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How/when to change gears in mountain cross

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Monkey
Dec 8, 2003
103
0
How many times do racers change gears at your typical 4cross race? Where are the best parts of the track to do so? How easy geared on the start? How do you change gears while sprinting? Thanks for the advice guys!
 

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
10,544
7,638
Exit, CO
First of all, please keep in mind that I am no fast 4X racer by any means. I do, however, have some pretty fast friends. A lot of them have told me that they usually are in one gear to start, shift once when they get up to speed, and then keep it there.

This is of course barring any unforseen incidents like coming to a complete stop for some reason or another.
 

draco

Monkey
Mar 5, 2003
126
0
Roche-STAR
The one thing I have learned from gate starts, is that the first gear matters most. the bmx bike i practiced it on had a 39-16 (20"wheels mind you) and i felt it sprinted off the bat GREAT. so I ride around, until i feel a gear that needs some power put into it, but can spin out for a little bit. thats the gear you start in.

different courses will require different shifting, but thats pretty obvious.

I shift just after I land a jump. if you land where you should, that force will accelerate you and you will coast for the first vbit of the landing.. then need more gear.

just give it a shot, and practice.
 

speedster

Monkey
Mar 19, 2002
155
0
practice with different gears for starts, and see what gives you the best acceleration for a few pedal strokes, making sure you use a gear you can ACCELERATE with, not one that is easy to pedal right out of the gate. This means you will snap out of the gate and get about 4-5 pedal strokes and then switch gears. Make sure you are in a hard enough gear to make all the jumps and so you can pin it on the landing. Don't be in too high a gear out of turns, because you will get bogged down. All and all, practice will tell you what feels right for certain size jumps and turns. You will probably only use 3-4 gears in a run max, shifting up and down between them if it's tight, or rip through them if it's a fast course.
 

dv8cam

Monkey
Dec 8, 2003
103
0
How about the actual act of changing gears? I can't seem to get s mooth shift while sprinting. Seems like gears are only happy changing if you pedal easy while sitting versus crunching while standing.So how do you shift without sitting? Or do you wait to grab a momentary seat while railing a turn?

Originally posted by speedster
practice with different gears for starts, and see what gives you the best acceleration for a few pedal strokes, making sure you use a gear you can ACCELERATE with, not one that is easy to pedal right out of the gate. This means you will snap out of the gate and get about 4-5 pedal strokes and then switch gears. Make sure you are in a hard enough gear to make all the jumps and so you can pin it on the landing. Don't be in too high a gear out of turns, because you will get bogged down. All and all, practice will tell you what feels right for certain size jumps and turns. You will probably only use 3-4 gears in a run max, shifting up and down between them if it's tight, or rip through them if it's a fast course.
 

Metal

President of FRONJ
Oct 17, 2001
542
7
Orange County, CA
Originally posted by dv8cam
How many times do racers change gears at your typical 4cross race? Where are the best parts of the track to do so? How easy geared on the start? How do you change gears while sprinting? Thanks for the advice guys!
I think you are over analyzing the Sea Otter Mountain Cross. 2 years ago, I raced mountain cross on a single-speed hardtail with Tioga Comp 3 BMX tires. Just ride what you have, and have fun. And shift when it feels necessary.
 

JRogers

talks too much
Mar 19, 2002
3,785
1
Claremont, CA
If you can't get a smooth shift while sprinting, just do the obvious and let up. Momentarily soften your pedal stroke long enough for you to hit the trigger (or twist) and then resume. Don't stop pedaling, just ease up for a split second as the bike shifts.
 

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Monkey
Dec 8, 2003
103
0
Originally posted by Metal
I think you are over analyzing the Sea Otter Mountain Cross. 2 years ago, I raced mountain cross on a single-speed hardtail with Tioga Comp 3 BMX tires. Just ride what you have, and have fun. And shift when it feels necessary.
WHat class and how did you do running that way?
 

dv8cam

Monkey
Dec 8, 2003
103
0
Originally posted by JRogers
If you can't get a smooth shift while sprinting, just do the obvious and let up. Momentarily soften your pedal stroke long enough for you to hit the trigger (or twist) and then resume. Don't stop pedaling, just ease up for a split second as the bike shifts.
SO you have people actually letting off on the gas for a shift? I come from bmx where if you so much as ease off for a second, you have lost that race.
 

crashing_sux

Monkey
Jul 17, 2002
311
0
Vancouver, WA
I'm no crosser and have absolutely no experience with this, more of a question than a suggestion but don't some people shift while they're in the air? I am always seeing people pedaling in the air and just guessed that they were shifting.
 

ChrisKring

Turbo Monkey
Jan 30, 2002
2,399
6
Grand Haven, MI
I have been doing a bunch of training this winter at the indoor BMX track. I totally agree with the comment above that if you let up to shift, your done. Since the track has a steep starting hill, I start in a fairly hard gear to pedal. Then I pedal my ass off. I try to shift either: in the air, just after landing a jump, or going into a corner. Good BMX racers will spin a 150 cadence with no problem.
 

