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  1. #1
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    Technique for steep bolder with drop

    My local trail has a couple boulders that are somewhat steep with a 18"-2' foot drops at the bottom. They typically have a tight turn after them so you can't a lot of speed off of them. Some also have a rock jetting out right around the landing point. Definitely seems like an easy situation to go over the bars.

    What's the best technique for something like this?

  2. #2
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    Straighten your arms just as you roll off the drop to unweight the front wheel and let it take the path it would take as if there was no drop (i.e. don't pull up or push down), the rear wheel will find its own way and will likely leave the ground slightly too but you're not really trying to bunny hop it, just flow through. Try it on some smaller step downs on another trail first to get the timing right.

    Hope this all makes sense.

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    Without seeing it's hard to say but a wheelie drop could work.

    Start on a curb at a stop with your front wheel about 6“ from the edge. Work on starting a wheelie from that distance and maintaining it as you ride off. You're looking to at the least land both wheels together and preferably touch the back down slightly ahead of the front.

    You should be able to ride that off at a slow speed and not blow through the corner.

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  4. #4
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    I'd go against what BrentD said, that is a technique that requires a bit of speed and as you said that you can't carry speed into it, definitely sounds like a feature that requires a wheelie drop instead. If you've not done it before, as Tucker said, definitely start off small and get the technique down perfect before you move up to something that big. To me it's a crux type ability to have in your MTB arsenal and something I'm weak at if it's not off a relatively flat (i.e. quite sloped) surface edge anything over 18".
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentD View Post
    Straighten your arms just as you roll off the drop to unweight the front wheel and let it take the path it would take as if there was no drop (i.e. don't pull up or push down), the rear wheel will find its own way and will likely leave the ground slightly too but you're not really trying to bunny hop it, just flow through. Try it on some smaller step downs on another trail first to get the timing right.

    Hope this all makes sense.
    ^^^This is the fast way to do it - assuming you have room to make the corner.

    Quote Originally Posted by tuckerjt07 View Post
    Without seeing it's hard to say but a wheelie drop could work.

    Start on a curb at a stop with your front wheel about 6“ from the edge. Work on starting a wheelie from that distance and maintaining it as you ride off. You're looking to at the least land both wheels together and preferably touch the back down slightly ahead of the front.

    You should be able to ride that off at a slow speed and not blow through the corner.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
    But yeah, slow [1 bike length] wheelie drops are a great move to have. You can also pivot on the wheelie and set the bike down wherever you need to, in whatever direction you need to after the drop. Practice on small stuff first.

    leelikesbikes and Mastering MTB Skills showed a slo-mo way to do step downs. I have my doubts that I could pull it off without dragging my chainring, causing me to stop and pitch OTB, but they say it works. http://www.leelikesbikes.com/riding-...ns-safely.html

    -F

    PS - after reading the page myself, I am reminded that everyone *thinks* they look like the picture, but they really don't. They *feel* like they're doing it right, but they're not. You have to really exaggerate the moves when you practice. It will feel weird.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, I'll work on wheelie drops. One thing that makes it tougher is doing a wheelie drop down on a steep descent. Seems like I would have to do a track stand (to help control exit speed), then give a couple cranks on the pedals and fully commit to the wheelie, and once landed apply the brakes to make the next turn.

    It seems like the sort of thing that if done right, looks easy. But if the technique is the slightest bit off, the result will likely be OTB. I'll start small and work on technique.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    ... then give a couple cranks on the pedals...
    In my book, it is about 1/4 to 1/2 of a crank. Try a higher gear.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    Thanks, I'll work on wheelie drops. One thing that makes it tougher is doing a wheelie drop down on a steep descent. Seems like I would have to do a track stand (to help control exit speed), then give a couple cranks on the pedals and fully commit to the wheelie, and once landed apply the brakes to make the next turn.
    I was thinking kind of this: you said the approach to the drop was steep; that's a pretty demanding setup for a wheelie drop.

    Putting on the coach hat here: how tight is the turn on the exit? The answers you've received about wheelie drops are basically assuming you've got roughly a bike length before a basically zero-speed turn. Is that really the case?
    From what I've seen working with students, the best answer (most of the time) to these sorts of questions is looking and planning your lines farther out. How much room do you have between the landing and the turn? How fast can you realistically take the turn? If you're like most people asking these types of questions, you probably aren't even thinking about the turn until you've landed the drop and that might be too late. My experience is that much more important than any specific move is to decide how you're going to take the drop, committing to it, then planning the turn - before you hit the drop.

