Weight on bars when turning?


Hi Lee!

I’m practicing the LLB Remote Coaching cornering drills before every ride and the lean angles are getting bigger! At least on the paved parking lot…

Question: When leaning the bike, say into a left turn should the left hand put a bit more weight on the front wheel? Or should I try to even it out with the other hand?

I get the feeling on dirt a bit more weight on front wheel = more traction on front wheel –> is a good idea … Or not?

By the way: Love your videos!

Thanks,

Jan


Jan!

Thanks for the question, and being a remote coaching customer. I had fun making those cornering videos. You gotta love Colorado weather: wait long enough, and it will rain … then snow! Then, at my house, a kid shows up for a play date.

In my opinion, you should push the handlebar into the turn, then you should totally relax and let the front end track how it’s made to.

More weight on the front tire can indeed make more traction. Check out these old posts:

Weight distribution for turning (2009)

Steep, loose downhill turns (2009)

More weight forward on an all mountain hardtail? (2011)

The issues with weighting the front end:

• Its tricky to make your bars heavy while letting them steer.

• If you get this wrong it can lead to a nasty crash.

These days I think it’s best to keep your weight on your feet, then selectively put power into the handlebars. This is like walking up to someone and punching him, rather than straightening your arms and leaning on him. This seems safer, and it gives you a lot of control.

In this scalloping drill, you can see some power going into the bars — leaning, pushing, pulling — but no weight. I think that’s ideal most of the time. (Funny: This video was shot by a ski instructor, to help skiers understand pumping turns.)

That said, if the turn is really bad, I still lean forward and put my inside foot out, moto style. This arrow stays in the quiver most of the time, but it can be a life saver.


Sorry if I use this photo too much, but it looks so bad ass!

I hope this helps. I look forward to seeing your improvement!

Lee

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  1. Wacek says:

    I figured out some part of it when I tried another coach’s drill of mimicking slow motion when riding S-Turns on asphalt. I noticed that I am fighting with the bike if I am pumping with hands too much or staying too far front in a too static manner. Bike instead of accelerating out of turn decelerates as the pump goes into a turned wheel which creates resistance. That also made me notice(and I see it with many on pumptrack) that I was using hips in one fast explosive motion while there is a whole range of pressure that can be applied. On the pumptrack if I have a sharp berm, or just come in too fast on normal one, if I don’t manage to shift my weight back but oversteer to dismount, I get almost tossed over the bar. Conversely if I shift my way back too fast, the front will not like to dismount. Issue of timing and applied pressure I guess?

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