Cornering form for switchbacks?

Since you did the clinic with the “Mere Mortals” riders in Silicon Valley, we’ve all been working hard on cornering by leaning the bike like you taught us, and in general, we’re getting pretty good at it. Some of us are wondering, however, if that technique applies to sharp switchbacks. Should we try to lean the bike in a switchback or keep it fairly upright (since the bike is going fairly slow compared to, say, a sweeping downhill turn)? Thanks, and we’re looking forward to doing another clinic with you in the spring.

Three-quarters throttle. Tight turn. Medium speed. Lots of bike lean. Seat way to inside of body.

Hi Ray.

It’s great to hear from you. I really enjoyed working with the Mere Mortals.

You always want to lean your bike more than your body. I taught you an exaggeration. 1) It broke through your old habits. 2) It’s necessary at high speed.

In a slow switchback (up or down), lean your bike as we talked about — just not as much.


Weight the outside pedal.

I know you guys ride with high seats. Slide the seat sideways under you. Instead of sitting on (or hovering over) the middle of your butt, try to sit on your butt cheek or even your thigh. This few degrees of angulation improves camber thrust as well as control if your tires slide.

The faster and tighter you turn, the more you have to lean!!!

One-quarter throttle. Tight turn. Low speed. Little bike lean. Seat under my inside (left) butt cheek.

Photo by Marty Caivano for a Shimano video.

Do not

Try to steer. Let the bars turn naturally as you lean your bike. Turn the bars too little and you miss the turn. Turn the bars too much and you plow the front end.

NOTE: Forced steering is pretty safe on climbs, but steering on the descent is just asking for trouble.

As always

Line up very wide and follow a middle or late apex. Middle while climbing. Late while descending.

Slow down so much you have no stress.

Look through the turn.

Keep your upper body relaxed. The more control you attempt, the less control you have.

Nice. Melinda picks a great line. She looks through the turn. And she begins to shift her body to the outside of the bike (or shift her bike to the inside of her body). It’s all so relative!

See you guys in Spring,
— Lee

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