64 replies
  1. ron says:

    I built a pump track in my front yard. Thanks for all of your advise, the track rocks. Your ebook made it happen. I used your plan to start and now I’m adding on another loop. Building the thing has become as much fun as riding it. When I put the shovel down long enough to take some pictures I will. Thanks again.

  2. Don says:

    Hey Lee, I am six feet tall and have been running large dh bikes for years. Would a medim be too small? I do come from a BMX background and like to flick the bike when possible. I was wondering if the smaller bike would be more unstable at speeds?

  3. Vito says:

    Hi Lee,

    thanks to the tips and inspiration found in your book, this website and the MTB strength training program I’ve become a better rider and enjoy riding much more, without spending a fortune in bling components….excluding a new fork but that’s a different story 😉 .

    Anyways, as I progress I feel my pumping technique could be much better as far as timing and fore aft movement goes. I think an in depth article on the subject would be very helpful for a lot of people and attract even more bikers here (I tried with google and found not much).



  4. Stefan says:

    Hi Lee
    Have you seen the Nuvinci drive train from Fallingbrook Technologies?
    It looks good but, I would like to try one.
    I run a Saint derailer and it is bomb proof. When I first got it I hit a 3-4″ diamiter tree that had been cut off just a bit higher than my axel, so it caught the derailer full on and stopped the bike dead from like 10 km/hr(aprox., I was flying and in pain for days after) and I got ejected over the bars. I expected to see the derailer hanging or at least pretzeled. To my delight it was intact and diden’t even need an adjustment, since then I try to only run Saint (my bike is almost all Saint). Sorry about the spelling.

  5. Jesse says:

    Hey, Lee. Your answer to my burnin’ quads question a while ago was really helpful, so here’s another one: hand fatigue. I recently moved to New England, and the terrain around here is steep, slow, and technical, and I find myself relying on my rear brake a lot more than I’m used to. Lately my right hand has been getting so fatigued that I’ll have to stop and rest in the middle of a descent. I’ve noticed a loss of grip strength off the bike, too. I put on a bigger rotor, and tried moving my levers around on the bar, but nothing really helps. Any suggestions?

  6. Stephen says:

    Got any updates on the cx braaaping you were doing a while ago? Been thinking about ditching the street/jump bhike because it is not nice to my bones and something like the tricross seems super fun and practical.

  7. Eric says:

    Hey Lee,
    Great site ya got! Hey I’ve been out of serious bike stuff (just playing at the BMX tracks and skateparks with the kiddos) for awhile. Anyway, I’m trying to find more info on 4X for ’08, like is there a series in CO and if so, where?


  8. chris says:

    Hey Lee,
    I just recently serviced my Fox TALAS fork and i put in fox’s 7wt susspension fluid. My question is what is the diffrence in the weight of the oil? And what is best for XC and DH racing through full on extream Freeride.

  9. tony says:


    I have a question for you and Brian Lopes. I’m looking at upgrading fork on my Blur LT from 07 TALAS 32 to something burlier…either TALAS 36 or MARZ 55. I’m 200 with gear and ride fairly aggressive on technical, rocky stuff in NORCAL.

    So, the question I have for both of you is, how do these forks compare in performance?

    can you forward this along to BL for me? thanks and merry xmas!

  10. Davis says:

    Hey Lee,
    My riding has progressed along way because of the lesson I had with you in June. I learned alot. Anyway, the Fox Triad shock on my 06 Stumpjumper is having issues. It has been acting odd for a few weeks, and the other day began to not rebound all the way. I deflated it and pumped it up to 250 and it only came up about half way. How do I fix this, or should i take this apportunity to uppgrade to something like the DHX Air.


  11. Tjaard says:

    Hi Lee,

    What’s your opinion on the pros and cons of Fruita vs Moab at the end of February? I am a trail rider from Minnesota, and am looking for rock, scenery and a change from home.

  12. Chay says:

    Hey Lee,

    I like MTBiking and moto like you , and certainly favour MTB. The question I always have is the prices of MTB. A motor bike is not much dearer than a top of the line MTB. I thought motorbike has a lot more technology and R&D costs associate with it. Are MTB companies just ripping us off?


