Ban the Berms? – Opinion

May 15, 2017 at 17:58
by Mike Levy  
Mike Levy


We've all been in arguments that, regardless of whether we were right or wrong, we knew we wouldn't ever be able to win. Maybe you spent fifteen minutes trying to convince the cop that his radar gun surely has to be malfunctioning; maybe you know about the lizard people, that the earth isn't actually round, and that all of the answers lie just beyond the ice wall; maybe you're of the opinion that dinosaurs are so obviously a hoax. I mean, since when do lizards turn into birds, right? You see, we'll all argue to the death about something or other that we think we're right about even though we're most definitely, positively, unquestionably wrong. And what about me? Maybe I'm convinced that berms are dumb.

Whoah, hold on on just a minute right there, you're probably thinking: how can anyone say that berms, those sculpted mounds of soil that manage to make every rider feel like a gifted pro, are "dumb"?

Yeah, I know full-well that I'm in the minority on this one, likely a lonely opinion out of a few hundred thousand mountain bikers who feel the opposite as I do, and that's okay. It's not like I truly despise berms; those arching piles of dirt never did anything untoward to me, and I'm sure they've saved my ass more times than I know about. But do we really need berms on nearly every single corner that we go around? I love ice cream, too, but my teeth will fall out and I'll get diabetes if I put down a pail of the stuff every single day. However, eating a bowl or two per week won't send my blood sugar levels into the red zone, and I'll appreciate that frozen goodness even more because I'm not downing a pound of it each day. I might want to, yes, but I won't. I don't think.

Now, I'm not a doctor, but I will concede that berms probably won't give me diabetes, but when there are enough of them that they don't feel all that special anymore or, worse yet, they begin to take away from a trail's original identity, I start to get a bit unenthusiastic about what should be one of the most smile-inducing features on a trail.

Berms can be face-meltingly fun, but they can't be the damn solution for any corner that presents a challenge, can they? Crazy as it may sound, I don't think that the answer is to simply build a banked wall of dirt, no matter how much fun said walls of dirt can be.


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  It's not like berms aren't fun; they're just too many of the damn things.


I'll happily admit that pulling Gs through a massive berm is a sensation unlike any other, one of invincibility that makes you feel as if you could do no wrong. But that's part of the problem: you can almost do no wrong when you're sailing through a berm. That perfectly angled pile of dirt is doing the work for you, and that's quite an amazing thing in the right place and at the right time, but it shouldn't be every damn place and time, should it? No, of course not.

If nearly every corner had a berm on it, they'd be like what Tinder is to meeting potential partners: often a near meaningless encounter that, while sometimes fun, doesn't stand the test of time. Much like Tinder, or whatever dating app you might have on your phone, berms make it easy to feel like you have more skill (or charm, in the case of dating) than you actually possess. You can see what's coming, the line you need to use, and you probably know the likely outcome as well, which is often a slam dunk of sorts, be it railing through that berm or, well, whatever you consider a Tinder slam dunk to be. It's easy, and almost anyone with some common sense and one iota of skill or charm can pull it off.

To me, a rooty, loose, or off-camber and completely unaided corner, when ridden well, makes carving that Tinder-inspired berm seem not so special. The former is digging deep for the courage and charm to take the risk and ask out your crush face to face; the latter is, at least to me, sending a cheesy pick-up line you saw on Instagram to ten Tinder matches at once in the hope that one of them is feeling lonely enough to reply to you. Both have their place, of course, but which one is going to mean more to you at the end of the day? Actually, don't answer that.

I know that a berm can be exactly what's required for a particular section of trail; you can carry some much-needed speed through a corner that might otherwise not work, especially if there's a move afterward that requires a good head of steam. That speed shouldn't always be easy to find, however, and that's what a berm does: they make it easy for the very large majority of riders to fly through a corner much faster than if it wasn't there to support them. And that's great, but sometimes it isn't.


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  Give me a flat or, better yet, an off-camber, corner and I'm a happy camper.


It takes a decent amount of skill to ride a mountain bike well, something that usually only comes after investing a lot of time, effort, and sometimes flesh. Those three things buy you the ability to go faster, and usually with less effort, especially when it comes to the riders who have the know-how to rail through a tricky corner unassisted by a berm. But install a berm through the same corner and there's a good chance that any rider with some courage will be able to go through it at a similar rate of speed, skill be damned. I know that mountain biking isn't all about being better than other people, especially your friends, but let's not kid ourselves here: most of us are competitive beasts who sometimes (not all the times) want to leave our riding buddies in the dust.

I know that I can't win this argument and that berms are a hell of a lot of fun no matter where they are or how many there are, but I also believe that they're used far too often. It's one thing when your flowy jump trail is full of banked corners that make sense, but an entirely different situation when a tricky corner, one that rewards a rider who rides it well, is berm-ified so that everyone can ride it well. We mountain bikes need to embrace the challenge of the flat corner, whether it's technical or not and depend on our skills rather than a banked pile of dirt to get us through.

Hell, at least I'm not trying to convince you that the lizard people are ruling over us or that the earth is flat, right? Although I might have better luck with those arguments than trying to persuade people to build fewer berms, an opinion that I can't shake despite knowing that I'm most definitely, positively, unquestionably wrong.

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311 Comments

  • + 665
 I think anyone complaining about the abundance of berms probably has access to too many good trails...
  • + 282
 Seriously, I think Mr Levy needs to ride somewhere that lacks a passionate trail building community. That way he can get all the flat, loose and rutted 180 switchbacks his heart desires
  • + 78
 @BadMotor: Could not agree more. Just throw into the mix overly controlling land managers and you have a recipe for boredom.
  • + 85
 first world problems?
  • + 85
 I think my local trail center has maybe three berms..... Check your Berm privalage Mike!
  • + 6
 I think Mike just needs to spend more time in Whistler lapping Dustys and Love Anal. Best run in the whole bike park and nobody rides it.
  • + 90
 Here are some things to consider -

You ride your bike almost every day (Mortals / non-bike journo's get to ride maybe once a week)

You live in Squamish, and have access to the shore, Squampton and Whistler - world class trails

I live in Melbourne, where I have to drive for an hour to get to a hill that is a 12min pedal up and a 2min decent, mostly made up of flat turns, and it's the same 3 descending trails that I get too ride every week.
I make an effort to drive further to ride, but sporadic days off makes it very difficult.
As everyone says, perhaps you have too much choice, you should go ride some old busted up trails that don't have a trail crew?
  • + 50
 Berms are great. But there's *nothing* like natural terrain.
  • + 4
 @Narro2: Good one!!
  • + 11
 Check your privilege Levy!!!!!!
  • + 9
 @Waldon83: that sounds suspiciously like the youies

Its that or plenty gorge and lysterfield

Anything else you need a shuttle fund and the fuel to drive out of Melbourne
  • + 3
 @Waldon83: Come to Adelaide!
  • + 6
 A-fukin-men. Any positive camber on trail rides I go on are ruts. Didn't see many berms in slice of pie now I think of it... and britain does have a fair amount of racing talent. Maybe Levy is on to something
  • + 47
 Sorry, I think Mike's right.

When I first really wanted to improve my riding, I bought "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills" by McCormack and Lopes. Yes Lopes' writing style is hardly Harper Lee, but there is a fantastic chapter on Cornering where they show you a whole variety of skills you can apply to a huge variety of corners, flat, banked, off camber, loose, rocky, you name it corners.

Berm EVERYTHING and there is no need for that chapter, and no more mountainbiking except 'park'. And do we all really want to be that guy who 'only rides park'?

I LOVE park, don't get me wrong, but last week, a buddy and I went to our local trail (30 mins up, 10 down) and he took the flow trail down. Me? I took the Goat Gully style version and had a blast covering half the distance, at half the speed and twice the technicality of my buddy.

