Mountain Biking - Downhiller techniques... how? off camber turns.
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05-10-08, 11:31 PM
Question for you downhillers here. I am trying to improve my downhill riding. I've got the speed and brakes covered and am working on getting the inside foot up on quick turns.
My question is what my body and feet positioning should be when the turn is "off camber" (the opposite slant of what a normal turn is, feels like the hill want to throw you off). Do I still lift up the inner foot as in a normal slanted turn or the opposite for better balance? For now I just freak out, slow way down and keep my feet even at 3 and 9 o'clock. I really want to figure this out because it puts a big damper in the middle of my fun speed runs on two particular trails.
It depends on how sharp the turn is; but one thing remains constant: the need to get the bike at the proper angle to the ground. Remember on an off-camber if you lean normally the bike will be at too great an angle to the ground itself and you'll have a tendency to slide out. You've got to do something a bit counterintuitiver and lean you more and the bike less. This will mean leaning the bike out-slope some and applying body-english in-slope (think of a sidecar motorcycle racing team). Your feet should be at 6 and 12 - - downhill foot at 6 and most of your weight concentrated there low. This will lower your center of gravity and help your tires bite. Lifting your inside foot may be necessary to get the bike healed outward enough; if so, lean the bike out farther ad your shoulder in a bit more.
If you encounter a really sharp off-camber hairpin (the type that enters sideslope and exits sideslope the other way) you may need to apply a little more MX-ish technique. (I've gained a few precious seconds because of some old instincts on this). If there is no berm, enter the turn as high as you can - - you may find your approach way off the 'normal' line - -then plant a foot and cut sharp downhill before the apex. You may even find the rear chatters downslope some but you have your foot out as your 'outrigger.' Then when you reach the apex and a little below you should be already lining up for the exit and will probably be positioned to bounce off what little berm there may be at the bottom of the turn and positioned to shoot out of the turn.
Does that help?
05-11-08, 10:38 AM
Thanks so much! I can totally visualize it. On both my trials it's just the one turn, no off camber after but I'll keep the mx tips in mind too. I'm going to try it out tomorrow, too sore from the last 3 days of climbing this morning.
Makes sense, keeping the bike in and the counterweight of my body out. I'm sure it's going to take some practice. :thumb:
05-11-08, 10:39 AM
Always try to keep your wheels square to the ground, when possible :)
05-11-08, 10:40 AM
Okay, had a dyslexic moment there, thats bike out and body in right!?! :)
That's what he means - - correct. As perpendicular to the surface as practical is where the tire's best contact patch is.
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