How To... Ride Better Downhill

Nov 30, 2010
by Paul Howard  
This video lesson from ZEP Mountain Bike camps takes a look into the details behind the Downhill Body Position and how it ensures stability and balance to help improve your bike control and handling.

Learn how to be a better downhill rider inside,

This Video Lesson focuses on one of the most fundamental and important skills in riding; Body Position & Balance. When it comes to riding a bike downhill there are many skills you can work on to improve: Line Selection, Gears & Braking, Cornering and so on. After being able to control your speed with effective use of the brakes, this is the next most important skill in downhill riding because without it, all the other skills are pretty much impossible. Put simply, a rider who is not balanced on the bike cannot effectively control it, so things like Line Selection or Cornering suddenly become very difficult; more advanced skills thus rely on the strength and presence of the more fundamental skills.

If you want to learn how to ride better, with more control, flow and general skill... the best place to start then is to look at your Body Position & Balance on the bike. A rider with a better body position will be more stable and therefore more balanced... meaning literally anything they do on the bike will be easier. In other words, a great way of improving everything in your riding is to improve this skill. You want to corner or jump better... improve your body position & balance.


Check out this Video Lesson and go ride armed with some new info on what you should be doing, why that helps and how to correct things if it's not right. Ride loads and get used to feeling how different positions on the bike affect your stability, balance and the way the bike handles. You could also ride with your mates and give each other some pointers, or film yourself and analyze your own riding. Better yet, put the video up on here on Pinkbike, send us the link and we'll be happy to offer some feedback.


Views: 39,976    Faves: 369    Comments: 28


ZEP MTBCamps are supported by Transition Bikes, Fox Racing Shox, MRP, Straitline Components, Troy Lee Designs, Sunline, 661, Whistler Bike Park. ZEP Coaches are PMBI certified through the industries longest standing and highly recognized mountain bike instructor training courses; the Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Certification.



P.S. STOLEN BIKES! I just found out that two of our bikes were stolen last Saturday (November 20th) from our storage locker in Whistler. If you see them for sale or have any info, please contact us asap at zep_techniques@mac.com. Thanks, Paul





63 Comments

  • + 12
 hope to see many more of these videos
  • + 7
 Always good to watch videos like this. It helps you realize what lazy and wrong habits you've developed over a period of time. Like he said, even pro's get it wrong at times. Good work Paul. I'll be watching these.
  • + 2
 Hey, theres nobody who can say that you are doin it wrong. If Some guy can win the race, nb can say that he did somthing wrong or hes style was shit... It's your own thing how to ride, but this is just the simple truth, that it is easier to ride like in they told in the video. My opinion: Ride like you want, watch other guy's riding and find the way you love it best. There are no rules how to ride, just do your thing and beat the freakin time Big Grin .

Btw, this video helped me a lot!!!
  • - 1
 So if you ride backwards down the hill with your hands on the pedals and your feet on the bars, You'll win because its your own way and you can ride faster because it's not the "so-called way to do it"?!
This video isn't the be all and end all of riding. It's the "fundamentals" or riding like it states. You'll develop your own personal style based upon the foundations of these core skills.
I don't know if it's a error on your part but you've kind of contradicted yourself in your comment Kubsik?!
  • + 1
 i think you missed his point completely gazmataz
  • + 1
 hes saying it doesn't matter how you ride, as long as you win.
  • + 1
 yes, gazmataz, you tottally missed my point. As i sed, this video helped me alot, it really has got everthing you need, BUT Read again my comment and try to understand what i was trying to say... I didn't liked ur sentence, EVEN PRO'S GET IT WRONG AT TIMES... Thats why i commented on your commenct, No of... Just go and ride your bike, and do ride it the way you like!!!!!!
  • + 8
 keep these vids coming! good luck with finding the bikes guys!
  • + 2
 If you guys did a similar video for downhillers/freeride and how weight, balance, body position applies when you are about to go over jumps, gaps, tabletops, dropoffs, that would be awesome. Thanks in advance should you do one!
  • + 0
 I think they are working on doing this buddy. It looks like a small series of video's that they've filmed or are filming (Well from what they've made it out to be at the start of the video anyway).
  • + 0
 Agreed.
  • + 0
 awesome man...
  • + 1
 Ive never even really thought about my position on the bike til this summer. I keep getting these little bruises on my inner calfs from my tires coming in contact with my skin. keep on tensing up on the tight, flowy , fast sections, and bringing my legs in. Im not aware Im even doing it until I feel the burn of the tire rub. gonna give it a go today with concentrating on my knees and elbows. Ugh, Not a big fan of the hike and bike though. Off season is such a drag. .
  • + 1
 good stuff, i'm a bit elbows out knees in, so i'll think about that. there is a certain amount of just learning and finding what works for you though. our world champ gee atherton has seriously low elbows, doesn't seem to slow him down!
  • + 1
 Great ideah for anyone who has issues with thier riding and for pros too, like the calm commentry,im small for a mtb rider only 5ft"6, so i ride a small kona stinky primo for ease of use, great stand over, bad chatter from the bloody dope system tho.
But yeah my ridding stance is cool, im glad of that and many more of these vids please great job *)
  • + 2
 HELL YEA Razz I hate bike thieves. I dont think police realise how much they cost and how much work goes into our bikes. Lucky i have not been a victim *touch wood*, but if someone does take it, my air rifle will be out Razz
  • + 1
 get some more of these vids!! great job..

(One little tip: Dirt Jumping helps a lot for downhill in my experience, specialy with drops and jumps, because you allready lean into the landings and keep centered and you know how to pop those jumps. in the beginning i rode my DH bike like it was a totaly different bike specialy on steep terrain i had difficulties with centering etc. but than i thought what happens when i ride it more like my dirt bike, more agressive and playfull, and that maked all the difference for me.

