Tech FAQ: Derailleur Compatability and an Unyielding Debate on Yielding

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Nov. 29, 2011
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:52 PM EDT
2011 BC Bike Race: Dietsch's Bike

Dear Lennard,

In regards to your “Momentum Wins” article, I agree with you completely. Altering the rule would lead to safer more enjoyable trails. Negative responses to your article seem to be based on:

“unhelmeted idiots on dirt jump bikes”


“after all you did spend good money buying that truck to get you to the top of the mountain without breaking a sweat”


“I shouldn’t have to yield to morons who are purposely ruining trails with idiot braking habits.”

It sure seems to me that the riders that are displaying the behavior above have not received the appropriate education in regards to respecting fellow riders and the trails they ride on. Clearly the current writing of rule #4 is not alleviating this problem, indicating to me that rule #4’s implementation and reckless downhillers are mutually exclusive issues.

What we need is an education system that works. A list of rules that only some people are aware of is insufficient. I think that IMBA should develop an education program that all riders should have to go through to ride their local trails (take a course, pay a fee, get a tag). This tag system implemented in major cities and towns would go a long way towards educating most mountain bikers about respecting other users and respecting their trails.

What do you think?

Enjoy the Descent!


Dear Chris,

I think it’s a good idea in theory, but I’m doubtful that it would work in practice, primarily because I think that there would be overwhelming pushback to a tag system. How better to educate riders, though, I don’t know…


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Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (,
a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and
bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides
Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – available
also on DVD, and “Zinn
and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance
,” as well as “Zinn
and the Art of Triathlon Bikes
” and “Zinn’s
Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for

Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing
readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we
as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers
can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn. Zinn’s column
appears here each Tuesday.

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Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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