Video: A Cutty Masterclass with Joe Barnes

Apr 30, 2020
by Joe Barnes  

Joe demonstrates how to slide the back wheel around a flat turn. An excellent thing to practice at home to get comfy sliding and keep the skills sharp in the lockdowns. Various tips from weighting the front wheel through to regaining grip.

If you missed his quick thrash of an edit from last week "The Lawnmower" here it is also:


  • 23 3
 Interesting about unweighing the front to load the front more. Joe, can you make one about hitting and railing ruts?
  • 35 53
flag steve4130 (Apr 30, 2020 at 7:52) (Below Threshold)
 Don't forget the tutorial on how to nail sluts
  • 7 32
flag pioterski (Apr 30, 2020 at 8:47) (Below Threshold)
 @steve4130: First you need a nine inch male... I mean nail.
  • 4 0
 I believe that may be my break through, funny how it never occurred to me until he mentioned it, but it's what I do when skiing and boarding so it totally makes sense. Slarve on!
  • 3 4
 @nurseben: the big difference between cornering a bike and skiing is that with bikes you do want to exaggerate movement with shoulders, elbows and hips. If you did it on skis, it’s exactly what all the gapers are doing
  • 10 0
 Hi Waki, yes of course. I have always wanted to do a how to rail ruts video, nows a good chance. Quite a unique different style required when your locked in a rut.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: you sure about all that?
  • 7 0
 best part of the video is the mixture of Scottish rider and country western music. both are at the extreme and opposite interpretations of the english language and culture. hilarious.
  • 16 11
 Whatever happened to not ruining trails with skidding? I've always found this move confounding in videos, is this really good trail etiquette? Asking for a friend....
  • 4 2
 Skids costs quids.
  • 5 11
flag akanatron (Apr 30, 2020 at 11:25) (Below Threshold)
 Couldn't agree more. We try and instill good etiquette in the high school and middle school kids we coach only to have the mountain bike media and pros irresponsibly circumvent our efforts with their "radness". I get it, there are few things that make you feel as much like a kid as sending dirt flying with the back wheel, but it's extremely frustrating to go ride our local multi-use trails only to see turn after turn blown out by people thinking they need to skid through the turn.
  • 19 5
 Should we call the good times police?
  • 23 1
 @akanatron: Think you're missing the value of actually doing a cuttie. Sure this vid makes it look like more of a skid, and people undoubtedly degrade a berm or two as they learn. But once dialed, it's clearly an invaluable skill (read enviable... I suck at them). The abrupt change of direction and ability to kill speed allow you many more options (for both fun and safety) and if you've ever come late into a berm with too much speed and known your day was about to get really bad because of the cactus/rock garden/great white shark on the other side of it, being able to change direction and/or kill speed immediately, well past what standard braking will allow, is huge. Unless you don't mind being said shark's dinner of course.

That groms vid from earlier in the week about secret gaps at whistler demonstrates this clearly. Landing a jump and about to die overshooting the next berm? Cuttie. Tadah!

Maintenance is a part of building. If builders make a trail- and I've made several- we know we have to go out there and do the upkeep. Cutties are no concern... you should see how a cow rides a berm in the wet season. Now THAT sucks to repair.
  • 4 12
flag NorCalNomad (Apr 30, 2020 at 12:32) (Below Threshold)
 @AlbertaRobb Exactly. We don't need another video on how to wreck trails.
  • 14 1
 It doesn’t ruin trails it’s totally acceptable what isn’t acceptable is dragging your brakes everywhere and leaving massive breaking bumps everywhere.
  • 4 0
 @NorCalNomad: it's a fundamental skill every rider should know. And just like anything, is best used in certain circumstances as Joe explained!
  • 3 1
 Good advice with the outside foot, this is why it's good to be an ambidextrous rider with your feet and learn to ride with either foot forward. It will help you to turn just as well either left or right. Another good skill builder is to do slide outs on ice if you are around a frozen lake in the winter. Gets you used to the feeling of sliding and helps with bike balance.
  • 11 1
 I nerded the hell out of it. Haven't seen any WC rider on any video footage switch foot position depending on which side the corner goes. James Wilson made an argument for it and I did drills but I find it just confusing. Also Bryn Atkinson does cutties both feet up. So does Joe when in the woods. Keeping feet up while sliding has big merits and it seems it all depends on a situation. Depends depends depends
  • 3 0
 Good point, but sliding on ice you don't get to change direction, the bike just gets sideways, like a skid. The cool thing here is that he is really turning, unlike typical cutties where the bike slaloms but.the body more or less travels in a straight line( kinda cool but a bit useless, like wheelies) this a cool.skill, In between pumping flat turns and drifting and endo turn! Always good vibes with Barnes.
  • 4 0
 I started fatbiking this past winter, with non-studded tires. Even on the best groomed trails, back end grip is"optional", so I learned a ton about balance, weight transfer, countersteering, and trusting a slide. Plus with lower speeds and two feet of snow to catch a fall, the risk level when goofing around is low. Fatbiking certainly improved my summer riding skill.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: i used to ride MX and a lot of those skills are definitely transferable Smile

