Over the handlebars going uphill? Why?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Over the handlebars going uphill? Why?

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    • #182563

      Total newb here, been riding about a month.  Took my inaugural ride over the handlebars yesterday on a steep uphill section littered with roots on my local trail and I’m trying to understand why.  I’ve been having issues with my front tire losing traction on steep climbs so I’ve been focusing on shifting my weight forward to keep it engaged.  I’m guessing I was too far forward and my rear tire lost contact with the trail which caused my front tire to roll out from under me and pitched me into the dirt.  I had my rear end slightly off the saddle just before I endo’d.  Trying to get a better understanding of what went wrong to avoid further injury and damage to my bike (I cased my rotor).

      Thanks for any tips, love the sport!

    • #182586

      Don’t know, don’t think I ever gone over hill climbing.

      If your front end is wandering you might want to see if you can drop a gear and climb in it. May have to build your legs up for it, but when I first got started and relied on my granny gear to hill climb my front end would be all over the place and popping wheelies without wanting. I was having to lean way into the handlebars while still keeping my rear in the saddle. Hard to breath like that…which makes it more complicated. Once I gained the leg strength to never have to shift out of my middle ring my front end tracks so much better.

    • #182616

      great advice, thanks!

    • #183100

      It sounds like the front to rear balance of your bike is a bit off. From your description you are leaning forward a lot and getting off the seat and forward just to keep the front wheel from lifting and wandering on steep climbs. Do you have an offset seat post? Try adjusting your seat forward on the rails around 1/2″ and stay seated during most of the climbs to see if that helps.

      Your handlebar reach might be a bit off too. In your normal riding position, are your elbows bent? How much of your weight is on your grips? Are your arms extended 90 degrees forward from your chest? How upright is your normal sitting position? If your arms are almost straight and you are barely putting any weight on your grips; then your reach is too far out and the front wheel will be too lightly loaded. A shorter stem, and swapping more spacers under your stem can possibly help with this.

    • #183106

      If you need to lean forward while you’re climbing, also be sure to keep your chest low to the bars. This will help you control the front wheel, maintain traction, and lower your center of gravity. That should make going over the bars less likely.

    • #183132

      Two mores tip for maintaining traction while being concerned with fore/aft balance.

      1.  slide a little forward on the saddle and (turn away if you’re squeamish) ride with the point of your saddle shoved right up your . . . .

      In this way, you can keep constant pressure down through the rear wheel to maintain climbing traction while at the same time holding some weight over the front wheel (as Aaron suggested above).

      2.  If you are prone to a sort of two stroke hammering pedaling cadence while climbing (as most noobs are) rather than a smooth circular pedal stroke, you can actually pull back and down on the handlebars as if rowing when hitting those hard pedal strokes.  This will also keep that back tire shoved into the ground for traction.

    • #183165

      Not knowing what bike you have, non-stock components that could affect your geometry, what frame size, your inseam, your height, tire pressures, fork settings, etc…      it does make it a bit more difficult for us to give you more specific advice on bike fit and riding style changes.

    • #183169

      I have a 18″ frame 29er (Voodoo Canzo), full suspension.  I’m not educated enough to comment on many of the specs you asked for Blundar.  I’ve worked on keeping my chest lower towards the frame and not standing up while leaning forward on climbs and (knock on wood) I haven’t had the problem since.  The stem is slightly extended which fits my long torso well, and I have a slight bend in my elbows when riding comfortably.  My seat post is slightly higher than the handlebars which fits my short legs.

      The cadence is something I’ve really been focusing on and I think that was the culprit of my aforementioned spill.  Trying to stay more steady with rhythm in a tougher gear.  I’ll keep you posted on how it’s working!

      Thanks to everybody for chiming in!  I really love this sport and I’m determined to improve my fundamentals.  Headed to the White Water Center in Charlotte tomorrow and excited to get some good downhill.

    • #183188

      From what I could find on the internet, your Voodoo Canzo is a very nicely spec’d bike.   http://www.bikeradar.com/us/gear/category/bikes/mountain-bikes/product/review-voodoo-canzo-10-36918/

      With more seat time and experience you will be able to handle technical sections much more easily. You can optimize your momentum, shift your weight around to pump and lift the front end at the right times, take the best lines, better read the path ahead and adjust accordingly sooner. Read up on all the beginner blog articles on this website (I wrote some of them) and keep on riding.


      Your skills and fitness levels will improve by leaps and bounds very quickly. As your skills improve, so will your enjoyment of the sport.


    • #183233

      you listed your frame size but not your size


      I have only endo’d going uphill once in 35 years and it was because the frame was too small…just fyi

      unless you grabbed your front brake, a front endo uphill is virtually impossible!  I applaud you for that, but maybe your frame is too small???


    • #183234

      The closest I’ve come to doing it was because I didn’t get wheel on top of a step up, and bike stopped cold.   but If that’s not it, be sure to work on attack position, if standing with weight above BB (that’s a bit forward when climbing) or forward on seat as described above.  Most newbies also benefit from a good bike fit too. (I’ll note that “good” is hard to judge)

    • #183355

      I’m 6′ and weigh about 185.  Bike seems like a good fit.  I just returned from riding in NC — we did USWC and Sherman Branch.  It was pretty wet but Sherman was such a great trail with awesome flow.  I earned several “badges” (rock garden, camel back, jump, REAL downhill to name a few) and had a terrific time.

      LOTS of intense uphill sections, especially at Whitewater Center, and no problems with the bike slipping out under me like my initial wreck.  I’ve worked on staying out of granny gear and focusing on a steady cadence, keeping butt in saddle and chest low over frame and so far so good.  Thanks to all for the tips!

    • #183414

      I would still slide the seat forward on the rails 1/2″. That will make it so that you do not have to get your chest so low over the frame when you are climbing…

    • #262156

      I know this is an old thread, but I haven’t found much on the net about going OTB while climbing.


      This has happened to me twice while climbing out of the saddle on rooty singletrack.

      It happened today during a singletrack race. The bike just disappeared behind me and I faceplanted hard. I started bleeding from my nose. If my face had faceplanted on a rock I would probably not be writing this now.

      The importer made some changes to this bike. I have not thought about it before, but could there have been some changes to the geometry that makes the bike more risky to ride? If so, what kind of geometry changes would increase the risk of going OTB while climbing out of the saddle on singletrack?

      I’m not a novice, but I do get worried.


    • #262298

      I think that was my first post!!

      I have learned a lot since that crash, but 1 lesson stands out…..don’t put your weight on the front wheel.  Bad things happen.  Keep your weight on your legs, hips, and core.  Your arms are just for steering

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