Here’s how to hit roots with confidence, and ride faster and safer


Corner roots

Corner root skills

  • Keep the front wheel off the roots if possible — steer round them or pick up your wheel and hop over.
  • Move your weight back and do not touch the brakes.
  • Stay loose on the bike. It’s more than likely the rear wheel will slide, but it’s no big deal; it’ll find grip again as it reaches dirt.

Uphill climb

Uphill root skills

  • Roll into the section slowly, plot your route and drop your saddle a little to keep low.
  • Move onto the nose of the saddle or even stand up to get more power.
  • Feel for that balance point between keeping rear-wheel traction and the front wheel grounded.
  • Apply the power smoothly, but back off whenever the rear wheel touches a root.

Straight shooter

Straight shooter root skills

  • Aim for the smoothest line you can see, and pick the front wheel up and over the first few roots.
  • Keep your weight back on the rear wheel in case the front wheel deflects.
  • Stay off the brakes if at all possible — only use the rear if you really have to.

Off camber

Off camber root skills

  • Pick the line you want to take — the higher, less-ridden line tends to be grippier.
  • Keep your feet level so you can weight and unweight the bike with ease. Move your weight back slightly.
  • Keep your feet on the pedals; as soon as you remove your inside foot, you’re asking
    to slide out.
  • Do not touch the brakes! Momentum is your friend so keep your speed up.

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