Singletracks are one of the most rewarding types of mountain bike terrain - not only do singletracks test the mountain biker across the fastest and most fun terrain - they also snake through some pretty spectacular countryside - and are often the reward of a long ascent to get to top of some brilliant singletrack.
Singletrack can be enjoyed on any kind of mountain bike, although we would be lying if we said that singletrack was not the specialism of the full suspension mountain bike - with rear and front suspension to guide you down trails.
As with everything that is rewarding in life, it can take some practice to get singletrack mountain biking just right - and below, we have put together some of the hints and tricks that we have used to improve our own singletrack MTB performance:
Avoid Pedalling all of the Time
There will be times on singletrack where you may need to increase your speed - one of the problems with pedalling across uneven terrain and surfaces found on singletrack - is the fact that your pedals can come into contact with obstacles such as rocks and roots.
Instead of pedalling, try and increase momentum by pushing down and forward on the pedals of the mountain bike, with some practice - this is an effective technique when trying to increase pace and singletrack performance.
Don’t sit in the Saddle
Sitting in the saddle down singletrack trails is uncomfortable at best, and at worst it’s dangerous. Instead, stand up with your rear end hovering over the rear of the saddle - this helps you ride the bike in the most fluid and natural manner possible, whilst allowing your legs to act as extra suspension - soaking up the uneven terrain that the bike is riding over.
Lower Your Saddle
Although pedalling with the bike saddle lower can mean pedalling is harder - lowering your centre of gravity makes it much easier to control the bike across rough and difficult terrain. A dropper seatpost can help with this.
Go Your Own Way
Although it can be tempting to follow the tyre tracks ahead of you - remember that these tyre tracks have not necessarily taken the best possible route down the trail. For example, a rider could have ridden around obstacles, when it may be easier and faster to ride directly over such obstacles. Look for the smoothest possible line.
Relax & Lean
One of the most common problems that riders new to singletrack have, is that they are too tense and rigid on the bike. Riding singletracks when relaxed allows you to lean the bike through the corners, as well as remain responsive and fluid across the full trail. Ideally, you will be leaning the bike through corners, whilst your body remains looking forward.