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MTB Technique: Cornering 101

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Cornering - 

 

basics - your basic corner positions is going to the basic attack position. pedals at 9 and 3 or level. I Highly suggest early on to get use to both feet being in front but recognize you will have strong side. My strong side is left foot first. For most turns having your feet level will be good enough especially at the novice stage. Learning on DRY grass help you find the limit with out rocks or trees to hit or hill to fall off of. 

 

I would usually start with hold the student bike still while they move their body side to side on the bike, I would then move on to moving therir bike while they try to counter balance against my movement. This drill is simply to show how much ROM they have and so they can learn the physical limit of their body on their bike.  I would then have them while going slightly downhill in my grass hill field of dreams I would have them lean the bike from the lower body down each way though series of longer sweeping turn, as well do some quicker transition to show how fast we can actually move. I talked very little about weight transfer here or pumping although both are important, its is something that is learned later on. 

 

 I would then go though and have them pedal a series of mock up hill switchbacks set up with Cones. I would explain that while pedaling we actually keep the bike more level as if not our pedal will hit the ground(or rocks or roots) . 

 

Using the same set of turns as the first part of the lesson I then have them turn while letting their outside foot drop towards the ground(or lifting their inside foot up) this positions if a lot more secure and lets you angulate if you want I am not so sure angulation is a good thing any more in biking but with I honestly think it should be in your tool box. 

 

 

having you outside foot down lets you bring your inside foot over obstacle and corner with more lean than having level feet. 

 

I would then bring up understeer and oversteer. Understeer is when the front end of vehicle is not gripping and thus the vehicle in motion continues to go straighter than desired. Over Steer is when a vehicle in question is turning to much IE it trying to spin and/or fishtail. On a bike both can happen. Assuming you are not trying to brake mid turn, understeer is caused by having to much weight on the rear wheel and oversteer is caused by having to much weight on the front wheel. To control and regulate either we must learn when/and how to balance on out bike by moving our COM for and aft on out bike. 

 

Understeer or oversteer are not necessarily bad things but learning how to make bike go where you want by proper balance is key and old Sterling Moss quote goes like this " you do not turn a car by turning the steering wheel you present a turn with the steering wheel and make it happen with the throttle and brakes." on a bike(or skis) it is really similar. While riding any bike, the lean and steering angle do not make the bike turn, you pressure the tires at the right time make it turn.  basically you need to make those tire grip the ground or turning will not be happening. Pumping is future installment but you just must understand front tire slipping, more handlebar pressure. rear tire slipping more pedal pressure and or moving aft.

 

cornering will be continued......

 

Mod Edit: Move to own thread for Technique topic

post #2 of 18
Great posts, Josh.

One thing I would add, and it's not a beginner learning thing but maybe something to pay attention to, is to switch up your feet in the 9:00 and 3:00 positions so you don't become dominant on one side with the aft leg. I find this can be hard to do - I am right handed and prefer my right leg aft, quicker to return to power pedaling and stronger in the attack position.

If you ride in rocks that create clearance issues, being weaker on one side as you move from coast-for-clearance at very low speed back to pedaling will hurt momentum, so practicing with your "unnatural" foot aft in smooth terrain can be useful. Curious if others agree with this?

I usually refuse to MTB while still skiing, but this year have started out early. One of my sons in these pics, he's become a good rider. Not surprisingly, he's already a really good bump skier, too...



post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

normally in vermont we do not have choice. If its ski season the only biking to be had is fat bikes, or road bikes. but with our western trip this year we spent many days skiing at Snowbird and MTBing after skiing. 