  13. Daniel says:

    Do you know why certain tires don’t have the bead strength to be tubeless converted and why some rims seem to be the same way? I’m not getting the physics. Isn’t the force applied to both parts the same with a tube? PSI is PSI right?

  14. Walt says:

    Hi Lee,

    I’m thinking of upgrading my beast of a frame (Azonic steelhead) to an aluminum Specialized P1,P2, or P3 frame.
    I’ll probably pickup a used one as there are a lot out there. My question is what is the difference between these frames and which one is best for me? I would use it for messing around in my yard on the pump track, dirt jumps and basic trials stuff. I’m 6’3″, 190 lbs and will be 45 this year so I don’t get too crazy any more but I still like to jump. Also what is a good cheap fork that you could recommend for that kind of riding? Thanks

  15. Stephen says:


    In all likelyhood I will be moving to the P.R.o.B. for fall semester (super stoked). I have three different rigs but probably only room to bring two. If you had to choose any two bikes out of a Bottlerocket (set up for mini-dh/trail), a cx bike, and a dirtjumper, which two would you pick. Ahhhh, the choices.


  16. Zack says:

    Hey Lee,

    I’m having a slight problem, and I’m wondering if you can enlighten me on what the best solution would be. I’m running a 2006 Manitou Travis Triple Intrinsic 180, the fork with the longest name and a longer list of issues. I badly need to get it rebuilt, but Manitou has neglected to answer my phone calls or emails. I just need to find someone that can tear it down, rebuild it, and also give me a new lower crown/steerer assembly. I’ve been drooling over the new 36 Van RC2, but I can’t afford it right now, it’s between that and a new snowboard and I need the snowboard a little more than the fork, and the snowboard’s price also allows me to pick up a set of Juicy 7s. Do you have any advice regarding who I should send my fork to? Cheers.

  17. Lor Riihimaki says:

    Hey Lee,

    I am the proud owner of a Spec Enduro SL 08. I have heard rumblings of fork problems w/ the E150 fork. I have blown one cartrige after only a few rides. It was a shop bike that had been ridden a few times. I sold my stable of 3 bikes, XC,AM, & Dh, and now I have the Enduro and a Cannondale judge. The bike climbs better than my old Kona, is lighter, descends better, yet I’m still a little bit leary of the air fork and a little less w/ the shock. I have been a fan of coil shocks but I’m on the fence so far. What do you think. BRaaap. ex mxer.


  18. mackai says:

    Hey Lee,

    I was looking to upgrade my rear shock. I know you love the Fox RP23, but have you heard anything about the new Rock Shox Monarch 4.2? Thanks


  19. Brian says:

    Hey Lee,

    When is that new book/ dvd coming out? Hopefully before they show bmx at the Olympics this Summer.

  20. jay says:

    Dear Lee,
    I’m not racing, just riding the xc and dh up and down, roots, single track, dips, climbs, etc…Since it is not a race, is it better in your opinion to use Specialized Lo Pro Mag pedals and Five Ten impact shoes instead of the shimano clipless??? My DX clipless with platforms seem to be hitting every root and I used to ride cages in the old days anyway, I do like being cliped in and not worring about a foot slipping off the pedalo though, so are the sticky shoes and lo pro mag pedals safer and a better ride for not racing just having fun???

  21. pmac says:

    Hi Lee,
    I haven’t been here in a while, but Spring is around the corner and I am about to order more dirt for my somewhat settled pumptrack. My question is…

    What is the best way to “mesh” new dirt with the old, hard packed track?? Should I wet the old track and put the dry dirt on top of the mud and then re-water? I’m afraid that I will end up with a bunch of new, loose dirt over the hard stuff. Thanks Lee!

  22. Chris says:


    There has been a lot of talk about Sea Otter lately, and I know many of us are going to race. I noticed last year there were a couple of people who put ‘leelikesbikes.com’ as their sponsor.

    Do you mind us doing this? I know we may not be ‘sponsored’ by you, but perhaps we all can help spread The Love. It is the least we could do after you have answered our questions, written us books and taught us to be better riders.

    I might go down and help man a booth for a friend, but I may just race the XC as I hear the course is beautiful and otherwise closed to the public. But don’t expect a podium from me, I am going to wait until the pack has sprinted away and then give the fun bits of the course a good braappping!

