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  1. #151
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    Mar 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaistDeepGroomers View Post
    Hey diggers... finally getting more permission to do some digging at the local trails up here in Maine and hoping to shape up some of the downhills in order to improve the flow in a few key sections when rocks/terrain really suck up the speed. Hoping to build a few dirt transitions here and there to allow you to get a little bit of air over some of the garbage. Have mostly been building berms and still in remedial school with that... often building the berms outside of the natural line and then having to pull all the dirt into the turn after the fact. Given this...

    for a trail like this i would start by looking for any natural transitions that can be used to pump for free speed, and see if any of them can be used as landings for a jump up trail, utilize the existing flow and enhance it, trying to create new jumps and landings that flow is far harder than finessing a natural rhythm the trail already has

    -If you're trying to build a jump (and ideally a landing) how do you decide how big it/the gap should be before digging? Build the jump first, huck to flat and build the landing after?

    experience... i would never build a huck to flat and then test to find where to build a landing, but i do build a lip first and rough in landing then test before finalizing the landing to save reworking time, at the end of the day someone just has to be the guinea pig on your best guess though

    -Same thing with rollers... how do you decide the spacing and how steep the incline should be?

    rollers are speed dependent, the faster you go, the longer and mellower they need to be, and they should always be longer and mellower than you think, always, new diggers make them far far far to peaky, always, rollers should not be jumps, they have no lips, they are not concave, they are loooonnggg and mellow and you should always catch backside and never be thrown into face of next roller, they are not whoops, they are rollers, make them rollable at high speed, if you can double them then rad but you dont need a lip, thats called a jump and not a roller

    -And still struggling with how to decide where to place the berm, how big it needs to be, angle, etc. I'm still shocked after I throw a bunch of dirt together, tamp it into the shape I want, then ride it, and my tire marks are nowhere near where I'd imagine.... often inside and only in the berm for the first half of the turn.

    a helpful approach can be to walk 20 yards uptrail and think about where you want your berm to be, then stand in middle of berm and look at exit and decide where you want to be pointed, fill in the blanks... berms are hard, they take a good eye, if you are finding you only use the first half of the berm and arent getting onto the face of it, then why would that be happening? are you going as fast as desired but dont need as tall a berm as you thought? is the entry not conducive to getting onto the face of it for some reason? is the exit too short and you dont feel confident in riding it to the end? ime damn near every berm is too short in radius and height on the exit, but i prefer to rainbow my berms and stick the face as long as possible, some prefer to square them off and like short berms with a tight pocket to slam into, no right way, but when im the one with the shovel i cater to myself and others can deal with the results or grab a shovel themselves
    Danke!

    at the end of the day it comes down to experience... mostly, kinda, sorta, i think

  2. #152
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    Oct 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by forty View Post
    at the end of the day it comes down to experience... mostly, kinda, sorta, i think
    Thanks for the feedback, forty! Mostly I think lessons learned are:

    -Build the berm a lot more inside than you think
    -Build the roller a lot flatter than you think
    -Use existing terrain for half your feature (jump or landing)

    I think with our main DH the potential is there for it to be an excellent trail if some of the flatter chundery bits had a little lip or a landing to pump the trail, instead of square-edged chunder to rattle your bike to a dead stop on. Will be excited to kook around in the woods there once I get done with this house reno.
    "We're in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky's a low shit system!" - Jim Lahey, RIP

    Former Managing Editor @ TGR, forever mag.

  3. #153
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    Dec 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaistDeepGroomers View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, forty! Mostly I think lessons learned are:

    -Build the berm a lot more inside than you think
    If you're building a berm on an existing trail, and assuming the corner is already more or less at the radius you want (which is a big assumption, since it's often not the case), I'd say the riding line of the berm should follow the outer edge of the existing trail. So if you're building the berm by digging down on the inside of the berm and piling up on outside of the berm, the berm should transition from below native grade to above native grade at the outer edge of the original trail. Of course, if you're building the berm that way, you have to make sure the inside of the berm is still going to drain.

  4. #154
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    Dec 2002
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    cow hampshire
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    I'm diggin' this berm talk.

  5. #155
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    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaistDeepGroomers View Post
    -And still struggling with how to decide where to place the berm, how big it needs to be, angle, etc. I'm still shocked after I throw a bunch of dirt together, tamp it into the shape I want, then ride it, and my tire marks are nowhere near where I'd imagine.... often inside and only in the berm for the first half of the turn.
    I find berms one of the hardest things to get right. Without fail, every time I build one I end up starting the berm too soon and not extending it far enough. Now I consciously pay attention to that and still usually end up building it up more at the end. I see others doing the same thing. Plenty of riders get it right though. Nothing wrong with trial and error, it just takes longer. Take what you learn each time by testing what you built, and adjust it accordingly.

