Video: The Key Rules For Tackling Any Type Of Corner - How To Bike with Ben Cathro Episode 8

Oct 22, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  


HOW TO BIKE

EPISODE 8



Ben Cathro goes deep on one of the most important mountain bike skills, cornering. From flat corners to berms and everything in between, Ben breaks down the techniques to help you carry speed and nail those tricky turns.




We'd like to extend a huge thank you to Santa Cruz Bicycles, Deity, POC and DHaRCO who supported this project.







94 Comments

  • 153 1
 22:52 minutes is a long time to be riveted to your phone on the toilet.

Excellent series!
  • 108 0
 that awkward walk of shame out of the bathroom with pins and needles in your bloodless legs
  • 8 1
 @tacolord: it's not really bad until the feeling starts to come back and it tickles so much you cannot move.....just frozen like a statue in the hallway, hoping nothing twitches and you collapse
  • 7 0
 @tacolord: That does not sound like a comfort brake. Or break.
  • 7 0
 I was only allowed to watch until 12:10 - will continue with the fancy stuff in three to five years
  • 2 1
 Just wait till your company installs the toilets with -10 degree slope!

i.imgur.com/B6tNATP.png
  • 19 0
 @bbmbc: Y'all were asking for steeper seat angles! Now look what you've done!
  • 4 0
 @tacolord: Glad to see I'm not the only one.
  • 63 0
 Casthro ; race brake and comfort brake
Me: fear brake and panic brake
  • 5 1
 Cathro not Casthro......PB why is the edit function gone?
  • 26 0
 @pink505: so we can forever be shamed by poor spelling
  • 5 1
 @pink505: It's still there, but only for a couple of minutes after posting. AFAIK it's always been that way.
  • 26 1
 @pink505: Ben Casthro really loves Lenin it over in the turns.
  • 9 0
 @inside-plus: Funny thing is that it was the autocorrect that changed cathro to castro and I missed editing the S....

I've been putin on too much brake in the corners according to casthro's videos.
  • 5 0
 @pink505: Nothing worse than putin too much break in the corner and then stalin.
  • 5 0
 @TomasK:Sorry, I was russian to work and missed your message
  • 3 0
 @TomasK:

Shoulda been running Marxist tyres
  • 1 0
 @inside-plus: je suis Fidel a mes kenda.
  • 58 0
 I think a lot of proper cornering technique comes down to commitment. You can have the knowledge of good technique, and you can nail it over and over in the parking lot, but trusting your bike as well as your own ability can be a big mental block once you hit the trails. Practice makes perfect though. It's like any other MTB skill, the more you practice it, the better at it you get.
  • 3 0
 This, agreed!
  • 20 1
 Perfect practice makes perfect. Poor practice leads to poor practices.
  • 5 0
 *pump track makes perfect
  • 12 0
 no doubt
Commitment is king in all of skill land. Cathro's point about a life-long relationship with improving (and the joy of that) hit home with me. After catching/recovering from Covid this year, it took about 4 more months to get back up to pace. When the lungs finally were able to deliver enough oxygen again, I found my commitment had disappeared along with the list of skills like hand-eye coordination and reflexes one needs to ride quick. Turns out it's easier to say 'Send It!' than it is to make it happen.
  • 5 0
 During lockdown I was exclusively riding on trails that were local to me and pretty tame. I've recently moved to an area that I would often visit pre covid where the trails are much steeper and techier. My mind knows I could ride these trails a couple of years ago, but I'm struggling with the commitment required now as I'm not used to it and my confidence is on the low side.
  • 5 0
 @commental: I find it a lot harder to commit to something you generally ride past on a regular basis than commit to something on a trail you ride for the first time. I’ve hit stuff much larger and technical that I haven’t seen before while out on a trip, but there are some jumps on my home trails that are much smaller and I know I can do, but just from so much riding past them I find it almost impossible to commit to sending them.
  • 2 1
 @nskerb: I find my commitment phrase "up and over" reduces the mental noise.
Ain't nothin' to it but to do it.

And of course, once you do it, Do it again to "lock it down".
  • 42 0
 The letting of the brakes during the toughest sections is such a key part!! It also applies to most aspects of riding. The biggest difference I've seen in my riding was when I went from braking when things got scary, to letting off the brakes and trusting my skills/the bike. It's incredibly counter intuitive, but it is also a simple concept (go in slow, and let off the brakes during the hard part). A lot of folks can benefit from that advice.
  • 7 0
 Yes, exactly. I've experimented with this myself - under braking(especially front) the entire front suspension is pre-loaded and hardens up and you bounce around like a pogo stick.

