Getting RAAD on a hardtail

Hi Lee,

I purchased your book Dialed through your website about 3 weeks ago. I love geeking out about bike fit, so I’m thoroughly enjoying your approach. I have 2 questions:

1. I ride a hardtail with a suspension fork. When determining RAAD do you suggest taking measurements with the fork unsagged or sagged?

2. I’m considering buying a new frame, but can’t decide on the size. A size small will require minimal adjustment to the cockpit to get my RAD and RAAD. A size medium will take much more adjustment, but will result in a more neutral, slightly positive SHO. The medium will have a front center around 20mm longer than the small. Would you recommend one size over the other?

Current measurements: RAD 810mm, RAAD 60 deg SHO 37mm. With fork unsagged.

Regards,
Kai Brown

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Help me get back into a manual

Hi Lee

I’m not getting over my “fear” to lean back properly for manuals.  Or rather, to shift my weight back.
I know about keeping arms straight, not pulling up so much, pre-loading and then pushing back, but i’m not committed enough.  Feels feeble as there’s so little risk of things going wrong.  (Using flats so that’s also limiting damage.)
I’m getting my wheelies done pretty well, although I think I can also move my centre of gravity back some more.
Is there some mental image i can use to get me to move back?
I’ve even tried moving back in an “L”: down first, then back.
I’m pretty short (5’7″) so arm reach apparently will make it a bit more difficult.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks
JL

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Speed + Gnar + New Group = Fried Brain

Hi Lee,

The other day I rode with a different group of riders on a trail I’ve never ridden. It was dry and loose, rutted, and littered with gnar. Which, of course, is Rad. Being the guy that was unfamiliar with the trail (and probably attempting to fight above my weight class) I was the slowest rider. I also crashed the most.  I definitely pushed my limit on a few sections and the lizard in my head was not happy. I felt myself riding off the back and could not always correct in time to save it. My brain was fried on those sections.

This was the first time I reverted back to lizard auto pilot in a very long time. I’ve been in the same situation before but without smoking my brain stem and eating dirt.  Now I’m questioning what the heck went wrong. Does this ever happen to high level riders? Not that I’m anywhere near high level status but it just made me curious whether or not this affects all riders or just average joes. Of course, any recommendations you have for preventing this from happening again are more than welcome.

Thanks,
Keoni

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To BMX or not to BMX?

Hi Lee,

My name is Gavin, I emailed you with some questions about mountain biking a few years ago and I have another question for you now. I have been much more serious about mountain biking the past few years, and I bought myself a 2016 cannondale habit just after I emailed you last. I have been looking at maybe buying a dirt jumper for a while now but half a year ago I moved to Washington, Connecticut. The area I am in has 3 bmx tracks within an hour so I am trying to figure out if I should get a dirt jump bike or a bmx bike. Having a dirt jumper where I live would be fun because I live on a boarding school campus, but with the bmx tracks near me and the lower price of a bmx bike, I am quite torn. I would really appreciate it if you could help me out with this.

Thanks,
Gavin

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Why is riding fast so much better than riding slow?

Yesterday I did two rides, both on the same trail but each with its own group and pace. The difference in experience was striking.

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What are you afraid of?

Mountain biking give us plenty of opportunities to face fears. Perhaps the most stark form of mountain biking is dirt jumping. The jump face looms ahead, all tall and steep and imposing. You’re either going for it or you’re not.

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Brake Less and Let the Bike Roll 

Lately I’ve been SO STOKED on riding! I’m riding almost every day and getting really fit. As stoked as I am, I must admit I’ve descending slowly and carefully relative to my potential.

Why am I riding below my potential?

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Public MTB skills classes at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO is a world class facility with a huge range of trails, tracks and terrain. It’s the perfect place for a skills class.

20% of your class fees go straight to supporting the park.

We offer classes for all levels:

Level 1 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Level 2 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Women-only Level 1 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Women-only Level 2 MTB skills at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

MTB skills series in Boulder, CO (4 classes -all levels)

2-day advanced trail riding skills in Boulder, CO (intermediate+)

Private classes with Lee McCormack (at Valmont and elsewhere)

Questions? Please email lee@leelikesbikes.com.

Is this too much clay for a pump track?

Hi Lee,

I purchased your excellent book Welcome to Pump Track Nation v2 (hardcover) because my son and I are building a pump track in our backyard. I was wondering if I could ask you a question. I’ve gotten a dirt sample from a friend who’s got an excavator and can deliver it to me. I did your ball jar dirt test, and while I clearly see the clay (62.5%) it’s above another layer (37.5%), which is undifferentiated. I can’t figure out, by looking at your photo in the book, whether that bottom layer sand or silt. Or could it be both? If you could check out this photo and let me know what you think, I would be super grateful! (I wish I lived in Boulder so I could take one of your lessons – I may head out that way next summer anyways, so I might be able to squeeze one in). Also, I live in VT, is 62.5% clay too much for an environment where it can rain a fair amount?

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Should I ride a small or medium Specialized Epic?

Hi Lee,

The information in these books (Dialed and F6) is great. I do have one question. I am planning on upgrading from a 2008 Med S-works Epic to a 2021 Epic Pro. The geometry has changed drastically especially with the release of the 2021 bike. Based on your charts in the Dialed In book, you recommend a reach of 410mm for my height (5’ 8”). Based on the radically different geometry this puts me on a small frame. As you are very familiar with Specialized can you give me any insight into going longer with the new geo on the med frame (possibly shorter stem depending on SHO) vs. holding back and riding a small frame? I live in the SE USA and the most technical riding is done during my Xterra races at Oak Mountain (way less technical than out west).

Thank you,
Trey

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Solution to terrible hand and wrist pain?

Hi Lee,

Hope this email finds you well my friend. You might remember our convo, but I’m writing you b/c I’ve been experiencing terrible hand and wrist pain on my rides and wondering if you could provide some help as the discomfort is so bad, it’s really bumming me out.

Some background info (again):

  • I’m 173 cm tall / 215 lbs
  • All my riding is New England roots and rocks
  • Riding a medium Ibis Ripley V4
  • Handlebars – One up – cut down to 760mm
  • Stem – been constantly going back and forth between 40 & 50mm. I know you said 30 is better (and I know it improves my RAD) – but I found the 30 made my steering just too twitchy
  • Grips – I played with ESI, all the Ergons and currency running the PNW Loams
As mentioned I keep going back and forth on stem length. TBH – 50mm is most comfortable, but 40mm adds a bit of confidence in the steering when I’m hitting the blue/black tech trails (though I do feel a bit cramped in the cockpit).

We already chatted stem size, and I still can’t find the answer, but what I do notice is that my wrists are never straight when I grip. My hands are always bent inwards and not parallel with bar.

Maybe I need to try SQlab?

Any advice would be helpful and thanks again in advance.

-J

How to pump bumps for free speed

Mountain bike pumping

Most mountain bikers have heard of pump tracks. Many have ridden one at their local bike park. With the right skills, you can fly around these dirt rollercoasters with ease. But did you realize that those same skills are immensely valuable on nearly any trail?

Pumping the trail on your mountain bike makes riding so much more fun! More specifically:

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