The Fundamentals

The Attack Position.

This out of the saddle riding position is where it all starts. On it's own the attack position gives much greater control of the bike. It is also the basis of all further techniques.

Tips.
  • Get your pedals level.
  • Use your arms to keep the bike upright.
  • Stay relaxed, use your arms and legs as extra suspension.
  • Keep your knees apart to help with balance and cornering.
  • Lower your upper body towards the bars with your elbows out for better steering control.

Braking

Tips
  • Always keep at least one finger on each brake.
  • Stop quicker by applying the brake slower to get some weight on the front wheel before braking fully.
  • Try to do your braking in a staright line on firmer sections of trail.
  • Your brakes have a lever NOT a switch. Use the extra control it gives you.
  • If a wheel starts to skid under braking, release the brake then re-apply with a little less pressure.
  • Brake less with the front as the trail gets loose.

Cornering

Tips
  • Start at the outside then cut across the corner to lessen the bend.
  • Smooth in, fast out.
  • Lean the bike between your legs.
  • Try not to make and harsh or sudden movements.
  • Use your inside leg as a support and steer into the skid if the bike starts to slide.
  • Exit to the outside.

Descending

Roll in. When entering steeper slopes try to keep your weight centred over the cranks by extending your arms and pushing the bike into the descent whilst moving your body back and down in one smooth motion. Maintain your ideal 'loose hands' riding position with your weight over the cranks as you continue down the slope.

Stay over the cranks. Descending Skill

If you go any further back and hang off the bars you are taking too much weight off the front wheel which will result in poor steering and unpredictable braking. Too far forward and the rear wheel may lift sending you over the bars.

Drop both your heels and use your leading foot to help brace against any forward movement.

Braking downhill.

Try not to drag your brakes all the way down a long descent. Brake firmly on smoother, less steep sections of trail allowing the bike to roll through rougher and steep sections if possible.

When descending, bear in mind takes much longer to slow down downhill so ride accordingly by braking earlier than you would on the flat.

When braking, anticipate the extra push forward on your body as you would on the flat moving even further back and down to avoid putting too much weight on the front end. Remember to bring your weight back forward when you release the brakes again.

At the bottom.

As you approach the bottom of the slope check to see how quickly it levels off. You will need to adjust your riding position bringing your weight forward as the trail levels off to make sure you don't loop out off the back of the bike.

Move your weight slowly if the trail transitions from downhill to level over a long distance and quicker if it has a short transition. The aim is to keep your weight over the cranks.

At faster exit speeds you will feel your body being pushed down into the trail. This is called G-out. Try to compensate for G-out evenly with your arms and legs without moving your bodyweight backwards. This will require a little weight on your handlebars.

If you try to compensate just with your legs it will put your weight too far towards the rear of the bike again leading to a possible trip off the back of the bike.
     
  
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