Body Position on a mountain bike makes a big difference with the speed you carry through corners and on decent and if you go airborne. The fundamentals of body position is moving your body weight around on the bike at the appropriate time based the terrain on the trail.
Seated Position – More efficient but will have to get out of the saddle to increase power. But this is mountain biking and seated more efficient power is not always going to work. As trails and terrain gets more technical you will need to adopt more of an attach position.
- There are times when you need to stay seated through rocky and rough terrain. In these instances, your arms need to stay bent and relaxed to absorb any movement.
- You also need to be prepared to stand up out of the saddle very slightly to ease yourself over bumps and up steep terrain.
Descending – how to utilize a neutral riding position:
- Stand tall on the bike with feet neutral and your bum out of the saddle with legs and arms slightly bent so you are ready to absorb any bumps on the trail.
- This will be your go to position when you are cruising down a mellow trail.
- You should adopt this position when the trail is too rough to sit down or at higher speeds when you need to make adjustments to the bike underneath you in order to stay in control.
Keep your head up when descending:
- This is a critical skill and a sign of a competent mountain bike rider when you are able to look past your front tire down the trail. Means you are best prepared for oncoming obstacles.
Leaning the bike through corners is another important skill. The key here is to lean the bike underneath you and into the corner and drive your weight centrally through the center of the bike from your outside pedal. This forces the edges of your tires into the ground giving you maximum grip. You would use this skill in flat corners where there is no significant berm.
Arc of movement when descending:
Your starting position is the attack position which as we discussed is the neutral position you typically utilize when riding on trail and technical terrain. As you start to descend you lower your heels on the pedals and drop your hips back as far as you can. Adopting this position on puts the majority of your weight on your rear tire keeping your front tire light meaning it will roll over obstacles earlier. Riding in this position on steep decent will help control your speed and keep your weight back and avoid the dreaded “over the handle bars” incident. Practicing this body position on flat ground will put you in a strong position when you are on the trails. On flat grounds you can even see if you can get your bum far enough back to touch your rear tire. The steeper the trail is you are riding the more important is it to get your weight back.
Here are the Key Fundamentals in body position:
- Stay Relaxed
- Absorb the majority of terrain with your legs
- Guide the bike with just your arms