Hard braking before the obstacle and rolling through it with a non-compressed suspension makes it all so much easier despite the fear of gravity-induced destruction.
  • 6 0
 @Greyfur: Riding a hardtail is good for learning how to do this. You're pretty much gonna get bucked off or come very close to it if you brake on gnarly bits on a hardtail. You've got not choice but to do it right.
  • 3 0
 Letting the suspension work to gain traction is key. Also less "surprises"

That and a thing I learned from the video game "Grand Tourismo" about a tire's contact patch having a finite amount of total traction. You use up some of that available corning traction with braking traction, which is kinda the main point of this video.

Only thing I would add to this video is that angling the bike has a second benefit - If you slide, you have more mobility to react and keep the bike under you.
  • 1 0
 @invictarocks: As a general rule of thumb the braking thing is true but It isn't the same as in a car, there are many situations where a little bit of comfort braking can help dig the front wheel in as the weight shift effectively works like pumping. Assegai tires work great at this on steep techy stuff.

While you will lose speed, it isn't the same as in a race car where much higher forces are at play.
  • 20 0
 Overhead drone footage timing ghosted riders line choice. Have we reached peak line guy? Can the mad lad go further?
  • 11 0
 Next week he uses ground penetrating radar to evaluate the traction potential of various lines.
  • 17 0
 Love Cathro's vids! Still waiting for that "Boss Stance" T-Shirt to be released for sale! (...graphic could be side view silhouette of Ben in said stance with "BOSS STANCE" below...just a suggestion)

#bossstance \m/
  • 9 0
 Absolute banger of a video. Was entertained and informed... of just how bad I am at cornering!
  • 8 0
 Those laser shooting glasses get me every time. Pew pew pew!
  • 8 0
 A corner is just a French line in waiting.
  • 4 0
 Hey Ben Cathro, since you’re sharing all your trade secrets with planet earth, I have a suggestion for a video, “How to race a course rather than ride a course”.
In my motorbike racing days I had two tricks that made me faster- I let the bike move under me like I’m a puppet with a wire dropped from the sky, and I raced every tiny part of the course I could. Gimme a 40 foot straight between tight corners, and I’ll treat it like a drag race!
It a little different with an engine, but I find most off road racers don’t take opportunities to stay off the brakes. You’ll see a rider catch big air but drag the rear brake coming into a dip that he/she could have easily slammed 10mph faster.
There seems to be a lot of time lost to setting up for the next big thing when you could be pedaling where you’re at.
You’ve mostly summed this in your videos, but a focus on the top places to loose time would rock! I’d watch.
  • 11 8
 Very crafty how it’s going between wait is that a ebike or non ebike? I’m on to you bike industry I will not give in to your ebike subliminal advertising carefully threaded in to these clips of cornering! I am strong and I can pedal my damn self!
  • 1 0
 you're reading way to much into this
  • 3 0
 I felt immediate improvement when i have started practising corners with more hand pressure on the outer bar, while here is said to put on inner bar end.
For me front has more secure feeling with outer pressure, while putting pressure on inner bar sometimes caused front washing out (maybe, overall technique was poor). On the other side, it feels less natural and with slower tip in.

Is pressure on outer bar way to go? Anyway, whole How to bike is great to watch, the best so far in every aspect.
  • 1 1
 The weight needs to be through the front, most people don't lean the tyre onto the cornering knobs which is where the grip is and they need to focus on inner handlebar weight, but if you're tilting the bike and weighing the outer, sounds like you might be correcting for your weight typically being too far back
  • 2 0
 @Tristanssid: I am trying to weight the outer bar because I think it is right technique, hence my question if am I wrong or not, because it seems to me working good.

