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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I think back to the times I've fallen, most of them were flukes, or situations I know I should have avoided. But one situation that continues to confound me is the sharp turn, and a steep rugged descent. Sometimes when I struggle with a problem, I'll size it up, and try it over and over until I get better at it. But the sharp-turn-on-a-steep-rugged-descent has me spooked so much, that I hesitate to even try, so I stick to less difficult versions of it, and try to gradually improve with baby steps.

Any thoughts on why this is so tricky? Maybe it's idiosyncratic, something in my personal style. I suppose the problem is that my wheels aren't even close to parallel. If I'm turning sharp, with forward momentum, obviously I reach the point where my front wheel will slide out, or it simply binds because my momentum is trying to drive it half-sideways through obstacles. I don't really feel like it's a traction problem. A sliding tire has a certain feel. Even if it's just for a second, I think we all know what that feels like. So my hunch is it's the second explanation, my momentum is trying to drive my wheel a direction it can't roll, and I go diagonal endo. Maybe I need a partner to watch me and spot the problem.

Thoughts?
 

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EMBA MTB Lead Instructor
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You are probably just staring at your front wheel. Turn your head to the exit of the turn and look where you want to go and let off the brakes. A friend of mine said "act like a beer is on your shoulder and you are trying to have a sip".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You are probably just staring at your front wheel.
Generally, I seem to be doing okay at avoiding that newbie mistake. Sometimes I do catch myself slipping up though, so I'll watch for that. Funny, that was never a problem for me when I was learning to drive either. I seem to have this innate tendency to see the big picture.

... let off the brakes
But I'll die! :oops:
Brake strategy has been on my mind a lot, but I think I'm getting smarter, just through trial and error.

A friend of mine said "act like a beer is on your shoulder and you are trying to have a sip".
Beer analogies speak to me. 🍺
 

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Maybe youre turning the bars too much instead of leaning the bike MORE. Im working on this too, seeing how I can lean the bike more in turns at speed and trust the grip/weight distribution. I ride exclusively in a place with only natural, narrow and loose on hardpack so its difficult. But basically working on changing my stance so I create the space to lean it more.
 

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Generally, I seem to be doing okay at avoiding that newbie mistake. Sometimes I do catch myself slipping up though, so I'll watch for that. Funny, that was never a problem for me when I was learning to drive either. I seem to have this innate tendency to see the big picture.

But I'll die! :oops:
Brake strategy has been on my mind a lot, but I think I'm getting smarter, just through trial and error.

Beer analogies speak to me.
lol
 

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Try turning with your outside foot forward (i.e., right foot forward on left turns and vice versa). Doing so opens your hips into the turn so you’re not fighting against your torso.

Lean the bike over to dip it into the turn.

Go light on the front brake. Too much front brake will mess up your turning dynamics.
 

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In the old days... :rolleyes:

As much as it is frowned upon, many people learned to skid through these kinds of turns. Once you learn to skid it, I think you can learn to modulate your brakes and use proper technique.

-F
 

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This guy in the picture has his pedals level with the outside of corner pedal forward. That's the higher skill technique. Try that after you're comfortable with a corner.
The primary technique is outside pedal down with the bike leaned into your inside leg. All your weight is on the outside pedal. You can setup for that before the corner for more confidence.
The video shows him using both with the pedal down technique on the steeper turns.
 

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Along with dropping your saddle, leaning the bike, looking through the corner to where you want to go, also drop your outside pedal through the corner to stand a little taller over the bike while pushing down on the handle bars slightly (can be done with a subtle shift in your weight forward) which will cause the front end to be slightly more weighted. Modern riding positions is quite different from a few years ago. Taller gives you more heads up and makes looking down trail easier. Hips point through the turn which makes knee into the turn easier. Don't over grip the handle bar. Relax on the bike. Watch these two videos. One is more advanced than the other. Both are very good.


 

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I definitely agree with folks that have reiterated body positioning (rotation, especially) and braking points.

It's not JUST about looking with your head through the corner. You need to rotate your whole body to point that way. Everything from your knees to your head needs to turn. Outside pedal forward is a great way to encourage your knees to your hips to rotate. Making sure your hips swing to the outside of the corner is important (butt to the berm! even if there is no berm). Lean the bike over in the process so you don't have to turn the bars so much. Stay light on the brakes while you're IN the turn. If you need to go slower, then do that before the turn starts. Only use the brakes in the turn to maintain your speed. And lay off the front here so you have max traction on the front tire available for turning.