It has certainly made me a better mtb rider.
  • 1 1
 @Bustacrimes: putting the leg out?
  • 4 0
 Don’t forget to keep your toe in if you want to be a true moto guy lol

And WAKI is right, there are people propagating the idea that being able to ride ‘switch’ if you’d even call it that has some sort of doesn’t seem to with any racer or any of the best riders I’ve ridden with over the years.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Leg out on the rutted stuff where you can balance the throttle and look for drive. Feet up drifting the rear end by weighting the front of the bike through tricky switchbacks was a true art on heavy MX bikes.
  • 2 1
 @Bustacrimes: I don’t have any experience with moto but I don’t like to stick my foot out unless I anticipate an evident benefit from it. It throws me out of balance and removes the ability to pump the corner. I have too good ground surface where I ride, it’s surely about what your trails are made of Smile
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: James Wilson has some terrible opinions mixed in with some valuable strength training tips. His multiple rants about how riding a road bike on your trainer in the off season isn't effective training are hilariously terrible. And don't get me started about his monthly clippless/flats rants. However, I agree with him on foot position. I think it makes sense to switch which pedal is down on the outside when cornering (in some situations). You can create great traction by stomping on your outside foot (down) and pressuring the hell out of your inside grip. If you keep your shoulders square it almost feels like skiing.
  • 3 1
 @gally-nh: erm, I am not getting too much into James opinions. It is a matter of a fact that clipless evangelism has been everywhere and constructed mostly of bullshit and he called them all out on it.His strength training program UMTBW is a work of art. The more I read and listen about training from world’s biggest authorities, the more I realize how much of exercise selection genius he is.

Dropping the pedal is one thing, but switching forward foot depending on which direction the corner goes is counterproductive. That’s what I meant.
  • 1 0
 @gally-nh: maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but he wasn’t talking about dropping your outside pedal in corners, which everyone does (to a different degree depending on the corner, your body, and your preferences), he was talking about riding with your opposite foot forward so that you are setup to more easily pressure the outside of the turn while being parallel.

Also, so you know...pressuring the inside grip isn’t really smart in all situations. pressure the outside peg/pedal (like you said), but drive your outside grip (not inside) through the corner. Of course the inside grip is involved because that’s how you lean the bike to an extent and how you’d counter steer if the front gets away from you, but ‘pressuring the hell out of your inside grip’ as you said is not right imo.

I definitely agree that there is a certain similarity with the feeling of skiing in how you pressure your ‘outside edges’
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yes, I understand he is coming at the clips/flats debate from a sound place. He makes a great argument, however, he has beaten it to death. That was really my point. And I didn't realize he meant to switch front foot (level) depending on corner direction; that I don't agree with because as you said it is counterproductive.

I also think he is way, way off base when he rags on doing interval work on a road bike trainer in the off season, or doing that work on road bike rides outdoors. There's a reason why top XC guys spend hours upon hours doing interval work on road bikes and on their trainers every off season. It's because it works. His argument is all about the body position being different from MTB, which is correct, but a bad argument.