My buddy doesn't like the Goat Gullies of the world, but he, like Mike, knows that there need to be corners that are full of all the stuff Lopes and McCormack were trying to help us rail, to make us feel like true bosses.
  • + 3
 @tigerteeuwen: I can count the number of true berms (not just sloped switchbacks) at all three of my local trail centers on one hand. But then again that is made up for by our localish bike park having one run with 55 berms...
  • + 2
 Well dang, he had me all convinced and then I read this comment. Bravo.
  • + 1
 @Narro2:
I wouldn't consider berms any sort of problem myself.
  • + 4
 Localized post. I'd love to have more berms on the trails that I frequent.
  • + 1
 I'm assuming you're talking about the youies, but there's loads of other good trails within an hour of melbourne! @Waldon83:
  • + 3
 @Waldon83: I was you on 2009 until I moved to whistler and been here pretty much ever since. I catch myself complaining about the simplest thing about trails then very quickly think about the after work peak hour commute to you yangs and then riding you yangs, good for what it is, but it's no whistler Squamish or pemberton absolute mtb heaven
  • + 3
 Just run slicks, that should flatten those berms out for you, and as a bonus people will know for sure you're an idiot ????
  • + 2
 @BadMotor: If it's a legal trail, berm or no berm I'm riding that trail with a big fat smile. I think their are more important topics to cover like more factory tours! Wink
  • + 4
 @orientdave: I just see berms as a trail feature that swings you around the switchback so that you can get back to blasting straight aways. I really see no point in debating them. I think better riders will still hit berms faster and harder than weak riders. It isn't like they're some kind of cheat that grants all riders this common denominator of corning skill. My point is, while I love natural features as well, if you were to offer me a choice of hitting a techy, steep trail with flat, crappy, rutted, rooty corners or turns with a little bit of a bank to them, I would choose the latter every time. I don't really understand the argument against them.
  • + 2
 @Waldon83: totally agree! Even though I live near some totally awesome trails, I don't get to ride nearly as often or nearly as long as I would like to. My trails are Pacific Northwestern, so, rooty/rocky/muddy punctuated by a few sweet berms. Every time I get to smash through a berm I feel lucky!
  • + 2
 Yeah, my local trails certainly DON'T have an 'abundance' of 'em. Hell, they don't have enough
  • - 10
flag nvranka (May 18, 2017 at 20:06) (Below Threshold)
 @Waldon83: I can ride upwards of 4-5days a week, still working 10-12hrs a day...

I'm sorry if you only get to ride once a week...that sucks man
  • + 7
 I can see and understand where Mike Levy is coming from.
I lived in Squamish and Kelowna for 3 years.

But when you are forced to live somewhere that lacks mountains, you make do with what you have.
I hate the city, I hate Melbourne, I hate traffic. But saving the money here means hopefully I can buy a place in Rotorua, and move there one day.

And yeah, Youies.
As for headed to other places around Melbourne, would you drive from the Williamstown to Red Hill or Kinglake in traffic after work? I'd love to but it's unrealistic
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: that's gonna be a thing now, you just invented a thing
  • + 1
 oops
  • + 1
 @Narro2: neither, elite problems.
  • + 1
 I have to agree, too many berms ruin the fun of riding for me. Unless I go to Petzen, which has a lovely trail that drops nearly 1000m vertical, with literally hundreds of berms. Nailing dozens of berms and jumps in a row can be intoxicating - and it is a challenge of its own. But otherwise I prefer finding my own berms between rocks and roots, once you learn how to flow through the nastiest stuff it is really great fun.
  • + 1
 Outside of the bike parks I'm not sure there is a single man made berm in Colorado
  • + 1
 I tell a lie, little scraggy has some, but that might be it for legal trails
  • + 2
 Just shut your gold ridden trail ass up levy - this is so out of context it's like hearing some guy from Abu Dhabi that the caviar isn't good enough cause it's not 20k a can...go cry us a river none of us care about
  • + 3
 Replied to the wrong comment and can only edit it soo.... did you guys hear about 29ers?
  • + 1
 @velociraptor-clintthrust: I'm holding out on the 29er thing. I think it's just a fad.
  • - 6
flag owlie (May 19, 2017 at 6:18) (Below Threshold)
 #whitepeopleproblems
  • + 0
 @catweasel: PBR, MoJo's, Ice Rink, Haymaker, Lee's Way, practically all of the RAT trails, every trail shared with motos; plenty of legal trails with man-made berms on the Western Slope...
  • + 1
 @hankthespacecowboy: yep... lots up my way in the Steamboat Springs area, and not just in the bike park. There are plenty of trails with or without around here. They are all great in their own ways!
  • + 3
 I've got 99 problems and a berm ain't one.
  • + 2
 @BadMotor: he didnt say switchbacks.
the answer shoudlnt be that he should move away from his homeplace to find more flat corners;
rather people in a booming mtb community should realize berms are not always in good taste.
  • + 1
 @hankthespacecowboy: always forget the eagle and Breck stuff and I need to get to steamboat. Colorado has great trails but so many land managers are just not onboard with mountain biking
  • + 1
 Yeah out west the options are a bit fewer. I'm in Northcote, so youies is the same distance as red hill (my fav), but I ride lysterfield, wombat (just got back, not the greatest loop) and plenty all the time, and struggle on the Yarra trails after work a lot, and get out to buller/falls/bright when I can. I also hate the city!!!! Good luck with Roto - i broke a lot of bones there, but great place! Love riding in Queenstown when I can too. @Waldon83:
  • + 1
 @catweasel: chutes trail but not sure if any of that is man made or not
  • + 1
 I was just thinking this......
  • + 1
 What's does access have to do with berms? I applaud Levy and agree with his opinion and his willingness to touch a nerve. From a scan of the comments it seems like a lot of pinkbike riders feel about berms the same way as they do about their blanky.

I like trails that require you to think about how to ride them. I like berms that are built by wheels, after dozens or hundreds of times of railing that particular corner. If you like big dirt walls built by a machine, then more power to you, but please don't come dig on what I build.
  • + 1
 First world problems...
  • + 1
 @codypup: you do know levy just wrote this article for the sake of creating a discussion, right?, he doesnt really support what he´s writing on this article... he just dropped the bomb and slowly walked away.

It created discussion among commenters, therefore more visits, which result in more $$$$ for the website.
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: I think our trails may have 1 or 2...consider yourself lucky
  • + 1
 @Narro2: Of course I know that, but it's also something I have given some thought to and have an opinion on and I am interested in any discussion in the community that's relevant. I'll also readily admit that I am of a generation of riders that is fading away and that my preference for hand-built, as opposed to machine built, trails may be the past more than the future.

