MTB Techniques

Mountain Biking is fun when you have acquired these skills. It makes riding smoother and swift. It is much safer than riding Road Bikes but not Downhill or Freeride. Most of my skills were acquired from previous motocross training such as Attack Position, Popping a Wheelie and Body English. I love riding technical trail, tight and plenty of obstacles. My worst skill is hill climb, I never climbed high mountains before until I came to Taiwan. It was a nightmare for me. After riding couple of Taiwan's mountain off-road trails, I soon realised it can be very dangerous if one do not have proper skills. Most MTB crashes were going downhill, the mountains here are extremely steep making downhill rather fast. Without proper knowledge of braking, body positioning will send rider kissing the ground or worst over the cliff. I am not joking, there were cases riders when over the cliff. Open flat downhill, I am few of the better riders in the club because of my previous training, I know how to set myself up for speed, cornering and small jumps.    

My club does stamina and long distance (100km plus) rides which are really out of my league. After going with them couple of mountain climb rides, I am totally done for. Technical ride is still my preference and I learn better MTB skills. My last solo camping trail at Jinshuiying was fantastic but on certain stretch I would rather not take the risk as I was alone with my dog.

Today I do not do crazy stunts anymore, now if you ask me to take a jump, I will hesitate, rather not put myself at risk. Technical rides are fun and much safer, you do not have to speed but just tackle the obstacles. Below are few videos I have selected from Youtube which I felt was well illustrated and worth learning.

MTB Techniques
Attack Position - It is one of the most important technique in biking. How you want to set yourself up for an obstacle by bending your elbows and knees, setting the pedal position to 3 and 9 o'clock. With this position, you can compress the fork and do a pop up wheelie if needed. Many riders make this mistake when they are going downhill, they set their body behind the seat and making the front too light to get proper ground traction. This will cause the front to wash off during a corner. During cornering we want the front to sink in so it will get better traction. Normally chin should be just around the handlebar and and weigh pedal down 6 o'clock and body against the direction you turning while the other leg can stretch out if needed to counter balance otherwise stay in 12 o'clock position. 
this was how I did the right cornering on a crosser in Attack positioning, seat to the front and weigh the front fork down to get traction, left leg on the peg and weigh it down. Using rear brake and power at the point of apex to slide the rear wheel (see the dust behind). Elbow in Attack position, body counter balance and the other leg ready to slide (Body English). Same application on MTB during a flat downhill ran.

Wheelie - Wheelie is useful when you have an obstacle in front such as a log. By learning how to lift the front wheel will make the ride smoother. This is also useful when you are crossing small stream and do not want the front wheel to drag the bike down. Once you know how to pop a wheelie, you can learn how to wheelie drop from a height. I have yet to perfect wheelie balancing, only able to pop and clear obstacles.

Bunny Hop - This technique is useful when you are fast on the bike. Hopping over the obstacle and keep moving but that depends on height of obstacle and your confidence to clear it

Tips - Before heading to the trail, make sure you lower the tire pressure. In muddy condition, I would lower 30 to 35 psi otherwise on normal trail it is around 38 to 40 psi. Normally in a technical trail, I would lower my seat so I have better leverage, on hill climb I will set back my seat height position so that my front wheel is not too light. 

Attack Position

Wheelie Illustration (this Link has better instruction but I can't get it posted so I used this instead)

Bunny Hop Illustration

Woodcutter was the kind of technical trail we used to ride, muddy, slippery, tree roots, stream and logs crossing. Plenty of obstacles, trail is not fast but very technical. One trail has the elements for all the challenges. Started 7am and back home by 1pm washing bike over Beers. Those were the days, my kind of riding.

Not many Vidz I can find but this is just good enough. The trail seems different and too easy if you are interested to view. Finally after all the rides in this trail, managed to put my foot down only 3 times till end. That was my personal challenge, not timing but bike control. Not too brag, among  my friends, I was the fastest in this trail. The Bike used was Giant NRS3 with Zefal clip-on. 

Today my MTB is just my personal challenge to go over obstacle, I have no interest to be the best or go into any races, I have done that in many forms of racing, it is over. I just want to enjoy the ride at my own pace.  

You do not have to ride like he did, however watch his braking, body positing, pedal position and rear lift to change the direction. Not a downhill rush but handling every obstacles. This is bike control

Well there are many  bike handling techniques you can find on YouTube... these are some basic which I found it useful. More important, learn the Attack  Position and Body English,  you will have a  fun and safe ride.

Good luck  

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