Teach me to ride a berm!- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 44 of 44
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    266

    Teach me to ride a berm!

    Been riding seriously for seven years, mostly in the Pisgah National Forest outside of Asheville, NC. (Extremely techy all-mountain adventure riding.) I now live in Vail, CO and have my first DH bike and multiple season passes. I've found that my riding experience has made me an excellent tech rider and a really poor "flow" rider. Most of the trails here, in and out of the bike park are very smooth, flowy and loose. I gotta get better....

    After three days at the bike park i've learned the following:

    1. Lean your bike, not your body.
    -I seem to be able to berm better if the bike moves under me while I stay more or less straight up and down.

    2. Drop your speed before the berm. no breaking in it. back brake if any.

    3. Look through the corner

    4. Drive your outside elbow around the corner.

    Sooooo,
    What do you guys all think? Got some good tips? Would you agree with all of the above? Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    brake later, pedal sooner
    Reputation: ustemuf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    813
    step #1 is good for turning on flat stuff imo... on berms i lean my body with the whole bike and smash into that mo fo. leaning the bike only and not your body will be awkward for berms.


    1. commit to turn (this means no brakes in the middle of turning)
    2. get your weight over front tire - aggressive attack mode. don't over do this, you need to have balance still. but you need to let that front tire dig in.
    3. look ahead.. this will get you where you are going.
    4. drop your shoulder into turn (pointing your knee helps a lot if there is not much berm also). this is where you should be weighting the outside pedal also. some berms you can keep your feet somewhat even - you will carry more speed through the turn if you can do this.
    5. trust

    step 5 is the hard one

    practice practice practice.

    everyone loves pictures!

    good:


    and now see how awkward it is if you dont lean with the bike??:

  3. #3
    Lightly salted
    Reputation: fuenstock's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,375
    Ustemuf is giving good info,
    On flat loose turns or slower turns, you can lean the bike only, but fast burmed turns lean with the bike or else risk getting spit out the top of the burm by the g-force.

    You can also start riding pump tracks, they will help you flow better. It will teach you to pump and flow. The same pumping motion used on pump tracks is used to gain speed and shoot you out of burmed turns. Once you get used to pumping for speed, you'll be using it every where you ride.

  4. #4
    brake later, pedal sooner
    Reputation: ustemuf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    813
    this is the lean your bike & not your body thing. with berms its a little different, although it will still work just not the best way.

    <object width="853" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/gF5K9V2w6W8?version=3&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/gF5K9V2w6W8?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="853" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

  5. #5
    Now with More Wood
    Reputation: Iceman2058's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    2,964
    Ustemuf's point #2 is the single most important one IMHO. Look at his second picture, you can see the arms are relaxed and well bent at the elbows - that is physically only possible to achieve if your upper body is leaning forward over the front of the bike.

    OK I have a pic too...


  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    266
    The pictures show that you clearly need to lean your body in to the turn. Thing is most, the berms at vail are basically 180 degree switchbacks, not big beautiful berms like the one in the pic. Is it possible that the technique changes a bit for this type of berm?

    The reason i ask: the lean your bike not your body thing, seemed to be working pretty well for me. I do, of course, lean my body a little bit, but it seems that when I lean too much, my wheels slide out. Ill try to post a video of me riding the berms in the next couple of days

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    266
    Oh, and thanks so much for your help!

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    266
    Check out the cornering just after 3:10

    If Only Every Mountain Biking Video Was Shot Like This - Afrojacks.flv - YouTube

    Seems that, for those little berms, its best to let your bike move all around while you keep your body just going the same direction......

    Oh, and another question: Do you switch your forward foot for depending the direction you turn? I always DH w/ my right foot forward. Accordingly, i turn left much better than right. Should i just man up and switch to left foot forward for the right turns?

