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Seeking advice on obtaining a mountain bike (cross country)

just jane

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi everyone! In today’s updates, my brother’s current argument to reject cleats in favor of platform pedals is because in 2016, a wildfire was started by sparks from a mountain bike cleat striking a rock.
 

just jane

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
In other news, I was in Crested Butte this weekend and got out on a super fun beginner trail called Lower Loop. I wanna do it again! There were a few spots I had to walk but I was able to ride most of it. Perfect level for me right now.

Also, I was staying with a friend and they have e-mtn bikes, which I admit I’m a little side-eye about. But we took them on this huge, 32-mile loop with plenty of climbing - 4x4 roads - and I confess it was hella fun. We got plenty of exercise and were good and tired without being completely flattened for the next 2 days.

I’m certainly not in the market for one but I did have fun.A3A9BB66-7944-4C18-9B1F-0C62AD25EB36.jpeg
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
there were like 5 people who would just stop in the trail and on the berms (burms?) I had to corner to avoid clipping them very tightly and fell off the bike. The second time they did that and blocked the trail, I asked them to move which they did. Then they proceeded to point at me. Ugh. Not nice.
Rude!
Stopping in/on a trail is a massive faux pas. Stopping on a berm so that you ruin everyone's flow!?!? I'm pretty sure that's considered a hate crime in Vermont.

Blueberry Lake is great, but it's very, very popular with new mountain bikers, so it's crowded with people who don't know always biking/trail etiquette. There are lots more trail systems that won't be as crowded.

I was looking at ascutney. I wonder what the level of riding is required there.

Ascutney is my absolute favorite place to ride. I bike there 4-5 days a week and never get bored; it's steep, techy, challenging and interesting. There is a great 3-mile beginner loop ("Swoops and Loops") across the street from the state park entrance. However, the rest of the mountain is not particularly beginner-friendly. It is advanced-beginner/intermediate friendly, though, so if you're up for the aerobic challenge once you get more confident on the bike, it's great fun, and you can just go slow and walk around anything that you're not comfortable with.

I work at a bike park and I love ripping a beautiful, machine-made berm as much as the next person, but my favorite trails are the more rocky, rooty, technical ones where you get to make choices and work on lots of skills.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi everyone! In today’s updates, my brother’s current argument to reject cleats in favor of platform pedals is because in 2016, a wildfire was started by sparks from a mountain bike cleat striking a rock.

Tell him that crank arms, flat aluminum pedals, bottom brackets, and chainrings also hit rocks! :smile:

I was out doing some trail work the other day in fact, and noticing all the scarred rocks on the MTB trails, I wrote some free-verse drivel about pedal-strikes:

The woods resonated in lithophonic alarm
As ill-timed cranks gave form
To these pedal-pushers’ petroglyphs
Scarred rocks
Shouted “F***”s
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
@SallyCat i am just reading up on this. I will for sure get to ascutney…! Also yes, I think if I go to blueberry again I’ll go very early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

we went to Crawford notch and ended up not bringing our bikes bc we wanted to get some hiking in.

I have been mtn biking here at the north branch trails. It’s amazing.

I will be going to perry hill to take a skills clinic.

taking any and all suggestions…! On places to go. My daughter got to go to kingdom trails. As did my husband. I might be the only person who hasn’t. I might go this next week after the storm. We’ll see…
 

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I am very much a cruise around grade 2 trails kind of person and still ride an old 26" hard tail unless I'm hiring/borrowing. I think full suspension makes some things easier such as roots, especially on uphill sections, and not having to think about weight transfer, but I feel like it makes me a lazier rider.
Wow! Another diva still riding a 26er! I got back into MTB during covid and due to supply chain issues, and also being very short (in stature and also in cash LOL!) I had my old MTBs repaired and have been riding them. Both my circa 2005 mtbs needed the brakes replaced and forks rebuilt, but I am having a blast riding them again. I have a strong preference for my FS on all but the most flowy trails now... but we have been riding at Ascutney, Kingdom, ADKs, and yesterday my new favorite, Elm Ridge.

Echo- if you are very short like me you might consider getting an inexpensive but quality used 26” mtb until the supply chain situation improves. People give me weird looks about the 26” mtb but stop razzing me when I blow past them all on the climbs.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Echo- if you are very short like me you might consider getting an inexpensive but quality used 26” mtb until the supply chain situation improves. People give me weird looks about the 26” mtb but stop razzing me when I blow past them all on the climbs.
That's awesome! And a 26er is probably a blast at Ascutney because Jim designed and built most of those trails in the late '90s when that's what everyone rode (and with uber-narrow handlebars)! You can tell by the TIGHT turns and switchbacks and the narrow passages through trees.

If you ever get a chance to ride "Jims Jam," you'll be especially glad to be on 26" wheels!

I'm 5'8" and when I've ridden 26ers they make a bike feel a full size smaller, but boy they rail turns.

