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  1. #1
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    Steering vs Leaning

    Is steering through a turn versus leaning into a turn influenced more by skill / riding style, bike / geometry, or tires and/or tire pressure? I know the ground surface will play a large role since it's sort of hard to lean into a turn when the turn is sandy or loose granite. It seems to me that I should be able to lean into turns more often when I'm on trails in Prescott or Flagstaff, but I always feel like the front end wants to wash out when I try.

    I'm riding a Pivot 429 with a Captain Control up front.
    "I've upped my standards. Now, up yours." - P. Paulsen

  2. #2
    Shred...it's the new drug
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZBob View Post
    Is steering through a turn versus leaning into a turn influenced more by skill / riding style, bike / geometry, or tires and/or tire pressure? I know the ground surface will play a large role since it's sort of hard to lean into a turn when the turn is sandy or loose granite. It seems to me that I should be able to lean into turns more often when I'm on trails in Prescott or Flagstaff, but I always feel like the front end wants to wash out when I try.

    I'm riding a Pivot 429 with a Captain Control up front.
    google: counter directional steering....used in motorcycle riding. that's the technique Gene Hamiliton of Betteride.net teaches

    http://betterride.net/

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZBob View Post
    Is steering through a turn versus leaning into a turn influenced more by skill / riding style, bike / geometry, or tires and/or tire pressure? I know the ground surface will play a large role since it's sort of hard to lean into a turn when the turn is sandy or loose granite. It seems to me that I should be able to lean into turns more often when I'm on trails in Prescott or Flagstaff, but I always feel like the front end wants to wash out when I try.

    I'm riding a Pivot 429 with a Captain Control up front.
    Paging Cstem. If you get a chance, ride with this guy. I've never seen anybody wipe around a corner so fast and with such control as Cstem.

    Let me preface this: I am about the last person you want to get advice from. However, I was thinking about this just tonight on my ride. One thing I have a habit of doing personally is pulling both breaks, both when scrubbing speed entering a turn, as well as while in the turn, which I know is a no-no. I tried today to *just* use the rear brake tonight, and tried my hardest to lean into the turns and trust gravity.

    That site LDB posted looks interesting as well.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  4. #4
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    Front end washouts can partly be attributed to improper weight distribution. You can pump turns as well to load front suspension, keeping the tire on the ground. Find a turn that gives u trouble, and practice until you rail it. Theres some good unbermed ones on k-trail that require proper technique otherwise you'll slide off into thorny things. You'll def want to get it right after that!!

  5. #5
    Kathleen in AZ
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    Mastering Mountain Bike Skills - 2nd Edition - Paperback (May 4, 2010) by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack

    1st edition was a fantastic book. 2nd looks like it has sections on 29ers. Get it!

  6. #6
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    Ha- Thanks Skinny-tire!

    There are so many factors involved that describing them and/or teaching how to eliminate/use them would not be possible over the internet. I can say that technique is more important than setup as you can "ride around" a poor set up. If you want to ride sometime let me know. Bring a decent hand pump and I will bring a fork/shock pump. Also bring an open mind, pads if you wear them and some bravery. Learning a new skill is the hardest thing most of us will ever do because its scary!
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  7. #7
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    Ride like a rock star

    This video is a great production for skills you are looking for. The section on cornering is at the end, but overall I think that Mr. Tufal's riding skills is good for all riders.

    from Asif Tufal on Vimeo.

    There is a big difference between ripping and skidding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstem View Post
    ...Bring a decent hand pump and I will bring a fork/shock pump. Also bring an open mind, pads if you wear them and some bravery. Learning a new skill is the hardest thing most of us will ever do because its scary!
    cstem,

    Do you ever run any clinics? One is posted on Meetup in July for intermediate riders...this is definitely a skill I need to develop!

  9. #9
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    The best way to learn how to "lean" into turns vs steering into them is to go and ride a pump track. start out slow for about 50 laps, then shift up. continue advancing your speed until you are finaly at the top of the berm. Slide back on the saddle and let your forearm pivot with the front suspension and..... Lean into the turn. ... DONT use your break unless you truely have to. The more you focus the weight on the rear and just let your front go where you want it to by leaning .. The better. .


    Ride a pump track. It will help anyones riding in so many ways,
    but can also create habits. so hang on tight.
    LJ.

  10. #10
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    Great Info, i like the video

  11. #11
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    shift as much weight as needed forward to keep the front wheel tracking. when turning right, have the left crank pointing down in the six o-clock position. lean your bod and bike into the turn while putting your weight on that left pedal. this will have the effect of driving the bike tires into the soil. repeat the opposite for left turns. try it, it works. as mentioned by R2ana, keep practicing, and you will see improvement and feel new-found control
    RAM speed: UP, UP, and away....!

  12. #12
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    It is generally dictated by the speed you are traveling. The slower you go, the more you turn your bars.

  13. #13
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    That video is a great tool for new riders to understand what to work on and how it should work, and its great for vets to brush up on technique they have gotten sloppy on .