  9. #9
    meow meow
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    10,622
    you almost always want to keep your body perpendicular to the ground, as well as lower your outside foot (or weight it, whatever you like) to keep traction. also pretend like there is a laser in your pecker and point it where you want to go, it will help you whip around faster.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    206
    Quote Originally Posted by circlesuponcircles View Post
    The pictures show that you clearly need to lean your body in to the turn. Thing is most, the berms at vail are basically 180 degree switchbacks, not big beautiful berms like the one in the pic. Is it possible that the technique changes a bit for this type of berm?

    The reason i ask: the lean your bike not your body thing, seemed to be working pretty well for me. I do, of course, lean my body a little bit, but it seems that when I lean too much, my wheels slide out. Ill try to post a video of me riding the berms in the next couple of days
    Im not judging but by the sounds of it I don't think your taking the berms fast enough. The faster you go, you should naturally lean you and the bike together. Maybe even lean the bike a bit more. This is what I found for me the faster I got the more I leaned.

  11. #11
    Registered text offender
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    1,137
    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    pretend like there is a laser in your pecker and point it where you want to go, it will help you whip around faster.
    Easy enough advice to follow as I already do that in almost every situation, riding or not.

    It's the weighting of the front tire that hairs me out in many turns. I consciously think to myself I need to get that front tire loaded, but intuitively feel the urge to keep centered over the bike- what’s the trick? stay in position and lean forward a bit?

  12. #12
    9 lives
    Reputation: cyclelicious's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,875
    Some good tips in this thread as well as this video about cornering

    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  13. #13
    RideDirt
    Reputation: aedubber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,251
    Def good tips here and just keep practicing , i will say this tho, once you actually hit it right you will def know cuz man you literally rip right threw the berm and it just spits you out fast ! haha GL

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    27
    weight that outside pedal

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    27
    bump

  16. #16
    Now with More Wood
    Reputation: Iceman2058's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    2,964
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Richard View Post
    ...It's the weighting of the front tire that hairs me out in many turns. I consciously think to myself I need to get that front tire loaded, but intuitively feel the urge to keep centered over the bike- what’s the trick? stay in position and lean forward a bit?
    Yeah, get over those bars. For me, I think "head forwards and towards the exit of the turn". When I forget or tense up (then start moving back on the bike), the front tire goes.

    Dropping the outside foot is also a great confidence builder. Even on a perfect berm it can help you feel more in control, so it will make it easier to start hitting the berm faster and faster. At some point, you're gonna HAVE TO trust it and really let go...you can go a lot faster through berms than you even think is possible. Then you can go back to keeping the pedals mostly parallel to the ground (in good berms).

    OP, on that question, I never switch my feet around (i.e. put my other foot forward). Can't do it. It's because I suck, but I have decided I can live with that.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: DJ Giggity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,228
    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    pretend like there is a laser in your pecker and point it where you want to go
    I have no idea if this is good advice or not but I'm gonna do it anyway!

    edit: Does it help if I make pew, pew, pew noises?
    Only two infinite things exist: the universe and stupidity. And, I am unsure of the universe
    - Albert Einstein

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    79
    Get a bmx and/or Dirt jump bike and hit up your local bmx track and pump track. you'll be amazed how fast you improve!

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: gticlay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    6,654
    This reminded me of your thread. You mean these tighter style of berm?

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QPvF0MFaL2Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    "It looks flexy"

  20. #20
    Registered text offender
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    1,137
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman2058 View Post
    Yeah, get over those bars. For me, I think "head forwards and towards the exit of the turn". When I forget or tense up (then start moving back on the bike), the front tire goes.
    Thanks, practice time tommorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Giggity View Post
    Does it help if I make pew, pew, pew noises?
    Haha, I would imagine so.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Gman086's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    4,568
    Watching better riders I picked up on #4 from ustemuf's post and quickly became one of the fastest berm rider out of our posse. Like the shampoo - think "head and shoulders"; drop them as you enter the berm and your body will follow directing the vector force straight thru to your tires. You're acting against the g-forces best when your body is perpendicular to the terrain. For real short quick berms you don't have time so you weight and unweight the bike like a skier while pushing the bike down into the berm with your arms and legs which explains why you don't see them laying way over on the short ones. You're still leaning some but not as noticeable.

