Steep tight slippery switchbacks – technique tips and tricks

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  • Steep tight slippery switchbacks – technique tips and tricks
  • It’s still a little bit muddy* around here so I’ve been riding some of the steeper trails because they drain better and fewer people are stupid enough to try to ride them. Anyway, there’s one somewhat forgotten old run which cuts down the side of a fairly steep hill and has some very tight switchbacks on loose wet dirt with roots in all the wrong places. Last night my intended awesomeness degenerated into foot-down mincing and/or dismounting when faced with the tightest steepest corners – I just couldn’t see a way of getting around them without falling down the hillside. Gurus of gnarr, advice please!

    * Massive understatement

    banks
    Member

    Facing similar tracks atm. I’ve been told let the track ride you not the other way round : /

    dantsw13
    Member

    Surely falling down the hillside is an acceptable technique in the circumstances???

    maxtorque
    Member

    The are exactly 3 techniques:

    1) How the real-pros do it: Fast, loose, masses of confidence, really commit to the corner, turn with your hips, unweight the bike and the back, practically endo/flip it round. Do this with enough speed so that minor slips and slides don’t have time to actually push your body mass off the route you want to take. Downsides: requires skill, and practise, and often a bit of luck.

    2) How the quite-pros do it: A bit slower, using good balance on the bike, edge round, keeping momentum in check, possibly using a trackstand or small endo to help the back around as necessary. Downsides: requires good balance and some trials style skills

    3) How I do it: Approach, turn, hope. Downsides: often fall off….. 😉

    ontor
    Member

    In wide, out tight. weight backish. outside foot forward. Don’t lock-up wheels and away you go.

    You can practice on the flat by turning as tight turns as slowly as you can. should be possible to complete a turn with the bars at *almost* 90 degrees.

    bartimaeus
    Member

    Though whether you can do this when it’s slippery, I’m not so sure.

    I’ve cut in a few tracks with corners like this before. 2 techniques for it.

    1. Weight a bit back, stick the front end in, hope the tiny catch berm doesn’t let go and hold on.

    2. Endo round. I’m a fan of the endo. It just drops the rear wheel in the right place so you can sprint straight out the corner. And when you get good at it, it’s quicker than riding it normally.

    hora
    Member

    Muddy and steep? A recipe for ruining the trail.

    Thats happened on one here in thePeaks

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    If it’s as muddy and steep as he says then he’s unlikely to be able to do a controlled Endo folks…

    For me, virtually sit on the back wheel, under no circumstances get into a skid, control your brakes, put all your weight through the lower pedal really stamping it in until it bites, flick your weight around the switchback, don’t be afraid of a bit of a slide, have faith you’ll hook up again or….. don’t. 😀

    Premier Icon tmb467
    Subscriber

    It’s normally a right hand switchback that will throw me on that kind of turn

    Left hip is a lot less strong than the right hip / rotation from left to right is harder / I find it more difficult to turn my head fully to the right / plus the direction seems ‘behind’ me.

    I only ride corkscrew type trails now…I can’t go clockwise

    JonEdwards
    Member

    The first one is usually OK – come in slow and controlled, then get completely off the brakes and freefall through the corner, outside pedal weighted, and the bike leaned right over. Essentially you’re after a controlled lowside. In fact anything but a highsider! (a really good front tyre helps). Use whatever catch/berm/lip/edge/rut there is on the way out to stop you falling down the hill. Then try and bleed off speed for the next one. Discover you can’t and just try and repeat the process faster and faster until you either crash spectacularly or run out of corners.

    Muddy and steep? A recipe for ruining the trail.

    According to Strava it’s been ridden 30 times and 8 of those are by me. Most trails around here have been ridden 3000 times, so I think it’ll cope…

    I’ve been wondering if learning how to endo will help but it is properly greasy. My gut feeling is that the only way to ride it is with enough speed that I get around the turn before the bike slides down the hill. I don’t think my bike will get around a turn this tight with both wheels on the ground and tracking as opposed to sliding though, so I need to do something cunning.

    Premier Icon tmb467
    Subscriber

    Only way* is to unweight the back end and push it round with your hips. Doesn’t have to be a full-on endo but will still allow your front wheel to track round properly

    *depending on speed, steepness, direction change etc

    jedi
    Member

    cgg, 🙂

    cgg, 🙂

    Is that a reassuring smile or are you laughing at me falling off? 😉

    Premier Icon teethgrinder
    Subscriber

    Speed is your friend. Unless you’re carrying to much, then it, and the ground, are your nemesis.

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    Be very deliberate with your line, and cut it with your front wheel allow the back to slide/follow, get the front wheel straight and pointing the right way, lean forward a little and the back wheel will follow*

    *theory. Achieved this a few times and very satisfying to do, but has also resulted in OTB moments, due to over exuberance and running out of talent. Followed a chap in the Alps who had this down to a tee. great to watch.

    Premier Icon tmb467
    Subscriber

    That gif is amazing…now get him to do it to the other side!

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