MTB Techniques - Advanced cornering techniques

Bermed Corners

What is a bermed corner.


A bermed corner or berm is a corner that has a banked outer edge that runs the entire length of the corner. This bank allows you to go faster through the corner. It pushes back against your tyres giving them extra support through the corner allowing a higher speed than a similar flat corner without slipping.


Lean your bike over into a berm in a similar way to a normal flat corner but remember you will be entering the berm faster so will need to lean more. How much extra speed you can carry into the berm depends on how steep the berm is and therefore how much support and extra grip it provides.


Ride into the berm rather than across it.


The line you take into a berm will be different from the usual flat corner 'racing' line. Ride into the berm rather than cutting across it. Start on the flat section of trail, as the berm starts, steer your front wheel gently up the bank in the opposite direction to the curve. This is called countersteering. At the same time lean your body towards the inside of the corner.


Don't allow your bodyweight to follow the bike up the banking, keep it low towards the inside of the bend.


Stay relaxed and hold your lean all the way through the berm.


Weight the bike up through the berms for extra grip.


Straightening up.


Bringing bike back down under you as the berm ends. Unweighting the bike and steering towards the inside of the bend helps get the bike under you again quicklyto get back on the gas down the next straight.


As your confidence in the berms ability to hold you grows, enter with more speed and use the steepest part of the berm for more grip.


Shallow berms.berm technique


On shallow banked berms where you will only gain a little grip, lean the bike into the corner a little more than on a flat corner and drop your outside pedal. Don't forget to check the corner for anything that may catch you pedal.


Steep berms.


As the angle of the banking increases lean the bike over further and further until it is almost horizontal. You can go faster and faster through the corner until the banking is near vertical when you can pretty much go as fast as you want. Over time. Some berms develop a lip at the top. If your berms has one of these, hook your tyres under it and go nuts.




Berms can be used in other ways as well.


If you are approaching a bermed corner slower than normal so don't need to lean the bike over as far, keep your bike more upright using the berm provide enough pedal clearance under your inner pedal to allow you to keep pedalling through the corner getting you back up to speed.


You can also pump through berms especially short, steep ones to get a free boost of speed. Check out the pumping section for more details.


Bear in mind that although a berm may be present, it is sometimes better to take the normal 'racing' line depending on what the trail is like before or after the berm or to overtake when racing BSX or 4X.