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Rocky Mountain trail riding

4051 Views 20 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Loppy
I recently got a T-dub about a month ago
Woo Hoo!

I've been tootling around on it and having a blast.

We went camping Labor day weekend up near Georgia pass which is between Fraiser and Breckenridge Co. Anyways climbing some of those hills was a bit of a struggle
climbing over boulders and sharp rocks was a bit nerve wracking but I did make it to the top and my poor T-dub earned a spot on the lift for her victory dance. My delema is that I don't know if it is my inexperience with this bike or the bike tires, I bounce like I'm on a big red bouncing ball (like the ones with handles some folks had when they were a kid) when I start to get thrown there is no getting her back, I must of fell 1/2 dozen times climbing up the mountain and a couple of times coming down. I feel like the bike is riding on top of the terrain and not digging in.

We went again this weekend and did a bit better, I hit the ultimate biker mogels and was having a blast, I hit one came up, then down, then I really don't know what happen next but everyone behind me said the tire just bounced like a balloon and you were down and slid over 10 ft
, I'm still limping and the poor poor T-dub took a terrible beating although I broke her fall when I let her land on my body...
that is the pain I am feeling all over at this moment.

Anyways is the T-dub not made for this terrain, I can see that she would be a blast in the sand and some great fire roads etc. but the rocky terrain here in Colorado..I don't know, did I mess up and get me the wrong bike? which now needs some TLC just on the front accessory stuff she landed on that first before landing on me.

Ok sorry to ramble, I'm just confused. I suppose I can get alot of info here on the site, so your input is well needed for this new T-dub owner.
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Follow, I think you will be OK with a bit more time, some patience and a few minor tweaks. First, 20 psi is MUCH too high for your weight, IMO. That is a big reason why it bounces so much. The tires are a big part of the suspension on these bikes, and too much air will have the results you experienced. Retmotor mentioned 12/10 psi, and with your light weight I think that is about right. Particularly if you are riding at trail-riding speeds.

First, what kind of bikes and riders are you intending to keep up with? This is critical. Looking at your second picture, I assume that it is one of the easier sections. A bunch of guys on enduro or motocross bikes would often go through something like that at 30-45mph or more. A T-Dub would be uncomfortable at much beyond 20-30, and even then you'd need to dodge the bigger rocks. Pick the easiest line by going from side to side.(you probably know this)

Second, by "biker mogels" I assume that you mean "whoops" (whoop-de-doos) which is the biker term.8=) Moguls or whoops, on skiis or a bike, staying upright on them at speed is an advanced technique. The fast guys on the enduro bikes can skim over just the top of the whoops without dropping down into the lower parts between them. That takes speed, technique, and a much more expensive and better suspension than the T-Dub possesses. On a T-Dub I just drop my speed and ride up and down over them. Sometimes you can avoid doing that by just riding a bit to one side or another where the trail is more level.

IF YOU INTEND TO RIDE AT SPEED OVER WHOOPS, YOU DO INDEED HAVE THE WRONG BIKE. A word of caution. People can get badly hurt riding whoops, even with the right bike.

I'll wait for your answers before saying anything more.
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Follow, after seeing that last pic with all of the rocks, it's no wonder that a T Dub with too much air in the tires had trouble. First of all, the original front tire won't grip those rocks very well. It will deflect to the side. You probably learned that very quickly. There are better tires available, but that's not the entire problem.

Going over big rocks and ledges is mostly about a lot of suspension travel and going fast enough to avoid being deflected. Most of those enduro and motocross bikes have close to a foot of suspension travel at both ends. They can soak up the impact of an 8" rock without using more than 2/3 of the available travel. The rider won't even feel it. A T-Dub on the other hand has about half of that amount of travel. Some additional cushioning is available from the big tires, but they need to be soft to work as suspension. Yours were much too hard, so when you went over the 8" rocks your 6 inches of travel was not enough and your tires were too hard to help. Result? You went backside over teakettle.

A better front tire and lower tire pressures should help a lot, but work up to speed gradually. You will NEVER be able to go quite as fast over that kind of terrain as a full-on enduro can go.

The bad news about the enduros is that to get all of that suspension travel they have a seat that is sky-high. Most of them run from 36" to 38" from the ground. Hard for you to touch the ground without carrying a ladder. An enduro/motocrosser can be lowered a bit by reducing the travel a couple of inches and the seat can also be cut down. Several hundred dollars worth of mods.

Enduro bikes are usually more top-heavy and also need to go faster to work well. A T-Dub is more stable at a slower speed.

I think you can get the T-Dub up to "respectable" speed fairly easily, but if you want to run with the fast riders you need another bike. And probably a good supply of pain meds. We hope it works for you.
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Follow, I think you have it figured out. Make a few simple changes, back off slightly and let the speed come, as much as possible, from seat time and experience.

Don't feel pressured to keep up with the fast guys. Lots of them have been riding dirt since they got out of diapers, and their bikes fit them better than they would fit you.

In most riding groups, the really fast guys don't mind waiting a few minutes for a slower rider. They will wait at a trail junction and BS about the ride until you arrive. The downside is that once you arrive, they usually take off again. They are well rested and you either move out without a rest break or get left way behind.
Just raise your hand if they look antsy and ask them for a couple minutes of rest.

The one thing the fast guys don't like is to have someone in the group who is constantly over their heads and crashing. That can ruin a ride for everyone, either through a broken bike or rider. Better to keep a steady pace than hold up the group for a longer time post-crash.

It's impressive that you can handle an ST on the street. That is one of Honda's all-time-best Sport Tourers. It is a heavy bike, but due to its engine configuration it is not nearly as top-heavy as one might think.

If you keep at it, you will eventually get the TW up to an acceptable speed and be happy with it, or you will need to think about another bike. That decision will be up to you. I think the TW will work for you, but if you want more, let us know. Most of us have been through something like this before, and can make some recommendations on other bikes.

Just remember, even with a faster enduro/motocrosser modified to fit you as much as possible, you will still be at a disadvantage compared to the really fast guys. You will be faster, but they will still be waiting for you. Just not as long.
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One final thought. I assume that you are covered from head to foot in good protective gear. If not, get some immediately. Running shoes, a t-shirt and jeans don't cut it at speed; even on a T-Dub. It is amazing how great it is to take a nasty fall and bounce right back up, unhurt.
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