Time for more practising and trying new stuff Smile
  • 3 0
 @stpan: a coach taught me and I teach about the triangle, front tyre, outside foot and inner hand is where the weight should be focused. When I first started I found that if I lifted the outer handlebar the bike turned more and so weighting the outside was taking away from cornering
  • 3 0
 @stpan: however some people seem to relate certain actions of their body differently to others and so the same wording for everyone might not work
  • 8 0
 I successfully teach weighting the outside hand. It's like an outside foot down without the one foot stance. The hand is over the wheel so can press down. If you add pressure in on the inside hand you push the bike out from under you. You do use the inside hand to angle the bike by leaning the bike with it because you wouldn't want to lift up the outside hand as that would be unweighting the bike. Also, you can't weight the outside hand if you are off the back. It actually encourages better body position to know you can immediately weight that outside hand if needed. Also, if you are braking with one foot down you have to put more pressure on the inside hand to keep the bike angled. There are times to weight the inside hand more but the greater occurrence is on the outside hand.
  • 2 0
 Really, whatever shoves that front contact patch straight down into the dirt is the goal for front tire traction. How you think of it to make that happen is up to you. I personally think of weighting the "top grip", making a mental line straight through the contact patch into the dirt.
  • 4 0
 @harmar: use inner hand pressure to lean the bike and outer hand pressure troughout the turn makes perfect sense for me, thanks.
Now i need to find out if I am able to do it in controlled manner Smile
  • 1 0
 Maybe what he means is use the inner hand to lay the bike over. It's to do with how the rake of the fork effects the contact patch of the tire with the ground at different angles. Go and get your bike out and hold it by the stem. turn your stem and you'll notice that the bike naturally folds in the opposite direction to the way you turn the handle bars as the contact patch moves towards the direction you turn the bike, its hard to explain but I'm sure you know what I mean and you'll easily understand if you try it. Trying to lean a bike over without using this method is very difficult, but if you initiate the lean by weighting the inside hand it naturally uses this mechanic and leans over very easily. You can then turn your bar in the direction you want to go.
  • 2 0
 Any tips on dealing with those really tight sets of steep left-right-left interconnected berms the kids build in my local woods? I'm terrified of trying to get off the brakes as it's so steep and my mind doesn't work quickly enough to make the second turn.

Is it a question of just really committing and almost bunny hopping?
  • 7 0
 Watch a Slice of British Pie before you go riding and do what ben said with comfort braking to build up confidence.
  • 3 0
 I fully expected my 2020 Optic to be a dud in the corner - esp since it's a lumbering XL with 1274mm wheelbase. But it's amazing, and can be thrown into corner harder than my ability and courage can muster.
  • 6 0
 No podcast this week? Say it isn't so. Even a mike solo about aliens?
  • 3 0
 I think the real question here is Cathro's tires. Does each bike have a different brand? I see Maxxis, Schwalbe and some proto contis. Do you have another bike with Vittoria?
  • 1 0
 Maybe doing some pinkbike testing? Idk because usually the sponsored presenters don't do reviews.
  • 1 0
 I think its a compilation of footage from different times, you can see he's at home in Scotland, In Europe and maybe Canada too.
  • 1 0
 I guess an unintended result of that is it shows that tires don't matter nearly as much as some say. you can corner well on anything
  • 4 0
 The subtitles getting words wrong is hilarious; everything is better with an accent
  • 1 0
 Hey Cathro, You check in here? If so, at the limits in unsupported, loose, fast corners, I find that occasionally I have additional traction control/feel by effectively twisting the bike... meaning I'll dump the outside foot and pull up on the outside grip (feels different then just weighting inside grip). Thoughts?
  • 1 0
 When did I miss. bike setup. my bike is as untuned as ever, but thinking of twenty minutes of info at every corner means going super slow in to get perfect positioning or miss the exit, but great to know what did wrong the next time do that turn?
  • 1 1
 My additional theory on "angulation" is that leaning towards the outside of the turn makes the radius of the turn larger.

If you lean toward the inside of the turn, you are making the turn smaller because your body weight is on a smaller turn than the bike, changing direction faster and causing you to lose grip. If your weight is leaning out, you are making the turn larger.

This is a similar idea to the sensation you get on a merry go round. Start the merry go round on the outside and you are going slow. Move toward the middle, and it feels like it speeds up!

Leaning toward the outside of the turn is the same as being on the outside of the merry go round. You go toward the axis of the spin/turn and you change direction more quickly - losing grip.

When you start in a turn, you are in a large circle, putting torque into the turn. When you move your body toward the middle of the turn, you are making the turn smaller, which makes you lose grip.
  • 4 0
 This feeds right into the "how to pump your bike" article that Pinkbike put out a couple months back. www.pinkbike.com/news/how-to-pump-your-bike-physics.html

When you extend your legs and pump a corner, you are making the radius of the turn smaller for your center of gravity, thereby accelerating, just like when break-dancers pull their arms in to speed up the spinny thing they do on their heads.

