Cornering with a high seat?


When doing the Lee trademark cone drills, you often show them being done with BMX, dirt jump bikes or a bike with a seat completely lowered.

Raising my seat into the normal position is awful. Everything that worked before is gone. It’s like trying to walk without bending your knees. So now what? Just get used to it and adapt? I can’t lower my seat for biomechanical reasons when I ride, so I need to make this step.

Stiffy McUpright

I shot this image to use with an article about cornering on road bikes. My boss/editor said “No way, that’s impossible.” Whatever. The technique is identical to railing an MTB with a low seat. You just have to move around the seat.


Great question.

At some point I’ll shoot a figure 8 video at full seat height and get into the details, but for now:

– I practice and demonstrate with low seats because they allow greater range of motion. Most riders’ ROM is too limited; one of the first steps here is teaching your body to use your entire cockpit.

– You can still lean your bike and rip turns with a high seat. All of the principles are the same: low, look, lean, turn — but you must learn to move around your seat.

– Most XC/road riders have a magnetic attraction between their butts and seats. You have to break this deliberately.

1. You must lean your bike more than your body.

2. As you lean into turns, practice leaning the bike below you and resting your inside butt cheek on the seat (left turn, left butt cheek). This is plenty angulation for most turns.

3. Increase your bike lean. Practice resting your inside thigh on the seat.

4. Practice leaning the bike farther and farther below you. The more you can turn your hips into the corner, the more range you’ll have. This takes strength and mobility.

Eventually you can rail an XC bike almost as well as a dirt jumper. It just takes more deliberate use of your cockpit.


— Lee

Jim Norman was a great rider before I knew what great riding was. See how his saddle is shifted below him? Do that.

Know more. Have more fun!

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11 replies
  1. paul says:

    when i corner with a high seat I tuck my thigh underneath it and I can lean way over you have to get super low and go under the seat if possible

  2. hugo aguiar says:

    that´s the law of life ask a giraf to turn quick and he or she might fall or has to make a longer turn (choose the best trajecktory)ask a chita to turn and he or she says at 100km witch way left or right after turning to the opposite way.he he wear a 30kg helmet just turn your head but wear good tires.there are no miracles in life(for me )(no there are not)(there is one life no mather what form)

  3. Alex says:

    Is better climbing efficiency the only benefit of having a high seat? I’m asking because I ride in a place with climbs that typically require riders to stand on their bikes, defeating the purpose of a high seat.

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