Hey @echo_NY , I just got this notice about a great-sounding mountain bike festival up in Stowe on October 12. Check it out here. Looks like a great chance to meet people and do some fun rides!
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
How do I buy cleats for flat pedals?

I looked at Roxy's Ride and Inspire videos and she's just amazing. She's convinced me to go from clipless pedals to flat pedals to upgrade my skills.

This afternoon I talked to a salesperson at REI who told me that the cleats need to match the width of the shoe, which makes sense. He recommended the Raceface Chester. They put on their rental bikes because they are pretty narrow. I wear a size 5.5-6 shoe. Is there a pedal that would work just as well or better or comes in a range of sizes? Price is not a concern.

BTW, I'm planning to order the Ride Concepts Livewire Women's Shoe from REI. Read reviews and it sounds like a good choice price and quality wise. I was able to try on a size 8 and even though it was way too big was impressed in the way it cupped my narrow heel. Tried on some 5/10's, size 7, but didn't the same secure feel in the heel. Just like ski boots I told the saleperson.

The salesperson sympathized with me. He told me he used to teach mtn. bike clinics with a small footed woman instructor who had the same issue finding mtn bike shoes.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The salesperson should not have used the word "cleat." It's the cleat on the sole of your shoe that clicks into your clipless pedals. Flat pedals = no cleats.

With flat pedals, you just want your foot to touch the pins as much as possible. There are absolutely gigantic pedals out there lately, which would definitely be a traction challenge for small feet. The Chesters look to be a good size, and they are a super solid basic pedal,

A bunch of the bikes at the downhill part where I work have Shimano Saints and those always strike me as being on the small side. Plus they have a couple of pins in the outside-center of the pedal, which seems to help with grip (as opposed to just having pins on the outer rim of the pedal).

I have really big feet, so that's as far as I can go with feedback (I mostly wanted to just clarify the cleat thing),

Good luck!
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Sorry, it's late, Cleats was my wording. In my quick searching I came across Crank Bros. Stamp 3 V 2 Pedals. They come in 2 sizes, small and large. Description says small are for shoe size 5-10. Measurements are slightly smaller than the Raceface Chesters and more expensive which doesn't matter if they work better for my shoe size.

I agree, the flat pedals at REI looked huge which is why I asked.

Also, one review I read talked about Q-Angle. I had a huge problem with this and Shimano pedals on my old bike but have no issues with my Speedplay Frogs on either my old bike or new one.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
No worries!

Q angle can be adjusted for by changing the pedal's spindle length, but I don't know that that's an option on any flat pedals on the market right now?

I know that because I have big feet I don't like pedals that sit almost flush against the crank arm. I use these DMR Vaults, and you can see that there's some spacing between where the threaded part ends and the pedal. This keeps my foot from rubbing against the crank arm, and I guess it also widens my stance on the bike.

I wouldn't recommend the Vaults for small feet, though. But maybe there are smaller pedals out there with some spacing to accommodate for Q angle?
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
No worries!

Q angle can be adjusted for by changing the pedal's spindle length, but I don't know that that's an option on any flat pedals on the market right now?

I know that because I have big feet I don't like pedals that sit almost flush against the crank arm. I use these DMR Vaults, and you can see that there's some spacing between where the threaded part ends and the pedal. This keeps my foot from rubbing against the crank arm, and I guess it also widens my stance on the bike.

I wouldn't recommend the Vaults for small feet, though. But maybe there are smaller pedals out there with some spacing to accommodate for Q angle?
Looks like I've found the perfect pedal. https://spank-ind.com/collections/pedals/products/spoon_90_pedals

And Spank claims to address the Q-Angle issue.
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
I few cents on flat pedals based on my experience and humble opinions...

Foot size matters, but it's not the defining factor for flat pedals. I think it's probably a larger factor for people with huge feet...larger feet with little pedals don't work well, but small feet with large pedals aren't the end of the world.

Different size spindles are more necessary to change Q angles on clipless pedals because your feet stay in one position. Your foot can be adjusted constantly when on a flat pedal. If you need to push your foot out a bit, you don't need to change the spindle to do so...you just move it a couple millimeters wider. If Q-angles have been an issue in the past, I would consider not going to a really small pedal to accommodate your small feet; and instead use a "normal" or moderately sized pedal to give you maximum adjustment.

Personally, grip has been my defining factor on what flat pedals I've enjoyed. This probably stems from regularly using clipless and enjoying the feeling of being attached to my bike. My favorite flat pedals are my Canfield Crampons, which are very adequately named. My husband has the same Canfields, Crank Brothers Stamp pedal (I think he has a set of 3s and 7s), as well as Spanks (unsure of the model). He also likes his Canfields the best. Personally, I really dislike the CB Stamps despite them being very well reviewed, and very popular. They're durable and well made; I just don't like the feel of them (not enough grip).
 

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