Leaning Back

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  janecycling 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #111961

    I’ve been doing more riding lately that involves technical, high-speed descents. I’ve been doing my best to keep my weight back on the bike, but because I’m a beginning-ish rider, I’d like any advice on ways to make that happen. Lowering the seat helps a lot, but I’m more concerned about what happens when you come around a corner and there’s a descent that you weren’t expecting. How do you keep your weight back far enough when your seat is up high? Or do you ride it a little lower all the time? (Mine is set like my road bike; so that my leg is almost straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke.) Something I’ve discovered is that keeping my arms a little more tense is really helpful, as it doesn’t allow my upper body to move forward when I hit something.

    Any other ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #111962

    Adjustable-height seatpost with remote is the best solution. Still, you can ride without it. Leaning to much backward will increase your chances to washout in the next turn. I keep my arms somewhat relaxed all the time – that help a lot on difficult portions. Have fun riding and it will come naturally

  • #111963

    GET LOOSE! The more free you are the better you feel what the bike wants to do just be ready to counter it. The more you do this the more you will anticipate what to do in situations. Keeping your weight back is a definite help. But a lower seat helps you even more because it allows for two things 1) keep you from getting bucked forward when decending and 2) it keeps your center of gravity lower allowing you to corner even harder. I know having a low seat makes pedalling tough but thats why stumpy mentioned the adjustable seat post…they really are great so long as you use em efficiently and you have a good one. One other things that helps….a great big ole ball sack and a lil bit of luck 😃

    I usually have mine set about 4 maybe 5 inches above the collar of my seat tube. it does make it a bit annoying to pedal but then again most of what i ride is flowy and has a desending grade if not all downhill.

  • #111964
    "dr_albright" wrote

    How do you keep your weight back far enough when your seat is up high?

    Put your ass behind the saddle:
    Image

    It takes some adjusting and some getting used to but it works.

  • #111965

    According to that pic, you also need your balls behind the saddle

  • #111966
    "maddslacker" wrote

    According to that pic, you also need your balls behind the saddle

    those too. 😆

  • #111967
    "jtorlando25" wrote

    [quote="dr_albright":rlr79r1u]How do you keep your weight back far enough when your seat is up high?

    Put your ass behind the saddle:
    Image

    It takes some adjusting and some getting used to but it works.[/quote:rlr79r1u]

    Sorry, but this is the absolute worst thing you could do unless the hill is crazy steep.

    The goal is to keep your weight centered over the bottom bracket, keep your torso low, and your arms bent and loose. In this position, the rider will have horrible control of the mountain bike, and if the front end was to hit something unexpected he would have no give in his upper body to absorb it and correct.

    Also, having the weight this far back when going downhill is a horrible idea as the vast majority of your braking power comes from your front brake. If you have all the weight off of your front wheel as illustrated above, you will have no power to stop with.

    The only time that it makes sense to have your body this far back is when the hill is SO steep that having your body this far back behind the saddle actually does translate to maintaining the position of weight directly above the bottom bracket. In the above image, that is not the case.

  • #111968

    I was assuming that he was talking about super steep descents otherwise it would be common sense that he just needs to crouch more. The pic was for demonstration sake.

    Tough crowd. 😕

    Dr Albright: Here’s a good article to read explaining the theory behind it and further explaining what Greg mentioned about keeping your weight centered over the bottom bracket: [url:2zk9hgs1]http://betterride.net/blog/2011/how-to-descend-a-steep-section-mountain-bike-body-position/[/url:2zk9hgs1]

    This absolute worst technique ever has kept me on the right side of the handlebars numerous times on the steep stuff.

  • #111969
    "mtbgreg1" wrote

    The only time that it makes sense to have your body this far back is when the hill is SO steep that having your body this far back behind the saddle actually do translate to maintaining the position of weight directly above the bottom bracket. In the above image, that is not the case.

    Black Jack in CO comes to my mind – there such a position is necessary. +1 on loosing braking power when weight shifted too far back. It’s hard to find that sweet spot between loosing control over front end and "superman flight" though

  • #111970

    On a 650b that position just sort of happens automatically, amirite 😆

  • #111971

    Thanks for the discussion, all! I see there are some competing ideas of the best way to get down a hill, but the consensus seems to be to keep your torso low and stay loose (both of which are great advice). I’d love to get an adjustable seatpost, but I can’t really drop any money on my bike right now, as I’m moving across the ocean in a few days.

    Anyway, the only trouble I have with this advice is with the staying loose part. For the most part, that’s not a problem. However, if I’m leaning back, and my front wheel hits something and goes up, staying loose causes my elbows to bend more, bringing my weight further forward. This has never resulted in an endo, but I’ve come close a few times. It’s not like I’m locking my elbows; just keeping a little more tension in my triceps than the rest of my body so that when my front wheel goes up, my upper body stays back. So far, it hasn’t caused any problems for me . . . but if it does, I’ll try something else!

  • #111972

    The "loose" part is basically not to have your arms and legs to be all tightened up and stiff. This will allow them to be like shock absorbers. It will also reduce muscle fatigue and other body pains, like a sore back.

