I am looking for advice for getting through very sharp corners quickly on tight singletrack.
Right now I feel like I either slow down way too much and then have to exert a lot of effort to get back up to speed after the apex or the front end starts to slide on me. I have wrecked a few times and it hurts!
Should I be putting more or less weight on the front to get more traction? other advice?
The bike is a cannondale F6 hardtail with a cheapo Dart2 fork and CST COMP Caballaro tires.
The trails are in Eastern NC so they are relatively flat, in wooded areas where wet and leaves and sand are the main cornering concerns. I am trying to average 8-10 mph through these sections.
I know that a better fork or tires with bigger knobs would probably help but I am more interested in improving my technique than just buying stuff (read I am poor and cheap too ).
Thanks for the advice.
Its Freakin HammerTime!!!
There are tons of reasons that cause this. Rider, Shock setup, speed, but first, you need to concentrate on a good front tire. Being from NC, Ive ridden in the sandhill area and I think you need a good soft, aggressive tread tire that has some good side bite. The Kenda Nevegal in Stick E compound will be an awesome tire for that application. You can also get them on Ebay for around $40.
"Countersteering" may be what you're looking for here... First of all, NO BRAKES! As you approach the corner, "twitch" your handlebars to the opposite direction that you want to turn... for example, if you are going to turn right, twitch the bars slightly to the left, which causes your bike to lean to the right. As soon as you feel the bike start to lean, put your outside pedal all the way down with some weight on it to help you maintain traction, tuck your inside elbow in to make the bike carve into the turn, and look up and out at the line you want to follow. This last is important, since your bike is going to go where you're looking.
This works well on the road and dry trail, where you've got traction problems (wet leaves, mud, wet trail) you will likely want to bleed off a little speed before starting your turn. Just be sure to lay off the brakes while you're turning...
no u need your back end to slide out like u are drifting and need good tires.
Tires are everything. I'm not an advocate of the "spending money will definitely make you better" theory, but tires are the most important thing to not cheap out on. I have the same bike, and honestly, those tires were crap.. Just think, what's connecting you to the ground? Anyways you could try playing with the pressure first, otherwise it sounds like you've really hit the limit of your tires.
Maybe you're just too bad-ass bernside!
In addition to above:
If one wheel slides out, put a little bit more weight towards it.
Don't put all your weight near the rear, it's ok to let the rear slide a bit.
Flick to the outside of the corner (as in, flick the wrong way as the corner), then quickly steer into the turn, while lifting off (ie. stop pedaling). This shifts the weight from the back to the front, combined with the flick, induce an inertia drift situation. Then apply a bit of opposite lock to get yourself in the right direction again.
For further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavian_flick
Thanks for the advice guys. I know how to countersteer and corner from riding a street motorcycle, but there are a lot of new variables on a bike in the woods.
I think I will try lowering my tire pressure a bit, getting more weight forward and practice, practice, practice.