The whys and wherefores of that opinion would take way more space than a Pinkbike comment should be asked to hold, but machine built trails with wall-berms in every corner are the harkening of the ghettoization of mountain biking-but that's just my opinion.
  • + 2
 Nothing beats railing a flat turn with both tyres on the edge of sliding out, although a steep as hell catchberm or a gloopy UK style rut can both come pretty damn close.
  • + 1
 @codypup: fading away where you live/ride...., i've lived in 3 countries in the last 10 years and all trails nearby i rode are hand-built

it really depends where you live
  • + 1
 @Narro2: That's good to hear. I want to come visit. Maybe the dumbing down of trails is a US thing.
  • + 1
 I can't agree enough
  • + 185
 If you don't like them,just fuck them up with your side knobs and take a pic of it for picture of the year contest.
  • + 15
 youll get 3k at the very least!
  • - 21
flag jeremiahwas (May 18, 2017 at 16:46) (Below Threshold)
 Not a fan of the language choice but this got my up-vote.
  • + 10
 @jeremiahwas: ..not a big fan of berms either. When I see them...I let go of my bars, rear up into Jesus Christ Pose and yell "Jesus Take the Wheel!"......better?
  • + 6
 @loopie: Perfect! Do post a video of your next attempt.
  • - 2
 @jeremiahwas: get that shit out of here
  • + 3
 Yes. This works on Tinder too; but is done with a front knob.
  • + 2
 @jeremiahwas: for f*cking f*ck's sake, dude. What's wrong with little f*cking bit of f*cking swearing. I mean, fuuuuck.
  • + 1
 @loopie: I love a good "Jesus take the wheel"!
  • + 108
 Berms definitely have their place, but when people take fun technical trails with difficult corners and features and pack on a bunch of dirt it really takes out the fun and the challenge of it. It might open it up to a wider group of riders but who wants to show up to a trail they've been challenging themselves on for years to find it turned to a green by a bunch of dirt corners with the roots nowhere to be seen? I sure don't
  • + 21
 Enter the Cannock Chase trail crew....hardpacking everything in sight
  • - 41
flag Kramz (May 18, 2017 at 13:57) (Below Threshold)
 From my experience berms never really work well/properly for bicycles. We had a giant hill, into a ~70° corner, into a jump once, so you're going maximum speed through the berm, and it honestly was probably worse with the berm, and the berm kept breaking. In my opinion if the centripetal force isn't extremely high from turning super hard a berm makes things worse because you end up climbing it on an angle with your rear tire lower than the front.
  • + 25
 There is something to be said about being foot out flat out, drifting through an offcamber slip'n'slide...
  • + 2
 lets say there is a long side hill out of a janky, root infested corner that you never get enough speed out of, and you end up pedalling awkwardly over things you could dbl if a berm were in place...are berms then bad?!
  • + 6
 Or do you know the kind of people, who move a bunch of rocks, four times their own weight, out of the way, instead of practicing their skills? Bye bye rock gardens.
  • + 3
 @Crag-Of-Ruge: I'm pretty sure the surfacing at Cannock isn't meant to be fun, it's just meant to be hard-wearing. The hardpack pebble-y stuff on the Dog is a death trap, even in the dry, but look at Sherwood Pines and you see what leaving the natural dirt exposed ends up in - that whole trail is still 90% ruin and pot holes, even though they've started patching it
  • + 1
 this is whats happened to all the jackson hole trails
  • + 15
 @Stefanproductions this is happening at all my local trails, roots and rocks getting removed and berms being built on every fun corner....

Personally I believe this whole problem is indicative of a much greater social phenomenon whereby people are becoming so pathetic and mollycoddled that they can't stand having the big scary mountain bike trails be a little bit hard for them to ride, better bubble wrap that trail and make it easier for their trail crushing carbon 29ers to ride through.

Learning a new skill or talent, or [hushed voice] 'taking a risk' is far too dangerous and challenging for today's feeble and hopeless, super litigious crowd. E-bikes are another facet of this trend IMO
  • + 1
 @Smevan: @Crag-Of-Ruge: Even the hardpack struggles to shrug off the abuse the sheer number of Brummies throw at it. There's a number of spots where large holes have grown out of one of the glossy baked potato sized stones coming lose

In relation to OP at Cannock, the compression section after the campsite on the Dog (Son of Chainslapper?) is where berms work, the rest of the route; meh
  • + 3
 @Crag-Of-Ruge: too right mate, and up the cop we ask for a gondola and get told no way, it sucks man .
  • + 1
 @scoot34: we have steps now
  • + 1
 @ROOTminus1: tbh i loved that section before it got steam rollered. Nice n rough
  • + 1
 @Smevan: good point I suppose, after a month it'll be back to potholes haha
  • + 1
 @ctd07: and THIS is why freeride is dead
  • + 1
 @Crag-Of-Ruge: do you remember the old original chain slapper section about 9 to 10 years ago, now that was rough on a hard tail,

me and my son call the son of the chain slapper section, the son of the toll road as its that smooth now
  • + 1
 @ctd07: I like your style, but life wore me down so I'm pretty feeble, and it will no matter who you are eventually I think. Mohammed Ali can't even talk anymore, and he was born tougher than anyone today. I think you're forced to take mollycoddling into consideration at some point or other no matter who you are.
  • + 1
 @Crag-Of-Ruge: I know , 2 huge and massively expensive sets of steps that lead to nowhere, wtf are they about ?
  • + 1
 @Kramz: yeh I gave up riding for 3 years after some injuries, used to ride a lot of dh and DJ and hit a few 40ft jumps back then. Now I've got back into it I avoid hitting any jumps over 10-15ft now albeit all my injuries were on small jumps or rock gardens. Having family responsibilities makes you want to slow down too. Now I just concentrate on speed, fitness and cornering technique and ride mainly trail stuff - you don't have to go feeble, just refocus and keep shredding! There's no joy in it for me if I'm not going as fast as possible down the hills.
  • + 37
 Berms create flow, flow creates fun, fun creates interest, interest creates industry growth. Therefore, according to my calculations, berms=industry growth.
  • + 154
 Annual axle width change = industry growth, Just sayin'
  • + 10
 I think variety equals fun. But what about the industry growth you say? Sometimes I would rather ride an old rocky, rooty non groomed trail than worry about industry growth. If every trail becomes a groomed out flow trail I think people will get bored and then what would happen to the industry?
  • + 83
 Berms are crutches for trails that were otherwise built with no flow. If your trail flows with the natural landscape and uses it wisely, berms are not necessary. Berms are only needed when man tries to tell the mountain where he will go, should man but quiet his mind, the mountain will show you the way.
  • + 1
 Agreed. Berms are for flow. I like them on technical back-woodsy trails too, but mostly if they are a natural part of the trail and not an obviously man-made feature.
  • + 18
 @jefe: this makes me feel all spiritual and shit!
  • + 2
 yea but industry growth=more scrubs to ruin the fun trails for the rest of us that dont buy the newest shit to make up for the fact that we cant ride.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Probably the first post I've seen of yours with positive props! =D Cheers!
  • + 12
 @RRMonster: oh thank you, but quite frankly that worries me... the moment you make many people like you is the moment to check if you're not a douche bag... so smack them to check if they really like you or will they kill you and piss on your body by the first occasion you say something they don't like. Look at what happened to Jesus for Christ sake... love thy brethren - yeaaaa, don't stone women on Sunday - yeeaaaa, lower taxes, yeaaaaa, - give up your belongings - ummm what? - Do not masturbate - get hiiiim!!!!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: is the berm boost compatible??? That is the real question
  • + 4
 @jefe: You sir, are what is known as a "soul rider". I couldn't agree more
  • + 1
 @jefe: god damn hippie
  • + 34
 Awesome read Mike, it's like a super sweet vanilla protein shake on gas station after a 4 hour long ride. Delicious! You and Dave Tolnai are my favorite writers.

Heh, berms stress the sht out of me. Because I feel that I S-U-C-K at riding them. The ones that are longer than 90 degrees annoy me, deeply. They mock me. They are simple things and every real mountain biker should be able to ride them. FAST. So it's hard to balance this: I should go faster than I think I should and make it alive. Then If you crash on an offcamber corner you will tumble a bit and it will be humiliating. If you go over the edge of the berm, it can be catastrophical. They look innocent, they look like they help but that is only a matter of speed. So I don't agree that they make losers ride fast. They make losers look like losers taking berms. And there's looots to be learned about riding berms, watch the Minnaar or Thimas Vanderham railing a berm and watch Andreu Lacondeguy. Most of us will take a 90 degree + berm on two apexes, somehow Aaron Gwin gets high and then exits low. One clean, mathematically perfect line, not a tiniest slide. Pure speed build up. Watch a regular Fest rider and he just can't do it without Steeze. Yes he goes super fast, yes he is super impressive, but... is he really fast, does he have "the right form"? or does it just look super cool when dirt is flying because most of us have no fkng clue how to ride? I mean even the 45-90 degree ones, can you roll out of them twice the speed you entered? Any idiot can T-bone a berm at insane speed and get a nice shot for instagram but... that's like doing push ups with knees on the ground.