    As far as weighting the front - It comes down to style and body type. Me personally, I believe in weighting the front (just like for boarding the steeps) and prefer to ride leaned forward in "Sam Hill" style. Then I see Minaar and think WTF?! The guy rides like he's standing straight up! I guess he can get away with it because his c of g is a lot different being so tall? Would like to hear other comments on this.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Last edited by Gman086; 06-21-2012 at 10:40 AM.
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  22. #22
    meow meow
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    10,622
    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Giggity View Post
    I have no idea if this is good advice or not but I'm gonna do it anyway!

    edit: Does it help if I make pew, pew, pew noises?
    of course.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    16
    elbows out, look to the end of the berm, weight over the front tire, legs pretty straight up and down. Your body should almost be at a right angle at your waist. Just passing on info i got from a coach i took a lesson from.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation: B-Mac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    750
    I used to have a real problem trying to set up too early for a berm. I have to focus on staying relaxed (the key skill?) & on timing both the entry into the berm and flowing through it. I think looking ahead and not down (as mentioned above) is a pretty important skill to develop too. After a while, I learned to use the berm to gain speed by pumping, but that took me about 1,000 attempts LOL.

    I think the advice above about riding a pump track or a BMX traick is right on point. Learning how to keep your flow up through turns will teach you to ride a berm by default.

    This vid is of a jump line at Ray's MTB in Cleveland, which is where I taught myself to ride berms. I'm shooting when the bike is blue with black bars.

    <object style="height: 390px; width: 640px"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/oBm7_DplcWo?version=3&feature=player_detailpage">< param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/oBm7_DplcWo?version=3&feature=player_detailpage" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="360"></object>
    Check out my You Tube Channel

  25. #25
    RTM
    RTM is offline
    #1 Latex Salesman
    Reputation: RTM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1,846
    this is a really helpful thread. I have the exact same background & problems as the OP...I can crush my friends through the roughest stretches of single track but man I SUCK at berms!

    my biggest issue is my front tire washing out in the loose crap at the bottom. do you guys suggest riding as high as possible and staying there through the whole berm?

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation: charging_rhinos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,841
    I don't suggest riding as high as possible on every berm. It can be fun, and initial impulses might say it's the best way. But in racing, it can often be the slowest option, as you're traveling a farther distance, and you are killing off speed if you're on a berm with a lot of rise to it. It really depends on the shape, radius and bank angles of the berm. Some berms I'll be at the very top the whole way around just due to the speed I will carry into it. The bike will often climb up the berm as you progress through the turn if you're going very fast when entering the turn, due to centripetal force, so sometimes it's more controllable to enter high and not have the bike try to climb the berm as much. On other turns, I will run a bit high into the first part, and pump/push myself and my bike down and exit the turn lower on the berm. Sometimes that high in-low out approach can help you gain more exit speed if you pump the turn at the correct time. It all depends on what you're after, and what the shape of the berm dictates.

    Whatever you do though, the three things that will never change are 1) weight more or less centered (don't lean back, don't lean way forward), 2) elbows up, and 3) look way ahead into the turn all the way through. Your body does an amazing job at controlling the bike if you're looking out ahead and not worrying over every little thing that your front tire is about to run over.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    263
    I have to admit I haven't read the whole thread, but I have done a search on "hips" and I'm surprised by the absence of the word.

    The best description I have heard (courtesy of Benton Hennig), and one that will forever stick in your mind whether you want it to or not , goes like this:
    Imagine a berm lined with people, and unfortunately you have the runs really bad. You will know you're hitting the berm right if you can spray the whole crowd on the way through. Benton tells it better, but you get the picture.

