cornering technique

Forums Mountain Bike Forum cornering technique

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Alvin Mullen 3 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #127616

    Hi, I’ve been mtbing for 3 months now. Diamondback Overdrive HT Comp 29er. Bike shop said the WTB Wolverine tires are designed for speed and I’m looking to improve control. I ride mostly Verdudos fire roads in my area (SoCal). There are some rocky and sandy patches. About a month ago I had a crash which may have caused my rotator cuff injury (currently in PT). The crash happened at the bottom of the Whiting Woods trail at a corner. I think it may have been caused by improper cornering technique, sand, and braking in the corner possibly.

    I found this: [url:1ms1cv6l]http://www.bikeroar.com/tips/finding-flow-perfect-your-mountain-bike-cornering-technique[/url:1ms1cv6l]

    Is this considered proper cornering technique?

    Basically:

    slow down prior to corner
    release brakes
    lean bike over and remain upright

    Any help appreciate, I basically don’t ride nearly as fast downhill as prior to the crash (scared!).

    thx.

  • #127617

    You’re basically right on the money. Think of a tire in the following manner. Each has a finite amount of grip. You use some of it by braking and some of it by turning. The more of one you do, the less of the other you can do at the same time. That’s the reason you want to shave off the necessary surplus speed before you’re into the turn. You can wait until the last second and clamp those brakes right before you are into the corner but try to get to your needed speed before you’re leaned over and turning hard.

    A huge part of this equation is the tire and the pressure you run them at. It took me a few brands and models but I finally found the perfect tire for my environment with an incredible amount of grip. I can hit a non-banked corner with more than twice the speed of some of the worst tires I tried. Don’t be afraid to ask the riders you meet on the trail about what they’re riding and experiment with tire pressure.

  • #127618

    That is some great info. I have had a problem with cornering the last few rides and have crashed twice in them. I have watched a few videos and after reading this it seems like I’m on the right direction now. Thanks.

  • #127619

    While, yes, that is the accepted instruction for cornering, I am skeptical about the lean the bike and not your body part.

    for two reasons.
    1. When riding motorcycles on pavement or riding dirtbikes on hard packed flatter tracks, keeping the bike upright (keeping more tire in contact with the ground) and leaning the body (lowering and shifting center of gravity) produces more traction and faster cornering. Not sure why this is not true with bicycles on flat, hard corners?

    And 2, after watching several pro mountain bike down hill competitions, and watching the 2014 European cross country championships, I saw that technique used a total of one time, and that person had to slow down because they lost control and started sliding out.

    Were I younger, braver and faster, I would go out and test the limits both ways and report back. But alas I am getting too old to go out and throw myself on the ground on purpose.

  • #127620

    The reason you do it for mountain bikes on dirt and not motorcycles weighing hundreds of pounds more on asphalt is pretty simple. The mountain bike often needs a lot more help retaining grip. Leaning the bike allows you to benefit from the geometry’s natural tendency to turn the bike in the direction you’re leaning and putting your weight over the tire’s contact patches keep them from letting go earlier. The more force you put on the contact patch, the more grip you’ll have and the faster you can roll through a corner. If you could get a mountain bike to stick to dirt as well as a motorcycle does to pavement, we would all be taking corners like Joey Dunlop.

    As for the "pros" not using it when you watch tv (except for that one guy that was slower, likely because of his turning method). Just like anything else in life, there’s exceptions to instruction. Here’s the big one: If you have a berm that is steep enough to provide you grip through the force of the turn and you are going fast enough to make use of the more vertical part of the berm, you no longer have to sit over your bike. The very same centrifugal force that would have sent you off into the woods on a turn with no bank will force you neatly into the pocket of the berm allowing you to retain most of your speed while you remain in the same position on your bike. The speed of the turn itself is going to keep you locked into that corner.

    Roots, steep descents, rock obstacles and being airborne are other things that will modify how you take a turn.

  • #127621

    After watching many videos on cornering technique for pavement motorcycles, dirt bikes and mountain bikes I think I see what is happening. One thing that fails to be brought out when discussing this is that even though pavement motorcyclist lean way inside the bike to keep the maximum amount of tire on the ground, they are pushing hard on the outside peg and hand grip, weighting the outside of the bike to force the tire down into the ground. Just like the dirt bike and mountain bike riders do. I think, on flat corners, if you could get your body down and in to keep as much tire as possible on the ground while still keeping ALL your weight on the outside of the bike it would be an effective technique. But it appears that with the taller geometry dirt and mountain bikes this is not really possible and once you get your body inside the bike you begin weighting the inside of the bike whether you mean to or not.

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