    If you can, try to find some other diggers who are good at building jumps and berms. Even if they just eyeball your lines they may be able to offer useful input on the build. Bonus, if they can help with the digging.

  6. #156
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    Dec 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    I find berms one of the hardest things to get right. Without fail, every time I build one I end up starting the berm too soon and not extending it far enough. Now I consciously pay attention to that and still usually end up building it up more at the end. I see others doing the same thing.
    I think part of the difficulty is that having the berm extend far enough to ride well is pretty frequently at odds with having the berm drain nicely. It's pretty common for a berm to come across the fall line, and end traversing, or even going slightly uphill. But to have the berm extend that far means that any water running down the trail into the entrance of the berm is going to get captured, and it's pretty common to see berms with a big puddle on the inside. And aside from the puddle issue, that also creates a sediment trap which, over time, will fill up and make your berm smaller and smaller. I've seen berms lose half their height to sedimentation in just 2-3 years.

    You can run a pipe through, but that's a pain in the ass, not particularly natural, and requires maintenance. You can build a little dry well on the inside of the berm, but they don't tend to work all that well. If you're building the trail from scratch, a lot of times you can just design the trail to minimize this issue, but that doesn't really help when building berms on existing trails. You can restrict your building to areas where it doesn't rain, or the soil drains really well, but that tends to be somewhat limiting. So that all means that plenty of berms end a bit early as a sort of trade off with the drainage issues.

  7. #157
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    Feb 2012
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    Missoula
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    I also don't know about making the berms tighter and smaller radius than you would expect. Usually I see the opposite problem where they're too tight, as standing there looking at a "big, wide corner" is a lot different from coming into it at 20mph. And then I see a lot of places where you run out of banking on corner exit when you still need it because there's a drain or just no more berm. Building an increasing radius corner, where you come in to a big berm and then it opens up, means you need less banking at the exit which can improve drainage.

  8. #158
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    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamal View Post
    And then I see a lot of places where you run out of banking on corner exit when you still need it because there's a drain or just no more berm.
    That's what I was describing. Hadn't gotten around to drainage considerations yet. Drainage can be tough. Some of the better berms I've done have had the entrance and exit trajectory going on a contour across the slope. That way, I could have a drain both above and below the berm. The inslope of the berm keeps water off the tread in the turn, and then it crosses the trail and exits to the outside below the berm. Not that easy when the berm is located where water needs to drain. French drains using various rock have generally worked well in those cases.

  9. #159
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    Feb 2011
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    The Land of Subdued Excitement
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    I'm confused about why drainage is an issue with berms.

    I helped a trailbuilder build a couple over the winter and we dug it out kinda like a crescent moon... basically a low spot in the middle headed either away from the trail down slope or to a hole we dug out to hold the water.

    Since the goal is to ride highish on the berm, it didnt seem like too much trouble to send the water away from the riding surface?

    I'm just a hack, tho.

  10. #160
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    2,317
    Another berm issue that I have not seen a lot of people realize is making the tread cupped. Banked turns are what I see built almost everywhere, and they are usually not steep enough. A great berm has a pocket that the tires are pressed into.The lower part of the tread is a taint flat. The upper edge is over-steep, like vertical. This shape will put riders right in the pocket. If they enter the berm low they will drift up into the groove. If they enter the Berm high, they will drift down into the groove. The result is a feeling of being pressed in to the berm. Many turns build as a flat tilted plane, like a banked turn in NASCAR still feel like you are skittering out to the edge and maybe fly off the uphill edge, or ride like a wall-ride for part of the turn but send you down to the bottom back onto the flat part way through. Cupping the tread allows for less precise tuning to achieve that glued-on feeling and allow the riders to stay on the berm for the entire changed in direction and keep speeds higher. When you get it right, the top of the berm will almost become over-hung and you can enter the turn a little low and will naturally drift up to the sweet spot, IMO this maybe the most pleasurable sensation available while riding a 2 wheeled vehicle.
    Great advice above as well. I've known people to try and use math to figure out jumps/landings ect. It really comes down to test riding, developing a a feel for it. Leaving the landing pile long, flattish and unpacked allows for practice jumps with low consequence. Inevitable that you will move some dirt 2-3 times, limiting the reshaping is the goal, you'll almost never git it right the first time.
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  11. #161
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    Dec 2007
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    Rebuilding a shitty old drop.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  12. #162
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    Apr 2004
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    Southeast New York
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    Is that a double drop with a right turn necessary to set up the second one?