    What say you Lee? What say you all?


  23. James says:

    Just got the Moto trainer I bought off your site, great product. I wanted freelap poles, but couldn’t quite afford them, yet! haha. Quick question, I have an Intense Socom with a DHX 5 and a Boxxer WC. Pro pedal is basically Low speed compression right? and using less would increase small bump sensitivity? Seems so, but I just wanted to make sure, also, Would cranking up the bottom out change the spring curve to be more progressive? or does it just effect the very last part of the stroke to keep things from clunking? Would less bottom out make it feel more linear through the stroke, but would the downside be losing some “pop”? I’ve tried a gazillion different setups trying to find the perfect one, I think I’ve found it, but I want to make sure I don’t have my wires crossed on what all these adjustments actually do. By the way, 100lbs in the chamber, 2 clicks of propedal and bottom out a turn or two in(so you can see 2 lines)

  24. Tjaard says:

    There has been a lot of discussion on your site about stem length but I was wondering about another geometry issue.

    Steep seat-tube angles make it easier to climb (because you’re in a better position when the bike is aimed up) right?

    So why do all mtn and free ride bikes have a slack seat-tube angle? On steep(er) descents where you’d want to be further back, you won’t be sitting on the saddle anyway.

    Having the saddle more forward would seem to offer better climbing and when the seat’s dropped down, it’d be further forward and out of the way?

    Just pure bike-geekness from a snow bound Minnesotan.

  25. Phil says:

    Lee – big fan of your writings and site, keep up the good work!

    Since it’s early season here in Colorado and everyone’s starting eyeball their new dream rig (including me) – I am wondering if you can cover the basics of a good race bike fit (DH, MTX). I find myself struggling with proper top tube length these days. I’m 5’6″ and have a semi-pro license, I ride like a racer (as opposed to a freerider or huckster). I’ve been on a 22 inch Effective Top Tube DH bike for some time now, but need a new bike this year. Advice on frame size and fitting?
    I’d be happy to send in pic’s for illustration.

    BTW – I’m thinking about hiring you to give some instruction but I don’t have friends that can share the expense with me. Can I jump in another group? Do you have public workshops?

    Thanks again!

  26. leelikesbikes says:

    This used to be an email submit form. When the site got redesigned I wound up with this comment form. It isn’t ideal, but I have other fish to fry.


  27. dan says:

    Hey Lee. What tires would you recommend for the dual slalom course at Sea Otter? I’m using a pair of Maxxis High Rollers in a 2.3. I was using these at Sand Hill this weekend and when I started to braap; I was losing traction in the rear a little bit. I was running about 40psi and the course was hardpacked and a bit dry. I know the soil will be different in Monterrey. What do you think?

  28. Tjaard says:

    Hi Lee,

    Here’s a question for you or other readers out there. What do you recomend to make wooden surfaces less slick in a damp environment? I’ve seen chicken wire but I worry about sharp edges puncturing tires and people, especially after some rusting.

  29. Skyler says:

    Hi Lee,
    Thanks for your sound advise for “BAD IDEA: LONG TRAVEL FORK ON TRAIL HARDTAIL”.

    I have in return use some of the money to get a new Mac Mahone 2″-710mm riser and Mac Mahone 50mm-5 stem (suppose to go with Thompson 50mm-0 but I’m a sucker for looks). And you know what, it ROCKS! Thanks for your advise that now I have better handling and the jump was so smoooooth.

    Due to these I have been thinking of getting a new pair of rim. It is advisable to get Mac Mahone Randall wheelset for my GT Avalancce 2 cause I thought of changing the tyre to 2.3″? I heard getting a better and wider rim for the tyres can have better bike handling.

    Please advise.

    Oh ya, I just ordered your book via our local bookshop.

    Thanks, Skyler.

  30. Don says:

    Square Tyres.


    I read that squarer tyre profiles are grippier than more rounder profiles. How much truth is there is this?
    I normally run 2.1 tyres on a Mavix XM117 rim – how wide a rim would I have to run to:
    1) get a noticably squarer profile on my 2.1 tyres?
    2) sensibly run a 2.3 tyre?



  31. Brian says:

    Hey Lee,

    I like wearing Vans Old Skool shoes when riding but the sole is pretty flexy. Is there a stiffer insert that I could put in to make it flex less? The stiffer inserts I have seen aren’t full length which I think would work the best. Any ideas?