His strength training tips are the best I've come across for MTB. I use pretty much everything he advocates in all my routines and it has produced fantastic results.
  • 1 1
 @nvranka: Yeah I dunno man, I lightly steer the front end with my outside hand and dig in with my inside hand while pushing down hard with my outside foot. For me it creates a counter balance and digs the inside lugs of the tire into the corner. Maybe I'm not explaining it right. I definitely do not mean counterstearing, as in pushing the front end to the left (by pressuring the inside grip) in a right hand corner like you would to control a rear wheel drift. Try it sometime, you might be surprised.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: If you watch enough races you'll see some riders switch, especially in the tighter corners. Having the inside foot back in corners puts you in a better position to turn because it naturally rotates your body in the direction of the turn, and you can use the increased leverage from the back inside foot to help you pivot.
  • 1 1
 @gally-nh: I can strongly recommend buying fat slick tires and going to a parking lot to make a skiing slalom like course from 20+ cones. I mean out 5 cones so that you make bigger turns, then add 3-5 ones close to each other to make a rhythm section for tight turns, then 3 medium sized corners, then some big arc, then rhythm again. Mix different arc sizes and out rhythm sections in. With enough cones you can make a loop, and if you have a DJ or a BMX with slicks, you can get some serious speed out of pumping turns. I did a check once on the way to work, I got around 18 km/h out of pure pumping for 500m. Then go and do a similar thing on a slightly sloping gravel road with your big bike with knobby tires.
  • 1 0
 There was one or two WC races last year where in the flat grassy turns right before the finish line every rider who was quick through that section put their foot out, and anyone who stayed on the pedals lost time. So I think there is probably merit in flat corners, otherwise keep your feet on the pedals.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: putting your inside foot next to your front axel lightly dragging the back brake insiding corners is definitely the best way of doing it. It’s faster and definitely more fun, makes more noise and kicks up more dirt honestly what’s even the point in riding if you’ve got two feet on the pedals at all times?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: totally agree - i am used to shifting the centre of balance with the leg out - it works for me on my trails. Also, my pumping is a weak part of my riding, so i lose little there. I try to find my way through the corner carrying as much speed as possible, then get back on the pedals Smile
  • 1 1
 @thenotoriousmic: not my thing. I love slides without using brakes. I use branes just for trying scandinflicks
  • 3 0
 @Bustacrimes: just messaging around with my son but look how tighter you can take a corner. The actual line is over to the left of shot.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Yeah, thats exactly the style, nice.

Gave you a follow Smile
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: both approaches are important to master. There are some tracks where the inside / off camber / jank is simply more fun or faster or both.

I started on clips and for years I never clipped an inside foot out in corners; when I finally wised up I definitely over did it and was foot out way too much (id feel awkward aggressively cornering without a foot out).

Being able to do both masterfully is what it’s all about.

That said, it seems there are plenty of guys that rarely unclip and are fast as hell, but still a good tool in the back pocket that you won’t have if you never use it.
  • 1 1
 @nvranka: agreed!
  • 2 0
 I think we all called this a Power Slide back in 8th grade. But without using brakes. And...cutties... never heard that until 2015. All the local jargon is so interesting! Fishing through the parking lot is called a jammin salmon 'round here. Anyone else have regional names or different names based on what bike it's done on? ie: mtb/road/bmx/moto differences?
  • 2 0
 A safe place to slide are the inside of berms. Instead of being in the bank of the berm, be much lower down where the camber is flat and there is looseness. When you slide, you slide into the bank of the berm and into good grip that catches you every time.
  • 3 2
 proper cutties, the way god intended! and yes cutties help rid the trails of clumpy organic matter that would often have to be raked away during those ocd trail maintenance sessions.
  • 4 0
 A true cutty means no brakes
  • 3 0
 Anybody have Bryn Atkinson on the speed dial ?...
  • 2 0
 The King of Cutties - and also how to do them properly.
  • 5 3
 A ‘How to’ spend shit loads of money on rear tires
  • 5 0
 im fine with that, i bought my bike to have fun with it. same went for my 80s bmw, but the way I see it I spent the money on a light rear wheel drive car to have fun so if im not spinning the rear wheels and burning through tires i might as well save some cash and buy a corolla.
  • 1 0
 Tough crowd! @Albatrosse:
  • 3 0
 Joe Barnes=Best.
  • 1 1
 I foresee an intensive cycle 60degreeC front wheel wash followed by a trip to the dentist. But fuck it. Cuttys are sick.
  • 2 1
 Hopefully your face mask will offer some protection or wear a full face helmet (;
  • 1 1
 Skids are for kids.
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