Some of the most challenging technical mountain biking comes at steep, tight, switchback turns. Riders often flow along nicely, only to have to stop and get off the bike to navigate a switchback.
With the proper technique, you can not only stay on the bike, but actually find some fun and flow on steep, sharp turns. The key is in the set up.
As you are about to enter a tight switchback, a pre-turn can be utilized to help make the front and rear wheels take different paths. This allows the rider to turn more tightly than possible with a regular turn, where the rear wheel follows the path of the front.
- Uphill advantage
Make a slight turn toward the uphill side of the turn, before steering through the actual turn on the trail. Do this by opening the uphill knee toward the up slope, and pointing the hips slightly uphill. This should be a slight turn, and should pull the front wheel high up the slope.
- Allow the turn to happen
Once this pre-turn is made, the rider will go directly into the main turn by opening the downhill knee and turning the hips through in the direction of the trail.
This move takes some courage at first, so start with a turn matching you ability level. Before you know it, you’ll be ripping tight turn with the best of them!