  13. #163
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    Oct 2003
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    slc
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    Don't go wide left on that one.

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Is that a double drop with a right turn necessary to set up the second one?
    The lower one's just a jump - a mild right hip. It maybe looks a bit sketchier in the pic than it actually is.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  15. #165
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    Dec 2009
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    Paradise
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    3,959
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    The lower one's just a jump - a mild right hip. It maybe looks a bit sketchier in the pic than it actually is.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

    Looks rad. I can't wait to build some of that here.
    dirtbag, not a dentist

  16. #166
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    Mar 2010
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    560
    nice seeing so many people getting dirty, good stoke kids

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    contrast is funky hard to see wtf is going on but redid this hip and few jumps at local park last few days, first blisters and sunburns of the season, feels good

  17. #167
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    Oct 2013
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    The Wilds of Maine
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    Have gone out twice this week to unfuck some of the least flowy bits of the popular "downhill" trail up this way, shit looks so small in the photos haha.

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    Been nice riding sections which beforehand felt like "this whole section sucks, it sucks all your speed away" to realizing it was one root or one rock doing that and making a small edit. Could see this trail riding dramatically better (esp be able to hold your speed) with a series of ten minute tweaks up and down it. Plus maybe a landing for the rock kicker that deposits you into a flat field of rocks and roots.

    Very good fun after staring at a computer all day!
    "We're in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky's a low shit system!" - Jim Lahey, RIP

    Former Managing Editor @ TGR, forever mag.

  18. #168
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    Mar 2010
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    560
    finally got back out to blackrock, ive missed playing with wood...

    logging clearcut off the backside has opened up exposure to wind up top, this beast of a tree came down over the roll in to the cheese grater, for reference that ladder is chest high
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    made a b-line so trail can at least stay open until gets rebuilt bigger and badder than before
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    merges with landing off cheese grater and still lets you hit stump jump to salad tosser
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    tosser got a little love pinning things together a bit tighter, but road gap is still closed and in need of rebuild
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  19. #169
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    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    Too dry for dirtwork already. Sawed out Blowdown

  20. #170
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    Dec 2002
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    cow hampshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaistDeepGroomers View Post
    Have gone out twice this week to unfuck some of the least flowy bits of the popular "downhill" trail up this way, shit looks so small in the photos haha.

    Been nice riding sections which beforehand felt like "this whole section sucks, it sucks all your speed away" to realizing it was one root or one rock doing that and making a small edit. Could see this trail riding dramatically better (esp be able to hold your speed) with a series of ten minute tweaks up and down it. Plus maybe a landing for the rock kicker that deposits you into a flat field of rocks and roots.
    That line looks fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by forty View Post
    finally got back out to blackrock, ive missed playing with wood...
    I've built a minimal amount with lumber. Rot concerns me everytime here in the wet EC. That is partially why I don't do more of it. Every season I'm checking the stuff I built to make sure it's 'relatively' safe, but it stills concerns me. It would really ruin my day if someone was hurt on something I built because of a structural rot failure.

  21. #171
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    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    Raking my favorite rock to rock gap line

  22. #172
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    Jan 2006
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    Carbondale
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Raking my favorite rock to rock gap line
    I'm missing something (either a meter is off or just not seeing it) where do you go, left of tree or split the gap after landing?
    www.dpsskis.com
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    formerly an ambassador for a few others, but the ski industry is... interesting.
    Fukt: a very small amount of snow.

  23. #173
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    Dec 2002
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    cow hampshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by grskier View Post
    I'm missing something (either a meter is off or just not seeing it) where do you go, left of tree or split the gap after landing?
    I'm with ya. I think the limb makes it look decieving. It has to be a left.

    Or it's a right hip and you don't take off where he's standing? Or maybe that's the B line.

  24. #174
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    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    Hop on to the rock where I'm standing; pop or pedal kick to make the 1m long x 2m tall gap on to the 2nd rock. The ride-around is the blown-out water damaged chunder which I subsequently raked. The gap between the two downed logs downhill is wide enough to fit a bike through. Just looks narrow cause of perspective. Definitely an old school bar humping move

  25. #175
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    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    Reloaming a berm

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