Greetings from rainy VA. I recently picked up my first XC bike and I think I’ve really taken to the sport/past time. I haven’t ridden many trails, but the ones I have been able to hit have all been awesome. I grew up on dirtbikes and 4-wheelers in NJ which is why I think I enjoy this so much, it’s not so much a form of exercise as it is a challenge filled with actual speed and movement. I’ve already dragged a few friends and the wife into it, but really need to find time to work on what seem to be basic skills.
I picked up a Cannondale SL4 29er for a decent price but it came with some road tires so I’m looking to replace them with a more trail focused set, not going tubeless until I can afford a wheelset upgrade. I was thinking the Continental Trail King and keeping the road tires for when the wife wants to go for a downtown ride. I would say I’m mechanically inclined so this seemed to be a better option than a second wheelset…for now.
So, if anyone lives in the area and could stand to go for a slow(er) ride and maybe share a few pointers I would greatly appreciate it. I prefer to ride with others and having someone that actually knows what they’re doing would be invaluable. I’m also watching FATMAG.org for events and updates. The biggest things I’m struggling with right now are pedal strikes over fallen logs with no ramp up (no bunny hop technique… just watched about 45 min of tutorials) and just overall confidence. I used to mess around with BMX bikes as a kid and I was fearless but now I’m somewhat embarrassed of what I find myself hesitating over. I’ve subscribed to Global Mountain Bike Network on youtube for pointers but if anyone has some better tutorials or instructions in mind please send them my way!
You should still consider tubeless with your standard rims and tires. It’s not hard to do. A Stan’s No Tubes kit that converts your wheels costs $50-$60 and is one of the biggest improvements you can make. You loose weight in a rotating mass, and can run lower tire pressure, which will give you more traction.