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

Read more

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:

Read more

Riding the 2021 Specialized Epic EVO Pro

I spent yesterday on the brand new 2021 Specialized Epic EVO Pro.

Read more

COVID rules

Hi All,

We are stoked to ride with you! In order to maintain COVID safety, we will be following these rules in our private and public classes:

  • Public classes and private groups will be limited to six students.
  • We will maintain six feet of distance between all people.
  • Instructors and students must wear masks. If you show up to class without a mask, you’ll be asked to leave, and there will not be a refund. You can, however, attend at a later date.
  • We will not touch each other or each other’s bikes.
  • We will not use the RipRow in public classes. We might use the RipRow in private classes.
  • We will take your temperature using a non-contact infrared thermometer. If you show a temperature above 99.0 degrees, sorry, you cannot join the class. You can attend when you are healthy.
  • If you have any COVID symptoms, or if you have been exposed to someone with COVID symptoms, please do not attend class. You can attend at another time.

Thank you for cooperating. See you in class!

– Lee and the LLB team

Pedaling ovals (about oval chainrings)

This piece originally appeared in the book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills v3, July 27 2017. 

People on the interweb have been asking me (Lee) what I think of the new oval chainrings.

Before I tried them, my response was “I don’t need no help. My pedal stroke is awesome. Those are for people who suck at pedaling.” 

Now that I’ve been riding a oval OneUp Traction Chainring, I’ll respond with more thought. 

Read more

How fast do you need to go for a drop?

Here’s a great question from our remote coaching student Stefan in Switzerland.

One last question to the drops and speeds: Is this reasoning right: given all things equal with the drop except its height,  I could approach all drops smaller or higher with the same speed I‘ve been using now? With higher drops I‘ll land longer with smaller drops I‘ll land shorter? but other than that it‘s the same?

Stefan

Read more

Is a high center of gravity a problem for taller riders?

lee

center of gravity acts as a lever
( between tyre-contact and cg )
distance x 2 – 1/2 force needed
( or torque  x 2 )
for a taller rider
real-!-emergency braking is more a problem
by definition

a taller rider can move more ?
yes – but
distance is longer = more time needed   !
and the saddle must be down … always
( and no luggage above the rear wheel )

do you agree ?

thanks

Read more

Riding with dislocatable shoulders

Hi Lee, 

I recently dislocated my left shoulder for the 4th time (at age 30) mountain biking and am going through the process of looking into surgery or rehabilitation. 

I can across your blog post discussing handlebar width and could immediately sympathize with the issues you spoke about.

I was wondering if there was a follow up post relating to this research as I couldn’t track it down? I’m riding 800mm bars on both my bikes even though I’m only 5 foot 8.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I’m happy for you to post this on your blog and reply I just didn’t want to ask something which may have already been written about.

Cheers and keep up the good work, 

Andy

Read more

Pump track: sandy dirt for a wet climate

Hi Lee,

I’m building a pump track in the PNW where the soil is essentially always wet. What do you think an ideal soil mix would be? Would 60% sand / 40% clay be a good balance? Could I go with even more sand?

Thanks!

Alex

Read more

Handlebar sweep and roll

Hi Lee,

I was wondering if you can comment on how handlebar roll affects hand and wrist position while riding. I had a coaching session with a local guy here and he rolled my bar upwards so that I effectively had more stack height. It immediately felt more comfortable, it seemed like the way the bar sweep worked with that angle put my wrists in a more comfortable position. I did not think about it too much until I stripped down my bike and forgot to mark the handle bar to put it back. Obviously the way you roll the bar will also change the reach and stack but do you have any rules of thumb for getting forearms and wrists are in a strong comfortable position. Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Jarred

Read more

Strength training on a RipRow?

Hi Lee

I am a female rider on the wrong side of 40 with total hip replacement and an arthritic left shoulder just rediscovering the trails again. I have discovered some massive imbalances and what let’s me down is not cardio ( easy to improve) but strength, mobility and skill- I’m looking at the RipRow as a functional tool to learn the movement patterns that I need to nail in safety and then build strength and speed into these movements with less overall impact than smashing trails ( and embedding poor form) and less dislocation risk than heavy deadlifts . My question is do you typically replace traditional strength training with this or would you use in addition to say deadlifts, KB swings etc and how would you incorporate workouts into a training block- ie have you experimented with different sessions targeting strength over speed and visa versa during day a training block and using these to achieve different outcomes?

Would love to know your thoughts.

By the way, i have your latest book and I keep rereading sections all the time. I am still a low intermediate but it’s certainly helped me progress a bit. Unfortunately, my brain steps still steps in and puts the brakes on far too often!

thanks
Anna

Read more