MTB Techniques - Advanced cornering techniques

Off Camber

Cornering across a hill.


Riding off camber is a lot like cornering, you are trying to make the bike go in a direction it doesn’t want to.  On a corner the bike wants to go straight on but you force it to turn.  On an off camber section it wants to turn down the hill but you make it go in a straight line.  If you try too hard in either situation, the tyres will loose grip and slide out. The technique used to ride off camber sections is almost identical to advanced cornering skills.


Turn uphill.


As you enter an off camber section turn your hips and shoulders to face uphill in a similar manner to cornering. Lean the bike into the upslope to get the edge of your tyres biting into the dirt. Drop the downslope pedal and get all your weight on it to get extra grip. Pull up on your outside grip and push down on the inner one to get even more pressure on your outside pedal. Once again, look to where you want the bike to go rather than the obstacles you are trying to avoid whilst scanning the ground for anything that will help you stay on the slope.


Ride with your weight over the cranks unless you feel the front is about to start sliding. Stay off the brakes as touching them will rob your tyres of valuable sideways grip.


Keeping your front wheel tracking is more important than the rear so if it starts to slide get even more weight over the front.


MTB Off Camber Technique

Get high.


Try to stay as high as you can on a off camber section as loosing height if you are too high is far easier than climbing back up if you are too low.


Think about the entry into an off camber section. For example if a berm preceeds the off camber section there are a few options available to you.


You could ride the berm fast on the main line hoping your speed will get you all the way over the off camber section before you drop too far, another option would be to ride higher up the berm before dropping down and crossing the main line as the berm ends shooting you further up the slope but at a slightly slower pace to take advantage of a trail feature up there providing more support.


Helping hands.


Look for any compressions in an off camber section that will weight the bike up and give you extra grip. Use this extra grip to get yourself a bit further up the hill to a slightly higher rut or to unweight the bike over a short section with less grip.


Look for any sharp edge that will help you stay on the slope, roots running along your path, the edges of ruts and even small erosion bars could all give you the necassary grip boost to stay up on the slope or unweight over looser sections with no support.