Think of your traction as a proportion. 100% is the total amount you have available for turning, braking, or accelerating. The absolute amount of traction varies according to trail surface/conditions and your tires. If you use some of your traction for braking, then you have less available for turning. If you're pushing the tire's limits for traction and conditions change such that there's less possible traction, but you don't change how much you're using for braking/turning, then you'll break loose and probably crash. So say you're going fast leading up to a turn and you try to brake super late such that you're still braking hard (say, using 80% of your traction) inside the turn. That leaves you only 20% of possible traction for turning traction. If the turn is very grippy and gradual so that you don't side load your tires much, you'll probably be okay. Make that turn sharper and looser and your heavy braking inside the turn uses up all of the traction that's possible, so now you slide out in the turn. Brake hard before the turn, then ease off the brakes (or release them altogether) while you're actively turning so you can use your traction inside the turn for actual turning.

As you're learning, or increasing technical challenge, it's good to go a little slower so you have a bit more margin for error. There's a limit to that, as momentum is often your friend, but it takes a great deal of experience and confidence to be able to push the limits of your traction in turns with variable conditions. Once you have it at slower speeds, then you can increase your speeds bit by bit as you play with various aspects of the turn. Turning is one of those skills where you're going to be working on it throughout your life of riding. It's a very complicated skill that can always be refined. And that refinement can range from the fundamentals like reading the turn and choosing a line through the turn, to how you're looking ahead, to refining your body position to adjust pressure control to timing shifts in your body position. Even the pros continue working on their cornering skills.
 

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All kinds of good advice here. I also think having a partner that knows how to ride that is not only a good idea for watching you, but so you can watch them. I ride a local trail that is full of steep, rocky tech and completely understand being spooked by it. Taking a fall usually means going down hard into rocks and after watching others take spills that made me cringe, actually bought pads just for that one trail. I ride with a guy that loves that kind of riding and it is amazing the stuff he clears. He is good at explaining what he does, but then closely watching the lines he takes and technique really brings it all together.
 

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Most people recommend inside foot forward, because this will allow you to put your butt way to the outside and doing this will also rotate the hips to the inside of the turn.

Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
 

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When I think back to the times I've fallen, most of them were flukes, or situations I know I should have avoided. But one situation that continues to confound me is the sharp turn, and a steep rugged descent. Sometimes when I struggle with a problem, I'll size it up, and try it over and over until I get better at it. But the sharp-turn-on-a-steep-rugged-descent has me spooked so much, that I hesitate to even try, so I stick to less difficult versions of it, and try to gradually improve with baby steps.

Any thoughts on why this is so tricky? Maybe it's idiosyncratic, something in my personal style. I suppose the problem is that my wheels aren't even close to parallel. If I'm turning sharp, with forward momentum, obviously I reach the point where my front wheel will slide out, or it simply binds because my momentum is trying to drive it half-sideways through obstacles. I don't really feel like it's a traction problem. A sliding tire has a certain feel. Even if it's just for a second, I think we all know what that feels like. So my hunch is it's the second explanation, my momentum is trying to drive my wheel a direction it can't roll, and I go diagonal endo. Maybe I need a partner to watch me and spot the problem.

Thoughts?
If that's your only nemesis in this sport, your doing great!
 

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They are tough aren't they. Even the best riders are challenged by them.

The at the base of hierarchy of mountain bike skills is body position. And body position is the key to making steep downhill turns. Our natural tendency is to push the bike out in front of us taking weight off the front wheel. This makes it nearly impossible to find enough front wheel grip to actually turn, while also putting you in a position where it is impossible to change the pressure on the front tire to allow it flow over any obstacles. The key is to be centred on the bike.

For myself I really focus on hinging at my hips and trying to the enter the turn with a flat back. This puts enough weight on the front wheel to get the bike to change directions. As the turn progresses your weight will shift more to the rear of the bike, this will happen naturally and doesn't really require any focus. These tight turns are all about how you enter them.
 

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They are tough aren't they. Even the best riders are challenged by them.

The at the base of hierarchy of mountain bike skills is body position. And body position is the key to making steep downhill turns. Our natural tendency is to push the bike out in front of us taking weight off the front wheel. This makes it nearly impossible to find enough front wheel grip to actually turn, while also putting you in a position where it is impossible to change the pressure on the front tire to allow it flow over any obstacles. The key is to be centred on the bike.

For myself I really focus on hinging at my hips and trying to the enter the turn with a flat back. This puts enough weight on the front wheel to get the bike to change directions. As the turn progresses your weight will shift more to the rear of the bike, this will happen naturally and doesn't really require any focus. These tight turns are all about how you enter them.
Listen to him, good advice

Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
 

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Trailsing helps too. You can play around on a grassy field with a slope. Play with how slow you can go, even to the point of going into a stoppie nose wheelie where your back comes up, and then let off the front brake to bring it back down. Set up cones/ribbons on the slope to simulate a switchback and practice. The sharper the turn, the slower you have to go. If you get good enough, you can even nose wheelie and kick the back around the turn without having to skid.
You can also reverse the direction and practice going up switchbacks. For that you can do a wheelie turn where you pick up the front in a wheelie and swing it into the turn then power up.
 
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