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Advice for a bad back

Our friend Chris is having back issues.

I think he should see a professional … and he should insist on a top 1% performer.

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2017 Specialized Fuse Comp fork upgrade


What would you suggest that won’t break the bank? I have $500 to spend.

I weight 225 lbs. Like to hit the jumps at the local bike park (Rockburn) and go through and not around stuff. Live in Maryland.  Ride allot at Patapsco.  

Do I need 34 mm stanchions? It is my one bike quiver.


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Butcher and Slaughter tire combo

Hey Lee, hope all is well…

I came across your review of the Specialized Butcher/Slaughter and find it to be a very interesting set-up.

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27.5+ tires for XC racing?

Hey Lee!

Hope all is well! In the market for looking for a new racing bike, but the 27.5+ is attracting me a bit. It can be converted to a 29er hardtail and/or a single speed and is theoretically said to have the same ride quality characteristics as a full suspension. Do you think it is worth considering as a race bike in any configuration 29er and 27.5+? I believe Conrad Stoltz raced a 27.5+ in XTERRA once and killed/shredded it, but again, he’s a mutant, so what about us mortal people? =) Any thoughts?

Thank you!

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Will the Pumptopia pump track fit in my space?

Lee, how are ya?! I have a couple questions for you: I’ve finally pulled trees out of a spot and received permission to lay down a pump track. I was initially thinking of using the same dirt I am going to pull from the ground to level the hill, but I am wondering if maybe investing in already screened loam would be a better option, as I will undoubtably run into rocks and other debris, as I am building. So, my first question is, approximately how many yards of material am I looking at to properly do Pumptopia at its original estimated size? 2nd, I am trying to decide if the footprint will work in my spot. It is a rough rectangle approximately 88’ x 57’. I see in the overhead photo that a part of the track extends out, opposite of the straight away. Am I correct in assuming that would be the depth of approximately 55’? Thanks a lot Lee!


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Sizing down when you get a new bike

Lee – So I played around with the RAD calculator at the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School for my Pivot LES and proposed rocky Mountain Element. Both bikes on the small come out spot on for the RAD but the reach and rise are too short and tall respectively for the bikes compared to the calculations using the XC or Trail setting, so I end up with more of an Enduro setup.

The Rocky Mountain size guide has me on the end of small or beginning of medium and one of the Michigan shops I called recommends sizing up. However when I enter the dimensions for the M Element frame in the RideLogic™ bike calculator, the RAD gets too big. In the comment section you say the RAD is more important than reach/rise in terms of priority. Any additional thoughts?

Scott B


Thanks for reaching out, and for being a member of the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School.

The core tenant of the RideLogic™ Bike Setup Method is matching the distance between your bike’s bottom bracket and grips to the distance between your feet and hands. This is called the Rider Area Distance. Since I’m in charge, I call it the RAD.

Rider Area Distance (RAD).

The secondary measurement is Rider Area Angle in Degrees (RAAD). This is the angle of your RAD compared with level. RAAD tends to vary with the type of bike. Low RAAD for an XC race bike; high RAAD for a downhill bike.

Rider Area Angle in Degrees (RAAD).

In my experience, RAD is most important measurement by a mile. Any bike with a perfect RAD and a reasonable RAAD rides great.

If you go for the larger frame, the reach can be so long it’s hard to get a short enough RAD. If you can get the RAD correct, the RAAD will end up low, and you’ll end up with a bike with a long, “XC” feeling cockpit. For most riders this will not feel good, especially on fun terrain. In my work with lots of folks, almost everyone, no matter their riding style, prefers a higher RAAD like you find on an enduro bike.

Modern bikes are getting longer and longer. More specifically, their reaches (horizontal distance from bottom bracket to top of head tube) are getting longer. In many cases, the stacks (vertical distance from bottom bracket to head tube) are also getting higher. It’s very common that riders need to “size down.”

Everyone: Before you buy a bike, plug your numbers and your bike’s numbers into the RideLogic™ calculators. They are available, along with tons of great skills lessons, with a Lee Likes Bikes MTB School membership. You can use the same calculators, and the RideLogic™ on-bike test, to dial in your current bike.

My new medium 2017 Enduro, which is amazing, is 20mm longer than my medium Stumpy. While I got the Enduro’s RAD within a few millimeters of perfect, the cockpit is too long for me, and it’s giving me a hard time. If my shoulders were healthy it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this is hurting me so much that I think I’m going to return the free bike and try to get a small.

2017 Specialzied Enduro Öhlins Coil. This is an awesome, amazing, impressive machine! It’s just a bit long for me.

I hope that helps,


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Top 5 pump track mistakes

I am an intern with the City of Temecula’s Planning Department, and we are currently in the early phases of researching and planning to build a pump track. I have been tasked with compiling research and gathering information regarding important “do’s and don’ts” of designing pump tracks.

We’ll be ordering a copy of your Pump Track Nation book soon, but I was wondering if there are any specific things you would say a city should prioritize, avoid, or otherwise keep in mind throughout the design/build process?

Thank you,

James Thomas
Planning Department Intern
City of Temecula

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How to get a pump track in your city

Peggy, a 10th grader in Eastern Washington, wants to build a pump track in her city.

Let’s try to help her out.

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Expanding your quiver from 2 to 3 bikes


Here’s what I am thinking – would like your input as I am getting a new bike [Mikkel, a Specialized ambassador, has been riding a Stumpy 6Fattie for the past year].

Epic – for XC racing and long rides

Camber 29er – perfect for the Santa Monica trails

Enduro 29er (with a 6Fattie wheel set) – for bigger riding (mount Wilson and shredding)

I am thinking of getting rid of the stumpy in favor of the Enduro.

What do you think of having those three bikes?


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Tricks for tight switchbacks

I have an interesting question for you.
You are coming down a single track on the side of the mountain, and there is a typical tight switchback, narrow and 330 degree turn.
How do you tackle this without loosing too much speed and not going down the hill 🙂

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Custom frame and seat tube angle

Greetings Lee. I am in the process of having a custom hardtail frame built, I have some questions about fit, seat tube angle, pedaling efficiency & comfort. Seems like a lot of makers are going with shorter stays and steeper 74* seat tube angles to keep the rider weight centered. My Builder thinks that a true 73* seat tube angle will work fine with short stays. Of course I want to be sure about the geometry.

Wondering what your take is on the steeper seat angles paired with shorter stays – certainly for short rides they can keep the rider in a good spot, but does that come at price – less engagement of the glutes & lower back, and thus less ideal for longer days in the saddle, for example?

Thanks for any input.

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Improving grip endurance for downhill and enduro


I’m currently following PUTB and will be moving onto PTPI to prepare for next race season. I race DH and Enduro and have trouble with my grip in extra long runs. I have been tweaking my brake and cockpit setup over the last 4 months but know I will still have issues come race seasons on some of the longer descents. I am registering for a race in June with a 3500′ stage and I’m wondering if you have any advice on exercises to add in the gym (I already do lots of KBSs, Deadlifts, Chinups, and basic movements) to up my grip endurance.


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