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Question:

Assuming you corner with pedals level, is there a "better" foot to have forward depending on the direction you are cornering or the slope of the hill you are on? In other words is there an "ideal" pedal to keep forward in a given situation if you are ambidextrous with them?

Discuss.
 

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FM said:
BTW- I've linked to this article before, excellent explanation on benefits of pedals-level cornering.
Thanks. This quote was what I was looking for:

As an experiment, think about which foot can help you get the best traction over both of your wheels. If you corner with your outside foot forward, you'll not only be able to keep weight over the front wheel but also be able to get on the gas as soon as you are through the apex of the corner. This will also help you open your hips and point your torso (3rd eye!) in the direction you need.
Italics mine.

This is generally what I was thinking. Any contrary opinions out there?
 

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Enel said:
This is generally what I was thinking. Any contrary opinions out there?
When cornering with pedals level, I put my right foot forward. No reason really, thats just my chocolate foot and so this is the same footing I would use approaching a jump or drop or any other technical feature. And thats the benefit IMHO, you dont need to change your footing if theres a technical feature mid-corner or at the exit!

With that said, I do still like the "outside foot down" technique in some situations (like off-camber corners)... and when cornering with my feet level, I do sometimes temporarily drop the outside foot just a few inches right at the apex of sharper corners- kinda like ratcheting the cranks.
 

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By the way, the reason I get stoked on this topic is that it's one area where some coaching (with Wayne Goss / MMR) made me rethink everything I thought I knew about "basic" technique. Totally relearning something that seems so simple, after 16 years of riding trails, was really cool and reminded me that you can always learn something new & fun on a bicycle!
:)
 

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It depends, do you want to slide or not? It is far easier to undercut the rear wheel and slam it into a berm with your inside foot backwards (basically kick the friggin chainstay into the corner). Of course, you can do this in the other direction too, an it's a good idea to develop that technique equally in both directions, especially since keep your feet level through the whole thing lets you recover and get back on the gas before you're even through the corner.

Someone mentioned that keeping your outside foot forward will give you a bit more weight on the front. Since you do subconsciously tend to weight your outside foot a little bit more unless you are in a BMX berm, look at where you want your weight to be front to rear as well. Steep corner, loose corner, decreasing/increasing radius, etc, etc. Then decide from there.

Hint: Watch videos of Mick Hannah riding. The only time you see him drop a pedal is on a flat fast corner when he needs to recover right away.
 

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FM said:
Totally relearning something that seems so simple, after 16 years of riding trails, was really cool and reminded me that you can always learn something new & fun on a bicycle!
:)
Good words:thumbsup:
 

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Do you guys hit corners with petals level a majority of the time or is it just in turns where you’re not in danger of sliding out sideways? Such as turns with a steep berm or low entrance speed turns.
 

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Phil_S said:
Do you guys hit corners with petals level a majority of the time or is it just in turns where you’re not in danger of sliding out sideways? Such as turns with a steep berm or low entrance speed turns.
Your question made me curious so I clicked through these Flickr shots from last fall: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2988557534/in/set-72157607421453294/

For some weird reason I get better balance, push, and hips with my inside foot forward. Don't know why, but it's right. I definitely practice with my opposite foot all the time.

The turn with the slate and flower pots is ridiculously tight for such a low berm, so you have to be 100% confident to get through it with any speed. If you look at all these pics you see a variety of cornering techniques, but you only see level pedals.

IMO this applies regardless of where you are riding. I might get sloppy from time to time but I still ride and corner with my pedals level, it just makes pumping over terrain, pushing into turns and pedaling out so much easier.

EDIT: Good points about lousy traction and slides, I didn't think about the fact that I definitely have my inside pedal up in these situations, with perhaps a foot out.

JMH
 

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Phil_S said:
Do you guys hit corners with petals level a majority of the time or is it just in turns where you’re not in danger of sliding out sideways? Such as turns with a steep berm or low entrance speed turns.
Level pedals in most all situations. You can really carve corners with your pedals level.
The exception is on slippery off-camber corners where I will often drop the outside pedal and sometimes take the inside foot off the pedal for better stability.

As for which foot forward, I naturally ride left foot forward. I have spent some time experimenting with cornering 'switch' and can see a benefit in some situations. The question is can you get comfortable enough riding opposite foot forward to take proper advantage of this?
I have not been able to competently do this yet, the corner is fine but if it dumps into a tech section of trail I ride too awkwardly if I'm not able to clock the pedals back to my normal stance.
I ride with a guy who can ride equally well either foot forward, he actually switches his stance as he rides to keep his legs rested (instead of always leading with one leg). This has always impressed me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
1soulrider said:
The question is can you get comfortable enough riding opposite foot forward to take proper advantage of this?
I have not been able to competently do this yet
Me either. The thought in my head is that if I practice switching the forward foot in easier sections of trail, it will become more automatic and I can break myself of my left foot forward dependence. I just don't know which situation is the best to have a certain pedal forward.