    Anyway, this involves pointing your hips through the turn. I love this picture of Danny Hart steering with his hips:
    Danny Hart at Sea Otter Classic

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    666
    Berms used to be my nemesis!! My riding buddies used to pick on me saying I confused berms with booters as I used to go straight into the beginning of the berm and take off into the air rather than turning!!!! So many crashes & bruises .....

    Great amount of advice here already. OP's point #1 works very well for me though.

    Other tips that helped me not only for berms but riding in general:
    - I used to look down when entering a berm, then got told to look at the exit of the berm before entering it. VOILA!!!!
    - Use your elbows to stabilize your body weight so get them out so you tuck into the bike nicely.
    - Relaxed upper/lower body which has to work with the terrain.
    - I had issues trusting my tires until I finally found what works for me. AND

    A pic attached of course!!!! A Line fun.....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Teach me to ride a berm!-60166_10150274028820424_1012943_n.jpg  

    Last edited by iguanabartola; 08-09-2012 at 07:25 AM.

  29. #29
    Downhill fan
    Reputation: #Cyclelife's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    316
    I have been around my fair share of berms and I must say that there is loads of great advice in this post. Well done guys! All great pics of you guys shreddin' berms too!
    I'm thinking about shreddin' it up right now!
    Giant Glory DH (custom)
    K2 Evo 4.0 FS XC (custom)

  30. #30
    Shredditor
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    16
    very usefull thread. I come from a street bike background where going into fast turns, you lean off the bike quite a bit. I never really tried to apply the same technique to mtbing because you find out very quickly that it doesnt work on dirt.

  31. #31
    Zero Miles from Myself
    Reputation: mrm1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    804
    Keeping your body perpendicular to the changes of the ground has worked best for me. Flat-ish turns will find me leaning my bike and not so much the body. For Bermed turns bike and body stay perpendicular to the ground.

    Also, the High in - Low out idea has won me a many race in BMX. When all the kids would enter low and bunch up at the bottom sliding to the outside as they progressed thru the turn on the loose crap, I would enter hi and exit low and shot under then on the way out. This worked especially well if I had an outside lane at the start. Also, but using Hi In low Out on larger sweeping berm turns, If you enter hi and exit low you end with a "down hill" and can gain more speed for the flat ahead. But if you enter low, you will tend to drift hi and find yourself in a small climb as you exit the turn. This tends to slow me down.

    So while this does not work in every situation ... it works well for a good flowing berms. Check out the Olympic BMX finals going on now.

  32. #32
    Zero Miles from Myself
    Reputation: mrm1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    804
    Case in point: Men's Final BMX. #566 Oquendo goes into turn 1 in 6th position, enters the turn on a semi Hign in and Low out and pops out, under the pack, in 4th. He goes on to take Bronze overall. Great Race.

  33. #33
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,539
    look up flow tonic tutorial dvd lots of great advice in there.

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation: design-engine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    59
    One comment I need to make about riding berms or doing anything for that matter. Motorcycles bicycles, swimming etc. "Do it a lot and you get good at it" The more corner speed you take, notice the effects of gravity on your arms and limbs. Face too! I like to ride the same course over so I can anticipate the next turn ect. I even try not to touch the brakes if possible. That effort takes reall concentration sometimes. your finger it steady over each brake.... don't touch.... dount' touch.... haa you touched it. Maybe next run.

    you might also focus on one thing each run. Keep it simple. In motorcycle racing Ill take a full 20 minutes in practice to just feel the tires slide. Helps me maximize traction (or lack of it). When it rains on the mountain you can really notice the extra speed you can take... as it dyes out you can really scene the tires slide on the loose gravel and sand. Those are the basics really. Once you notice then sense those basics of feedback at a high level your going faster and on road to expert white plate, small number etc.

    this works great even for beginners!
    Another really good exercise is to draw parts of the course. Use landmarks to remember so you can had draw a pencel map. Then do the run a few times then modify or make a new map . Then the most important part is to lay down someplace and picture in your mind body position as you run thru the paces of the 5 or 6 turns. Before the end of the day you should be significantly faster ... hence more corner speed and really feel the effects of the gravity.

