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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are probably other forums this would have fit it, but I chose this one since I'm going to mention some NorCal trails, and familiarity with those might be key in answering this question.

Last summer I went to Whistler for my first DH park experience. I was a bit too eager to be pretty proud of myself after three days, being able to corner fast enough to clear all the jumps on Crank It and most of them on A-Line. In retrospect, this may have had more to with how solid the corners were than any imagined skill I had.

Fast forward to now, I own a DH bike and go to Northstar with some regularity, but I still can't corner fast enough to clear every jump on Livewire, without pedaling in some places. I feel like I go too slow through the corners, but they are so dry (and rutted out sometimes), and any time I attempt to do it a little faster than usual, I feel my back end losing traction, and chicken out and plant my inside foot which ruins the whole turn but saves me from getting dirty. Three possibilities I can consider:

1) My technique needs to improve
2) I need to just go with the slide and not remove a foot
3) I need better tires

I know some people take the corners faster than me, I end up being tailgated every now and then. That never really happened at Whistler, even on harder trails like A-Line... but again the corners there were rock solid.

My tires are: Maxxis High Roller 2 27.5x2.4 DH TR 3c

I realize nobody can judge my technique in this thread, so #1 is up in the air (though obviously there is at least some room for improvement there).

For #2... I'm curious, is it normal to lose a small amount of traction even if you know your **** and have the right tires? Do you just hold on and try to keep steering?

For #3... please comment if there are better tires for Northstar like dryness.

Thanks!
 

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I used to (try to) follow JFR, a former poster here. He was king of railing corners, and I learned so much from riding behind and watching him.

Do you have any buddies who are faster than you who you could follow on the way down?
 

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1) Get comfortable with sliding. If you are going fast enough you will lose traction even though there is a berm when it’s mid summer and the trails are dry, dusty and blown out. Learn how to get comfortable with the slide and control it.

2) Try to use the upper 1/2 of the berm as most of the loose crap will accumulate near the bottom. Just don’t high side it or there is no coming back. Haha!

3) If there is a rut, and it’s not pedal catching deep, use it. They usually develop in the good line and will allow you to hold that line pretty well when you slam your tires into it.
 

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I personally found that leaving my DH bike in the car and riding my trail/enduro bike on bermed trails like live wire and A line makes an enormous difference. That bike has better body position and suspension to rail the corners. On it, I now have to scrub to not overshoot the landings on the small jumps, the medium jumps are effortless, and the big ones just need to be pumped.

Not sure that helps, but I really think berms are not best on DH bikes, unless you set up the suspension to be firmer than I want it in the chunkier trails.
 

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I like what Duff says too. However, I notice that there are two lines on live wire on some berms. The lower line is the slower and the upper is what the fact guys use. The lower is more used.
 

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What jumps are you having a hard time clearing? I just watched an old video of me on the trail (someone who hates jumps) and I didn't see any where corner speed would make any difference at all.

Maybe you are subconsciously brake checking before the lips? Or maybe you need to learn how to pop off the lip instead of soaking it up?

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Probably the worst ones are:

1) Left turn after the tunnel, then two really long jumps.
2) The crazy 3 bump "dragon" feature at the end, right after a hard right turn
 

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For#2...Yeah tires drift, at the limit. I'd say learning how to drift, what it's supposed to feel like, knowing what it is supposed to feel like what will happen is one the keys to going faster.

I've been getting better at cornering. I typically wear out side knobs before center knobs these days. Different tires will drift and break and away differently, break away and catch differently. I don't know how to learn this without doing it.

At least for me, cornering hard is one of my favorite things to do.

Cornering hard and breaking rear tires loose on berms is scary for me, especially nor-cal hard packed berms with a thin layer of loose stuff on top.
 

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Probably the worst ones are:

1) Left turn after the tunnel, then two really long jumps.
That one you can probably go faster than you think. You can take the floater jump before it with speed and just not brake at all after landing even though it feels kinda sketchy since you're hauling ass at that point, and the braking bumps there are nasty right now (because everyone thinks the same thing :))... but trust the bike.

2) The crazy 3 bump "dragon" feature at the end, right after a hard right turn
Are you trying to clear that whole thing? I think it's designed to be a step-on/step-off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are you trying to clear that whole thing? I think it's designed to be a step-on/step-off.
I've heard you're supposed to be able to clear it all. Sounds kinda crazy to me. I've never stopped to see if anybody is actually get it.

And some jumps I get fine but have to throw 3 cranks in, and I feel like I shouldn't have to pedal at all if I'm cornering faster.

Regardless, I know my cornering needs improvement. Probably the most humility-inducing moment of my last trip was coming down Mineshaft at the end of the day. Admittedlly I was probably tired and not giving the corners enough effort, but during one wider rock garden section near the end, somebody blew by me, which means he probably came around the previous corner way faster than me and had just the right timing to make that pass. Or he was pedalling his ass off... who knows.
 

