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What Am I Doing Wrong?


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#1 cmc84

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:09 PM

Entered my third ever trial today, which was a success in that its the first I've finished. My score was nothing to write home about, but I've noticed I was losing marks consistently on the same 2 things:

1 - Going down steep slopes - I had absolutely no control, and accelerated downand out of the section on a few occasions. I think using the back brake was making matters worse.

2 - Muddy hillclimbs - Just couldn't find traction despite having two new tyres. I tried to roll the revs on and build or carry momentum wherever possible, but hillclimbs that I could manage in practice no problem seemed to be much much harder within a the context of a section.

Any tips?


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#2 chewy

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:07 AM

It's the same for all of us; you're moving in the right direction already by thinking about what is /was happening. Sounds like it's the dreaded flags/section markers getting to you.general rule of thumb is slow as possible at top..going downhill..... fast as possible at bottom going uphill ..

#3 hrcmonty

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:25 AM

Agree with Chewy, For the majority of us you can do all sorts in practice. Stick some flags in and an observer and it all goes to sh*t haha.

As for your original question, it's hard without seeing you ride!

Going down hill, more front brake and bodyweight down slightly and slightly forward of centre. Gets some weight into the front tyre to grip.
When your practicing, just practice going as slowly as possible keeping full control.

Going up hill, again depends on terrain etc etc, practice practice practice, and get yourself to some schools.

Does Jarvis still do them, i went to his and that was good.

#4 caddabs

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:59 PM

I wonder if when your going downhill you might be using more throttle when your shifting your weight back? Keep the throttle shut and as said above, a good handful of front brake depending on conditions etc. as you dont want to slide the front.

On uphill, I find it helps to bend the knees - knicked that from Ryan Young's dvd and it certainly helps me.

good luck !

Caddabs.

#5 reginald

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:05 PM

I was coached by a buddy who suggested on a slick uphill bank to try and centre your weight over the bike so you are neither pulling or pushing on the bars. It sounds so obvious but when I practised this it made me more aware of my body positioning and the improvement in grip was immediate.
Also I concur with hrc_monty on "just practice going as slowly as possible keeping full control."
I watched vdieo of my riding mate and then myself in the same section on the same twin shock bike [SWM] and no stop rules - in the section when I a***d it up i was a few seconds faster through the section then old mate. When i cleaned it was 1 second faster - not a golden rule but an observation.

#6 dan williams

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:19 PM

Normally about 70% of the stopping power of your brakes is from the front brake. On a downhill it goes up considerably. If you look at the top riders on steep down hills their rear wheels are just barely touching the ground and acting more as a stabilizer than any kind of control. You have to use the front brake.

One of the things that greatly affects comfort on drop-offs and down hills is bar position. It seems counter intuitive but having your bars too far back makes it more difficult to get positioned for a downhill. Check your bars to make sure that they are at least vertical when the bike is on level ground. You'll see a lot of guys with their bars even more forward but that may make the steering too twitchy for you as a beginner.

The key to the up hills as with most things in trials is centering. The Bernie Schriber book is still one of the best references on this basic concept. You probably find that you lose a lot of points in slow turns, always to the inside. This is a common problem for trials riders and is due to not bending the knees and arms to provide a stable platform.

Let me 'splain. As Bernie describes it you should be standing on the bike the same as if you were standing on the ground. As a demonstration find a slope and stand perpendicular to the fall line, i.e. with one foot higher up the hill than the other. You may be on a hill but you are still balanced. It’s how you are balanced that is important. If you look down you’ll see your uphill knee is bent. You don’t think about it you just do it naturally. That is exactly how you should feel on the bike. You stay centered and the bike moves beneath you. Here is where most new riders get into trouble. They don’t bend their knees to compensate for the raising and lowering of the pegs as the bike is leaned. Instead they keep their legs locked and spin their torso to compensate. This works OK on an enduro bike at speed but it doesn’t work well at all on a trials bike. Try it standing on the hill and you’ll feel the difference. Have a friend try to push you off balance in both modes and you’ll see that bending the knees is a much stronger position than compensating by twisting your body.

So the point of that exercise is this, keep your body upright in turns and let the foot peg and bar end come up to you by bending the outside knee and elbow. Now apply the same rules for uphill and downhill. Let the bike come up to you on the uphill. Don’t anticipate and lean forward because that will just unweight the rear wheel and cause it to spin. Maintain pressure into the pegs and if you feel the rear wheel spinning pull back on the bars. This is another important point from the Schreiber book, don’t think weight, think pressure. When you start thinking about weighting a peg or bar or wheel you’ll displace your center and lose the strength of being centered on the bike. Instead think of applying pressure to do what you want to do. Use back pressure on the bars to load the rear wheel for traction, forward pressure on the bars to load the front wheel for braking. Use pressure on one peg and bar end to initiate a turn or hold an off-camber. Use opposite pressure to stop a turn and return the bike to a neutral position. Try to always be balanced. Bernie said you can learn the basics in 5 minutes in a driveway but spend a lifetime perfecting them.

