This will provide you with better control over the bike by allowing you more access to the natural suspension of your arms and legs to prevent you from being “bucked off”. You may experiment with lowering your seat in such terrain.

     

  • #223614

    This is a sign of poor riding technique in most cases. It either too much weight over rear wheel or your legs too stiff when hitting those roots.

    Clipless pedals or nice grippy platforms will help to keep feet in place yet won’t solve the “kicking out of the seat” issue. Suspension post will make this kicking even worse.

    As said in previous posts, wider tires with lower tire pressure will help. Although body weight distribution is crucial. Think of your legs (and arms too) as shock absorbers and use it that way. This applies to full-suspension bikes as well.

    Another option is to use a rock or root to launch your bike into the air and skip few other obstacles that lays next. Then repeat and have fun

  • #223617

    I would agree with Stumpyfsr that is more about technique – choosing the right lines, using your legs to absorb the bumps, don’t sit on the seat so much, rather put your weight into your pedals so you feel part of the bike and not on top of the bike, and don’t tighten up when going over bumps, try to stay relaxed.

    There are some equipment changes you can try – get some good flat pedals with pins and a good pair of MTB shoes like 5/10’s that will stick to those pedals.  Better to learn how to ride with flats before switching to clipless, I’m still trying to unlearn bad habits I picked up because I started out with clipless pedals on my mountain bike.   A dropper post may help you get over difficult terrain by getting your seat out of the way.  While many XC purists will scoff at the weight penalty, I have one on my XC hardtail and it has made a world of difference in my riding capabilities.

  • #223624

    Well thanks for all the tips and suggestions. A dropper is definitely on my list of gear to get, I have a set of clipless pedals that I used to run but went back to flats as I was still newish to biking, I’ll give that a try again.

    As for body position and sitting/not sitting in the saddle, I do use my arms and legs as a sort of suspension and let the bike float under me but I think its more when its time to start pedaling and I’m in the saddle… either way I’ll try experimenting with different positions, tire pressures, tires and all that.

    Thanks again everyone and happy riding

  • #223627

    I have a USE Shokpost on my bikepacking hardtail.  This is a durable and rebuildable product, as mine has been on several bikes since I purchased it in 1993!  There is also the “Thudbuster” type of shock post, with Suntour selling the SP12-NCX, sold on Amazon.  USE currently has the Vybe model on their UK website.

    The last option is to look for a saddle with an elastomer isolation system, either as padding or as part of the rail.  This will offer only minimal protection.

  • #223672

    Another thing to think about is maybe you might be better off with a full suspension. The bottom line is that hardtails are just unpleasant to ride. I know this isn’t the answer you are looking for but it is worth considering so hopefully you will not waste as much money as me trying to fix an unfixable problem.  I found myself experiencing the very things you describe and used a lot of energy trying to change the ride without success but in the end i realized what i really needed was rear suspension. I upgraded and haven’t looked back.

  • #223888

    @coffeecup, try to raise a little off of your seat, when pedaling over an obstacle. As @DrSweets said, it’s not a saddle to remain seated on but rather a seat to rest on smooth portions. If I quoted him correctly.

    You don’t wanna ride seated over a rock garden, even when climbing. It’s much easier to control your bike on such terrain with only four contact points between you and a bike vs five.

    You can practice this skill even at home. Ride your bike over a curb. First lift front wheel, then roll your rear wheel over while applying force to pedals and taking weight from the seat.  Repeat until it will become one smooth action.

    I do not consider myself an expert but this helped me. Hope you’ll benefit from it as well.

  • #224045

    If you are being “bucked off” your seat and pedals, then the usual problems are:

    1. The most common issue is too high tire pressures. At around 200 Lbs with 2.0″ wide tires, you should be running at around 28 psi. Higher pressures will make your ride bouncy and jittery making you loose control. Wider tires and tubeless will let you go to lower pressures.
    2. The second most common problem is wrong fork spring/pressure and possibly poor rebound setting. Forks with an internal spring are typically sprung for a 150 lb rider from the factory. If you are heavier then you need to upgrade to a heavier spring. If your fork has an air spring, then you need to set the sag properly for your weight. Most forks also have adjustable damper rebound setting. Typically a good starting point is to set it at 1/2 way. If you weigh more than 150 lbs then you can go slower on the rebound. The cheapest forks are often called “pogo sticks” because they have no rebound adjustment and offer next to no dampening at all.
    3. Cheap flat pedals and poor shoe combination will not give you the right amount of grip. A grippy set of flat pedals with soft rubber sneakers will make for a huge improvement in control.
    4. Wrong technique can also be a problem. I rode the trails in New England for many years when I first started riding. The trails there are notorious for having lots of roots and rocky sections. Learning to float your bike over these sections by unweighting (hopping your bike without lifting off the ground) really helps to get through these.  Off the seat, attack position, heals down, stay loose, weight, unweight.
    • #224475

      EMVGranny Gear

      fully agree with blundar’s comments….

      ideally you shouldn’t be on the saddle 90% of the time when on the trails. do this if the trail is smooth, but with roots/rocks i would hover over the seats and push my feet onto the pedals [if riding flat pedals]. i find this technique having better control on the bike.

  • #224476

    Indeed. Sitting leads to all sorts of problems. Check your proprioreception and shralp the gnar whilst standing on platform pedals.

    Get a dropper post.

  • #224492

    Try a fat bike… I know a lot of people will hiss at this suggestion, but just try one.

    I just loaned mine to a guy today who had the same complaint as you. After a short trip around the local (rooty McRoot Route), he’s going to buy one. He was hooked. I acknowledge that there are some disadvantages, but you harm no one by checking one out…

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