 

The days are so long in april and may that there is time to do both most days. 

post #4 of 18

There are some good basics here that any beginner, novice or advance rider cal learn from. 

post #5 of 18

Cornering 201 - what is interesting is trying to get counter upper and lower body separation. Having the upper body facing inside the turn makes the bike turn more. You can see this when you watch some World Cup downhillers. To do it on every turn you have to have a lead change with your pedals. In the photo above where Josh is wearing red he'd have a hard time twisting the hips into the turn.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

Cornering 201 - what is interesting is trying to get counter upper and lower body separation. Having the upper body facing inside the turn makes the bike turn more. You can see this when you watch some World Cup downhillers. To do it on every turn you have to have a lead change with your pedals. In the photo above where Josh is wearing red he'd have a hard time twisting the hips into the turn.

 

 

Whats really interesting is that we still do understand 2 wheel vehicle dynamics all that well......

 

whats really interesting is watching moto GP riders is how they lead with their body, they twist their body  into the turn, and lean their body MUCH more than their bikes.

 

the other really interesting this is how the tires are actually drifting in most turns, slightly oversteer in every turn.

 

 

even on a MTB the fundemental moves are the same, even in the wettest conditions with the least grip.

 

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Cornering 201 - what is interesting is trying to get counter upper and lower body separation. Having the upper body facing inside the turn makes the bike turn more. You can see this when you watch some World Cup downhillers. To do it on every turn you have to have a lead change with your pedals. In the photo above where Josh is wearing red he'd have a hard time twisting the hips into the turn.
This helped a lot when Epic showed this to me years back, he showed me how to push the handlebars down towards the ground to help with cornering.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

Great posts, Josh.

One thing I would add, and it's not a beginner learning thing but maybe something to pay attention to, is to switch up your feet in the 9:00 and 3:00 positions so you don't become dominant on one side with the aft leg. I find this can be hard to do - I am right handed and prefer my right leg aft, quicker to return to power pedaling and stronger in the attack position.

If you ride in rocks that create clearance issues, being weaker on one side as you move from coast-for-clearance at very low speed back to pedaling will hurt momentum, so practicing with your "unnatural" foot aft in smooth terrain can be useful. Curious if others agree with this?

I usually refuse to MTB while still skiing, but this year have started out early. One of my sons in these pics, he's become a good rider. Not surprisingly, he's already a really good bump skier, too...




I'm the opposite, all right sided but preffer my left leg aft since I like to use my stronger leg to control the rear wheel, and use my hands/handlebar to control the front wheel, I don't use much my aft leg other than when starting to pedal again, but that might be a wrong move, not sure!
post #9 of 18

"How does Danny Hart sit down with balls that big?"

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post
 

"How does Danny Hart sit down with balls that big?"

 

Love seeing that video pop up again.  That was *such* an amazing run, the speed he carried through some of those sections.  And the announcers are just a riot.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Cornering 201 - what is interesting is trying to get counter upper and lower body separation. Having the upper body facing inside the turn makes the bike turn more. You can see this when you watch some World Cup downhillers. To do it on every turn you have to have a lead change with your pedals. In the photo above where Josh is wearing red he'd have a hard time twisting the hips into the turn.
This helped a lot when Epic showed this to me years back, he showed me how to push the handlebars down towards the ground to help with cornering.

 

So, yes. I feel like when I'm doing this with good effect I'm definitely pushing the bike down but keeping my torso more vertical, more or less like you would do in a carved turn on skis. The push of the inside handlebar grip down and forward seems analogous to punching your inside hand forward in ski turn. Epic, I'm not sure, when I do this, whether I'm facing more inside the turn or outside or neither, but I would think a tiny bit outside. This appears to go against your comment above. I'd like to see a photo that shows what you're talking about. Not contesting; trying to get on board. Also I think I tend to keep the inside foot high and forward and the outside foot low and back. E.g., Inside foot at 10:00 and outside foot at 4:00, when a left turn is viewed from the non-drive side. I definitely alternate feet when I have my act together. Wondering how these habits line up with what you see as good upper/lower body separation. 

