MTB coaching is obviously the best way to get better on your mountain bike. But while waiting to book your next coaching session with us , the team at Switchbacks MTB has put together a list of 5 things you can do yourself to better your mountain biking skills.
1. Look far (or look at the back of your MTB coaching course instructor)
Just like when you’re driving a car, you need to look way ahead. You’re not looking at the end of your car bonnet’s are you? So why do you keep looking at your front wheel while mountain biking?
This is a very common mistake that 80% of mountain bikers make, it takes constant reminding to be able to look far and then be quicker on your bike. The science behind it is simple. The further you look, the quicker you aknowledge obstacles, the best you can react to them.
Look far and this rock garden will just ride itself. Look at your front wheel and you’ll probably OTB as soon as you hit that first rock.
This is, hands down, the most important thing to think about while riding your bike.
2. Lean Froward
Most people think that leaning super far back is the position to adopt on a mountain bike. WRONG
Most MTB coaching camp will tell you that you actually need to lean forward. Let me explain.
By leaning backwards, you transfer your weight from the front wheel to the back wheel, making the front of the bike very light! Light front end means washing out in corners.
However if you bring your weight forward and stand on top of the handlebar, you put pressure on the front wheel, allowing it to grip. Making it much easier to corner.
As a rule of thumb, your bum should be aligned with the beak of your saddle. The only reason why you should really lean back is if you are going through a very steep section.
3. Use both brakes
Your front brake and back brake are like 80YO couples. They’re useless without each other. The front brake is used to slow you down, and the back brake is used to position the bike.
If you only use the back brake (most common mistake), the back of your bike will start sliding and you’ll lose control of your MTB.
If you only use the front brake, you’ll put too much force on the front and you’ll end up flying off the front of your MTB.
A good MTB coaching session will teach you this but using the front and the back brake properly is essential.
4. Stay loose, don’t tense up
Your job is to allow your bike to do its job. If you are stiff as a broomstick, no chance your bike will be able to absorb trail’s impacts and keep a straight line.
Loosen up! None of your muscles should be very tense, you need to let the bike move underneath you and do what it’s supposed to do : absorbe impacts and go forward.
Try to adopt the “cowboy stand”, knees and elbows bent, relaxed, ready to shoot right through that corner like Billy the Kid would shoot through his ennemis !
5. Set your suspensions properly
Way too many riders overlook suspensions setup, and yet, it’s the second most important thing behind tyres and their pressure.
What’s your SAG? How about your compression? Do your hands hurt while riding braking bumps? Do you always get kicked forward while jumping? If the answer to those questions is Dunno / Dunno / Yes / Yes , then you might need to get your suspension dialled properly.
6. Join a MTB Coaching course
The best way to learn everything that’s above and much much more is to join a MTB coaching course. You’ll get taught how to position yourself, brake, corner, jump, and ride stuff you’d never thought you could before.
At Switchbacks we’ve coached 100’s of people over the years, teaching them skills they’d never thought they could acquire. Our team of World class ex-racers will make sure you get out of Sunny spain with a smile on your face and a lot of new tricks in your bag.