  32. Walt says:

    Hey Lee,

    A little bike maintainance question concerning the hub/paw drive assembly on modern mtb wheels like mavics or azonic outlaws, etc. Since, these wheels have sealed bearings, should you put any lubrication inside the freewheel or on the drive paws? If so, should I use grease, oil, or what? (It seems like the lubricate just attacts dirt to me) Or should I just clean everything and leave it dry? After all the bearings in the wheel are sealed. Also, what about the skewers? Grease them or leave them clean and dry? Hope you can solve this mystery for me?

  33. Rob Calma says:


    I am looking for a some information on freewheels and the difference between the different types of paws(sp) offered by the manufactures. I hear about 3 paw, 6 paw. Is their any advantages or disadvantages?

    I am looking for something that engages quicker? What manufactures do you suggest: Shimano, Sram, etc.

    I am currently running a Shimano Doere rear hub, 9 speed and a 12-32 cassette.



  34. Greg says:

    Hi Lee,

    First of all I love your book it is a great introduction to the world of mountain biking, since the book I have also purchased the pump track nation e-book as I am considering building a small pump track in my backyard. Anyways my real question pertains to my new endeavor into entering local downhill races. My question arises in how to commit to corners in a race, during a race I find myself not committing to corners due to differences in terrain, soil types, and roots particularly wet roots. I know that it is mostly a commitment type of deal in my head but are there any good exercises that are good to practice close to home where I could get comfortable with taking sharp and flat corners with variable terrain conditions with speed. Also when I come into one of these corners my body positioning often feels awkward and I am not quite sure what to do with my body and bike. Part of my frustration comes from knowing that when I ride ski hills in the summer I can ride the nice dry berms with a fair amount of commitment, I know these are much easier to tackle, but I know it is possible to be committing to the various corners on a race course will result in much better run times. I am also guessing that using a pump track is a great way to improve overall cornering ability which is why I would like to build one. If you could offer any insight into this issue that would be great.

  35. Dan says:

    Hey Lee!!

    Love the site, love the book. I was wondering if you have had any lower back issues during the course of your cycling experience. Yesterday I was braaaping and today I feel alot of stiffness and soreness in my lower back. I never had any serious injuries to constitute any sniveling. I’m 37, slightly overweight.I ride a hard-tail similar to the P-series bikes. Usually I find that some heat therapy or even a chiropractor is good when it requires it. My question is this, could it be my technique or should I consider specific back exercises to reduce pain after braaaping? Thanks Lee. See ya’ at Sea Otter!!

  36. Chay says:

    Hey Lee, I have a Giant VT2 which runs a Manitou 3 ways rear shock. It will cost me a bit to get it serviced and change all of the parts….ok…I just needed an excuse to upgrade.

    I’ve been looking at the Fox RP23, my questions are:
    1. I am running Fox flaot RLC at the front, so, would RP23 a good match?
    2. Would it run well on the VT? Or is it going to stuff up my handling?
    3. Would it behave very differently? And it is going to take me some time to get used to it?
    4. Final question….would it be better off sticking to Manitou 3 ways?

  37. jeff says:

    Hi Lee,

    Thanks for the great site: it’s good therapy while waiting for the snow to melt.

    In the meantime, I’ve been riding at the local skatepark and was curious if you had any tips on how to progress towards dropping into a bowl / quarterpipe. I’m in my thirties, and looking down from the coping is super intimidating.

    BTW, will your new book on BMX have a section on how to ride pipes and get air?


    PS – the two privates I did with you were the best thing I ever did for my riding.


  38. scot says:

    Lee Another Question:

    When going into a loose corner at high speeds (with a sever drop on the other side) is it best to merely weight the outside pedal and position your body in the direction you want to go, or do you also need to push hard and down on the inside end of your bars? For whatever reason I seem to feel like I am pushing down on the right (inside) grip and kind of pulling up on the outside grip.

  39. Dan says:

    Hey Lee. Sorry you couldn’t make it out to Sea Otter. I myself had a blast. For my first race ever, I qualified and did ok. I didn’t come in first but I didn’t come in last either. Your book was a great help and I really appreciate the work you do. I have a question for you.

