Losing the front end in turns
I’ve been a fan of your site and 1st edition for a couple of years now. I’ve learned a lot from both your site and book which has put my riding to a new level. Unfortunately, there’s been a particular issue that’s put me on the ground a couple of times recently and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. It involves going downhill on a fairly steep and long, fairly supported berm. Generally I’m trying to turn harder than the berm, so I’m leaning the bike, not the body into the turn and pushing pretty hard. I keep “heavy feet, light hands” in mind and look ahead and through the turn towards the next trail feature. Somehow my front wheel manages to tuck in the same direction as the turn, which stops the bike and sends me over the bars. It happens so fast that I don’t even know what happened until I’m on the ground.
Fortunately, I’m wearing my full face helmet and protective gear so I haven’t had any serious injuries but I’d like to try and figure out exactly what’s going on so this can stop happening. I’ve considered if it was just line choice (loose stuff in the turn?) or front/aft weighting (front wheel too light?). I’m riding a Santa Cruz Blur 4x which is a pretty slack and low and likes to rail turns.
Pro DHer Lisa Myklak eases into a tricky turn. You can see she’s balanced on her feet, leaning her bike and staying neutral on the bars. This would be a bad time to steer.
Thanks for the note.
I see this fundamental problem all the time with my coaching clients.
It’s your bike. You need the new LLB Carbon Turbo Braaap XTZ.
Ha. You are making two mistakes:
1) You are steering too much. When you lean your bike, the bars turn automatically (and the perfect amount for your geometry). By turning the bars farther than the geometry dictates, you are turning the front tire into a plow.
2) You are too far forward. If you were too far back, the front end would wash out (this is most common). Because you’re too far forward, that plow is catching and sending you OTB.
Heavy feet, light hands. Lean the bike. Relax and let the bars do what they want.
MMBSii and Pro BMX Skills explore this in greater detail.
Know more. Have more fun!
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Awesome! Thanks for the quick reply and tips! I guess I hadn’t realized that I was steering and not leaning. Any drills or mental-notes to make that help with this? Figure 8’s in the parking lot?
Figure eights are awesome. Relax. Lean the bike. Let the bars do what they want.
Though this isn’t quite light hands, heavy feet…
In a sandy bottom of a local downhill, i’ll charge the corner and dig that front wheel in using the brake then try to lean it over. It looks like i’m gonna do a stoppie and the front wheel does plow a bit, but if you let the tire do it’s thing and you are balanced right you can carry enough speed around that 90 degree corner… it also takes a bit of upper-body force to keep yourself back and down!
Sounds like trail braking. Advanced kung fu.