Dealing with tight corners can be difficult enough without a drop appearing slap bang in the middle of your line. It’s really easy to get put off by these sneaky and often difficult to ride features. For some, using drop-off techniques leaves their front wheel high right where they should be turning. For others, having their weight pitched forwards right when they want to feel most in control is enough to force an error, resulting in a loss of momentum, or even worse, a crash. But these little drops don’t have to ruin your flow, just follow our simple steps to keeping your speed and ride out those difficult turns like a pro.
How you approach the corner will determine how well you ride the whole section. Although you may crash on the exit, it’s the entry that’s likely to have caused it. Troublesome drops in corners are usually found on steep, tight, switchbacks or at low speeds. Make sure you use the whole trail for set-up and don’t be scared to turn across the face of the drop. Sweeping from wide to wide will give you maximum space and time to turn when you get into the corner.
One of the most common mistakes is to brake in the corner. Most people leave it until the last minute to slow down and then drag their brakes throughout the whole turn. The presence of a little drop in the corner will highlight this fundamental error by leaving you stuck mid-way through. To cope with all the body movement and steering needed, you’ll have to force yourself to brake early and let go as you come off the drop.
By slowing up early, you’ll feel more confident in rolling off the drop rather than lifting your front wheel. To get around the corner fast and in control, keep your front wheel on the ground. As you turn into your line look for a good spot to plant your front wheel and go for it. Staying relaxed and letting the bike roll forwards underneath you is crucial. Your body movements must stay dynamic and in time with the trail.
Once your front wheel is into the turn get your head up and start looking for the exit as soon as possible. A common error here is to keep your weight back after the drop — unfortunately this’ll erase all your front wheel grip. Instead get central on the bike, as soon as possible, and let go of those brakes for added turning grip, speed and stability. Keep focused and you’ll ride it out no problem.
To gain maximum exit speed from the section use as much of the trail as you can. Having incorporated the drop into your cornering line, try and let the bike continue on the cornering arc you put it on initially. If you’ve managed to control your speed on the entry and get it extra slow you should feel more of an acceleration here than normal. Harness that speed and see how smooth and fast you can go.
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