If you have ever sat at the top of the trail and thought "That looks very, very steep!" then this article will be well worth reading, because in it - the mountain bikers in the team here at Westbrook Cycles have put together hints, tips and instructions on how to master the steepest of descents whilst out mountain biking, leaving you riding safer as well as more confidently.
Keep Body Movement Fluid
A lot of riders when approaching steep descents, try and keep the body as far back on the bike as possible - which can overstretch the arms forcing the body forward and out of control. The key to successfully riding steep descents is keeping your bodyweight as neutral as possible on the bike - keeping a range of motion in your legs and your arms, which can only be achieved by staying close to your bike.
Keep Low On The Bike
As mentioned above, a lot of people heading downhill - lean right back on the bike. A good way of achieving the right position on the bike is to keep your hips behind your saddle, but your head in front of the bars. This position allows your elbows and legs to be able to absorb impacts on a trail - keep the elbows bent and you will remain in control of the bike.
Understand The Lack Of control
Depending on the severity and grade of the trail - you may not always be in total control. All you can do on the steepest of trails is to lock up the back wheel and head down the trail as slowly as carefully as possible. When this happens, keep your cool and remember that the steepest of sections won’t last forever. Believe in yourself and commit.
Search For The Grip
The trail you are riding will have plenty of grip on it, it’s just up to you to find where the grip is. Look for the grippiest parts on a trail, which tend to be the smoothest part of the track - away from obstacles, lumps and bumps.
Watch The Experts
Youtube is full of excellent videos of professional mountain bikers hitting the trails - watch and learn! Look in particular for their position on the trail, as well as their neutral riding position.
Enjoy The Challenge
Mastering the steepest sections of downhill trails is difficult, and is one of the most challenging types of riding you will encounter on trails. Once you get these sections nailed however, you can look forward to uninterrupted riding more than ever - and getting off the bike to negotiate the steepest parts of the trail can become a thing of the past.