So I'd say both kinds of corners are good at masking suckness and provide canvas for glory. I like all of them. On the other hand there aren't many berms in my area so it's hard for me to complain. Wink
  • + 6
 WAKI being nice ;-)
  • + 2
 Yeah... I can't ride berms for shit but I've got the tricky, essential "California Drift" down pretty well. I guess that's the gist of you story though.

With the odd exception, there's no such thing as berms in California, or the southwest really for that matter. I think it's because it's very hard to build them, and even harder to keep them from eroding into nasty unrideabke piles of shit.

As a result I also SUCK at riding berms. There is skill involved there for sure if you're to carry any real speed through them.
  • + 2
 I agree completely Waki. A berm is a ramp that let's you send it big and hard to the wrong address is you don't hit and lean it right.
  • + 1
 Thats an odd analogy mate
  • + 28
 Come on down to Austin, Texas. Trails are rocky. Not much dirt and 5 berms with 250+ miles of trail in town. I would kill for a berm or two more. Just sayin' bro
  • + 3
 Same here, hitting berms is a treat for me.
  • + 5
 Or So Cal. If anything, I think we could use a few more berms out here.
  • + 8
 I live in southern Colorado and its the same, just naturally made ones which are extremely rare. I'd be happy to send him some off camber turns and needle sharp switchbacks, got plenty of those. Im so jealous of people with access to directional trails designed exclusively for bikes instead of just hikers.
  • + 8
 @ClaytonMarkin: never really thought about it till this article, but EVERY corner on UK trail centre has a berm. It gets ridiculous and costly. I'm sure twice as many trails could be built if they didn't put a berm on every corner. Can you believe I'm bored of going horizontal round 6 ft berms!
  • + 4
 Same thing in Phoenix. Levy is just spoiled.
  • + 4
 @ClaytonMarkin: I think this is the point he's making. You bermify everything and they're no longer special
  • + 3
 @yeti-monster: Agreed, it seems as though every trail centre trail is built with the mindset "how can we build a trail that will require as little maintenance as possible" makes for a very boring ride for riders searching for the tech stuff.
  • + 2
 I can relate! You think you have it bad, come down to Houston. Flat, rooty, scraggly little trees, and very few berms. At least you get some elevation change...
  • + 2
 Im in Austin too, the author of this article needs to ride trails like the Hill of Life with almost no topsoil. After a few miles of nothing but a rock garden he'll be praying for berms.
  • + 24
 "Everything in moderation, including moderation." - Oscar Wilde on Berms
  • + 20
 While we are on the subject.....would all the asshats riding my local trails quite dumbing them down, ie. Moving logs, cutting out roots ,removing rocks ,and the worse one.....cutting down trees in the tight areas so your 800 mm wide handlebars fit. wtf. If you can't ride the shit go ride the nice wide smooth bike paths or put in the time and learn some fucking bike handling skills. if you can't ride it don't fuck it up for those who can. Don't try to pretend you are trail builders when all you are accomplishing is destroying trails that had been in their untouched natural super technical state for decades only to be permanently ruined by pussies.
  • + 2
 I agree. Glad that the NSMBA have not got their claws into Cypress yet and that there is rogue building going on elsewhere around here.
  • + 2
 the worst is when a realy steep berm gets leveled and replaced with a gentle bank.
  • + 8
 @bradittude mad props here, this is exactly what is happening at my trails, I've ridden a really rooty, rocky steep section of downhill for years and then one day I find a huge log at the bottom of a drop that I narrowly avoided stacking into, initially I thought it was just a fallen branch as I rode past, but when I stopped I realised that someone has stacked logs and dirt off of a 2ft drop to build a down ramp, they haven't cut the end of the logs off so they stick out and and upwards into the normal path you take off the small drop/step.
What makes this even more frustrating is that there is already a chicken line to the side of the steep section and another one that negates it entirely and has some switchbacks around it.... they have even plowed through the bush at the bottom and built a straight line exit instead if having to take the rocky off camber turn at the bottom... Basically seriously endangering anyone who rides the trail in order to make the intermediate line easier when there are already two easy lines. I was livid for weeks after and destroyed their log ramp. So frustrating
  • + 2
 braditude, I would give you a million up votes for that. Just finished a lovely bit of brand new trail and had to go on Strava to implore others to stop-the-fuck digging on it.
  • + 2
 braditude, I would give you a million up votes for that.
  • + 1
 @bradittude I totally agree! Nothing more frustrating then people making a beautifully technical trail easy to ride. How about instead of taking the time to make the trail easier. PRACTICE!!!!!!!! your riding skill so that you can ride it without changing the trail.
  • + 16
 Complaining about berms? That's funny because I bet where the majority of MTB riders ride, coming across a berm is a fvcking bonus to be enjoyed, and the diggers are praised for putting in work. It must be nice traveling the world riding purpose-built trails on the best equipment available. You have a 1st-Berm problem, there, Mr. Levy.
  • + 2
 Well said, I love a good berm
  • + 15
 I like offcamber corners with roots in them. Mind you I also like ladder bridges and according to Charlie S that makes me a heathen so YMMV. Personally variety is good.
  • + 14
 Variety is the spice of life. Too many times I've found myself travelling 200km, 500km, 1000km, 2000km or even all the way across the globe to ride trails that left me thinking "a flow trail is a flow trail, why have I gone so far to ride the same trails I ride at home again?". I'm not saying flow trails or berms suck but if you can't build something that feels different from what's already out there then what's the point really?
  • + 3
 lots of berms on Adonis... not a root or ladder bridge in sight either.
  • + 2
 @PLC07: travel for the view and the food.. Not the trails and you'll be happier..
  • + 2
 @jaydawg69: true - and what roots are showing on AA might be covered as I'm going to try to continue last fall's work and make the berms even faster and cover even more roots. And there are also berms on Empress Bypass.

But variety like I said is the spice of life. Other trails I've worked on - not a single berm on C-Buster or Upper Tall Cans. And only little tiny wee ones on Della.
  • + 2
 @PLC07 what @denomerdano said. We have the highest concentration of quality trails with variety in SW BC. Compare anywhere else in the world to our trails and there will be disappointment. But use other criteria and you'll likely be satisfied
:
  • + 1
 @leelau: just giving you a hard time... North Shore trumps all riding
  • + 1
 Who doesn't like ladder bridges?!
  • + 1
 It's true, ladder bridges surpass the realm of skill in that there is no visible way to tell whether or not one will slide out and hit their face. Charlie is right, and has always been right.
  • + 1
 @leelau: we have no shortage of sad trails around here so if I'm going on a bike specific trip I think it is not being unreasonable to expect nice trails from an area reputed for its trails.
  • + 10
 First off I think berms are very often built wrong being way to shallow for the speed you can hit it. So more often than not I just get annoyed at them.

Second, jump trails like A-line they are the "soul" of the trail. So there they should be plentyful.

Third, on trails they should be put in to help flow in sections you really need some extra speed to make the trail fun to ride or even rideable. A dug berm is the last option to make the section work, not the first.

Reality though people are lazy and want it easy, so they build berms or dont maintain their trails so ruts (berms) form and make corners way easier.