So get those dirt bikes out and flow)

question: what do you guys think off body armor, i find that it always restrict my movements. is it me or do you guys experience the same?
  • + 1
 I'm the same on the body armor front Mtberdaan. I know I should wear it but I don't All I wear when I'm riding/racing is a full face, gloves and a set of knee pads. May consider getting some elbow pads but only as I'm not as young as I used to be and It takes me a little longer to heal up now'er days! haha
  • + 0
 really helpful instructions! Excellent! Similar information I learned at Snowshoe bike park this spring in a Shaums March camp, but this is captured on footage which I can save in my favorites and watch over and over again and then apply in practice. Thanks a lot. Very nice.
  • + 1
 Great vid, I don't usually watch this type of video because they over explain simple stuff. But this one was plain and down to the facts and its the type of advise I will remember next time I'm out. Thanks
  • + 0
 Great video! Easy to understand and the footage actually matched what was being said. I learned some new techniques and can't wait to share and practice. More instructional videos like this would be awesome!
  • + 1
 i think bike theives should be put to work building our trails! n be whipped sorry one of ma m8s had a bike stolen and it had ma pedals and bars on it
  • + 1
 Bit more on rock gardens and knee tendon destruction please. Keep these vids coming.
  • + 1
 Great video,thanks.Also,for anyone looking for more how to videos.check into Fluid Ride,they made a great one.
  • + 1
 Great video, well explained, concise. Keep the good work, hope for more videos.
  • + 0
 real gd vid i think everyone can get something out of it next time im out ill work on getting my body positioning event better
  • + 1
 bike thieves are such dicks, they should get put in prison for life.
  • + 0
 i dont know about for life, but definately some prison time. ive had almost all of my bikes stolen, but thankfully got all of them back exept for one. the dickheads didnt get prison though Frown
  • + 0
 Maybe we should devise a punishment that involves stopping a moving mtbike wheel by slipping their fingers in a rapidly moving disc rotor. All bike thief victims could watch while laughing and cheering. Something like they did during the French revoluton in the citiy squares.
  • - 1
 Here is a link to a movie of myself ridding, i would like to have some feedback
Thanks

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O0EK7wuHKc
  • + 0
 Vote for capital punishment for bike theft, all in favour comment 'HELL YEA'
  • + 0
 hate bike robbers!!! i once had my scott yz0 and 06 demo 8 stolen... luckyly police found them in an abandend stolen car!
  • + 0
 What an excellent video and feature for pinkbike to promote. Excellent!
  • + 1
 Nice one, thx.
  • + 0
 I think he might need to learn to whip and ride faster himself though
  • + 0
 This is useful and well explained. Good job Paul!
  • - 1
 good vid but the best one is the Fundamentals MTB
  • + 68
 Really sucks to hear those beautiful bikes got stolen. Bike thieves deserve to be shot.
  • + 33
 cockroaches > Bike thieves
  • + 9
 I would hang the piece of scumy shit that stole my bike Frown
  • + 24
 some other little tips that make a huge difference are: when going around corners, there are 2 main things u can do to help u get te most grip out of your bike, and help u keep everything in control: first, just like motocross, always lean your bike more then your body..this difference between your bike and u dont necessarily has to exist, but its a good thing to do especially when u are riding a corner that has no berm, a flat corner..and another good thing to do to keep ur weight low on corners is to move ur pedal center of gravity..by that i mean that if u are cornering left, u should place the outside pedal (the right one) as low as possible, and also keep ur weight on THAT pedal, not only this helps to keep ur weight low and gain grip, but u will find out that if u loose grip and need to take ur inside (left) foot out, its going to be a lot easier, because ur weight is already on the outside pedal, and as u take ur foot out the pedals wont unlevel, cuz, well, they are already unlevel! beginners should be a little careful with the second tip, cuz this one takes getting used to, but as soon as u feel comfy on this position, u will find out that it acctualy helps...hope this helps a bit..ride on!
  • - 1
 @mr weenie
I meant that I find the idea of giving good advice with a video ...
and I was thinking of producing something like that here in Italy ...
... and who stole the bicycle? are people without a soul! bas***ds
  • + 8
 too bad i cant go out and practice 2 much snow Frown
  • + 5
 Sheffy^^ same!
  • + 1
 I kinda disagree with the knees out part, even though most good riders are knees out, some, like Steve Peat, are knees in riders.
  • + 1
 Same Frown
  • + 2
 Find a balance w/your knees...peaty sometimes cocks one out, just adjust for your balance and make sure yuo're not too far one way OR the other...duh...
  • + 0
 we have to much snow to cycle and not enough to sledge with out severe injuries to the posterior
  • + 1
 Cycling in the snow is grand and DH is more fun in the snow Razz was out on sunday
  • + 0
 @Matt, get out and ride in the snow dude! I did earlier this year!
  • + 0
 i don't know about 3 feet or more where i live and its only gonna get deeper on the trails i ride. But i do get to go snowboarding almost every weekend.
  • + 0
 Its like riding a sport bike that knee is for balance when its out have you ever seen a guy riding fast on a sport bike that didnt put a knee dont i dont think so
  • + 0
 that guy rides with his elbows really far out! riders such as gee ride with them slightly more in. i ride with elbows out, but not at right angles like that guy.
  • + 1
 I also find that riding with my knees in makes for a better, more controllable ride, and you can grip your seat easier
  • + 0
 i think he is just demonstrating a point by showing a strong riding position.
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