Ripper analysis: Brian Lopes on his home trails

I’ve heard somewhere that Brian Lopes can ride a bike. Maybe it was in one of these books stacked on my shelf.

Let’s take a look at his “X-Fusion Visits Brian Lopes” video.

In this video, Brian isn’t doing any real crazy stuff, but he’s showing very solid fundamental skills — executed with Lopesian style.

Intro: OK, Brian lives in paradise. Good for you, Brian. It’s funny to remember our rides here back in the early 90s. The bikes and my skills sucked roughly equally. Brian was always Brian.

1:34 – The perfect illustration of why flat-ground turn pumping is an awesome drill. Head straight, hands and feet working the shapes.

1:45 – A bump only matters if your vestibular system detects it. Head goes straight while bike handles the violence. Textbook!

2:06 – More levetating head. Letting the bike drp with the terrain while his noggin follows the guidance laser.

2:56 – Master this with cones. Rock it in real life.

3:12 – People who know this trail are impressed with the apparent courage and upper body strength. What I see:

• Hard braking before the drop,
• Moderate braking down the drop (made controllable by great body position),
• Still braking when he connects with the turn. This looks like a form of trail braking.
• Releasing the brake as the bike loads the turn. This feels like rolling throttle on a moto.
• Pumps the exit and he’s on his way,

BL is decently strong, but he didn’t need much upper body strength to hang on. Why? His fore-aft balance was spot-on.

3:20 – Brian uses the brakes quite a bit, but he uses them in a controlled, balanced way. This is how he can control his speed AND maintain flow (rather than clench rotors and muscles like most riders).

3:38 – Euro-style nose wheelie through a tight downhill turn. Brian could make that a lot smoother if he tried.

3:42 – Some brilliant violence. Bike is doing God-knows-what, torso is hovering. This is all about balance.

Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 2nd Edition covers the core skills and lots more. Teaching Mountain Bike Skills dives very deeply into the most important core skills.

Rip it!


Know more. Have more fun!

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