  • #111973
    "jtorlando25" wrote

    Dr Albright: Here’s a good article to read explaining the theory behind it and further explaining what Greg mentioned about keeping your weight centered over the bottom bracket: [url:3rr8a02z]http://betterride.net/blog/2011/how-to-descend-a-steep-section-mountain-bike-body-position/[/url:3rr8a02z]

    Yes, that’s what I was talking about. Sorry if I got a little passionate, but the previous picture just wasn’t good position for that terrain… but the position in the picture in the linked article is great because the terrain is so much steeper.

    I love Better Ride… those guys know their stuff!

  • #111974
    "brianW" wrote

    The "loose" part is basically not to have your arms and legs to be all tightened up and stiff. This will allow them to be like shock absorbers.

    Just like .38 Special says, "Hold on loosely, but don’t let go." 😎

  • #111975
    "maddslacker" wrote

    Just like .38 Special says, "Hold on loosely, but don’t let go." 😎

    My descending song of choice used to be Lean Back by Terror Squad, but maybe I should start thinking about .38 Special instead!

  • #111976

    it would be helpful to know what kind of bike you ride on what kind of (aggressive) terrain.

    as mentioned (passionately) by mtbgreg1 😀 and the excellent article link from jtorlando25, always stay centered. an exception might be at the take off of a jump.

    i think the idea of staying loose is good, but if taken too literally, can be dangerous. if you hit a steep section please grip the hell out of your bars so an errant root or rock will just abuse your suspension and not flip the wheel. however, your arms should not be tight, they should be firm shock absorbers. where the ‘loose’ and the ‘centered’ come in play is that as you enter the steep let the bars drop away from your body (don’t push or pull) and the bike will fall away with you naturally behind the seat but centered over the cranks. don’t force your butt back, the bike will do that naturally when it falls away. as the article, all the weight is on the feet. as the terrain sways up and down the bike will be following the terrain and your body almost stationary. watch dh’ers. the bike is moving all over the place, but not their helmets.

    here’s a good example. you’re coming down a steep chute and there’s a rock ledge creating a short flat section with a short drop or roll off the down side back to the steep descent. the rock ledge would be relatively flat (level) compared to the slope of the steep descent so as you hit the flat rock section your handlebars should come back towards you with the bike pivoting at your cranks and you should be again in a neutral position (butt over, not behind seat) for a split second. as the rock drops off you will again allow the bars to drop (thus the loose arms people are mentioning- but hold the grips tight!) as you roll the drop off. if you were to stay fully extended with your butt back over the rock ledge, coming off the downside of the ledge you will flip because you can’t extend your arms further. so for ‘loose’ arms, let the bars go up or down as the bike pivots, with all your weight on the cranks, not the bars.

    if you watch a pump track video you can see how to exaggerate bike movements from being passive to active in undulations, berms, etc. you’ll find on the trail.

    best advice though, have fun.

  • #111977

    ^^^^this dude^^^ just turned moutain biking into a science 😮

  • #111978
    "spazjensen" wrote

    ^^^^this dude^^^ just turned moutain biking into a science 😮

    thank you. i guess you can learn something from falling a lot.

    just another comment to the op, as you mentioned keeping your arms stiff to keep from going otb.

    i may be wrong here, but it works for me. many xc riders like to distribute their weight and become aerodynamic. their brakes and shifters point pretty down from neutral, so to brake or shift your arms always have a downward vector force on the bars (more weird science 😀 ).

    for more aggressive riding i pulled my brakes up a bit closer to neutral (closer to horizontal), and more horizontal than my shifters. i can reach the brakes when stretched behind the seat, but importantly my force is more forward into the bars than down as my wrists are dropped (as you would drop your heel into a turn) with the brakes just a little higher. with your wrists dropped you would essentially push through the bike rather than fly over it.

    just sayin’, feel free ‘experiment’ with the position of your controls. you might be surprised.

  • #111979

    Mountain biking is simple. Too far off the back you skin your ass when you loose the front wheel. Too much off the front and you skin your helmet when you go over the bars. Sitting on the seat is asking for after the ride constipation. Staying centered of the bike make the get off 1/2 as bad as the others. So it’s just like your nose, only you can pick it properly. Make your choice. 😄 Later,

  • #111980

    I am still voting fat billy for president, beer for all!

  • #111981

    Mastering MTB Skills by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack is the best book on learning skills like this issue. Brian Lopes is one of the greats on a bike. Worth every penny and not a bad read either.

  • #111982
    "mtbgreg1" wrote

    Yes, that’s what I was talking about. Sorry if I got a little passionate, but the previous picture just wasn’t good position for that terrain… but the position in the picture in the linked article is great because the terrain is so much steeper.

    I love Better Ride… those guys know their stuff!

    Agreed that guy in the photo is exaggerating a bit, but in my experience with MTB photography, the still camera takes 40 degrees off of any slope.

  • #111983

    Nice bicycle :3

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