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 

So, yes. I feel like when I'm doing this with good effect I'm definitely pushing the bike down but keeping my torso more vertical, more or less like you would do in a carved turn on skis. The push of the inside handlebar grip down and forward seems analogous to punching your inside hand forward in ski turn. Epic, I'm not sure, when I do this, whether I'm facing more inside the turn or outside or neither, but I would think a tiny bit outside. This appears to go against your comment above. I'd like to see a photo that shows what you're talking about. Not contesting; trying to get on board. Also I think I tend to keep the inside foot high and forward and the outside foot low and back. E.g., Inside foot at 10:00 and outside foot at 4:00, when a left turn is viewed from the non-drive side. I definitely alternate feet when I have my act together. Wondering how these habits line up with what you see as good upper/lower body separation. 

 

I'm not saying that you have to face outside, that IMHO is open to debate. But that is what is taught in some established instruction programs. I don't know that it is "wrong" either as there is more than one way to ride a bike. I've certainly tried it, but when I am just riding and not focused on how I am riding I don't think I do it except in the lowest grip situations. Here's a gallery of photos I took in a very slippery corner at the Windham World Cup and almost everyone is doing it in this corner I didn't cherry pick the photos for this purpose two years ago...

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/53710006@N06/sets/72157630360979720/

 

I'll tell you one thing for sure looking where you want to go is a good start!

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

I'm not saying that you have to face outside, that IMHO is open to debate. But that is what is taught in some established instruction programs. I don't know that it is "wrong" either as there is more than one way to ride a bike. I've certainly tried it, but when I am just riding and not focused on how I am riding I don't think I do it except in the lowest grip situations. Here's a gallery of photos I took in a very slippery corner at the Windham World Cup and almost everyone is doing it in this corner

 

Okay, that more or less lines up with what I would have expected to hear and see. But what you said above was:

 

Quote:
  Having the upper body facing inside the turn makes the bike turn more.

 

The comment about facing inside what sparked my post. I'm trying to reconcile the two ideas and understand how you think they play together. I'm not on a bike right now, and honestly I haven't got very many hours in this season yet of riding the kinds of trails where cornering skills come into play constantly. But based on memory I feel like turning my upper body into the turn would tend to make the front wheel plow and the rear tend to get light and skid around that pivot point in a bigger circle. Maybe that's what you meant by "makes the bike turn more." I guess that could be good descending a tight switchback or something, where the main concern is just making a super-sharp corner. By contrast, turning the upper body more outside seems to me to encourage the rear wheel to follow the front around the corner on the shoulder knobs.

 

post #14 of 18

Here's some video with good slo-mo.

 

http://dirtmountainbike.com/news/dirttv-val-disere-world-cup-qualifying.html

 

What do you see?

 

Another one,

 

https://vimeo.com/26099078

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 

Okay, that more or less lines up with what I would have expected to hear and see. But what you said above was:

 

 

The comment about facing inside what sparked my post. I'm trying to reconcile the two ideas and understand how you think they play together. I'm not on a bike right now, and honestly I haven't got very many hours in this season yet of riding the kinds of trails where cornering skills come into play constantly. But based on memory I feel like turning my upper body into the turn would tend to make the front wheel plow and the rear tend to get light and skid around that pivot point in a bigger circle. Maybe that's what you meant by "makes the bike turn more." I guess that could be good descending a tight switchback or something, where the main concern is just making a super-sharp corner. By contrast, turning the upper body more outside seems to me to encourage the rear wheel to follow the front around the corner on the shoulder knobs.

 

Maybe compare with this:

post #16 of 18

We can also just do what Fab says -

 

My takeaway and what really works for me is lifting the elbow.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

We can also just do what Fab says -

 

 

My takeaway and what really works for me is lifting the elbow.

 

Cool. Gotta look into the outside elbow thing. Not sure I've ever paid any attention to that.

 

"Lean the bike, not the body," is validating. Thumbs Up  Notwithstanding any upper/lower body separation, there is certainly a ton of body / bike separation.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 Notwithstanding any upper/lower body separation

 

 

It's funny that he never mentions it, but it is blindingly obvious how much he does it.

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