How to not go over the bars?

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How to not go over the bars?
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Posted: Jan 3, 2017 at 16:17 Quote
Going over the bars is my worst fear on my bike. I've taken two trips to A&E, and both of them are owing to me going over the bars. Because of this, the thought alone of going OTB scares me. This seriously hinders my riding, I'm often worried to send it on large jumps, and I don't think I've ever gone off a drop-off above knee-height.

So I must ask, how can I avoid going OTB? I feel my riding would be MUCH better if I could master staying in control whilst going through the air, but until then I think my riding is seriously hindered. I think I've got a lot of potential, but I need to learn how to stop myself from going OTB.

Any advice is greatly appreciated Smile

Posted: Jan 3, 2017 at 18:27 Quote
I might be the expert at going OTB so I'll throw in my 2 cents worth. Part of the answer depends on whether you are only going OTB off drops or it happens other times times as well.

1) The number one thing I've found for learning to go off drop offs is learning to 'huck' the bike forward underneath you just as you are going off the end of the drop. You need to have your seat low to do this and basically shoot the bike forward underneath you so your butt is low over the rear tire (in a crouch position) and your arms are nearly fully extended. As you get in the air you start to pull the handlebars towards you and stand up out of your deep crouch (but not too far, at least at first) so that you are in a more neutral position when you land and can use your legs to absorb the impact. The slower you are going, then more extreme you have to do this. Pick a knee high drop and practice this, then gradually work up bigger. If you go fast enough, this becomes a lot less necessary as your front wheel does not have time to pivot down on the rear wheel as you go off the drop. The idea with this technique is very similar to a manual but even easier to execute because you only need to transfer your weight over your rear wheel for a very brief time so you don't have to establish a balance point over your rear wheel or engage your hips so much.

2) If you tend to go OTB in general steep, fast or rough riding, get down lower over your bike. Lower your seat way down and get down in a low crouch with your weigh over the pedals, your heals dropped and your chin only inches over the stem. With your center of gravity low your bike will more naturally plow through / over bumps and obstacles rather than tipping forward.

A lot of bike setup things can also cause you to go OTB:
- Too soft or bottoming fork
- Bars too low (trying picking up a bar with more rise)
- Stem too long
- Seat too high, even in the dropped position
- Not enough rebound dampening in your shock

Posted: Jan 3, 2017 at 18:33 Quote
#1: Keep your weight back when doing drops, jumps, etc. Not way back, but at least get your hips behind the bottom bracket.

#2: It's all about learning to crash until you can pull it off confidently. If you think you're going OTB, throw the bars back between your legs as hard as you can while lifting your legs over them. You should be able to land on your feet, if not go into a more controlled roll rather than faceplant

Posted: Jan 3, 2017 at 23:09 Quote
Technique is the likely cause but........Another point worth mentioning is that if your bike is too small then your weight can be too far over the front axle when in a comfortable riding position. If this is a factor then it makes over the bar incidents more likely when you hit an unexpected obstacle on a steep or fast section of trail for which you are not prepared. Slack head angle and long reach make otb less likely. Try riding a super steep dh course on a 5 year old xc bike and then do it on a modern enduro bike and you will see what I mean. A dropper post makes a big difference too.

Posted: Jan 3, 2017 at 23:23 Quote
What if sometimes your feet jumps off the pedals?

Posted: Jan 4, 2017 at 14:00 Quote
Lean more to back of bike i guess.If you feel that you are pressing on handlebars that means that your weight is too much at front.Practicing Bunny Hop helps too.

Tbh i'm happy that i rided BMX as kid/teen so if i go over bars i land most of the time on my 2 feets.

Posted: Jan 4, 2017 at 15:33 Quote
going over the bars worries me mainly due to having a XC bike with a pretty long stem and high seatpost. its tricky to keep you weight back if you dont own a dropper post. went over 3 times now in space of about 6 months first time on a small decent weight not far back enough straight over on first small bump. 2nd time i hit a small whole/lump on what was meant to be flat forest track. 3rd time fail to hop over a drainage ditch landed badly went over and all the bruised the upper side of my right leg.

advice would be keep your weight back. dont attempt downhill on a xc bike. watch out for holes and lumps if your going fast.

my feet lift off my pedals loads in rough groun despite using 5 ten impacts and shimano saint pedals. should really ride clipless but

Posted: Jan 4, 2017 at 18:26 Quote
If the trouble is going over the bars off jumps and drops then the skill to practice is the manual.

Practice dropping off of curbs and landing with both wheels simultaneously. Then see how slowly you can do it while maintaining control and precision.

Much more difficult than it sounds, and exactly mimics the motion needed in a drop or jump. I ran an MTB clinic for a few years and this was a key skill.

Posted: Jan 4, 2017 at 18:35 Quote
Thank you all Smile I'll practice some of the techniques you have told me about, and hopefully I can nail this "freefall" thing at some point Razz

Posted: Jan 5, 2017 at 0:17 Quote
BenSheil wrote:
Thank you all Smile I'll practice some of the techniques you have told me about, and hopefully I can nail this "freefall" thing at some point Razz

If you fancy taking a skills course I can highly recommend these guys at Glentress

I’m also wondering how your fork set up? The reason I ask is that if you’re running a lot of sag, coupled with a fork that has a linear damping system (little or no mid to end stroke control) then the fork can dive under heavy braking, hard front landings or dropping off slow techy features on steep descents, which pitches your weight forward possibly resulting in more OTB moments.

Posted: Jan 5, 2017 at 0:23 Quote
Aideeaids wrote:
What if sometimes your feet jumps off the pedals?

DROP YOUR HEELS! Seriously, really push them down, make a conscious effort to do it. I used to forget this all the time, crashed a lot, and if i didnt actually crash my riding felt really sketchy.

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