In my book nothing beats a slight off camber corner full of roots or a steep off camber grass corner! Getting sideways FTW!
  • + 4
 @johan90 I agree with almost everything you said, except the part about trail builders building berms because they are lazy. A well planned and constructed berm take a crap load of work. It's 100 x more work than an off-camber rake and ride corner that won't ever get maintained.
  • + 2
 There is also another use for berms : trail lifespan. I you leave a off camber turn, in a wet region, in less than 6 months your trail is unrideable. So adding a bit of dirt on the outside will increase the durability your trail
  • + 1
 @twd953: I wasnt really meaning that it dosent take hard work to make berms, I know cause I've built more than a fewWink I just meant that in like bike parks they resort to berms to dumb down tracks so that less capable riders can carry speed just as well as pros.
  • + 12
 ...we rail berms in Leogang
  • + 8
 Berms have their use and place, but I also find the current over-abundance of super groomed flow trails a bit nauseating.

There's nothing quite like the adrenalin rush provided by nailing an off-camber rooty corner, where lightly feathering the brakes or not touching them at all are the only options. I also like rocks and slippery roots very much... You know, things you should expect on your typical mountain bike ride. Smile
  • + 5
 Can't agree more with Mike! The trails around my area are being overrun by 'flow' sections. Every time a bit of 'trail care' is completed, they turn a nice rocky/rooty section that took some skill to do well into a series of butter smooth berms a 5 year old on a BMX could ride! If you want a footpath or a BMX track, there are plenty of those around already...

I don't mind so much when they make new trails of this nature, nothing forcing me to ride them, and every now and then I also like something fast, easy and flattering... but when they destroy good hand made trails that have been there for 10+ years to build yet another flow trail, that aggravates me greatly!

Sadly those who control such things in my area simply have no idea. They are calling trails double black diamond, when in reality they'd be lucky to be blue somewhere like Whistler. Sad times...
  • + 5
 An interesting opinion, Mike. I would invite you to come ride the trails of New England where there are almost no berms. I'd like for there to be more of them here! I am simpatico to the general thrust of your article, however. I just am looking at it from the other end of the spectrum. I just got a baby excavator to make more benched trails, climbing turns, jumps, and dare I say it, berms. I don't think there will ever be too many berms here in NH, but I could be wrong.
  • + 4
 I wouldn't say I'm anti-berms. But I certainly feel theres such a thing as too much trail work. I personally will choose a naturally flowing and technical trail over a buffed and bermy roller coaster type trail on most days.

I would also agree with this article in the sense that small subtly notched snyper berms are far more satisfying overall than rolling around multiple 3ft+ walls of packed dirt.
  • + 5
 You know what's better than railing a berm as fast as you can? Getting your weight right, feathering the front brake and feeling both front and back wheels drift through a corner. The sound is nice too
  • + 4
 There's nothing like the feeling of smashing that berm and gambling on whether you need to brake before you hit it. But like everything else, there's a balance to what makes a trail fun, and sometimes cornering your bike without the aid of a berm is more fun than hitting that berm. Plus I think the rise of the trails that are nothing but berms is creating a bunch of punks that think they're better rider than they are. Usually they also don't know what it means to earn their turns.
  • + 3
 Good article. I'm interested in what happens to trails when berms do not exist, from a trail sustainability aspect. Berms allow riders to carry more speed, reducing the need for braking. The reinforcement also avoids natural rutting and trail degradation. From a trail sustainability perspective are berms helpful? Hurtful? Or does it not matter?
  • + 3
 This article is the very reason Squamish is getting all bermed up !! 15 years ago , our town was perfect.Plenty of trails to support the local traffic and you had to be a decent rider to ride the technical trails... loamy , quiet and gnarly = heaven ...Then a few years ago , PINKBIKE and other mainstream medias , really started to shine the light on Squamish , made it look so cool and hip which brought a ton of new enduro hipster wanna be racer to this town...So yeah , you're employer is partially responsible for this and article like this arent really helping either ...A large majority of those new comers aren't very experienced riders and they tend to enjoy the easier bermier trails.. Its even got to a point now where doubles are being replaced by big rollers for liability reasons !! The trails network hasnt really expanded enough to support the growth , so natural trails are being replaced with more sustainable , man made trails. It seems like 90% of people commenting here would LOVE to ride Squamish so guess where they'll go on there next biking holiday?? Sorry bro but this isnt helping the situation and this conversation is more of a local issue , certainly not an international issue. May I suggest perhaps you could address the issue with your boss and see if Pinkbike could offer more financial support and help build more natural trails?;-)
  • + 2
 SORCA = (XC+burms)-balls. Name one trail you can't ride on an XC bike in Squamish. Theres no real DH trails that Sorca maintains.The work that gets done on the real shit is by unsupported diggers and rakers.
  • + 2
 Well said ...I was discussing about that situation with friends last night and we where thinking the exact same thing. PINK BIKE put Squamish on the map ,and now they are complaining about the berms.....There is 10x the traffic in the trails than 5 years ago. These trails need to be bomb proof to old that amount of people , and sometimes the berms are the solution to avoid erosion .Before PINKBIKE did what they did , Squamish was the paradise for biking, now its boulevards full of enduro hipsters ,but still my favorite place . I use to but trails 6 months per year here in town , not anymore... Maybe you should help the diggers just for 1 day and try to understand the reason why they are doing things that way. The berms are just one way to fix trails . Now that you have help to create that , I hope you will help the trail network more than you do now. Cheers Pinkbike
  • + 3
 I stopped racing MX in the early 90s because nearly every race/practice track was man made...berms and tables....I like my berms in the form of natural little ridges that the inexperienced will never even see and as for good offcamber....gets hard to find on some trails.....if I say offcamber several times I find myself wanting to go ride.....should I see a DOC! Or is this normal behaviour for an old schooler who learned to ride offcamber in the 70s......
  • + 3
 I was hoping PB would make an opinion piece about the lack of plus sized wheels in this year's EWS when the mtb industry told everyone that plus size > regular size for gnarly stuff. We get a piece about berms instead... berms...
  • + 3
 Berms, one of the 2 trail features produced by the increasingly prolific I.M.B.A. Zamboni. Berms and smooth spots where rocks and roots once were. I agree completely with this article. Make trails better by leaving rocks, roots, and flat or off camber turns alone.
  • + 1
 I know it took an incredible amount of work-work that the builders should be proud of, but am curious if there are any southern Oregon riders here with an opinion of the new Jaborwocky (berms, berms, berms) versus the old?
  • + 3
 I hear where your coming from with this, but i do believe there are a plethora of good raw trails with less berms and more natural twists and turns. That being said.. with mountain biking becoming so mainstream and everyone out riding there are a lot of joeys out there who don't know what all aspects of riding are about and just want everything to be rideable for them. Which ultimately messes up trails for the people who have been riding for years and want things to be more challenging. Mountain biking is way too popular and everyone thinks they know whats best for all riders. Some of us just like things more loose. So i say, get your 160mm trail biking ass on a 200mm DH bike and get that loose and raw feeling your hunting for.
  • + 3
 Feels like there's a bigger point here which is generally how much we want to sanitize trails. I think berms are just one example. The main argument should really be framed around the idea of making trails "easier" which can be at odds with multi-use and sustainability.
  • + 3
 Can confirm that Levy has left me in the dust on trails even with berms. Sigh.

> "but let's not kid ourselves here: most of us are competitive beasts who sometimes (not all the times) want to leave our riding buddies in the dust. "
  • + 3
 It doesn't even have to be about competitiveness, but rather about accomplishment. Committing to the root tangled inside line of that one offcamber corner even though it is still dripping wet from last night's rain and just making it without unclipping your foot just feels great. Even better if your buddy in front or behind you nails it too and you both crack on cheering like lunatics. Moments like those can trigger proper flow. The flow that happens in your head when you're challenged to the limits of your skills and creativity. That doesn't happen if the solution is all obvious. That sense of accomplishment is why I prefer flat corners over berms. It is also the reason why I still ride a hardtail by the way. So, thanks Mike for the read!
  • + 6
 I like both flat off cambered and bermed but too many berms makes things too fucking easy.
  • + 3
 Agree with this one, variety is a big reason for the unbelievable fun in this sport. Not every corner should be sculpted.

