Mountain Bike Cornering
Picture this: you’ve been riding your brand new mountain bike for a few weeks now and feel like you’re starting to get the hang of it. You’re able to avoid rocks and the correct lines are starting to become more obvious. You hop onto the Duluth Traverse for your daily ride through the Westchester trails into Chester and Bagley parks. As you near the top of your climb, you look down and see a series of switchback corners that bring you to the bottom. You cautiously navigate your way through, nearly falling a few times before reaching the bottom. You look behind you and see a very experienced rider taking the switchbacks quickly and think to yourself, surely she's going to kareem over the berms.
She does not, however, and flies by you at the bottom. You wonder how someone could navigate that section of trail with such ease and confidence. You then realize you recently saw a video on the Ski Hut’s Instagram page about the proper cornering technique and decide to give it a watch.
Beginner riders often have a difficult time with corners and switchbacks when first starting out. It can seem difficult and scary to trust your tires and lean the bike way over to turn. This being said, corners don’t have to instill fear. With a few helpful tips and tricks, you can elevate your corner skills to that of the woman in the story above!
The first tip is to keep your body in a neutral riding position. This would include keeping your knees slightly bent and your weight towards the rear of the bike off the saddle. Positioning your body like this will help you stay ready for whatever the trail has to offer.
The next tip would be to lean your bike and not your body into the turn. This will allow the knobs of the tires to catch in a way that will keep you upright, but you will still be balanced. This can seem scary at first, especially when you see experienced riders leaning their bikes nearly parallel to the ground. Over time, though, it will become easier.
The final tip is to watch the exit of the corner. Look where the bike is going instead of where it is. Don’t look at things like roots or rocks, as you will often hit them. Keep your eyes focused on the trail in front of you and that should help with your cornering abilities.
Cornering can be an incredibly fun experience on a mountain bike. Along with being fun, it is also a necessary technique that every rider should know. Most trails in Duluth and the rest of the United States have some form of switchbacks or sharp turns that need to be made in order to complete them. Learning this technique will enhance your riding skills and your confidence. Watch THIS video on Ski Hut’s Instagram page for more information on how to send it around corners!