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I've heard you're supposed to be able to clear it all. Sounds kinda crazy to me. I've never stopped to see if anybody is actually get it.
Interesting. If you clear the previous jump smoothly it sets you up with the right speed for the step-on/off to be super smooth so it never even occurred to me to try to clear the whole thing. :) I'll have to check that out next time...
 

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And some jumps I get fine but have to throw 3 cranks in, and I feel like I shouldn't have to pedal at all if I'm cornering faster.
I'm not sure you should be able to clear absolutely everything on that trail w/o pedaling here and there. Good practice to try though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What's your bike's wheelbase and chainstay length? Fore-aft balance plays a huge role in out-of-the-saddle handling, especially noticeable at bike park.
It's a V10.6 XL: https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/files/screen_shot_2017-09-13_at_1.12.47_pm.png

WB 49.2"
CS 17.3"

For most riding I used to have a bad habit of having weight shifted back way too far, so I've been trying to focus on being more centered in the cockpit. But maybe for these corners I need more weight over the back end again (like my old bad habit) to keep the back wheel from slipping? But I think I tried that once and felt the front end slip instead. So yeah... balance is key, and also a fine line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You younger guys may not want to hear this, but if you go slower, the runs last longer. 😉
Oh I'm all about slow on the tech runs (and I'm pushing 40, which will obviously sound young to some but old to others). Just want to clear jumps when I do the freeride runs.
 

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It's a V10.6 XL: https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/files/screen_shot_2017-09-13_at_1.12.47_pm.png

WB 49.2"
CS 17.3"

For most riding I used to have a bad habit of having weight shifted back way too far, so I've been trying to focus on being more centered in the cockpit. But maybe for these corners I need more weight over the back end again (like my old bad habit) to keep the back wheel from slipping? But I think I tried that once and felt the front end slip instead. So yeah... balance is key, and also a fine line.
WB 1249.172mm
CS 439.928mm

450.85 reach
64d head angle

Well, that bike's weight balance is what I consider dialed for bike park. Doesn't force you to weight the front, to prevent front wheel wash out, nor force you to get back, to lessen OTB risk. Sounds like I can't really fault the bike. Seems to favor just a centered position, and would slightly punish a defensive rearward position with increased front wheel wash-out risk.

Maxxis rubber compound isn't the issue either, as I still consider it king. The rubber tends to stay predictable and consistent even when worn too, unlike other brand tires that lose their grip as the edges get rounded off. The different tread patterns are all a compromise for one thing or another, though the Assegai option is one I'd love to try.

Guess I'll just leave it to rider trust and confidence. Sometimes you just gotta get out of the bike's way and think about how you can guide it to do what you want with minimal conscious effort. Perhaps just look further up the trail, like at the exit of the turn, and just let it rip without touching the brakes, and see how it goes. Perhaps think of your own body mass being centered at your hips, imagining if you were viewing things through your belly button, and think of your arms and legs as sort of loose connections with the bike--perhaps sort of guide the bike as if you were the star in speed and had to handle a "run-away" bike to get yourself where you want to be, still picturing that your body is still just your hip/belly area with limbs.

I dunno. Sometimes I just embrace the freefall sense and sort of let my subconscious take over the wheel. Can't really do much else if I really am in freefall. Just point the bike/front wheel in the general direction I want to go and let it roll/flow, not panicking if the bike gets a bit wild, as the momentum tends to straightens and uprights the bike to simply follow the front wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Guess I'll just leave it to rider trust and confidence. Sometimes you just gotta get out of the bike's way and think about how you can guide it to do what you want with minimal conscious effort. Perhaps just look further up the trail, like at the exit of the turn, and just let it rip without touching the brakes, and see how it goes. Perhaps think of your own body mass being centered at your hips, imagining if you were viewing things through your belly button, and think of your arms and legs as sort of loose connections with the bike--perhaps sort of guide the bike as if you were the star in speed and had to handle a "run-away" bike to get yourself where you want to be, still picturing that your body is still just your hip/belly area with limbs.

I dunno. Sometimes I just embrace the freefall sense and sort of let my subconscious take over the wheel. Can't really do much else if I really am in freefall. Just point the bike/front wheel in the general direction I want to go and let it roll/flow, not panicking if the bike gets a bit wild, as the momentum tends to straightens and uprights the bike to simply follow the front wheel.
That was an extremely eloquent way to tell me to just stop being a p*ssy. And it's probably most likely actually the biggest thing I need to fix. :cool:
 

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Fear is an illusion. Just replace it with some thing else. I guess I'm just suggesting fooling yourself with a different frame of mind.

For example, when you're moving at 25+ mph, aerodynamics (air resistance) does make it feel like you're a pilot, and you can begin to think about the bike as a jet fighter. Pitching the bike up and down, and thinking of the berms as jumps on their side, adding in a roll.
 
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