need tips on tight off-camber singletrack switchbacks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    off camber wimp
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    need tips on tight off-camber singletrack switchbacks

    specifically on right hand turns that are greater than ~ 120 deg going downhill.

    its frustrating that i can't nail these sections 90% of the time without unclipping off
    the inside pedal. the few times that i am able to clear these sons of #$%ches were
    at best flukey and borderline sketchy - need a 'perfect' approach speed, body lean, bar turn and front braking. any slightest bit of miscalculation almost always results in me overshooting the outside edge and straight into steep dropoffs or going OTB when oversteering inside (either way hurts a lot). i've seen riders nail these sections so smoothly
    but i can't seem to figure out what they're doing right. any suggestions? especially one
    that would allow for a bigger margin of error.

  2. #2

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    Cleaning those turns

    Goob, you mentioned approach speed, body lean, bar turn and front braking - and that's just some of the variables. It goes on and on. Giving you advice on each one in the hope that it might have something to do with your situation seems like it wouldn't help you much at all.

    Tell you what, here's how I'd cut to the chase on this if it was my problem to solve. I'd have someone videotape me from a couple of different angles on different turns. Then I'd tape a good rider or two who can clean them smoothly. If you do that I'll bet some answers will jump right out at you. Running the tape in slowmo you'll see a lot. Viewing it multiple times will let you check off each element, from head position (as an indication of where you and the other rider are looking as you enter the turns) to where your weight is fore and aft on the bike. If you don't know somebody who can slick those turns just ask around... you'll get more hotshot showoff's who want to star on your tape than you'll know what to do with.

    You can also have somebody with good skills follow you down through.

    Just as a thought, if whoever you're working on this with is about your size you might ask them to take your bike down through, just to make sure it isn't your tires.

  3. #3

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    A bit more...

    Goob, if you're running off outside and diving inside, it sounds like your tactics are inconsistent. When we don't know how do do something it's not surprising that we never do it the same way twice in a row.

    So, whether you start out by watching and working with others or whether your whole approach consists of trying to practice your way to success, you might find it's best to pick one or two of the corners and work just on those. That way, you can make repeated attempts and small adjustments. For instance, you can mark the key points on a line you intend to follow through the corner, and make several tries at it. Once you start succeeding on one corner you'll leap ahead on the learning curve for the others.

    You sound determined. Focus on it, and you'll solve it.

  4. #4

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    look ahead -- you shouldn't be looking at the turn itself, but through the turn.

    for a series of linked off-cambers, have a flexible neutral "hover" position and swap the bike back and forth (side to side) beneath you, while you face ahead, all the while looking through the turns

    if it's descending and off-camber, you REALLY need to look through the turn, and be sure to "dive" your head, body & bike inward and down as your front tire begins to turn.

    the secret is trusting your early look at the turn -- your brain's memory of what you saw -- so that as you enter the turn you're not looking at the turn but rather the exit and what's after the turn.

  5. #5
    Tracking up the place
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    Goob

    look sort of behind you like a qrtr was on the ground, it allows you to turn a little steeper..Practice it by getting with 2 other riders and start turning circles till almost all wheels are touching...very tight circle.....It worked for me on tight switchbacks....oh use a bit of knee...HAve fun...practice both right and left turns
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  6. #6
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    the best tip I ever heard on off camber turns is....

    to put as much weight as you can through the outside pedal. It will be in the 6 o'clock position.

    You will notice you cannot lean the bike down into an off cambered turn like you can if there was a berm. Keep the bike quite upright and keep pushing down on that outside pedal. You can literally lift your inside foot off the pedal if you want ....that is how important that outside pedal weight is!

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    openwound
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    off-camber

    Goob,
    Lots of great advice given here. I'd echo the following:
    - Look further ahead. If you're looking right where you're currently turning, of course you're going to go slow and maybe even feel un-nerved to the point of clipping out. I use a phrase from James Brown, "hit it and quit". See where you're going, process it, know what you're going to do/how you're going to hit that spot, move on...your body will do what your brain set it up to do.
    - Don't target fixate. Focusing intently on any one point in the trail undoes a great many riders. Fluid tracking of your vision -- seeing only where you want to ride -- will translate into fluid riding.
    - Micro adjustments. Positioning is a fluid state. While you don't want to be a rag doll, a loose body is faster than a tense body. As someone mentioned, if you watch a "good" rider, their body posture is likely to be much looser and active. Rising/falling, tensing/relaxing, fore/aft, much like the whole yin-yang thing, constantly adjusting.

    As for equipment, if you find yourself not trusting your tires then you've got to experiment with different rubber to find "your" tire(s). Personally, I don't read tire reviews. I try different tires and see how they fit my riding style and the terrain I ride on. In the end, you're the one who's got to ride it, if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't matter if it works for someone else... And hey, you can always sell your slightly used rubber right here on mtbreview.

    Relax, have fun, and keep the rubber side down.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    Just for clarity...

    what frame/fork/tire are you running?
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  9. #9
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    this may be bizarre (?) but I found my control in switchback ( good bad and the ugly) to become significantly better when I started using both front and back brakes to control my speed isntead of heavy on the back, combined with a bit of racheting... for the the hardest part is really getting my head to "turn" in to the turn. Where you turn your head your body will follow.

    formica

  10. #10
    Complete Bastard
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    One thing that really helped me was someone told me to point my inside knee where I wanted to go, which means really pointing it into the corner, and then looking back around at where you need the bike to go, and blam, it just flows through. Good luck.

  11. #11

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    I've had the same problems since jumping to the 29" bikes...and finally noticed something. Unlike some of the posts above, I have my pedals parallel when coasting through the steep, downhill switchbacks...and realized that if I switched, putting the inside foot back, AND really cranked my neck around to look in that direction, it really helped.

    I naturally tend to ride R foot forward, L foot back when coasting, unless I'm really leaning on the outside pedal to "pin" the tire to the ground. I have also noticed that I don't look far enough around the corner on right-handers as compared to left-handers. Back 30 yrs ago, I rode a few thousand laps of "flat track" on motorcycles, constantly turning left in a slide...I think it warped my cornering!

  12. #12
    rsr
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    if you have to be slow to go through these switchbacks pedaling actually gives you some more control. use both brakes before u enter the turn, and during the turn use just the rear to control speed, while you pedal consistently. Using the rear brake as speed control. using the front brake may sometimes throw you off if you lock it up when it is almost perpendicular to your bike in the middle of the turn.

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