The downside is that pump has to be supported by grip.
  • 2 0
 I disagree, if you stand up at the axis of the corner (like pumping down into a dip) your center of gravity doesn't have to travel as far and can "Cut" the corner while your bike tires are on the trail.

I wish I could draw a picture but basically your body takes the richie rude line while your bike stays in between the tape.
  • 2 0
 I think that largely applies to the size of the radius of the curve
On smaller turns especially w/a good berm you’d want to keep your body more in one place and let the bike snap around you keeping your weight somewhere between the angle of the bike and straight up from BB and then pushing it forward out of the turn
Sort of like pumpping a roller only sideways Beer
Like ninja hei-ja
  • 1 3
 If you lean towards the outside of the turn you'll end up weighting the outside portion of your tread pattern, and you'll pay the price of reduced traction.
  • 2 0
 @mammal: No, you can only weight what is in contact with the ground. Shifting left or right makes no difference outside of lean angle of the bike. You can change how much weight is on the tire by moving fore or aft, or by pumping.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: I disagree. By shifting your weight to one side or the other, you create a moment (lever arm) about the contact patch, which will definitely affect which side of the tread is making up that contact patch.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: you can't arbitrarily shift your weight around... something else has to happen. To not fall over or high side you and the bike (the system) is leaning at a certain angle not of your choosing. Now you can change how much you and bike lean relative to each other within reason but the sum (angle of COM with the ground) is the same. So moving your weight to the outside will allow the bike to lean more and increase pressure on the inside of the tire. However, the tire only know how far it's leaned and how much weight.

You could apply a moment by shifting your weight and not increasing angulation. This would increase weight on the outside of the tire as you say but only because you're high siding in this scenario.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: OK, I understand what you're saying. For some reason, I mistook your description of leaning to mean shifting location over the bike. That said, I'm not sure how you can achieve leaning toward the outside of the turn at speed, while still accomplishing the turn itself, which is why I was confused by that.
  • 1 0
 I never considered that aspect, thank you @lexcanoe
  • 4 1
 Where is the new pink cast... Frown
  • 1 0
 Outside Orbea Enduro Team of juniors coached by Cathro would be an interesting series to watch, From pre season prep to full race calendar, would be interesting to watch,
  • 2 0
 Thanks ben, the point about comfort braking through the turns and then letting it off is key for me. Legend.
  • 1 0
 2:16 Man lol, I just can't stop do that in turns. Tough bad habit to break lol
  • 1 0
 Thanks God for the 29er invention. Ben Cathro on big wheels looks like a regular pre-teenager on 26" wheels.
  • 1 0
 Theres old footage of him on a 26" Orange, he still looked awesome, some riders just have it.
  • 2 0
 I wanna see Ben in an EWS...I think he'd do well.
  • 2 0
 2019 was Ben's last Scottish Enduro at Fort William.
I think Ben is fitter now, but enduro does take lots of fitness.

www.rootsandrain.com/event7290/2019-oct-13-poc-scottish-enduro-series-5-fort-william/results/#helitem
  • 2 0
 Thanks for timing this to go with my Saturday morning coffee on the porch.
  • 3 1
 I just turn the handlebars !
  • 2 3
 Not sure I agree about no pumping on flat corners bit...very gentle pumps throughout flat corners can help you keep speed up...
  • 9 0
 If you can do very gentle pumps you didn't enter the corner with enough speed
  • 4 0
 I too enjoy some very gentle pumps.
  • 2 0
 @inside-plus: Thanks for making me choke on my dinner. Seriously. I started snickering and about spit a bite all over my iPad.
  • 2 1
 @inside-plus: that's what she said.
  • 1 0
 what i got from this? “Angulate” can be a verb ;p
  • 1 0
 This is a goldmine!! Excellent delivery too
  • 1 0
 Anyone have an idea what he means with angling the torso/body into a turn?
  • 2 3
 This guy is full of it. Everyone knows the back brake is always the right hand. Doing it any other way is slower!
  • 4 0
 Makes more sense to me to have your front brake in your best hand whichever that is because that's the one you need the most fine motor skills to control precisely.
  • 2 2
 use anything but wtb vigilante and you'll corner just fine
  • 1 1
 The line guy! looool
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