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What IS Technical Singletrack?
 KrateKraig member offline
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posted 10/10/2007
at 2:17:12 PM
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I just returned from North Carolina, where I did a little mountain biking. I rode at Bent Creek and The IMBA Epic, DuPont State Forest. While in the parking lot at DuPont, I was talking to a local rider. I mentioned that the trails I've ridden here (in NC) were not as "technical" as those I ride at home. The rider responded by asking, "what is your definition of a technical trail?" Hmmmm, a great question I'd never really thought about. I quickly blurted out the first thing that popped into my head, " A technical trail would be any trail that causes your brain to tell you that maybe you should get off your bike and walk this section."
We hear the term technical singletrack used all the time. Since all riders have different abilities, and each area has different types of trails, what is considered technical for one person, would not be for another.

So how do YOU define a Technical singletrack?

(Note: I was in no way implying the trails in NC were easy or boring. Quite the opposite, they were great, fun trails. Just different than my usual trails.)

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posted 10/11/2007
at 9:09:55 PM
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I'd say the number of skills needed out of the tricks bag. Pedal positioning, bunny hops, really tight lines, braking, body weight positioning, speed, the consequences of missing the trail...hard to quantify, really.
It's too technical when you're too bloody to keep going
-- posted by yojo1001


I pretty much agree with that except the bloody part.

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posted 10/11/2007
at 10:07:28 PM
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I would say its anything that makes you use most of your ability to get through. Some people may think getting around on crushed granite walking paths is technical because your rear tire may slide around a bit when going around a corner, i however dont think its technical at all since i dont mind my tires slipping around a bit. I think technical is more of a term of ability than it is of the trail itself, just mtcw.


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posted 10/12/2007
at 12:15:17 PM
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Since I am a non MTB person, pretty much ANY trail that's not paved would probably be technical for me.

Thanks for the education though, please keep it coming! Need all the knowledge I can get.
post edited on 10/12/2007 at 12:09:45 PM

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posted 10/12/2007
at 1:11:33 PM
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I agree that technical is all in the eye of the beholder, er, rider. One person might change their technical rating of a trail simply based on experience and comfort level with certain situations. Give me narrow, tight, and meandering - low or high speed - and I love it. Some people are freaked out at narrow trails with trees barely far enough apart for their bars with no space to lean the bike in a turn. Put me on a 8' wide jeep road that's steep, with minor ruts, loose rocks and cliff to one side that most people float down and and it can take all my concentration not to have an adrenaline attack because I'm scared of heights. I'll take the most difficult line to stay away from the edge. Others don't even see the edge. The easiest most groomed trail near an edge can stop me flat but I can ride around the corner and through a root and rock garden without thinking. I'm also not used to riding in the wet. We just don't do it here in California (or you better not be doing it , so wet roots take some concentration.

If someone asks me for a trail recommendation, I try to find out their comfort level with terrain types and willingness to explore (aka, okay with periodic hike-a-bikes) first. Technical is different things to different people.
post edited on 10/12/2007 at 1:06:12 PM

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posted 10/12/2007
at 2:27:16 PM
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I'd say the number of skills needed out of the tricks bag. Pedal positioning, bunny hops, really tight lines, braking, body weight positioning, speed, the consequences of missing the trail...hard to quantify, really.
It's too technical when you're too bloody to keep going-- posted by yojo1001
I pretty much agree with that except the bloody part.-- posted by 7point62
I pretty much disagree with that except the bloody party part. Technical is when even the people good enough to be instructors have to hike/their/bike. Good thread/good answers.

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posted 10/12/2007
at 11:15:54 PM
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Like this?

I was going UP the trail - actually not very technical, I just got a little out of shape and smacked my bars on the tree... FACE PLANT!!!

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posted 10/12/2007
at 11:28:02 PM
post #17 viewed 93 times
Or this:

 BowWow member offline
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posted 10/12/2007
at 11:33:04 PM
post #18 viewed 95 times
Later that same day...


FACE PLANT! Yea, I know whereof I speak...

 KrateKraig member offline
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posted 10/12/2007
at 11:56:42 PM
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Bike choice and set-up are also important when riding in different types of technical trails.
Here in Northern Illinois & Wisconsin, some of the trails are so tight, you'll need to cut 3 to 4 inches off your handlebars (1.5"-2" off each end) if you want to fit between the trees.
When I rode in Sedona, AZ. 5 or more inches of travel was the hot ticket for the drops and ledges. And they also removed the "big ring" and replaced it with a rock guard.
I you have "rock gardens" to navigate, you'll need to pay attention to your pedal position or you'll bash your pedals/cranks on the rocks. A bike with a higher bottom bracket (or longer travel) will help, but you may sacrfice some agility with a higher center of gravity.
Tire choice is also very important. Depending on the soil type, you may run anything from a skinny "semi-slick" to a wide, full knobby.
Tubeless tires are good for wet slippery rocks & roots because you can run low air pressures, (I've run as low as 20 psi) for fantastic traction, without having to worry about pinch flats. And for areas with cactus, a sealant (slime) is a pretty good idea.


 KrateKraig member offline
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posted 10/13/2007
at 12:02:56 AM
post #20 viewed 91 times
BowWow, Cool pics!!! I'd say that's pretty technical in either direction!
Perhaps a full face helmet would be on your "got to get" list, if you plan on riding there again.
A lightweight bike is also nice if you have to carry it a lot.
post edited on 10/12/2007 at 11:59:17 PM
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