Mountain biking is an exhilarating adventure that combines the thrill of speed, the beauty of nature, and the technical challenges of the trail. One essential skill that every mountain biker should aim to master is the art of riding corners & berms.
Skillful cornering and flowing through berms not only enhance your overall riding experience but also improve your efficiency, control, and safety on the trails. In this blog post, we will delve into the techniques and tips that will help you take your cornering and berm-riding skills to the next level.
1: Vision and Line Selection
The foundation of a successful cornering technique lies in your vision and line selection. Look ahead, scanning the trail and analyzing the corners and berms before you reach them. Identify the best line that will allow you to maintain speed, control, and stability. Smooth out any rough sections by selecting the optimal trajectory that minimizes the need for sudden braking or excessive steering adjustments.
2: Body Positioning
Maintaining the correct body position is crucial for effective cornering and berm riding. As you approach a corner or berm, shift your body weight to the outside pedal, lowering your center of gravity and creating stability. Bend your elbows and knees, and keep your body relaxed and loose to absorb any bumps or changes in terrain. Distribute your weight evenly on both wheels, and lean your bike into the turn, allowing the tires to grip the trail.
3: Braking and Speed Control
Before entering a corner or berm, ensure you have appropriately controlled your speed. Feather the brakes smoothly and gradually, adjusting your speed to match the demands of the turn. Avoid hard braking or locking up your wheels, as this can lead to loss of traction and stability. Remember, entering a corner or berm with the right speed is essential for maintaining flow and control throughout the maneuver.
4: Entry and Apex Points
Understanding the concepts of entry and apex points will greatly improve your cornering abilities. The entry point is where you start turning, and the apex point is the tightest part of the corner. Aim to enter the corner wide, allowing for a smoother and more natural trajectory. As you approach the apex, gradually tighten your line, using the whole width of the trail. Once you pass the apex, exit the corner wide, maximizing your speed and carrying momentum into the next section.
5: Berm Riding Technique
Berms are banked corners built into the trail, specifically designed to enhance flow and control. When approaching a berm, enter with a wide line, maximizing your speed and using the berm’s banking to your advantage. As you lean into the berm, focus on maintaining an even weight distribution and a balanced body position. Look ahead towards the exit of the berm, keeping your eyes on the desired line. Use your arms and legs to absorb any bumps and keep your bike glued to the berm. As you exit the berm, smoothly transfer your weight back to a centered position and carry your speed into the next section of the trail.
6: Pumping and Generating Speed
To maximize your speed through corners and berms, practice the technique of pumping. As you enter a berm or corner, compress your bike and body into the turn, utilizing the natural transition of the trail. As you exit the turn, extend your bike and body, generating speed and momentum by pushing against the bike. Mastering the art of pumping will allow you to carry your speed through corners and berms, making your rides faster and more enjoyable.
7: Trail Awareness and Adaptability
Not all corners and berms are created equal. Each trail presents unique challenges, such as varying angles, tightness, and terrain conditions. Develop your trail awareness and adaptability by analyzing each corner or berm individually. Adjust your techniques, speed, and line selection accordingly to suit the specific characteristics of the trail. By being adaptable and responsive, you’ll be able to maintain control and optimize your performance on any type of corner or berm.
8: Practice and Progression
Improving your cornering and berm-riding skills takes time, practice, and patience. Start with gentle corners and berms, gradually progressing to more challenging ones as your confidence and abilities grow. Experiment with different techniques, lines, and speeds to find what works best for you. Regularly practice these skills on various trails, both during your rides and through dedicated cornering drills, until they become second nature. If you would like to make some faster progress, we can help!
9: Confidence and Trust in Your Skills
Riding corners and berms effectively requires confidence in your abilities. Trust the techniques you’ve learned and be confident in executing them. As you gain experience and witness the positive outcomes of proper cornering and berm-riding, your confidence will grow, allowing you to push your limits and tackle more technical sections with ease.
10: Safety First
While mastering cornering and berm-riding techniques is exciting, safety should always be a top priority. Always wear appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. Gradually progress to more challenging corners and berms, ensuring you have the necessary skills and experience to handle them. And most importantly, respect other trail users and the environment, ensuring a positive and sustainable mountain biking experience for everyone.
Riding corners and berms on a mountain bike is an art that combines technique, finesse, and experience. By mastering the fundamentals of vision, line selection, body positioning, speed control, apex points, and utilizing the pumping technique, you’ll be able to flow through corners and berms with confidence and efficiency.
Remember, practice, adaptability, and safety are key elements to continually improving your cornering skills and enjoying the exhilarating world of mountain biking. So, get out there, explore the trails, and have fun honing your cornering and berm-riding prowess!