I need help in flat turns!

Hey Lee,
I was on your site a while back with places to ride your DH bike. Anyway I purchased a Demo 7 1. I can rail berms — Kessel Run in Fruita was incredible. I pull myself forward and down in berms — works great — but when I try this in flat corners I get all balled up. Especially in right turns. I ride left foot forward if that helps. I tighten up, can’t barely make it and usually end up in a bush. What am I doing wrong?

Cornering: Drilling the basics

Hey Paul,

I’m stoked you’re having fun. I’m gonna give it to you straight:

Any moron can rail a berm, especially on such a capable bike.

Flat turns require real skill, and it sounds like you’re doing a lot wrong. It’s time to learn and master the core riding skills.

In order of effectiveness:

– Take one of my clinics. As I recall, you live in this area.

– Read Mastering Mountain Bike Skills. If you won’t spend the money, read it at your local library.

– Look on this site. The Skills/Training section contains 209 articles (now 210), and I’ve covered most of the basics.

Here’s a good one: Cornering: Drilling the basics

When you learn to corner like this you’ll avoid most of (but never all) the bushes.


— Lee

11 replies
  1. Tyler says:

    Reading your post made me a little nostalgic….I took all 3 of your ‘public’ clinics last spring/summer….I honestly believe that was the best $300 I have ever spent. I had budgeted $1000 of ‘fun money’ before the summer began…..I can’t emphasize how glad I am that I invested at least some of the money in ME, and my skill development. I ride the same (crappy?) hardtail bike but am doing SO much more on it…..before I took your classes, I just knew I was missing out on something……my friend said I looked like ‘a dog that didn’t trust its owner’ when I was cornering….I didn’t know what to do though. I so wanted to hop over obstacles and ride drops that were slowing me down. Of course I have a long way to go still, but those clinics were like a ‘key’ that has taken me to a new level of riding. It feels SO GOOD to have the skills and confidence to hop and drop over at least some of those obstacles now. Just being in a nice balanced neutral attack position has opened so many doors to me, both climbing and descending…..it’s amazing. In the fall, I actually started experiencing some ‘drift’ on some corners, it felt nice and controlled…..I almost $&@! my pants! Enough of my essay, I could go on but won’t….cheers to you Lee for making a huge difference in my riding (and many others no doubt)…..happy holidays and hope your wounds heal over the winter.

  2. dan says:

    Hooray for moto ruts, nothing better than creating a four inch tall berm out of dust with just tires and determination to corner.

  3. Ryan says:

    He made an excellent book! Lots of pretty pictures and great tips. It’s a great stocking stuffer for yourself! Definitely check it out. Thanks for the great website the great books (Pump Track Nation, and Mastering Mountain Bike Skills) and keep up the great work.

    Have a great holiday!

  4. Alex says:

    I don’t have any problems with flat turns, but I suck at railing berms. I always end up going over the back of the berm on the exit. This sucks because that’s where the thorny plants hang out. Does this make me a moron? What can I do to stop being a moron?

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Alex,

    Morons can rail berms. If you can’t ride a berm, I don’t know what that makes you! Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.


    You’re probably not leaning enough. Berms allow (and often require) more lean than you’re used to in flat turns. Many riders can’t wrap their heads around this kind of lean.

    Loosen up. Lean your bike way into the turn, below your body. Lean as much as you can bear – then lean some more.

    When you start falling to the inside, back it off a bit. You’ll be dialed.

  6. Eric says:

    Alex, you’re not the only moron…

    I have a lot of trouble with really tight berms, like on switchbacks. This seems to be a matter of getting the bike leaned over more quickly than I’m used to. The more “steady state” berms are one of my favorite things about riding, but a pump track style berm and I’m slowed to a crawl.

    More to practice next season.

  7. Paul says:

    Hey lee,
    thanks for the encouragement”Any moron can rail a berm, especially on such a capable bike.”
    Anyways I figured out what causing me trouble.
    My front tire (minion) would randomly shoot out from under me so I was always tense and that caused me trouble. Now I am back on specialized tires which perform better so my cornering is back to normal. I have your book and use you site nearly everyday so I use your tips.
    Thanks for the post but I’m also getting it on my own.

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