    What bike in the specialized line-up would you recommend for dual-slalom/4x type stuff? I looked around on their site and thought the sx trail would be nice. I’d prefer a shorter travel full suspension if they had one. I really don’t do alot of jumps and drops that would require that kind of bike. Hopefully this is enough info.

    Thanks again for carrying the torch so to speak!

  40. Neil Barstow says:

    Hia Lee, thanks for the great web site, I look at it pretty much daily.
    Thanks too for the comprehensive personal answer to my Enduro SL – vs – SX trail questions. I am still thinking about the SX for the bigger rides as I borrowed a friends S-Works Enduro (06) and it was so much more plush. sweet
    – but for now I saw a massive improvement to my SL when I substituted a VAN 36. It’s just smoother and better controlled I think. More like the 06 Enduro as you wrote one time. Thinking about PUSH RP23 now.
    A question, I think I’m being stupid here, but how do I post to your online forum? Do I need to log in and if I do, how do I register?
    thanks man

  41. dylan says:

    I have a Pump Track question for the guru. I have started on a new track in the Sierra Nevada Mtn’s south of lake Tahoe. The soil is very loose and hard to get it packed in. The dirt jumps I’ve built usually take a long time to get packed. So the question is do you know about any additives to get loose soil to pack down a lot faster. I’ve gone through your sight and seen there’s chemicals the air force use for runways but i was looking for something more on the lines of natural. The soil has a lot of pine needles on the top so I have to dig down to the soil. I guess it probabally pretty loamy has small amount of small rocks and does pack down well eventually but I guess I am just impatient and want to ride the track sooner at full velocity.
    I am a member of the pump track nation and loving all the help and support you have put out there for people.
    thanks Dylan Renn

  42. Maury says:


    I am looking to build a new wheel set for my Demo 7. I have narrowed the rims down to Syncros DS28 and Mavic 823. Do you have any input regarding either of these? I am trying to stay on the lite side.

  43. xtyB says:

    Hey Lee. We are ready to make our track using your book as a guide. But it just snowed 4 inches last night so we thought we would go to the front range and check some stuff out with the kids so we can start getting Ideas since we still can’t get started. Where would you suggest we go (this weekend) with our kids that’s a day trip from Steamboat?


  44. MarkL says:

    Hey! I tried to buy the how to make a pump track book and the the Google Checkout got hung up…for like 5 minutes so far. I don’t want to buy this twice…what do I do Lee?

  45. Max Higel says:

    Hi Lee!

    I’m french, and I work on the MTB slopes in Tignes (french Alps), one of the biggest resort. With my friends, we saw several videos on YouTube, then we found your website, then I purchase the Pumptrack Nation 2 days ago, and now, I try to organise things to build our Pumptrack in the resort. So when we’ll have the right to build it, I will send you some pictures of the story…
    But for the moment, I notice on my fridge “measure twice, dig once”, so I try to mark on a paper the best size of each berms and each rollers. We work on Steve Wentz drawing, it looks so good to ride. But if the mesure on the ground is so important, I think to find the best size and write them on a paper is the 1st thing to do. Could you help me to find the best size of each roller? For example, you notice on the 40feet size, that rollers peak to peak will measure 10′, and the high of each is 12″. What about the length of each side of the roller and the transition between them? According to your size, doesn’t it be too smooth? Do we have to dig a liitle for tansition? (which will increase the high of the roller). If I look on the “Fix/Rhythmn cycles” drawing, rollers seems to be taller than yours…
    Other question: when you draw the slope on the ground, do you measure the length from the middle of the riding line? If it’s 4ft wide, you measure from the middle, to be sure it works when you finish the outside ring?

    Thanks a lot for answer Lee “God of Pumptrack” !

  46. kirtlandrus says:

    Hi, we are wanting to build a pump track in santa rosa, ca
    I have a good size lot to do it on appx. 200’x350′. We can use what we need for it.I also have access to some tractors
    and about six friends for labor. I would like a plan and some guidance. That way we could do it once, the right way!
    Going to whistler the third week in August. Other than that we could start any time. Any Ideas!?

    thank you, Kirt Landrus

  47. cheong says:

    hey Lee!