    The technique BrentD suggested is more forgiving on timing than a wheelie drop and doesn't require tons of speed (I do it all the time at around 5mph, and it's a really tight corner that I can't do at that speed). Wheelie drops are useful in the right situation, but there some downsides.

    we're going to need to see some pictures of video of this trail...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    Thanks, I'll work on wheelie drops. One thing that makes it tougher is doing a wheelie drop down on a steep descent. Seems like I would have to do a track stand (to help control exit speed), then give a couple cranks on the pedals and fully commit to the wheelie, and once landed apply the brakes to make the next turn.

    It seems like the sort of thing that if done right, looks easy. But if the technique is the slightest bit off, the result will likely be OTB. I'll start small and work on technique.
    Using a standing wheelie you can throw a manual at the same time as you begin cranking. All you need to do is lift the front roughly the equivalent of the drop between it and the rear. From 18" to 24" you may have a rough landing but with your weight back you'd almost have to lock the front wheel to go over.

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  10. #10
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    For me OTB is not the concern, it's looping out backwards if you go a bit too aggressive on pulling the wheelie and have too much weight rearward, that's why it scares me.
    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    It seems like the sort of thing that if done right, looks easy. But if the technique is the slightest bit off, the result will likely be OTB. I'll start small and work on technique.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    Thanks, I'll work on wheelie drops. One thing that makes it tougher is doing a wheelie drop down on a steep descent. Seems like I would have to do a track stand (to help control exit speed), then give a couple cranks on the pedals and fully commit to the wheelie, and once landed apply the brakes to make the next turn.

    It seems like the sort of thing that if done right, looks easy. But if the technique is the slightest bit off, the result will likely be OTB. I'll start small and work on technique.

    Wheelie drop has less margin for error IMO and it's going to suck if you mess up. Few of us are Wyn Masters and can pull it off.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I'd go against what BrentD said, that is a technique that requires a bit of speed and as you said that you can't carry speed into it, definitely sounds like a feature that requires a wheelie drop instead. If you've not done it before, as Tucker said, definitely start off small and get the technique down perfect before you move up to something that big. To me it's a crux type ability to have in your MTB arsenal and something I'm weak at if it's not off a relatively flat (i.e. quite sloped) surface edge anything over 18".
    Sounds like good advice too. Without a picture of the actual drop it's difficult visualise the actual technique required.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    My local trail has a couple boulders that are somewhat steep with a 18"-2' foot drops at the bottom. They typically have a tight turn after them so you can't a lot of speed off of them. Some also have a rock jetting out right around the landing point. Definitely seems like an easy situation to go over the bars.

    What's the best technique for something like this?
    Reality is, this sounds like a roll able feature and probably isn't too difficult once you remove the mental aspect. Steep boulder that leads to a 2' drop with a open run out I'm assuming would probably be of no difficulty for you. Slamming on your brakes last minute and loading your bike properly for a corner while doing 10-15mph isn't impossible. Put the two together things only get difficult due to lack of reflex or lack of confidence in skills. Just keep riding the more manageable ones and you'll eventually gain confidence to execute the turn right after the drop with out dying.

  14. #14
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    While not specifically related to this situation there's some good tips in the video linked below some of which has been mentioned above:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzE4j5MDBcg&t=6s

  15. #15
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    I went back out today and found a great rock to practice on. Not as steep, and with a 1' drop so pretty tough to go OTB even if I severely mess up.

    I first tried basically track standing on the rock, then wheelie-ing, but found it super tough to get the front wheel up enough while accelerating and sloped down. For me, going in at a rolling speed and doing a manual off worked much better. I'm not the best at wheelies or manuals so am working on getting better at those.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    Putting on the coach hat here: how tight is the turn on the exit? The answers you've received about wheelie drops are basically assuming you've got roughly a bike length before a basically zero-speed turn. Is that really the case?
    From what I've seen working with students, the best answer (most of the time) to these sorts of questions is looking and planning your lines farther out. How much room do you have between the landing and the turn? How fast can you realistically take the turn? If you're like most people asking these types of questions, you probably aren't even thinking about the turn until you've landed the drop and that might be too late. My experience is that much more important than any specific move is to decide how you're going to take the drop, committing to it, then planning the turn - before you hit the drop. ....

    we're going to need to see some pictures of video of this trail...
    I'll take a picture next time I have my phone and am on the trail. There is space on the exit for the one that I would like to pull off, and I could just slam the brakes if I took decent speed off of it.

