IF you haven’t seen this drop what you are doing and watch, insane!
MTB Manual Over Obstacles w/Overlocked Move, Video Tutorial and frame by frame break down
Going up and over obstacles takes a lot more than just a manual. It is all about finesse, not speed (though there is a minimum speed for this, which I found by testing how slow I could do this 🙂 ). Last week I said, “smooth equals fast and efficient” and I’m saying it again. This is all about being smooth!
Watch the video for the 2-minute tip and check out the frame by frame breakdown below. Please don’t think you will never use this by the size of the wall I’m using, I do the exact same thing on obstacles of six inches or more. I used this wall to graphically demonstrate the technique and show how these two very basic skills can achieve massive results.
As you can see it is a really simple but committed technique using two simple core skills I have been teaching for 19 years on the first day of my famous three-day skills camps, the manual and the weight shift. As a matter of fact, I have had several students work their way up to doing this by the end of my three-day camp.
By committed I mean you can’t try to do this! Either do it or don’t because stalling halfway will end badly! So baby step your way up to this. Find something much smaller and/or less steep to start on. Luckily, connected to this wall is a smaller wall that goes from a curb with just to pavers on top and has one paver increments up to this height, perfect for practicing.
First the manual breakdown. The manual isn’t a pulling or lifting maneuver, it all about pushing your bars forward while pushing your hips back (which pushes your feet forward and powers your arms). There is no need to push down and load your fork either (though it appears I’m doing it a bit here, I taught to start with a push down until about 2010 when Andy Winoradsky (one of my former BetterRide coaches) showed me that is was unnecessary, old habits die hard!) that simply wastes energy and could spell trouble on a loose, slippery or off-camber surface (your front wheel could slide out).
Start Low, centered and hinged with knees bent, elbows out (tutorial on this important descending position: http://betterride.net/blog/2018/mountain-bike-body-position-the-fundamental-movement-video-tutorial/ ). Ready to power that handlebar shove with your hips.
Drive your hips back and push your handlebars forward (not up, simply away from you). Notice, my hips are almost
over my rear axle and arms are starting to straighten.
My hips are now further back, bars further forward and I’m looking to the top of the wall.
My front wheel is unweighted and leaving the ground, arms nearly straight hips over the rear axle. Notice my heels
have dropped and legs have straightened out a bit as they push my hips back and pedals forward.
My legs are much straighter having driven my hips behind the rear axle and pushed my pedals forward. I’m now
looking past the wall, where I want to end up (looking to victory!).
Now I’m starting my weight shift. I am going to drive my hips and chest forward and slightly upward to keep my momentum
going up and over this wall (instead of straight into it which a manual without the weight shift would do, stalling the rider out).
Look at that weight shift, my head and chest are over my handlebars, my hips have moved 2.5 feet forward and the bike has pivoted beneath me into an almost vertical position. Notice how lightly my rear tire is hitting the curb at the bottom of the wall! This is why the weight shift works, without the weight shift all of my momentum would have slammed straight into the curb, stalling me out and probably pinch flatting my rear tire.
Almost there! Almost done with my weight shift, bike pivoting back towards level and weight almost recentered.
Victory is mine! 🙂 On top, centered and neutral ready for the next thing the trail throws at me!
I hope this has been a help to you! If it has please let know in the comments below and/or on youtube. If you know someone who could benefit from this please feel free to share it.
Thanks for tuning in, now go practice this!
Mountain Bike Steep Rolls and Rocks, Video Tutorial
Smooth equals fast and smooth equals efficient, here is how to roll down a steep face smoothly!
Riding steeps and steep rolls is perhaps the most misunderstood skill in mountain biking. The LAST thing you want to do is start with your weight way back! No matter what anyone says, this is a scary position and unsafe position. You are starting at the end of your range of motion. With your weight back will be yanked down the steep roll and likely endo.
You want to do it smoothly and in balance, as I explain in the following video. For a more detailed break down please read and check out my photo sequence breakdown below after watching the video.
Mountain biking well requires being in balance, in control and being as smooth as possible. When descending that means we always start with our weight centered on our pedals and in a neutral position where we can proact or at least react to anything the trail throws at us. For a video tutorial of this starting position please read/watch this: http://betterride.net/blog/2018/mountain-bike-body-position-the-fundamental-movement-video-tutorial/
As you approach a roll in this position you will alter your position in relation to the height of the roll in. If the roll is equal in height or taller than the length of your arms you want hinge so you are practically brushing your chest on your handlebars and your knees are bent close to your chest.
Then as your front wheel starts down the descent you will extend your arms at about the same rate the wheel is dropping away from you. As your rear wheel starts to descend you will straighten out your legs about the same rate as your rear wheel is descending.
Example: If the roll is the exact length of my arm extension I will start with my chest practically on the bars and finish extending my arms at almost the exact same time my front wheel is hitting the ground (same with my legs and rear wheel). On a roll the length of your arm extension or less your head and chest should not move at all as you do this. If the roll is taller than arm extension I will extend my arms a little slower than my front wheel is descending with the goal of reaching full arm extension at the same time my front wheel is hitting the ground, then do the same with my legs.
For a short roll or drop such as a curb simply stay hinged and gently push down with your arms as the front wheel drops then do the same with your legs as your rear wheel drops.
The bonus of this is that in addition to being safer and much smoother is also faster and more efficient!
Often, when it comes to being smooth and efficient we want to look at mountain biking as being a game of momentum. The better you can maintain your momentum the less effort you will need. Momentum likes slack angles, if you are coasting downhill into a steep uphill you will slow down quickly, if you coast into a mellow uphill you will maintain speed longer. The same with downhills, a steep downhill with a sudden transition to flat ground (a steep approach angle) will cause your momentum to slam into the ground, not propel you forward. A less steep downhill with a lesser approach angle will be smoother and not slow you as much as you transition from the hill to flat ground.
While in almost any body position the approach angle of our bike remains the same, we can greatly change the approach angle of our momentum. By simply starting hinged and low and extending your arms and legs as you descend your hips and upper body take a much slacker approach to the ground. This makes you smoother as you have less impact and allows you to carry more speed.
This is easy to test, find a short, steep descent or a set of stairs and roll down with weight way back, you feel a big impact when the rear wheel slams into the ground. Now repeat the same descent, starting at the same speed as before but this time get centered and low and extend your arms and legs as you go down. You will find it is much smoother (less impact) and you carry more speed after the descent.
Have you had trouble with steep rock rolls like this? Have a particularly challenging roll on your favorite trail? Tell us about it below.
Want to go up a wall like this? Check out my next 2-minute tip and breakdown!
If you know anyone who could benefit from this please feel free to share it.
Mountain Bike Body Position, The Fundamental Movement
Body position is your riding foundation, and it requires a fair amount of effort and a strong and stable “core” (your core is more than just abdominal muscles, it also includes your lower back muscles, oblique muscles, and hip flexors). Every physical part of riding starts from proper body position and it protects your body.
That brings us to the proper Hip Hinge, something I didn’t learn about until 1999 (5 years into my pro career and 10 years after purchasing my first mtb!). Whether standing and descending or sitting and climbing I have always had a habit of bending at the belly button and rounding my back. Probably the only time I didn’t round my back was when standing and climbing.
Bending at the belly button is a weak, not athletic position that causes us to ride poorly and leads to massive back pain. The Hinge is your power center, it helps you stay centered and neutral and it protects your back.
How to practice the hinge:
Go work on this crucial body position piece and have fun.
Please feel free to post any questions are comments and share this with anyone you think could benefit from it.