Mountain Bike Skills | How To Smooth Out The Trail & Ride Faster On Your MTB
Mountain Bike Skills
What do you do when the trail gets really rough? Well, I know sometimes I wish it was a bit smoother or I might even go and find a smoother bit of track to have a little bit of a play on instead, but today we're going to be looking at a few tips, tricks and techniques on how you can smooth out the trail and make your life a little bit simpler and improve your mountain bike skills.
Step One - Bike setup. We are very guilty quite often of just overlooking things on our bike. We'll often buy parts and fit and forget without really making them sort of work to their full potential. How is this relevant then to smoothing out the trail, well our suspension is going to play the most important role here. now tuning suspension is a dark art in itself. We are going to take a brief look at that right now. Firstly then, you're going to want to get that suspension set up correctly. Now there's no point having thousands of pounds worth of shocks on your bike if they ride like a bag of spanners. It's not going to help you at all and it's going to make things probably rougher. Take a little look at what kind of trails that you ride most of the time. Then think about how you can tune your forks and your rear shock accordingly. If you're riding mostly trail centres then you can probably get away with a fairly linear running shock and a slightly softer set up if you like so it's absorbing all those small bumps and staying equal all the way through its travel. It's not really ramping up but if however, you're starting to get a bit gnarly, get a bit wild and you're riding a lot steeper more natural rougher terrain. Then to skip over those bumps you are going to run your suspension a little bit firmer and also with a few volume spaces in there as well so that when it does have a really big impact it ramps up so it actually gets harder further through the travel. So once you get up to the top third that's when it starts to get stiffer as well that way you're going to skip across the top of the bumps rather than diving in and out of them. Try to get your suspension working nice and in tandem so they both work evenly. This means the front and the back are compressing fairly equally that way it will hug the ground nice and tightly. If one is more firm than the other then you're sort of going to pogo and cease all your way down the trail and it's going to make things more uncomfortable.
Line choice can play a crucial role in mountain biking in such a variety of different ways but searching out that smooth line can literally make or break your ride and no one wants to break your ride least of all yourself. Checking out a section of trail first and knowing where to go can really make a difference as to what the smooth line you're going to take is. As an example say we have a section here and on the right. It's really rough and really bumpy but we'll go a bit faster and a bit more direct. The trail on the left is longer but it's way smoother and it's actually worked out a lot more fun so well worth scoping it first hand in conjunction with looking ahead try to keep your eyes peeled for anything in the trail that could scuffle you. This includes things like big compressions or nasty horrible roots or you could hit a drop. As I said, scoping out where you're going to go first can really make a big difference into how smooth that trail is going to be
This may seem obvious but is essential to improving your mountain biking skills. If you are out riding blind there's a few things you can do to eradicate the erratic riding. Make sure you've got your head up and you're looking far enough in front of you so that you've got plenty of time to react and make informed decisions should the trail change without you really knowing. It's no good just looking down directly at the front wheel because, well you're just not going to be able to focus properly on the track ahead, looking far enough ahead will also give you time to prepare for what the trail's got in front of you. It could be linking turns together, a jump, a drop, you name it. It'll just give you that time to really prepare and ride as smoothly as possible.
right then possibly the most useful weapon in your arsenal in my opinion when it comes to smoothing out the trail is hopping and jumping over things. I've got a great example for you. I'm going to come in from the left into a pile of roots and I've actually already got some slippery roots right in front of me. i'm just going to hop over them. I say that, simply, you need to kind of learn how to hop. which you can find many videos on Youtube on how to learn this skill. It just means that you can take away any extra obstacles in the track by bunny hopping or pre-hopping certain horrible sections out on the trail can also help you avoid any horrible bits which might just damage your bike. This will help you smooth out the trail making you go even quicker and that is definitely a good thing.
Last but not least it's pumping and absorbing the trail. This is using your arms and legs there's always natural suspension built into your body if you like. To really try and take away all the nastiness in the trail and really smooth things out moving around on the bike keeping things nice and fluid can really help you avoid any nastiness on the trail and actually smooth things out. I mean all the pumping can actually gain you speed. It almost feels like cheating, so why not give it a go and see if these tips can help you to be silky smooth on the trails. Hopefully now you'll head out onto the trails and be able to hit them just a little bit smoother and faster. Thank you very much for reading our blog don't forget to give us a share and we hope this helps to improve your mountain bike skills. Happy riding everyone!