Balance tips and slow-speed moves

Practice the slow-speed balance and pinpoint judgement that trials demands and you’ll improve your regular riding skills too.

Ollie Wilkins explains how…

1. Easy – Uphill hop


This move helps to keep your momentum when faced with uphill obstacles, and your flow on tricky climbs.

Time your pedal stroke to end with your favourite foot forwards if possible. As soon as the front wheel is up and over the root or rock, lean forwards to put your weight through that wheel, then pick up the rear of the bike with your legs to get the back wheel past the edge.

On the trail: On a technical climb, this technique can make the difference between spinning out or keeping traction; roots and rocks are slippery, so avoiding them will make climbing easier.

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2. Hard – Rolling side hop




This hop is for those situations where there is no room to straighten up and hit an obstacle head on. It’s just like a standard bunny hop, but with the added elements of turning and moving the bike beneath you.

Use your arms and shoulders to twist and turn sideways while the front wheel is lifting, moving you up and sideways at the same time.

On the trail: When you find yourself in a rut there’s usually a perfectly good bit of trail to the side of it, so hop out. The same technique can be used to hop from one side of a rut to another.

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3. Hardest – Turning stoppie




Nothing shows off good balance and judgement like a well-executed stoppie. From assessing the grip level, to throwing your weight forward and judging how hard to pull the front brake, this action is incredibly tricky to pull off smoothly.

Move your weight forwards and upwards while flicking your heels up to lift your rear wheel. It’s just like a normal rear wheel lift, but this time, subtly move your hips to the side, making the wheel lift diagonally instead of straight up.

On the trail: Super tight hairpins are best tackled with this technique. Beyond that, it’s just for show.