As a mountain biker, there are quite a number of techniques you need to learn and one of them is how to tackle those sharp corners. Pretty much like jumping, this is a technical skill and for you to pull it off successfully and without injuring yourself, you need to learn it. If you have been struggling to pull this amazing technique, here is how to corner on a mountain bike.
Be in attack position
Obviously, being in an attack position is the first thing you need as you approach the corner. That is not even all; you might want to ensure your braking is done quite early so that you enter into the corner at the correct speed. You shouldn’t be moving at a slow or even high pace. It should actually be a moderate speed; one that you can easily control the bike with.
Check the corner ahead of time
Pretty much like any other mountain bike technique you wish to pull off today you need to check out the corner ahead of time. This could come with a number of benefits, especially if your cornering skills still need a bit of horning or it is just your very first time on the trail. Some of the questions you could ask yourself at this point of time include: Does the radius get loose or tighter as you get into the corner? Are there any obstacles along the trail?
Keep the body straight
Once you have scan the corner well ahead of time and you know what might come along the way, as you approach the corner, you need to keep the body straight. You might want to be comfortable and you remain seated up in the seat of your bike; doing this will actually give you the much needed better control.
Entering the corner
As you enter the corner, you have to enter the corner wide. In this, we mean you should actually aim directly from the apex and also exit the corner wide. That smooth arc can help you in a number of ways. It allows you to carry that momentum you had build through the turn
Turn your hips
As you get into the corner, turn with your hips. The best way you can pull off this is by pointing your belly bottom towards the direction you want to head to. That alone will help shift your hips right the outside and allow more weight to shift to your outside foot.
Bend your knees
This is another great thing you need to do; as you go around that sharp corner, make sure your knees are bent. This will make you feel like you are pressed to your bike, especially when you are turning. That shouldn’t worry you. It comes with a few benefits when you are dealing with those extremely sharp corners. Such corners require you to lean your bike more and if you do what we have said the correct way, you will remain straight.
Give your handlebars a nice grip and pressure on the pedal
When you are right in the center on that corner, your hands will come into play. It is one body part you might want to make sure you put into great use. Your hands can help distribute your weight evenly. Give the handlebars a nice grip and make sure your elbows are bent. At this pointing time, you might need to take off the brakes and have them pressing into the handlebars. Apply downward pressure on the pedal. For extra grip, apply a bit of pressure to the inside of the bar to help lean the bike even further.
Keep your eyes on the road
Getting your eyes off the road can be disastrous. When you are taking that corner with your bike, keep the eyes on the road and look ahead. This will help you predict what is ahead and avoid any surprises.
Exiting the corner
Once you are sure you have cleared the corner, exiting is now one of the most important parts of cornering on a mountain bike. As you clear the corner, straighten your bike. Make sure it is smoothly returned to its attack position. Plus, you might want to allow the weight to be evenly distributed across both pedals.
Don’t pedal but keep your heels down
One of the biggest mistakes most riders make when doing a corner is pedaling. That is extremely risky and you may want to avoid it at all costs. The best way you can prevent yourself from the temptation of pedaling is by always keeping your heels down. That will not only ensure you don’t pedal but also help keep the back tire firmly on the ground.
Different Corners And How To Deal With Them
- High-speed corner:
These are incredibly fast corners and for you to handle it well, it needs a great level of precision. The rider also needs to move the body and lean very quickly. These types of turns also require you to do things a little bit differently. For example, unlike the traditional one foot down pose, we are all used to, with fast corners, you will need to keep your feet horizontal. This will actually allow you to do a number of things. First, it will be incredibly easy to get back to your basic position and also get back to pedaling to keep up speed.
- Slow-speed corners:
These are incredibly tight corners and turns; as a rider, you will want to keep the speed as low as possible. They are around 180 degrees or even more and need to be approached with a lot of caution. The best way to safely go through these types of corners is by keeping the outer foot down. The heel must also be dropped: By doing this will help keep your weight down on the bike and that alone will help you stay on. Additionally, with these types of turns, make sure you keep the eyes ahead. Not only will you be able to know what is ahead, but also know when to turn.
- Hairpin Turns:
These are basically slow speed turns on downhill trails. With these types of corners, how well you control the handlebar is crucial. It is important you have the handlebars turned in tight towards the curve. Plus, if you have a series of close turns, you will need to turn the handlebars fast and with precision.
It doesn’t even stop there; keeping your body firmly forward will also help a great deal. That weight is the only thing that will keep the wheel firmly on the ground. You must also have impeccable control of the front wheel.
Tips On How to Sharpen Your Cornering Skills
By now, we are sure you have learned how to corner a mountain bike and just any other person; you need to sharpen your skills and make them much better. Other than just spending most of your time honing the skill, here are other top tips to make you a skillful mountain bike cornering rider.
Maintaining perfect speed is paramount
How well you can make that crazy turn without flying into a thicket nearby is how well you manage your speed. The key thing here is to maintain a speed that allows you to stay in control from the time you enter the turn up to when you make that exit. If you were already riding at incredibly high speed immediately you see a sharp turn, you need to back off. Hit the brakes and bring the bike going at a much controllable speed. It should not be too slow as well.
Maintain the right tire pressure
When it comes to cornering, your tires must have the right amount of pressure. For example, if you know you are going to ride on wet trails, riding on a bike with low tire pressure will make a lot of sense. A softer tire provides the much-needed traction and that will keep you from slipping, especially when it comes to corners.
Common mistake to avoid
As with other sporting activities, there are a good number of mistakes most rider makes when cornering their mountain bike. Here are some of the most common cornering mistakes.
- Approaching the corner at really high speed.
- Heavily hitting brakes when in the corner
- Steering the bike too much instead of making it lean
- Not focusing ahead; most riders keep their head down
So if you have been struggling to learn how to corner on a mountain bike, I hope my guide will help you navigate any kind of trail with confidence. After all, learning this great technique not only allows you to save a lot of energy while you are riding but will also ensure you remain safe all through. Plus, with great cornering techniques, that means you can actually move with speed even when you are dealing with a meandering trail. That could come with a lot of fun for sure.
Updated on January 22, 2021 by Ben