Have you ever been on a bike ride and felt like you were going to bounce right off the bike? Most likely, your bike was not set up specifically for your weight (hydration, repair kit, helmet, shoes included). Bike setup is critical to the terrain you are riding. Moab is rough! It’s like running over thousands of curbs. Make your suspension soak it up! First, start with calibrating the sag. Set it at about 30% and start with the rear shock, then make the fork feel even with the back. Without enough sag your bike will be too stiff and the Moab experience will be fatiguing and harsh. Be nice to yourself! Next is compression damping. There are a lot of different suspension packages out there, but many have some sort of compression adjustment. For Moab, less compression damping is usually better. Last is rebound damping. Too much damping and the suspension packs up and feels rough. Too little and the suspension feels like you are on a pogo stick that is totally unpredictable. Middle of the road on rebound damping is a good place to start. Tire pressure is also something that has direct feedback into the rider from the ground. Running a little more tire pressure is good to avoid pinch flats, but don’t go too crazy on pressure, as stiff tires will also make the bike bouncy and erratic.
Another great way to improve your overall experience on a bike is your line choice. Line choice is what makes Moab such a fun place to ride. Even on single-track there is a constant puzzle of line choices, up and downhill. A suggestion is to think less like a sheep following the well-travelled path, and more like the wolf looking far down the trail and picking out the line that creates the most flow. Linking sections together through creative line choice unlocks Moab in a whole new way. There are many instances where going over a rock rather than around it is a much better line for the overall flow. This is especially true while climbing. Going over one rock can eliminate the need for turning, pedal strikes, and spinning out on your sidewall while trying to avoid the rocks. “When in doubt, throttle out”- meaning get those legs turning and lay down the power. You will surprise yourself by what you can climb with commitment and power!
Other details that will also help is seat height and gear selection. Set your seat height just a smidgen lower than normal to help with pedaling and balance over the tricky sections. For gear selection, don’t go too easy. Power through sections in one or two harder gears than you think you need to be in.
To get the most out of your ride in Moab, spend a few minutes dialing in your bike. It’s worth it! If you’re unsure what would be best for you and your bike, or you need some help dialing it in, feel free to stop by Chile Pepper Bikes on Main Street- we’d love to get you riding your best!