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  1. #1
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    Switchback technique question

    I have a section of trail that I just can't seem to ride. It is a downhill switchback that goes from left to right. It is a hairpin turn. On top of that the trail is really dry and loose and it is on a 45 degree slant downhill. As I approach to turn right into the switchback, my wheel keeps sliding out from underneath me before I can even attempt the turn.

    Anyone have suggestions for my technique? My only thought is to angle the bike so that it is perpendicular to the slant of the hill, but it seems b/c of my slow speed that I'll just tip over with gravity.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: smilinsteve's Avatar
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    Based on what you've said, that turn is impossible.

  3. #3
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    It definitely seems that way.

  4. #4
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    Maybe you need to almost come to a complete stop before you start the turn, then do a litle nose wheelie and swing the back end around. Maybe it will take a couple of hops before you are pointed in the right direction. But don't listen to me, I suck at switchbacks.

  5. #5
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    I was thinking about that or do a fishtail kind of move. I don't know if I'm that skilled though to do it without landing on my face.

  6. #6
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    In a race situation I believe I'd put a foot down or if that's not possible hop off, run around, then cross mount.

  7. #7
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    I've recently been practicing using a vision technique on switchbacks I learned this summer at a BetterRide clinic. I turn my head around and focus on the path where I want to go , and conciously don't look directly at the turn itself. Obviously this won't let you violate the laws of physics if the turn is actually impossible to ride, but I've found that it's a huge help and almost like a tractor beam to pull you and bike through the obstacle.

  8. #8
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    I've just come back from the Pyrenees where we had some switchback coaching from one of the guides. His main tip was (as MrIndy said) look where you want to go - do NOT look at the nasty drop below you!

    This video might help a bit (the corner at 4:00) though it is not on "marbles" like yours!


  9. #9
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    Nice video, note at the start when he is sliding out the rear wheel. Weight on the front steering, slide the rear around. Good info!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    Nice video, note at the start when he is sliding out the rear wheel. Weight on the front steering, slide the rear around. Good info!

    I don't think his weight's on the front. He is way behind the saddle. Weight is on the outside pedal. Weight on the front when going down is usually not good.

    That dude can ride! I just realized he was here in CO last weekend and took 3rd at Winter Park Enduro World series race.
    He sure makes it look easy.

  11. #11
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    Re: Switchback technique question

    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Maybe you need to almost come to a complete stop before you start the turn, then do a litle nose wheelie and swing the back end around. Maybe it will take a couple of hops before you are pointed in the right direction. But don't listen to me, I suck at switchbacks.
    ^^^This technique works for me, it makes "unridable" switchbacks ridable and even looks cool. Start the switchback as if it is ridable, but come to a soft stop when your front tire has just made it past the sharpest point of the turn. Your back tire and center of gravity will still be above the sharpest point of the turn. With your front brake squeezed tight, do a little endo while using your lower body to swing the back end of the bike around the turn so it lines up with the turn exit. One hop should be all you need. Then release the front brake and roll out. You don't need to swing the back end all the way in to line with the exit, sometimes just bringing around a bit is all it takes to be able to roll out with no dabs. I want to be able to do this trick without the soft stop and do a slow nose manual, but my skills aren't there yet.

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2

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