Skills development Archives - Wye MTB

Used and Abused – Gear Review 2019

We are in the lucky position that we get to ride our bikes almost daily in some amazing terrain in Wales – alright I know that is rubbing it in – which means we really use and abuse our kit!  We have picked 6 of the best we have used for our guiding and coaching this year;

Here are first few of the standout bits of kit….!

Orange Bikes 

I know their looks divides opinion, and that people think the suspension design is simplistic , but these bikes really do just keep on working!

We have had 2 this year, Windy’s Five and Gareth’s Stage 6.

Both have done over 150 big days out, and the only maintenance has been one set of bearings each. That’s a massive £40 spent between both bikes to keep them running sweet, and less than an hour on the tools. Compare that to some of the fancy linkage bikes out there, the Oranges just keep handling the abuse we dish out with no complaints.

The angles are super sorted too, which means you can grind them up the hills, and then have a smile for miles all the way down, and we all know there are some epic downs here in South Wales!

Yes the single pivot means that it can ‘jack up’ under braking, but choose your braking spots, anad learn to keep the throttle open and these are as fast as anyuthing else out there!

Burgtec Grips and Pedals

We have been using a range of the Burgtec products, from the bars, stems, chainrings, pedals and grips, but the two stand out products have been the grips and pedals.

We have used the new Greg Minnar grips. First thing we admired was the price…..£19.99 is mega competitive for some grips.

We really got on with the shape – 31.5mm seems to be the perfect width for our hands, and the tapered core means our hands sit really comfortable on them. The 25A rubber is supersoft (when you think the softest tyres are 42A) and this seems to really help absorb vibrations and help maintain grip, especially in the wet. All in all, they are the best £20 upgrade we have spent on our bikes!

What can I say about the pedals?

The composite ones below have been on the e-bike all year. £44.99 and they haven’t missed a beat!

They have the same great shape as the Penthouse ones, and have the same bearings and sealing too. The thinner pins, means they aren’t quite as planted as their more expensive brother, which means when we have been getting rowdy on the trail bike, the Penthouse have been the go to pedal of choice.

More to the point though, we haven’t had to touch them all year. Sure, they have some great battle wounds, from some of the rocky descents in Wales, but they just won’t die!

Still running the same bearings from new, and still super smooth!

Madison Flux waterproof Jacket

This has been the ultimate guiding waterproof, and we have given it some testing! It has a lovely soft shell construction, and a 4 way stretch to the material, which makes it super comfortable to wear, and a great fit!

It’s also super light and pack down really small, meaning there is never an excuse to not pack it in the guiding bag!

I think this also helps with it’s versitility. You don’t get too hot in it when cuaght in a summer downpore, but it’s great with a few layers underneath in the winter too.

The soft shell material, together with it’s great breathability, means we wear it a lot as a wind jacket when it’s not raining as well.

We really do think we are going to be hard pushed to find a better one, particularly for the money (£119)!

You’ll have to wait until Friday to find out what the other 3 bits of kit are!!!

Happy Shopping

Why should I have mountain bike coaching?

Trying to get faster between the tapes is a key goal for some from coaching

Mountain bikers have been slow on the uptake to get a coaching session. Most people would never just go down the local golf course and start just hitting balls or hacking at the turf, but they will just pick up their MTB and start riding.

Surely I will just get better if I just ride more?  Maybe…but it will depend on how much you ride, what you ride and how you ride it!

One of the fundamentals of skill improvement is repeated practice. In mountain biking terms this means ‘sessioning’ a section of trail you find challenging, repeatedly until you nail it with consistency!

How often do you just go on a ride, and never cover the same section of trail more than once?

When you make an error, or get a section wrong, do you go back up and ride it again or just carry on?

How many times have you had feedback on what you are doing right and what you could improve on?

There is the 10,000 hours rule with skill development. To turn from beginner to world-class in a particular skill or sport will take 10,000 hours of repeated, focused practice.

That isn’t just going out riding, that is working on a particular technique – cornering/jumping/drops/body position etc. and really focusing on that technique until it becomes natural (i.e. you can do it without thinking about it!)

This is where coaching can really help.

Having someone to show you the correct techniques, break them down into bite-size chunks, practice with you but more importantly give you the feedback on what you are doing and how you are doing it!

This is one of the major difficulties in self-coaching, the absence of the feedback loop.

To give you an example, a client we were working with had been working on his jumping for years, but could never really get the ‘pop’ and height he wanted on a jump.

He knew what he should be doing, and thought he was doing all the right things, but when he came for coaching, we quickly realized that while he thought he was standing tall on the bike to unweight and release the energy to create the ‘pop’, he was staying relatively low on the bike and ‘squashing’ the jump. With some video feedback, he could immediately see where he was going wrong!

Once we had identified it, slowed him down and done some repeated practice on this particular element of his jumping, it really started to come together!

Do you need coaching? That is a question for self-reflection, but every rider, beginner through to world-class, can really benefit from that feedback loop and repeated practice!

British Cycling Mountain Bike Leadership award