    I do this for motorcycle racing too
    I do the same thing before I speak in public
    I do this too to anticipate debates at work
    Last edited by design-engine; 08-12-2012 at 10:55 AM.
    Bart Brejcha
    Design-engine.com
    engineer retraining

  35. #35
    May The Force Be With You
    Reputation: shwinn8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    2,365
    good thread! thank you guys! i've been riding for a while now and taking turns has always been my weak spot! probably could have won a race or 5 if i had known any better
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    '16 Balance
    '11 Jedi
    '08 Toyota FJ Cruiser / Facebook: NyNomadFJC

  36. #36
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    12

    sweet

    awesome

  37. #37
    mtbr member
    Reputation: thesacrifice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    392
    I used to ride my bike thru corners like I did a car, High-low-high thru turns. Look at the first two pictures posted, what's down low? Loose stuff. Generally higher is better, but if you look at most berms you'll see the money spot.

    The rest has pretty much been covered in other posts, but once you've got the basics you can start pumping the corners..essentially weighting and unweighting where needed. This is how you get shot out of the berms.

    Also, some people really advocate dropping the outside foot to get it weighted, you can get the same effect by keeping the pedal level equal and reall twisting the hips. For me, I'm better into the next berm, jump, obstacle if I keep my feet level as they're ready to go.

  38. #38
    mtbr member
    Reputation: design-engine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    59
    Life is better when lived just slightly out of your comfort zone at all times.
    Bart Brejcha
    Design-engine.com
    engineer retraining

  39. #39
    mtbr member
    Reputation: charging_rhinos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,841
    For bermed turns, I usually don't weight the outside pedal like I would if the turn were more flat. Too much weight on the outside foot when railing a banked turn will usually make your bike climb up the wall as you progress through the turn. As was mentioned, more hip action and looking way ahead are the keys
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  40. #40
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    44
    Good tips, here's another version, went from berm zero to hero in about one weekend...

    1. Set up
    -Even weight front/rear
    -Elbows wide - think 'chicken wings' - exaggerated over your natural stance
    -Knees wide - think 'cowboy legs' - again, exaggerated over your natural stance
    -Outside foot forward - be conscious of this and you'll start doing it sooner. Great way to quickly become more 'ambidextrous' overall.

    2. Commit and start the turn (all at once)
    -Weight the bars (at least 60/40)
    -Drop inside shoulder (keep your chicken wings up)
    -Drop inside knee (keep cowboy legs wide)

    3. Follow through
    -Weight on outside, but keep that front tire pinned down! There's no magic here, it's just traction - more weight on the tire that's turned = more turning. Not going to say 'outside -foot-' that would suggest to unweight the bars and lean back over the pedals as if going down a steep. Like many have said this will cause you to understeer up the berm.
    -Use your big toes and heels in the direction of the turn, and hips will start to swing out naturally. (kind of like skiing)
    -Follow through, remembering to keep the knees and legs wide.

  41. #41
    mtbr member
    Reputation: manual63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    145


    Here is a video. Has both regular cornering and berms in it.

  42. #42
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,539
    this ones better, well worth getting a copy of the dvd too,

  43. #43
    RTM
    RTM is offline
    #1 Latex Salesman
    Reputation: RTM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1,846
    Quote Originally Posted by delirian View Post
    this ones better, well worth getting a copy of the dvd too,
    Thanks for that link.

    The FluidRide guys are the best. I recommend their Like a Pro DVD every chance I get.

  44. #44
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,539
    yep both are great dvd's.... if you got the first one, then the sceond one makes for an awesome addition,

Members who have read this thread: 7

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.