66

Monkey
Jul 17, 2003
489
0
east of Seattle
Originally posted by crashing_sux
I'm no crosser and have absolutely no experience with this, more of a question than a suggestion but don't some people shift while they're in the air? I am always seeing people pedaling in the air and just guessed that they were shifting.
Normally at the point that you are hitting the jump, you are at a near top speed and don't need to shift. (i'm a DHer NOT MX racer but i do ride the courses when i get a shot)

I believe people pedal in the air because it's cool. it's hard to do and people love to see it.
 

ChrisKring

Turbo Monkey
Jan 30, 2002
2,399
6
Grand Haven, MI
Originally posted by 66
Normally at the point that you are hitting the jump, you are at a near top speed and don't need to shift. (i'm a DHer NOT MX racer but i do ride the courses when i get a shot)

I believe people pedal in the air because it's cool. it's hard to do and people love to see it.
That kinda depends on how long the straight is and where the jump is located.

And yes, it does look cool to pedal in the air. :) Try it sometime. You will feel the bike surge ahead when you land. It makes a more dramatic affect if you do it on a DH bike with heavy tires.
 

draco

Monkey
Mar 5, 2003
126
0
Roche-STAR
for smooth shifting, I make tha move when the power is least at the pedals. I am right foot forward, so right at the end of my right pedal stroke, right before the left is about to come down, thats the least powerful moment. shift there, so the gear is 'in' by the time your power foot is about to crank.
 
Originally posted by dv8cam
WHat class and how did you do running that way?
i have no idea how metal did on his ss but i know he is one of the fastest people i have seen ride and that includes the fastest college kids in the nation

oh yeah and i shift once but i was racing on my DH bike this last season and im by no means a fast 4x racer
 

Metal

President of FRONJ
Oct 17, 2001
542
7
Orange County, CA
Originally posted by dv8cam
WHat class and how did you do running that way?
That year I was racing Expert 19-29 and made it to the round of 8. I was definetly one of the faster people in that class, but some guy got on the side of me on a straight and pretty much ran me off the course.
 

AZRacerX

Monkey
Mar 4, 2003
254
0
Kent, WA
Originally posted by Metal
I think you are over analyzing the Sea Otter Mountain Cross. 2 years ago, I raced mountain cross on a single-speed hardtail with Tioga Comp 3 BMX tires. Just ride what you have, and have fun. And shift when it feels necessary.
Hmm... doesn't the NORBA rulebook say something about 3 working gears and 2 working brakes?
 

Metal

President of FRONJ
Oct 17, 2001
542
7
Orange County, CA
Originally posted by AZRacerX
Hmm... doesn't the NORBA rulebook say something about 3 working gears and 2 working brakes?
Well, I did have 2 working brakes.

They never said anything aobut not having gears. I guess if I would have won, someone would have bitched about it, but I didn't so no one seemed to care.
 

JRogers

talks too much
Mar 19, 2002
3,785
1
Claremont, CA
Originally posted by dv8cam
SO you have people actually letting off on the gas for a shift? I come from bmx where if you so much as ease off for a second, you have lost that race.
My point was that if you ease of for a whole second, you eased off too long. The idea is just to slightly soften the stroke as it shifts. If you can't get the bike to shift well under power, what else is there to do? Be in the totally wrong gear? I'd rather lose .25 seconds of pedaling than be in a useless gear.

Personally, I just use Metal's strategy: shift when necessary.
 

IntenseKid

Chimp
Jun 12, 2002
17
0
UK
Mann, just pedal ure ass off none stop, shift when u feel, and if u aint doing well just keep riding.. ride ride ride, and stop trying to blame ure gears ;) :p

James
 

beaverbiker

Monkey
Feb 5, 2003
586
0
Santa Clara
if you set up your drivetrain right and it's in good working condition, you will be able to shift smooth enough while pedaling hard. that's why people like fast, crisp shifting. you absolutely DO NOT want to let off your power to shift. i for one, definitely shift and pedal in the air when it's necessary. for example, if it's a big step down or something and you're going to be going a lot faster when you're landing and you want power when you land, then shift up. if it's a double into a flat forner or a tight berm and you're going to be going slower after the jump than you were before, shift down in the air. you dont really need to pedal in the air to get it to shift. it will shift when you start pedaling. pedaling in the air just makes it shift smoother and allow you to get that quarter second of more power when you start pedaling on the ground.
 

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Monkey
Dec 8, 2003
103
0
Thank you for giving an informative answer!

Originally posted by beaverbiker
if you set up your drivetrain right and it's in good working condition, you will be able to shift smooth enough while pedaling hard. that's why people like fast, crisp shifting. you absolutely DO NOT want to let off your power to shift. i for one, definitely shift and pedal in the air when it's necessary. for example, if it's a big step down or something and you're going to be going a lot faster when you're landing and you want power when you land, then shift up. if it's a double into a flat forner or a tight berm and you're going to be going slower after the jump than you were before, shift down in the air. you dont really need to pedal in the air to get it to shift. it will shift when you start pedaling. pedaling in the air just makes it shift smoother and allow you to get that quarter second of more power when you start pedaling on the ground.
 

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Monkey
Dec 8, 2003
103
0
Thanks for the advice everyone. It worked because I won 30-40 Sport - very first mtx race!