Weighting the front end in turns (again)
The two main things I need to work on I think are keeping my weight mostly on the pedals with heavy feet (less on the hands) and weighting the front wheel more in loose fast corners (I have had my front wheel wash out a few times recently, no I’m not braking).
How do I combine these two skills? They seem to be saying opposing things. When in your book you indicate that more weight should be put on the front wheel to stop it washing out and to track better, is this moving the hips forward and is it only a momentary change from the normal attack position with most of the weight through the pedals during loose corners?
I know you can weight and unweight, for example, pumping on a flat surface, but what about on an extended long corner which is loose gravel or mud and I am worried about the front washing out?
Thanks in advance
Spend most of your time with heavy feet and light hands.
Learn to corner with heavy feet and light hands.
In certain corners — with great intention and care — shift weight onto the bars to load your front wheel. This is a powerful trick, but it must be used carefully.
• Weight distribution for turning
• More weight forward on an al-mountain hardtail?
Know more. Have more fun!
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I worked with this for a while. My problem was that on left turns I was weighting the inside grip more because I was more comfortable with left turns but when I would turn right I wouldn’t weight the inside grip. It helps you feel more balanced and and puts down more traction up front.
I’ve been struggling with hands/feet weighting over the last few months and finally reached the root of my problems. In the dry I’d had more grip than I dared use but once the winter mud arrived I found myself weighting the bars to stop the front washing out – however that still wasn’t working brilliantly. Only a couple of rides ago did I realise that in the wet I’ve been lacking the confidence to lean the bike properly, especially when doing rapid left-right-left-right turns with pedals level. I’ve since started focusing on dropping and weighting the outside pedal whenever possible whilst also leaning the bike rather than turning the bars and lo and behold, no more understeer!
Presumably leaning the tyres onto the big side knobs gets more grip, weighting the outside pedal loads the bike into the ground for yet more grip, and maybe leaning the bike through weighting the inside hand also puts just enough additional pressure onto the front end. Whatever, it works and Lee is right as ever!
BTW: It’s very tricky — an advanced move — to simultaneously lean the bike and load the bars.
I have been reading and practicing Lees heavy feet light hands approach for a year now and thought I had it nailed. I ride hardtails pretty exclusively and use the heavy hands in the turns to rail them, especially in off camber or chatter. Turns out I was only doing it when I thought about it and it wasn’t a natural occurrence. UNTIL, I recently built up a fully rigid Niner Air Carbon SS with the Tapered RDO fork. It immediately took me to school on even weight distribution, line selection and pumping EVERYTHING. What I found was that the nice plush Fox fork was making me lazy and I was bashing through every corner like I was on a unicycle with handlebars. When I do that on my Air Carbon you better be ready for your fillings to shake loose and your triceps to catch fire on technical sections. I’ve ridden the rigid bike all winter and now I really do have good balance in the cockpit all the time. Yesterday I rode my hardtail with the Fox up front and it was like a completely different bike now. It railed off camber and high speed hairpins without standing on the handlebars but with even weight distribution. I really recommend everyone to go rigid for a while to hammer home good Lee Brap techniques. I put the bike together as a fun fast SS and it has taught me HUGE lessons on the trail….
I don’t plan on buying another bike just for that but would practising with the fork locked out confer similar benefits?
Yes — and you’d have the blow-off in case you really screw up.
Captain America is often ridden in this mode.