On a side note tho, I really struggle with berms. Have been practicing the last 1-2 years, and definetely gotten better, but still I feel like I´m nowhere near the speed point grip should break away. Maybe because once I was too fast (or just wrong) and slid out of the berms top, landing on the front side of my body. I can go on a flat turn with much more confidence than approaching a berm. Then I watch DH WC and think what the hell, this one left hander after The Wall section in Lourdes, holy. Its not easy to ride berms well. Practice I guess, as always
  • + 2
 you should to go to a bike resort and hire a DH MTB instructor that will show you how to ride them well. All people learn in different way and a good instructor will explain well, demonstrate well and help you improve by providing feedback when you try something. Also most people have a stronger side than the other (i.e. left or right turn)
  • + 2
 @jerome: I am looking forward to getting someone who really can ride judge me. Will attend a skill course this year
  • + 3
 I totally agree with you. Berms are great, but they're kind of all the same. All angled, all flat and fast and great. To get through tricky corner with roots and don't slide your ass into the rocks, that's simply more rewarding for me. It's like order vs. chaos. Choose your side :-D
  • + 5
 should be banned from wc dh races.. not from bike parks for us meer mortals.
  • + 2
 I agree my friend. I don't live in a biking mecca, but our trail building community, which I'm part of, has started to turn tight, technical, single track corners, into berms. I love entering a corner scared I'm going to be tossed down a ravine and coming out the other side unscathed and NOT having to pedal (admittedly this does occur as often as i would like), but that was the years of work coming together in the perfect corner. Berms you just lean in, spot your exit, and hang on.

Berms are awesome, but the finesse of a berm comes when building it, not riding it...I think that is the point he is trying to make.
  • + 2
 I wish the areas I ride would have berms. Carrying speed is way more fun than sliding around on loose gravel and being forced to slow down. Corners that can be drifted are tons of fun and a good challenge but they are just as rare as berms.
  • + 6
 Quit bitching and build your own trails then.
  • + 2
 I have a local trail network here with not a lot of berms in it. The way the track has been built (really just XC singletrack), a lot of the grade reversals are in the corners, so any berm in the corner would just trap water/sand. And I'm not about to start putting ineffective drainage knicks in all of them.

To build a trail with lots of berms requires some upfront planning to place the grade reversals/outslope outside the corners which otherwise would trap water and sand.

There's something nice you get from taking an off camber corner properly too, but railing berms is also good too.
Sounds like a general argument about the "bike parking" of trails by removing technical features/gnarliness, making trails super wide and with high berms on every corner, which is great for speed training and jumping practice but doesn't help develop skills for handling low speed technical sections
  • + 2
 Just keep a fully rigid single speed in the shed with flat pedals and take it out for a spin on some of your local trails from time to time. It's a nice reminder of what technology has achieved and a good test to see if your skills are up to scratch. But more importantly, it's just damn good fun Smile
  • + 1
 I like it all, but I disagree that berms are easy to ride fast -- just a different skill. I see tons of people going way too slow, and the worst injury I've ever had is sending my front tire over top of a berm after getting brake checked by the rider in front of me
  • + 2
 so glad I've been married 23 years, 4 kids and just go ride my bike... you young uns have all this internet shit to deal with.. " progress" seems like life is so more complex..
  • + 2
 Its not about just you Mike. I lived and watched Moab turn into a jeep / razor paradise. But the locals got together and created special trails for certain user types...without alienating new or lower skilled users. Step up!
  • + 1
 We're being sold berms by trailbuilders who make their living adding work hours and features and drainage to the budget.
I love it all. I think what he's trying to say is....back off the been building. It's getting overkill.

I don't live in Whistler, but I am.lucky to ride and live sure I do. But everything around here is getting to be a grade reversal "track".
  • + 1
 Mike, you would love the midwest... Not enough resources to throw up berms everywhere especially in the norther/midwest. Copper Harbor Michigan and Marquette Michigan are prime examples of trail network's that exist of primarily hand built trails on beautifuly exposed terraon, with a lot of rock, making supple shape-able dirt scarce and therefore, berms are less plentiful because of the dense, rocky soil. Come visit!!
  • + 1
 "But install a berm through the same corner and there's a good chance that any rider with some courage will be able to go through it at a similar rate of speed, skill be damned."

he has to understand that not only experienced riders go mountain biking, but so do beginners and they could really appreciate a berm to help rather than dabbing with their foot on every flat corner.
  • + 1
 Flat corners and off cambers are fun to hit when your carrying to much speed, wash both tires, drift to the edge of the trail, hook back up and ride away clean. The only way to learn how to do it is to have flat corners on your trails. I've been looking after a section of trail with an amazing left handed flat corner but I fear someones going to dig a berm right into it. But I cant do shit about it, except live my life and ride my bike.
  • + 1
 "Variety is he spice of life", this applies here too. Where I currently live the mountains have a mix of natural, completely anti-flow trails and polished, manicured, bermed "bike park" trails. Riding one style of trail and and then going straight to the other is a lot of fun.

Berms are something new to me as where I used to live and ride there was no trail mantainance of any kind, we just rode natural/hiking trails. Almost every turn was flat or off camber, hence riding speeds were lower. I got good enought to ride off camber turns at reasonable speed and then I suddently get introduced to berms. Completely different approach, still working on it. Great fun when i get it right.

That said, when you manage to "flow" through "unflowy" trails it feels like you're some kind of mtb jedi. Not easy though.
  • + 1
 Yeah, nothing like programming in assembler, screw high level languages (not to mention those interpreted, dynamic bastards), they take too much fun. Also, screw all trails, nothing harder than simply riding through a pristine forest, running from bears, crossing rivers and swamps Wink
  • + 1
 Yes, too many machine built flow trails with been after berm can get boring if ridden a lot since the turns and terrain are typically too predictable. This is why I always mix the flow riding with good ol' natural hand built mixed, techy singletrack. Actually, superburmy flow trails has brought me back to ol' skool trails. Variety is king!
  • + 1
 I rode a local trail system a few weeks ago that was probably the best example of a well built berm filled trail I have ever ridden. Because its not used that much everything was in great condition. Swoopy fast fun - and could be ridden really fast completely unseen. It became more interesting the faster I went and maybe that's what its all about - generating speed so the track becomes hard and fun. And at the same time beginners can enjoy it too. That said, a badly designed trail replete with multiple berms is one way to ruin the experience.
  • + 1
 I have a theory that may stir this boiling kettle:

The more funding a trail project has, the more the contracted builders will use machines to do the grading and corner work. Unless they are f-ing shredders like the boiz at Empire Of Dirt, it will end up like Alsea falls in Oregon, a pile of berms and rollers with no sense for them to even be there.
More funding = overbuilt, unnecessary trail features and highway width.
  • + 1
 I don't know where you'd have to ride to get the feeling of too many berms, but it certainly is where I ride. I encounter a few. I do better on flat loose corners compared to most riders, that's where I can put distance between me and other riders. I do decently good through berms, and they're fun
  • + 1
 I like this. I live in a land of abundant access to said "over-bermed" trails, and being new to the sport I appreciate the feeling of speed carried through a berm, but something that drew me to riding in the first place was the idea of trails, mountain trails, put there by foot, or horse hooves, and being able to ride such trails on a bicycle?! What joy! What ecstasy! And berms? Ya those are fun when they're there, or intentionally placed there, but really, it's a trail, not a roller coaster (at least not always). Thanks Mike for sharing an (unpopular) opinion. Your editorials are always fun to read!
  • + 4
 New flash everybody the shore is paved with berms! It ain't like it use to be.... Back in my day,.. Awe nevermind.
  • + 1
 I've ridden at almost every reputable mtb destination in North America and can honestly say I've never been bothered by berms or the lack thereof....There is a good variety of trails out there, and I dont think the use of berms has been abused as the author suggests. at all. A good trail, is a good trail, whether it has berms or not.
  • + 1
 Similar sentiment to the Tech vs Flow poll a couple years ago. Flow is fun, but shouldn't be the only thing. Tech allows more room for rider creativity and skill, whereas flow is more of a one-time experience of a builder's vision. Berms let newer riders enjoy the sensation of speed, but sanitize the trail for experts.