    Just like to tell u that i finally pop that 1st wheelie!!! Yooohoooo!!! ermmm its only 2 pedal strokes before i fell back down but the feeling was WOW! Its all thks to ur book, and the advise from this website.

    anyway, just like PUSH u into having your video release SOON! pleassseeeeeeeeeeee….i am ssure i will learn much faster with a “video”(DVD).

    just some feedback about wheelie, i find it easier to wheelie with my seat post up in normal height and i remained seated, Its harder when I have the post push all the way down, and i can’t sit down on the saddle.


  48. liqwid says:


    A while ago you suggested swapping out the gears on my big bike in regards to pedaling up hall ranch. I just wanted to say thanks for the advice! I have swapped out the 12-24t cassette for an 11-32t and replaced the 40t up front with a 36t. I don’t race so I don’t need the smooth transition the road bike cassette gave me. Now if I’m riding something in the front range that requires me to pedal for a little while I don’t have to push (as much). I’m surprised I’m able to get that 44 pound beast up anything. Thanks again!

  49. Matt says:

    Hi Lee,

    Loved your book – I’ve read it at least 3 times and I’m happy to say that the Kung Fu is systematically progressing. So I have a bike question for you. I’m currently riding a Fisher hard tail and looking to upgrade to a Stumpy FSR or Enduro SL. I’m 200 lbs and ride tight, rock-infested quick steep up and down CT singletrack and I ride pretty aggressively, but not DH/FR – I look to take 1-3′ drops and jumps on trails; I’m not a racer. Is the Enduro overkill for my description, or do you think it will be more appropriate given my size + riding style? Figured if anyone was qualified to answer this, it would be you – any insight and comment is greatly appreciated!

  50. Mike says:

    Hi Lee,

    Hope you don’t mind answering a couple questions from more of a beginners perspective. The best piece of advice I got from your book is also the hardest one for me to consistently achieve – looking farther down the trail – especially on rocky technical climbs. If I look at a rock before I pedal over it, I fall every time, look ahead and I pedal right over it. It’s totally counterintuitive – especially to someone 40 yrs old. Feels like I am forcing myself to constantly keep my head up and ignore potentially dangerous obstacles. The question is, is this simply psychological? It feels like when I look at an obstacle everything is the same, cadence, position on the bike etc. The other question is, the fox rp2 on my cannondale rush has 2 positions. Does leaving it in the plush position for technical climbs outweigh the decreased pedaling efficiency?
    Thanks Lee.

    Hope you do a clinic in Fresno, CA sometime. We have an incredible new mountain Bike Park

  51. Rob Calma says:


    I am wondering if you offer your book electronically. I have a copy already and it is getting its use by me and people of let read it.

    I would like to print it out and laminate the pages and put in a binder so that I can remove the page(s) when I am working drills.

    I am very much looking forward to your bmx book.


  52. Don says:

    Full face lid for XC…

    last weekend, I was riding with a group when one us stacked in some style from a smallish drop off (less than 30 inches). The unlucky individual had a nasty faceplant which cost him a fractured jaw, broken nose and 3 teeth. It’s not clear whether or not he actually tried to ride the drop or just missed the checken run. Anyway, although none of us would pidgeon hole ourselves as freeriders, downhillers or XC riders (I reckon we are archetypal trail riders), we’re all wondering about the benefits of full face lids. Apart from the MET Parachute (which is too narrow for me to get my ears into!), are there any other full face lids that are remotely suitable for the kind of trail riding I think most of do (i.e., pedal all the way up and let rip on the way back down)? I think Giro used to make something called a Switchblade that might have fitted the bill, but everything else looks like it’ll cook my head on the way up.



  53. Mike LaFlow says:

    News Flash!
    Cadel Evans, 2-time MTB U23 world championship silver medalist is the tour de france leader.

  54. Brian says:

    Are you going to race the ABA National in Reno now that you’ve been riding bmx? You could make a trip to ride Northstar and do the Reno National at the same time.

  55. Mark says:


    I am a somewhat experienced mountain biker on trails around Boulder, but I’ve never been downhilling at a ski resort. I’m headed out there soon and wanted to know if I should change my pedals to platforms. I ride Time ATAC right now, but was thinking I might have more freedom downhilling and jumping if not clipped in. Any thoughts?


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