    That is one of the better videos I have seen on all mountain riding , !!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelstr View Post
    That video is a great tool for new riders to understand what to work on and how it should work, and its great for vets to brush up on technique they have gotten sloppy on .

    That is one of the better videos I have seen on all mountain riding , !!
    Yeah, I had been getting sloppy with my flat cornering by leaning both my body and bike into the turn usually waiting for inevitable front wheel washout and correcting the turn. Hence, slowing too much to keep the flow. But when I lean the bike while keeping the body upright, raise the outside elbow, drop the outside ankle, press the outside knee against the bike frame, and control the front end with that outside arm, stability, speed, and the fun factor has gone up noticeably.
    There is a big difference between ripping and skidding.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by latedropbob View Post
    google: counter directional steering....used in motorcycle riding.
    ^^^^^^^
    This.

    Its all about counter steer. The video Chalkpaw posted shows a real good demo of counter steer. Torso perpendicular to the ground inside elbow straight, outside elbow bent and up, weight outside pedal, inside knee up, head and shoulder point where you want to go. The bike leans the rider is closer to perpendicular to the ground.

    Took a long time to start doing it on my dirt bike many years ago because it is counter intuitive, but practice on every curve and the practice will pay off because it will become second nature.
    Cholla cactus=nature's guard rail.

  16. #16
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    I believe it's all about the counter-steer and suspension tune. I'd practice counter-steering on something easy to get a feel for it. If you push down and out a little on the left end of the bar, you'll get set for a nice right corner. Try to keep your head as level as possible. Look through the corner at you're desired exit path. I've heard that too quick of a rebound rate on your fork can set you up for under-steer (front tire tucking). I haven't had the pleasure of dealing with this personally though...
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilaMonster View Post
    cstem,

    Do you ever run any clinics? One is posted on Meetup in July for intermediate riders...this is definitely a skill I need to develop!
    No clinics- but since I work from home and like to ride with anyone from any skill level- i never mind taking time to give some help on the trails. If you want to hang an early ride sometime I am down for that. Much more fun than riding alone or hammer festing with a bunch of people training for races!
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by latedropbob View Post
    google: counter directional steering....used in motorcycle riding. that's the technique Gene Hamiliton of Betteride.net teaches
    Hmmm... this is a given on a motorcycle. On an MTB...

    My first thought is NO simply because of the speeds involved. On a motorcycle you have the wheels spinning which is what keeps the bike straight up & wanting to straighten up when turning. You'd be hard pressed to countersteer your motorcycle onto the pavement. You'd have to be TRYING to put it on the ground. The wheels spinning make it want to stand up. That's why it's easier to lean the bike at slower speeds, without shifting your weight to one side, and the same amount of input into the bars gets you less lean at higher speeds.

    On an MTB my thought is you are going nowhere near fast enough for the gyroscopic effect of the wheels to hold you up. You weigh at least 4x the weight of the bike, whereas the motorcycle is going to weigh 3x your weight, so countersteering an MTB could easily put the bike in the dirt.

    But, that's not to say that I haven't adapted my countersteering technique on the motorcycle to the bike. I'm guessing I do but have never really thought about it. I'm gonna have to pay attention the next time I'm out railing a corner.

    And I'll probably have to take cstem up on some lessons. I know I could learn a lot about both motorcycle riding and MTBing.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    I believe it's all about the counter-steer and suspension tune. I'd practice counter-steering on something easy to get a feel for it. If you push down and out a little on the left end of the bar, you'll get set for a nice right corner. Try to keep your head as level as possible. Look through the corner at you're desired exit path. I've heard that too quick of a rebound rate on your fork can set you up for under-steer (front tire tucking). I haven't had the pleasure of dealing with this personally though...
    set for a left turn (corner); countersteering drops the bike angle into the turn by leaning left.
    Last edited by DustyBones; 06-29-2011 at 04:29 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalkpaw View Post
    This video is a great production for skills you are looking for. The section on cornering is at the end, but overall I think that Mr. Tufal's riding skills is good for all riders.
    Thanks Chalkpaw, can't wait to try this out!

  21. #21
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    You counter steer to start the turn when going fast. Once you start the lean, you steer into the turn. Someone mentioned before that you "pump" the turn, which I agree with. I don't think you should have your outside pedal down. Pedals should be at 3 and 9 o'clock.

  22. #22
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    ^^^and too slow of rebound causes understeer due to the fork "packing" or not returning all the way up to its sag point in the stroke.

    Basically- there is lots of great advice being given here. The real world of it is every rider is different and many bikes are different in the way they handle due to frame geometry, suspension setup, tire choice/pressure and rider positioning. Every corner demands its own set of rules as well. That is why I said that proper turning technique cannot be taught on a forum. The most important pieces of the puzzle are confidence in your bike and skills and that can only be attained by riding more and paying attention to what is working for you and what is not and here is the kicker that makes it hard-WHY. That being said- watching the vids, learning some ideas from your friends and all is a great way to educate yourself on many of those factors. In race cars and motos they have on board telemetry to tell the engineer and operator what the vehicle does when a certain input or value is added or subtracted. The only telemetry you have is yourself, and if that is weak no one will be able to properly teach you.
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  23. #23
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    CSTEM gets rep points for best answer.