    But taking speed off of it is challenging as the entry turn is actually tighter and shorter. And the line off the rock needs to be somewhat accurate - there's a small tree to the left of the drop that could clip the bars, and if you go too far right, the rock is too steep and you'll lose traction.

    I'm sure experienced AMers could pull it off pretty easily, but it'll take some work for me to get there -- especially since the entry, drop, line and exit all need to be done well.

  17. #17
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    I just went back and took a closer look at the entry and line and realized I could probably roll off as mentioned. The entry and line took me a couple tries, but once I went for it and got it, I thought that it was embarrassingly easy. But it was still fun and challenging enough that I went back to do it a few more times.
    There's another one that has a challenging entry that I haven't tried yet. I may take a picture of that one if I'm out there with my phone to see what you guys think

  18. #18
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    I'm starting to get more comfortable and have better control with my new bike. I went back today and did the other rock. I was able to roll it and stayed on but slammed my goods into the back of the saddle my first time off it. Any suggestions to prevent that?

    I also did a manual off another rock and blew the tire off the rim. I think it was mostly because of my non-tubeless tire, but am going to post in the wheels and tires forum for tips on preventing this.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I'm starting to get more comfortable and have better control with my new bike. I went back today and did the other rock. I was able to roll it and stayed on but slammed my goods into the back of the saddle my first time off it. Any suggestions to prevent that?

    I also did a manual off another rock and blew the tire off the rim. I think it was mostly because of my non-tubeless tire, but am going to post in the wheels and tires forum for tips on preventing this.

    I'm guessing you don't have a dropper post? In this scenario, the steep angle of the bike, it's going to be trial and error. You'll be so far back to drop the front that you're going to need to move forward in a hurry as the rear drops for several reasons, making the rear light, helping the front to roll so the rear clears and to keep you from looping out.

    You'll have to teach your body the correct path to avoid the saddle. Maybe try putting your butt on the rear tire on flat ground and then moving back above the saddle to learn the basic path.


    It could have been that or any number of things. Did you land perfectly flush?

    I had a bad crash a few years back involving a tire blowing off the rim. The sad part, it wasn't my tire. I was up on a high skinny and my buddy's tire blew off right next to me and sounded like a shotgun going off. I flinched and fell off the skinny. Best we could figure out is that it was a non-tubeless tire coupled with a side load, making a hard, flat turn.

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  20. #20
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    I think we need a few pics or video of the obstacle otherwise it's tough to really figure out options.

    Learning to wheelie drop takes time but once you master it, you can drop off just about anything.

    We had to master it back in the early to mid 2000's when trails would have skinny's, rocks, logs & some trails that would just end leaving you 4-6' up in the air with no where to go.

    Used to love watching friends spin out on the wooden features and faceplant while we were learning. Learned rather quickly to try and keep some speed rather than relying on a pedal stroke as traction was always questionable.

  21. #21
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    We the people ...

    For me, the differentiators between when to use a wheelie drop vs a manual off a drop is speed and the angle of the landing.

    You can perform a manual on a slow drop or a fast one, but wheelie drops are generally slower speed maneuver. I find the manual more forgiving because you can hold your front end up longer with a manual vs the wheelie drop where you have to time your pedal stroke carefully. A late or weak pedal stroke (or wrong gear) will let the front wheel drop leading to an OTB. Of course, a weak manual can do the same.

    Regarding the angle of landing, I generally only use a wheelie drop on flat landings. Landing rear wheel first is bad news with a steep landing, since your front end will drop pitching you forward and OTB if you land rear wheel first on a steep transition.

    The good thing is you can practice both techniques off any curb at different speeds. Try landing both wheels at the same time and rear wheel first at varying speeds to learn control and timing, and figure out when you want to use one technique vs the other.

    Regarding the OPs situation, a steep roll in to a drop with a flat landing is probably the most challenging type of drop. My suggestion there would be to find another skilled rider and watch how they approach it.

    Well......unless they pre-jump the run in, front tire tap the top of the boulder and huck straight into the corner, at which point you just bow down to their superior skill.

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