Leaves Everywhere!

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Leaves Everywhere!

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    • #178624

      I’m still new to the sport, I’ve had my bike for a few months now. I did about 100 road miles before I even hit a trail. I’ve done around 5 trails, about 30 miles now. I haven’t had any real issues learning until now. What does everyone do about the leaves? I crashed twice now and I’m putting most of the blame on the leaves. They hide obstacles and my rear has kicked out a couple times. Plus I can’t get traction uphill when on the leaves. I’ve aired down to below 40 psi. Not real sure how low I can go, I’m running tubes.  Any suggestions?

    • #178639

      Yep, leaves can make things tricky. Easiest advice is to just slow down when you’re not sure what’s underneath the leaves to avoid being thrown by hidden obstacles.

      As far as getting traction, rear traction is all about weight distribution, specifically balancing as much weight on the rear wheel as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should lean backward–I find it best to tuck down low, pull down and back on the bars, and really drive my legs down and back. That’s probably not a great explanation but you can practice and experiment on the trails.

      Also, 40psi is still pretty high pressure even with tubes. You should still be plenty safe closer to 32psi but IMO, your traction will benefit the most from getting the weight distribution down pat.

    • #178644

      I’m sure it’s just a lack of skill and fitness on the uphills. I try to remain seated as long as possible. Sometimes though, I have to stand to really dig in. That is when I start to loose traction in the back. The leaves make it much worse.  Slowing down when I can’t see what’s below or on the switchbacks is what I thought and probably solid advice, but who wants to slow down…LOL! IDK what’s worse, going slow or being thrown over the bars? Thanks for the advice! As a new rider I’ll take all I can get.

    • #178646

      Jeff had some good advice.

      Even if you’re using your easiest gear, as you’ve discovered, there will inevitably be times where you have to stand to climb. Tire choice can have a HUGE impact as well. Do you know what tires you’re currently running? Generally speaking, for leafy trails you want taller, spiked knobs that can punch through the leaves. Some possible options for you: WTB Vigilante, Maxxis Beaver (get the 2.25, not the 2.00), Maxxis Ignitor, Specialized Butcher… There are many possibilities. Check with your local bike shop to see what they offer. You’ll be looking for large knobs with plenty of space between them.

      Also, if you can, convert your wheels to tubeless. Running lower pressures will help immensely. You’ll get a larger contact patch, meaning more of the tire is touching the ground.

    • #178655

      I feel your pain living in leafy Virginia. When I went from 26 to 29 that helped. When I had new wheels built for tubeless with extra wide rim that helped by putting more rubber on the ground. Truthfully though, is you live in a land of roots and rocks covered with leaves there is only so much you can do. I ride superhard in September and October, and then back off in November to catch up on all the chores I blew off for 2 months. After about a month the busy trails will be getting burnt in again. Heavy rains or a snow also help beat them down.

    • #178671

      They’re not leaf covered obstacles, they’re hidden treasures.


      The leafy period is just another fun aspect of singletrack.  If you ride your local trails enough, you will know where they “treasures” are even though you can’t see them.

    • #178710

      Tires make all the difference. They have to be able to punch through. I ride Minion 2.3’s which all my buddies said was overkill when I put them on. All I’ll say is that overkill is AWESOME!

    • #178749

      I still have the factory rubber on my bike…Maxxis Ikon 2.20….What’s a good upgrade from there? These tires have been fine up until now, at least in my minimal experience. I live in Michigan, we have a nice mix of terrains on the trails here…with sand coming up often…I don’t really want to cut back on riding right now, I’m really enjoying the fall weather and the scenery….I’ve only had the bike since around august and I’ve been heading out as often as I can…with winter quickly approaching my season is gonna end soon…I’m still not too sure about winter riding….

      When going tubeless….What are some of the concerns? Are repairs on the trail a problem? I’ll do some googleing about them.

      From what I gather from everyone’s advice…..I need more experience on my trails, slow down and air down…..maybe new tires.

    • #178750

      When going tubeless….What are some of the concerns? Are repairs on the trail a problem?

      If you have a flat on the trail while riding tubeless, you just remove the stem and throw a tube in to get you back to your car.  That being said, I have patched and replaced hundreds of tubes and that’s not an exaggeration.  My record is 24 patches on a single tube.  I would say that I was doing a trail side patch or swap every 2-3 rides.  In the last two years I’ve been running tubeless, I have NEVER had a flat or leak on the trail. I still carry tubes and patches to help others on the trail, however.

    • #178754

      Don’t know your weight but I use about 26/32 psi in my tires and I’m 145 pounds. Leaves are slick as snot, worse when wet. The looser thing get the more care needed, but you could pad up.

    • #178755

      Go tubeless. I have been riding tubeless for 1.5 years now and have never had a problem. if you get a flat, pull out a tube, yank off the presta valve stem, and throw in the tube and your good to get back to your car.

    • #178781

      Everyone is giving you great advice!  My piece:  Those Ikons are okay, but I would recommend finding the best “all-around” tire for how and where you ride.  This should also factor in seasons.  For example, mine came with some lightweight Bontrager Jones XR 26X2.25 I believe it was.  They were ok.  However, I ride aggressive all year long, travel to desert and mountain ranges.  Living in the Midwest we get Fall (lot’s of leaves) and that good ol Winter powder.  So I wanted traction without the overkill.  I went with Maxxis Ardent 26X2.4 and I love them.  They perform great from Hawaii, to Moab, to West Colorado, Arkansas mountains, and my local area.  They handle great in various dirt and terrian.  More than satisfied with them.  Running tubeless is a plus!!  We get crazy leaf coverage here in the Omaha area, but those Ardents go right through it.  Unless you have good bite on your tires, standing up will cause you to spin out, even on fat bikes.  The right setup and practice, you’ll be all’ight.  Then before you know it, you’ll start drifting through leaves on purpose ..eventually. lol.


      Take care,


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