Hard for me to know if it is best to have your torso towards the corner (outside foot forward) as the article suggests, or torso out from the corner (inside foot forward), leaning slightly backwards. I know from water skiing that I turn way better when leaning back from the corner, but the forces in that situation are a lot different.

I also think about the slope of the hill (when traveling across the slope). If my pedals are level and I accidentally hit the upslope of the hill I would rather it be with the rear pedal.
 

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Enel said:
Me either. The thought in my head is that if I practice switching the forward foot in easier sections of trail, it will become more automatic and I can break myself of my left foot forward dependence. I just don't know which situation is the best to have a certain pedal forward.

Hard for me to know if it is best to have your torso towards the corner (outside foot forward) as the article suggests, or torso out from the corner (inside foot forward), leaning slightly backwards. I know from water skiing that I turn way better when leaning back from the corner, but the forces in that situation are a lot different.

I also think about the slope of the hill (when traveling across the slope). If my pedals are level and I accidentally hit the upslope of the hill I would rather it be with the rear pedal.
To FM's point about having to re-think everything I'd done on a mountain bike before I went to Shaums' (MMR) clinic a little over a year ago, one of the things I picked up (but don't always do :madman:) is turning my torso into the turn to help with the feeling of carving. For me, cornering technique on a MTB has started to parallel the feeling I get when I'm carving turns on my skis.

Good points everyone. Keep it up.
 

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Enel said:
Hard for me to know if it is best to have your torso towards the corner (outside foot forward) as the article suggests, or torso out from the corner (inside foot forward)
If you are turning your hips and head to spot the exit, then whether your inside foot is forward or back is academic. Try it both ways and see which feels better and makes you quicker. I personally like to switch my feet depending on the direction of the turn, but lots of people don't. It's the torso that counts, and I really can't recall seeing people going fast facing the torso OUT of the corner.

JMH
 

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Great question Enel, like FM I'm a grad of the school of MMR and wish I'd gotten educated on cornering and braking a loooong time ago :madman:.

Sounds like 1soulrider and I have the same thing going on. I like to refer to my rear foot as my control foot and draw parallels with surfing where my rear foot is my right/control foot. I became more aware of the dominance of my right foot when I started having pain behind my right knee and realized that it was from jumping, landing and cornering with increased/constant pressure on the right foot. This led me to start being more conscious of the switching my forward foot when cornering and it's something I need to concentrate on, hope that it becomes instinctive someday. Having trouble heading into jumps with my "wrong" foot forward though.

It's a good feeling when I get a rhythm going through a series of corners switching my leading foot and I've surprised myself on some tight switchbacks with the amount of momentum I've been able to carry through the turns.

The thing that surprises me the most is how the past few years my riding has progressed in more of a mental aspect, all those years before it was always so brainless, now I'm analyzing and focusing on technique like it's golf or something. :eek:
 

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Don’t often go level-pedal through a corner but when I do it’s always outside foot forward. Two reasons: you can resume pedaling sooner and if you need to kick the inside foot out for control you’ll want to drop the outside foot to the bottom. (As quickly as possible)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
1soulrider said:
The exception is on slippery off-camber corners where I will often drop the outside pedal
That is almost everything I ride. Very loose when dry. No loam here.

Probably the fastest cornerer that I ride with lived in Mammoth CA (moon dust riding, even slipperier) for 15 years. He drops that outside pedal almost always and then proceeds to drop me soundly:eek:

He feels the benefit is getting his bike leaned over more than his body so the side knobs on his tires can dig in better in the loose terrain.

All I know is that he is fast as all get out if it is loose and not techy. He also outweighs me by 50 lbs which I would not think is an advantage. Maybe it is for descending? Trail hugging weight:p?
 

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Enel said:
That is almost everything I ride. Very loose when dry. No loam here.

Probably the fastest cornerer that I ride with lived in Mammoth CA (moon dust riding, even slipperier) for 15 years. He drops that outside pedal almost always and then proceeds to drop me soundly:eek:

He feels the benefit is getting his bike leaned over more than his body so the side knobs on his tires can dig in better in the loose terrain.

All I know is that he is fast as all get out if it is loose and not techy. He also outweighs me by 50 lbs which I would not think is an advantage. Maybe it is for descending? Trail hugging weight:p?
50 pounds of extra momentum is a huge advantage. I outweigh my wife by+-40 pounds and can pace her coasting while she pedals down a slope. It drives her crazy, she can out-pedal my extra momentum but she has to work at it.

I ride at Mammoth several weekends a year, so I know those conditions well. I still level my pedals when drifting the kitty litter, you exit your corner way faster and in better control. Again, there are some corners there that I will drop the pedal and hang out a foot on, but usually as a last resort. It is really tough to get on the gas exiting a corner when you are all out of position like that.
 
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