On the down hills let the bike fall away from you. Don’t lean forward but do maintain pressure on the bars. You'll find that you will crouch into the correct position naturally. This helps weight the front wheel more which helps braking. One finger on the brake. If you need more have them serviced. The rear brake is more dangerous and must be treated with great respect on a down hill unless you’re really keen to watch the back wheel pass your front wheel on the way down. I’ve done it. It didn’t end well.

Find a nice little hill and practice using just the front brake, using just the rear brake and a mix of both. You can throw in some turns and get used to the transition from up hill to down hill to up hill while maintaining your centering. Believe me the first time you do it properly you will go. “Whoa!” Then you’ll spend a few hours trying to repeat it, and then a lifetime trying to perfect it.

One more note on up hills, when you have to dab maintain pressure on the foot still on the peg. Most new riders dab and plunk their whole weight on the dabbing foot. Instant rear wheel spin when you do that. On your practice hill practice dabbing on the way up keeping the back wheel loaded. It has to be a reaction so practice helps the muscle memory.

A final tip is to watch slow motion video of some of the older non-trick riding sections. Watch body position and you'll see how the top guys stay centered. You can watch modern stuff too but you have to look around the dynamic trick moves to see how they all start and end the tricks from a centered position.

#7 cmc84

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:38 PM

Wow, thanks guys, that's certainly given me a bit to think about. I like the idea about thinking in terms of pressure. The best tip I've had so far has been to think of where the back wheel will go as you go round the section, which has worked wonders, so hopefully being mindful of staying up right, and applying pressure will help too.

Anyone know where I can find a copy of Bernie's book? I was looking for it last night, but no luck?

#8 dan williams

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:00 AM

The Bernie book is rare as hen's teeth these days. I had an autographed copy but gave it to a lad I thought had potential. He quit after a year. Dammit I want my book back!

#9 cmc84

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:52 AM

Success! Couldn't get Bernie's book anywhere, but got a copy of "Clean to the Finish" signed by the man himself for £15!

#10 jonnybmac

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 07:33 PM

keep your weight back and use alot of front.. dont jab it but if you keep your weight back you shouldnt go over the handlebars.

uphill, work your suspension so your constant gettign traction. try to get a run up and if you feel the rear tire spinning then slip your clutch a little and give it more power. dont just keep your throttle wide open and expect to get up


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#11 ham2

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:07 PM

I'll keep this brief 'cos I'm no expert and I'm contradicting HRC:
Downhills..keep your nut-sack on the number plate,
Uphills.....keep your nut-sack on the tank,near to the filler. :banana2:
For the last time...it's not 'SUPPOSED' to have a seat.
There are two types of men in this world:-
1) Those who are Geordies and..
2) Those that want to be.

#12 copemech

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:36 AM

One of the tricks to downhills is Controlling Momentum. Ass back and arms straight and all that, however you need to rool off slow, almost stopped at the top, feeling for traction with the front as you inch down, Once the rear is over the edge it is near useless and if you lock it it no longer functions as a rudder, so you gotta pulse it possibly to keep things in line.

If you let up on the brakes and start to accelelate, you may be done, as you will likely continue to accelerate and possibly to the point of out of control.So the initial control becomes more important in the outcome of the event. Hopefully you are low enough on the hill now, that even if you must let up on the front brake to keep it from skidding or slipping on a root, you will not blow through the sectioin markers at the bottom.

Hope that makes sense.
Ride it Like it was one of your old Girlfriends, If you still remember how!

#13 0007

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 05:28 PM

I use my engine as a antilock for the rear brake, seems like a lot of trials teaches pull in the clutch but I find I ride the rear brake and keep the engine at a constant speed with the rear brake, I find if the tire is rolling slowly it does not toboggan or plug with dirt and slip
That seems complicated but usually just constant pressure in use your ear
The front brake is just practice, I mess around on easy hills, try lifting the rear tire with the front brake, momentarily lock the front etc, it just gives you a better feel of the limit, after a while it becomes natural
Washed up never was, trying to be a has been

#14 pindie

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 07:16 AM

Start as slow as poss at the top of the slope/hill as well. Keep momentum in check. Follow all other advice.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Don't panic you will get better. I am probably worse. Keep smiling at least your riding!
Staying calm always helps. Science always wins.

#15 neilh

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:05 PM

so if you're climbing an uphill, muddy, stone, dry or otherwise, whats the best positioning for the body on the bike ?

people keep telling me to shift further back to keep weight on the rear tyre for traction purposes, not to lose drive and slip.

but i find myself more comfortable and in control leaniing forward, B*****ks on the petrol tank.




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