www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbike-poll-flow-trails-vs-technical-trails-2015.html
  • + 1
 Enough with your Tinder-bashing! Mike is right, but I think the intended audience is trail builders. If you don't like how many berms there are, I can guarantee you can always find somewhere nearby with less or no berms! However, there is a knee-jerk by many trail builders to put more berms in then they should. Increasing pressure to be more inclusive often makes even the purist anti-bermers put them in, for fear of losing their rights to build with a health & safety conscious landlord, or getting ousted by a vocal junior, freeride, precautious or less skilled majority in the build community. Have courage builders! Some sections are meant to challenge and not be ridden by everyone. Always look before you leap and other advice.
  • + 5
 Ill take a perfect berm over anything on Tinder
  • + 3
 This makes a lot of sense. Flat corners create a challenge kn natural trails. But in order to create flow berms are need on a lot of trails.
  • + 3
 I'm certain that without berms 100% of the trails at my local bike park would not be fun with the jumps being impossible. no flow.
  • + 6
 Well placed berms are great but too many builders use them as a crutch to compensate for poor building.
  • + 1
 I totally agree, I like just backcountry trails with some drops and natural turns. Not a fan of a jump every 5 feet and huge laid out berms. It takes away from the adventurous feel.
  • + 4
 I'm from California, what's a berm?
  • + 2
 Don't like berms? You'd love the shitty, awkward, 80's inspired xc-style trails of Crested Butte. All the turns are shallow and sharp. But seriously, shut the f*ck up.
  • + 1
 I loved this bit from this article:

"It takes a decent amount of skill to ride a mountain bike well, something that usually only comes after investing a lot of time, effort, and sometimes flesh."

So true.
  • + 0
 This article sucked, for many reasons. #1: Rail every berm like a pro and then maybe I'll let you go on about how they're so easy and they do all the work for you. Point is, you can probably ride the "boring" berms your talking about faster, you can't call a berm easy until you've truly maxed out and ripped that thing a new one. #2 why is this opinion series always picking the weirdest most out of touch shit to talk about. I ride many trails that barely have a berm much less a little rut or anything to rail around corners with. Thirdly, the writing style is cringy. Your analogies suck and wtf why are you talking about lizard people? It sounds like you had one paragraph and then really stretched it to make it an article. This could all be condensed into "sometimes berms are built to make hard corners easier for everyone" in which case most of pinkbike would agree that taming down trails is lame. Oh wait, but then you wouldn't have an article
  • + 1
 I agree with @mikelevy fully. Berms are overused, and they can take away the enthusiasm of natural trails. But maybe that's because I already have diabetes. Cheers for writing this column Mike.
  • + 1
 More generalizations...Not every mountain biker can rip a berm either. I've seen several riders with poor cornering technique launch off the back of a berm when they couldn't match the needed lean angle.
  • + 1
 The purpose of a berm on most trails is so you can carry huge speed through it to send the next massive jump coming up. If the trail is a bunch of berms with no features then I guess I see his point.
  • + 0
 I hear that, good article, challenged the way I look at my own personal skills. I ride what's around me and some of it has flow, some doesn't (berms help). I thinks riding terrain that isn't always consistent helps my build my skills.
  • + 0
 If I want berms, I’ll go to Snow Summit. They’re fun but after a while...they’re just berms. I was living near lake Calaveras for the last few months and there were some good berms built down there and while they’re fun, I found myself missing the more natural stuff up here in the San Gabriels. Not a lot of berms up here.

Great article and convincing point.
  • + 4
 Some places have fewer berms than others. Be thankful for yours...haha.
  • + 3
 Berms are great, if use berms right you can ban something way more worth getting rid off BRAKING BUMPS!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 I personally love braking bumps
  • + 1
 Ban all berms forever (on descending mountain bike trails). Imagine imagine how rowdy a flow trail would be if all the corners we just mess of ruts! Climb trails need berms in switchback and dirt jumps need them, too.
  • + 3
 I'd rather ban mud and able-bodied people on e-bikes.

downvote over there -------->
  • + 0
 Guess those 29" wagon wheels are paying off....

....or you just woke up after hitting your head and feel like taking the trails you ride for granted. Speaking of big wheels, maybe you ought to switch to cyclocross, of course those folks are pretty thankful for what they have....
  • + 2
 come ride trails in central ny, berms are a rare commodity here with just the right amount to give you a taste but not make it bland Wink
  • + 1
 this is the reason i dont go to anthur stiniog. death by rock hard berms designed to keep you speed down not up zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz i do like them but in moderation and well placed
  • + 1
 This is bollocks, Come over for a holiday mate and I will show some trails which are lacking in berms, completley, or trail for that matter of fact, just downhill down a fucking rocky mountain side!
  • + 0
 Brilliant piece. Have to agree, there are way to many berms on modern trails now. I love railing a big berm, that feeling of G-out is amazing...but it is easy....there are some flat corners that are amazing to go through...the challenge of keeping up speed, having to make more effort to get your weight in the right place, it's tight and you need to cut it as much as you dare...can't beat that feeling when you get that sort of corner right and maintain the speed to hit some doubles.

Most modern trails head downhill these days so you can still have flow with bermless corners. Berms are good but we really really don't need as many as we seem to want these days. I say learn how to ride EVERYTHING and you'll have more fun....don't cry just cause you come to a corner that has no berm and start bitching about it...take on the challenge and feel sweet as fook when your hearts pounding having blasted that flat corner with more speed than you thought possible.

Smile
  • + 3
 I wish there were a couple berms on the front range trails here in CO, hardly a berm in sight until Trestle...
  • + 1
 dig time?
  • + 4
 @trauty: lol. How I wish I could dig a rider designed trail in the Front Range...
  • + 1
 @trauty: Negative on that, all the trails are on "open space" and managed by the surrounding parks.
  • + 0
 In terms of ecology/ applied biology, berms pack up soil which changes the soil porosity and water retention within. These can significantly affect vegetative growth along the trail.
Periodically trail reroutes should also include berms removal in order to achieve the goal of sustainable trail developments.
  • + 0
 I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Levy.

To me this was a gentle letter to trail builders asking them to refrain from building unnecessary berms. There were a few references made to builders but nothing obviously stated. I ride and build trails so this opinion piece spoke to me. I am currently dialing in a new line that could be bermified or left for those with mad skills to find their line.

I intend on finding a happy medium. Berms where speed is needed to hit the next jump/feature and in other spots I'll leave a carpet of brown gold. In reality, trails are dictated by the trail builders, those with the shovels govern where the line flows and whether it gets a berm or not.

This article is a polite request to hold off on hand sculpting sweet, curvy, mounds of lovely brown dirt that propel you with control and purpose down a trail. It's impossible for me to resist pumping and flowing those sweet, curvy, mounds of lovely brown dirt but trails with a mixed bag of features give me more satisfaction and a bigger pucker factor with the added difficulty they poses.

