Help with DH Switchbacks?!

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    • #77490

      I just cannot do them!

      Chances are I wipe and then have stop myself from running down the side of the hill/cliff… haha

      This is where I stand, I try to take the outside turn but I just can’t get my bike to turn all the way, I’ve tried to take the middle/main line but that I usually stall else I ride off the trail.

      Any advice on how I can take it without having to keep getting off? It seems rather pointless to ride the trails that have them if I can’t do them correctly! Thanks in advance guys.

    • #77491

      I’ve found this guy’s videos helpful…

      Hope it helps.

    • #77492


      DH bikes have a much longer wheelbase and generally have Dual Crown forks limiting the distance the front wheel can be turned. These two things limit how tight of switch back you can make.

      A few things that can help:

      Rear Wheel Lift – Lifting you back wheel and moving left or right can give you a bit of a head start.

      The Trackstand – Learning the trackstand makes all switchbacks easier.

      Weight Loading and Independent Breaking – approach the switchback as described in the bikeskills video above. As you reach the apex of the turn, completely release your front brake and give it more rear, then weight load the front the bike. Eventually your rear wheel will lock and either slide or pivot to get you around the corner. This works best if the turn gets steeper as you roll through it.

      Note: If you are not rather fluid with weight loading and independent braking separately, then combining them could be catastrophic. Learn one, then the other, then combine.

    • #77493

      Practice! Practice! Practice! That’s the big secret of switchbacks.

      But, yeah, like everybody says, the video is good. To me the most important part of making a downhill switchback is getting your weight back over the rear wheel. I believe you need to have your center of gravity over the pivot point of the bike (nothing scientific here, just personal opinion), and when you are doing a sharp turn like that your pivot point is way back, so your weight should be too. That makes it easier to control the radius of the turn. Combine that with minimal and, if necessary, smooth use of the front brake and you will get around no problem.

    • #77494

      Sweet, thanks everybody especially to CAndrewsAK, that vid does seem to make some sense to me, so guess next time I’m up against one I’ll try it, and at least practice it a bit.

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