  24. #24
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    Thanks for the feedback on this topic. Lots of info to digest. I think I'll hold off on practicing on corners with thorny bits to motivate success.

    Now I just need to convince everyone in the valley to crank the A/C and leave their doors open so I can ride in less than 110 heat. Even 90 degrees at the crack of dawn is hard to call "cool".
    "I've upped my standards. Now, up yours." - P. Paulsen

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyBones View Post
    set for a left turn (corner); countersteering drops the bike angle into the turn by leaning left.
    You're right...was a bit tired when I wrote that...pushing down and out on left will turn left. Thanks for the correction
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilaMonster View Post
    Thanks Chalkpaw, can't wait to try this out!
    So tonight at Lambert Park in Alpine, UT? I started trying out the cornering skills in the video, and man what a difference! Heading up to Sundance tomorrow, can't wait to keep working on this. It's funny how learning a new skill can make me feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve--I can't WAIT til tomorrow!!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilaMonster View Post
    So tonight at Lambert Park in Alpine, UT? I started trying out the cornering skills in the video, and man what a difference! Heading up to Sundance tomorrow, can't wait to keep working on this. It's funny how learning a new skill can make me feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve--I can't WAIT til tomorrow!!
    Dang... guess I'd better watch that video...

  28. #28
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    Great video. I find myself looking way to far ahead and get caught by stuff I don't see right in front of me. Riding the same trail at night is where I noticed this. At night I kept trying to see wayyy out in front of a turn and due to lack of light was forced to not look as far (helmet mount better for turns at night especially going into a wash). I mean why in the hell am I looking way down the trail anyway....

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by big0mike View Post
    Dang... guess I'd better watch that video...
    Was pretty effective in the mud today as well. Sundance was a blast.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcooper@fusd1.org View Post
    You counter steer to start the turn when going fast. Once you start the lean, you steer into the turn. Someone mentioned before that you "pump" the turn, which I agree with. I don't think you should have your outside pedal down. Pedals should be at 3 and 9 o'clock.
    If you learn how to apply pressure to the outside pedal while cornering it can definitely make your cornering stronger. You can even counter-steer a motorcycle with foot applied pressure rather than input through the handlebars.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  31. #31
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    A thought about turning tonight...okay any night when you are riding with lights.

    I notice lots of riders who ride at night, especially with a helmet mounted light (which is preferred if you ride with only one light) tend to look down no further than 6 feet in front of thier bike. It is really easy to fall into this trap as most of us are not used to riding at night. Also- night vision is mainly 2-D due to the make up of the eyes. The problem with this method is it slows you down and I see lots of guys who usually are fast and confident in turns, trying to get that speed back (or match day speed) and running off into the brush, panic braking and nearly crashing and overall, slowing down thier momentum and progress.

    You need to look forward about 15-20 feet in front of you. Practice this on a straight, then apply it to turns. Place the beam with your head and neck (eventually adjusting the beam to the proper spot to avoid neck pain) 20 feet in front and use your eyes to quickly scan down and out to the end of the beam. The rate of scans depends on the speed you are going and the terrain difficulty. This way at far scan you see say a rock and as you ride towards it, your next scan will see that same rock at close up-in between those scans you will be training your brain to make the adjustment for the rock.

    After you get better at this-you apply it to turns. The beam is placed nearest the apex as you can, still scanning. By the time you are hitting the apex, you have already scanned it for obstacles, have lined up on it and your beam should still be pointed 20 feet down the trail. It sounds difficult, but it really is much like the headlamps in your car. The turning of the beam to the apex is much like the tracking headlights available in high end cars now-only you can "customize" it to your need. Like remebering to breathe- you need to remind yourself to adhere to this somehow. To prove this works- I rode behind a few people who were looking down and spotlighting their front wheel. As I closed in to about ten feet off their rear-my beam was another 10 feet in front of them, they instantly were smoother and quicker. I guess if it was a race, I wasn't helping my race any!

    Just something I noticed out there. Figured I had to give back something for the 50 or so people that passed me dealing with my tire and ALL OF THEM asked if I needed any help-Thanks!!!
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  32. #32
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    [QUOTE=Chalkpaw;8188406]This video is a great production for skills you are looking for. The section on cornering is at the end, but overall I think that Mr. Tufal's riding skills is good for all riders.

    QUOTE]

    Thanks for the video. The skills I learned from it helped me gain a few minutes down a local trail!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalkpaw View Post
    This video is a great production for skills you are looking for. The section on cornering is at the end, but overall I think that Mr. Tufal's riding skills is good for all riders.

    from Asif Tufal on Vimeo.

    Man, the video in the Instructional Video is gone and now this one, too? And a mere 14 hours after someone else watched it? Guess that's what I get for lollygagging...

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