As long as builders give riders a choice of trail styles people like Mike will remain happy.
  • + 1
 Why not just cut to the inside and use the carving technique, its actually often straighter and faster. Its also very nice because most riders tend to just follow the berms all the time.
  • + 2
 Some people just really like their trails to resemble water slides, I guess.
  • + 1
 If you love rooted out flat corners come to brown county state park in Indiana. We have a ton of roots and an endless supply of lat corners.
  • + 1
 My local track have no berms, just the odd rut... Super keen to get onto one of those 'Air DH' courses that are like a bobsled (berms) course with jumps on it.....
  • + 1
 I'm feeling the same about berms and new school bike trails. I prefer a back country, raw and rugged single track trail to a sculpted pump track trail.
  • + 2
 Great article. "Not all trails need to be four feet wide" is my suggestion for a follow up article.
  • + 1
 Could not agree more with the article, berms are nice when there are not too many of them, I love roots, rocks and off camber sections !
  • + 1
 rail ruts or tear through rough off camber root infested hillside instead, its so much more rewarding than berms. occasional berms are good tho.
  • + 1
 hmm never thought about that. berms are still my favorite thought, because where I ride, there not as common as he makes it sound.
  • - 1
 Yes I would also like to ban mud, but that is going down the lines of geneticly modified weather that is really not a good idea, maybe I made that up, but this really stupid wanting to ban banked corners, that if done right can vastly reduce erosion while increasing fun even on a 29er e bike Trails should be like riding a roller coaster or not depending on the trail, so stop bitching on corners!
  • + 2
 That last picture is an off camber corner? Looks pretty well supported to me
  • + 1
 I happen to like berms as well as technical roots corners. They both have their place. On a side note the lizard people have evidence the earth is flat. Haha.
  • + 3
 Article was to long I'm going riding
  • + 4
 slow day at PB
  • + 1
 Was about to say the same. Unless he just scusk at berms
  • + 3
 A Tinder slam dunk could most certainly involve some railing as well...
  • + 1
 Yeah, I was just thinking how all that Tinder talk is going to forever entwine my so-called romantic life with "Railing through a berm" (wink wink nudge nudge). Part 2, about rutting, ought to be interesting.
  • + 3
 Banish this man to the miserable smileless world of cyclocross!!!!!
  • + 1
 On the trails i make i make jumps n berms n log rides. You make your trail any way you want. If you dont like the trail i make...
  • + 1
 If you ban berms, then i cant get good at riding them... maybe we just need to limit their size to under 15" to make them harder...
  • + 1
 Only when they are needed ill put one in ..... but here in perth its all raw and dirty ruts andpea gravel
  • + 0
 Surprise Surprise, SAM Hill comes from Perth and he is the KING of RAW technical Trails. Hence why he races Enduro now, more natural raw trails. Rather than the same DH WC on same tracks every year becoming more n more bike park....
  • + 2
 I second this motion, more ruts and flat turns!
  • + 0
 CLICK BAIT

Seriously, this is Pinkbike.

Go sell that, "I hate everything that isn't steel, single speed, or in a PBR can" shit over on Dirtrag.
  • + 1
 I'm not entirely sure if my local bike park has even one corner that isn't bermed....
  • + 1
 Where I live you are lucky if you can find more than one slightly banked turn, let alone a real berm.
  • + 2
 I think they have their place just not on every trail
  • + 2
 Not everyone lives in then pacific north west
  • + 2
 Go ride some proper trails man. Bike parks have made people soft
  • + 1
 If the trail has to much berms and is to eazy change your bike down grade that will challage you
  • + 2
 Go ride A-line at Whistler and the story might be the opposite...
  • + 1
 Flat corners are in abundance, they are called green circles. Just stick to those
  • + 1
 Sheesh. Quit you moaning and move to New England. We have too many rocks here to create berms. Problem solved.
  • + 2
 Ban the legions of crybabies on this website!
  • + 2
 You can have Tinder. I'll do my railing on the berms.
  • + 2
 Midfat tires make any flat corner into a berm.
  • + 1
 berms are about as abundant as bigfoot around me. whenever I see one I get giddy with excitement
  • + 2
 Spoiled brats with berms.
  • + 1
 There are so many different riders, styles, ability levels, bikes, and trails that banning a feature seems pointless.
  • + 1
 100s of people ride greer and Cala while noble is deserted. I guess I'm not complaining, ( :
  • + 1
 Below the berms are usually always flat don't go up the berm.... If u do well than u like berms like the other %90 of us.
  • + 1
 this article got me thinking.......... In future I'm making berms in my ice cream
  • + 1
 come to vermont. lots of tech trails with no berms and the tinder scene sucks.
  • + 2
 i think that the title of this, throws it off a little bit.
  • + 2
 Can we have berms on the freeways please?
  • + 1
 Who remembers tucking into super fast flat wide grass corners?? We need more of these.
  • + 1
 Come to rays mtb and you'll soon find yourself bored if it was not for some of the sick nasty berms.
  • + 1
 To many berms? Either you dont know how to ride berms or you ride an e-bike if you say there's to many berms lol like wtf
  • + 1
 time to get out of the northwest than, move to the northeast and youll probably miss the berms in a few years.
  • + 1
 Hell, Even Plattekill has berms.
  • + 1
 Give me a corner that is off camber with tree roots all day over a boring Berm.. yawnnn!!!!
  • + 1
 Mike ride the Sauces and Emma Peel at Sumas. No berms here.:d
  • + 2
 I like bikes.
  • + 1
 i don't have this problem as there aren't any berms in Devon
  • + 1
 Come to Rotorua and ride Billy T
  • + 1
 Pretty sure my local trail club banned them years ago....
  • + 1
 two hip jumps are better than one big berm. more hips
  • + 1
 The problem is actually that there's too many mountain bikers.
  • + 0
 I wish you were on my mountain bike association board. Too many 'flow' trails!
  • + 1
 You should come to Ireland. We don't have ANY berms!
  • + 1
 A fair point, but really, a little rich given your backyard lol
  • + 1
 I don't need berms, I got plus wheelsSmile
  • + 1
 Berms I don't mind, hikers who think they own the trail are my foe
  • + 2
 Whut?
  • + 1
 Over the last few years i have begun to despise the words " Flow Trail".
  • + 1
 Total waste of article. Man's a fool.
  • + 1
 Make the Duck Farm great again!
  • + 0
 Tha fuck did I just half read!!! Sweet baby Jesus, what a serious insatisfaction!!
  • + 1
 the berms are better at hungry jacks
  • + 1
 ill ban berms after chains and helmets
  • + 2
 First world problems...
  • + 1
 @mike Levi all with you man! Natural trails are where it s at.
  • + 1
 Build nice big berms... Get motards.
  • + 1
 Sort of like saying everything is epic...
  • + 1
 I like my trails like I like my ladies. All natural baby. YEAH!!
  • + 1
 I like riding berms a bit tipsy
  • + 1
 His front picture is absolutely ridiculous.
  • + 1
 Lay off the pipe.
  • + 1
 Must be a 29er problem!
  • - 1
 Berms help you carry speed to clear a jump after a corner! How is that a bad thing? Maybe on XC trail sure.
  • + 0
 less berms more ice cream!
  • + 0
 Yes, berms are a disease over here on some trails. Raw rules!
  • + 1
 Berms are love. Period.
  • + 0
 New trails with more flat corners? Only one or two days work - more fun!
  • + 1
 I LIKE ICECREAM.
  • + 1
 BERM! BERM! BERM!
  • + 1
 i like berms.....
  • + 1
 #ridingstyles
  • + 1
 AHHHHH!!!
  • + 0
 Berms or no berms makes no difference to me.
  • + 0
 tell it to your mum.
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