Cornering: flat feet or outside foot down (again)?

Hey Lee-
Met you at the Georgia high School mountain bike league Summit last summer with Dan Brooks and got some good riding in there. I have a serious question about cornering and the techniques that IMBA is teaching. I find that I do a combination of flat footed for easy turns and outside foot down for aggressive cornering. What is your recommendation after the recent IMBA teaching of “flat-footed” through turns.

Stefanie Gore
North Georgia Mountain Bike Club (founder and junior mtb coach)
Georgia High School Mountain Bike League coach

Hi Stefanie,

Thanks for writing.

In this post — How many feet down in turns? — I talk about my approach, which is basically foot down to create maximum edging; feet level for pumping.

Demonstrating foot-down style at the NICA Advanced Coach Training Clinic in July 2013.

From my perspective as a teacher who’s worked with thousands of riders of all levels, and who has trained many, many high school MTB coaches:

• Most riders have trouble balancing on two feet while leaning the bike independently from their bodies, and they have trouble leaning the bike while they stand on two feet. I see this all the time, especially with high seats.

• Most riders find it easiest to lean the bike while standing on one foot. With one foot down, the hips can be turned and the inside leg can go above the seat (rather than smacking the seat into the inner thigh, which limits lean and the ability to turn).

• When you’re teaching riders — adults or kids — I think the best techniques are the safest and most easily learned. The foot-down technique is easier for most people to master, and it’s the safest way for them to change direction on sketchy surfaces.

• As NICA’s skills development director, responsible for the training of ~2,000 high school MTB coaches, I say Job 1 is: Don’t hurt kids! The foot-down technique might not create the ultimate shredders (at least not right away), but it saves lives and helps riders discover the radness of this sport.

Demonstrating for high school riders in Lyons, CO.

CO high school rippers dial in the foot-down technique. Lindsey Dye became the league champion and moved on to the pro class. Note how her inner thigh clears the full-height saddle.

I hope this is helpful.

More kids on bikes!


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