best technique for loose rocky descents

jools182 Posts: 216
edited October 2009 in MTB general
I always thought it was bes to try and stay loose and let the bike find its own route to a certain extent

However, I was forced to change my usual line the other day due to some sheep on the trail and had to get up on the grass banking, as I was rejoining the trail, I hit a rock at a funny angle and the bars snatched sideways so that my wheel was horizontal to the slope of the hill and I was straight over the bars

Is it just one of those things or should I be keeping a firmer grip on the bars and just ploughing through?


  • bomberesque
    bomberesque Posts: 1,701
    I'm no expert, but you can be firm and loose at the same time. keep your grip firm but your arms loose, then you have quicker control

    however it does sound like you just got unlucky in this case, or perhaps fell for the old "don't look at the rock!" trick
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • just an error not necciserily on your part
  • RealMan
    RealMan Posts: 2,166
    For that sort of stuff I tend to go as fast as any corners in the trail allow, and then pick a line around the bigger rocks. Bunny hopping comes in useful now and then too.
  • Hercule Q
    Hercule Q Posts: 2,781
    i just go flat out over the loose stuff keeping good grip on the bars and my arms loose but sounds like you just got unlucky this time

    Blurring the line between bravery and stupidity since 1986!
  • paul.skibum
    paul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Ride the rear a bit more, lighten up the front and keep off the brakes I reckon. Repair the punctures later.....
    Closet jockey wheel pimp whore.
  • Biggus86
    Biggus86 Posts: 385
    Hercule Q wrote:
    i just go flat out over the loose stuff keeping good grip on the bars and my arms loose but sounds like you just got unlucky this time

    +1... Nothing more I can really add, it all depends on the rider and the bike, some you can go flat out, and obv others cant. But for the most part, thinking fast, looking whats ahead and preparing for it is the way to go.
  • I just go as fast as possible and trust the front wheel to push the loose rocks out of the way. But trying to hop or dodge the bigger rocks.
  • rhyko7
    rhyko7 Posts: 781
    i think your loosen up tecnique is fine, your legs and arms are also your suspension, however i notice a lot of riders look very rigid on bikes (stay in the same body position) and this is a bad habit to have, move your weight around the bike to keep a constant ballance with the terrain whilst always staying relaxed, i tend to weight the front for corners and let the back drift out-i think each to their own tho to be honest, i dont like telling people how to ride because its a free style sport-even when you watch world cup downhill you can tell a rider by their style so there is no set technique
    i personally loosen right up over the fast bumpy bits and just let my arms bounce around, then become slightly more rigid under braking and turning in.
    Dont look at it-ride it! they are tools not f*cking ornaments

    my riding:

    Some of my Rides Data/maps:
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    sounds like you were just unlucky. I found that riding sections of big, bouldery trails had a definite effect on my upper body strength when I was growing up - you have to be loose, but forceful as well. Kinda hard to explain.
  • x-isle
    x-isle Posts: 794
    Does sound a bit unlucky, but probably due to too much weight on the front wheel. As already suggested, but not elaborated, try and move your weight backwards and push forward on the pedals slightly lifting the bars to remove the weight off the front wheels.

    If you are feeling brave, bunnyhop to clear any obstables, but again, don't land with the weight over the front of the bike, keep it on the back.
    Craig Rogers
  • jools182
    jools182 Posts: 216
    I think I had slowed down too much as well, so I was lacking the momentum

    probably also hesitation had something to do with it
  • rackgaki
    rackgaki Posts: 309
    rag it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Dont you just love Marin's...i sleep with mine
  • Calusari
    Calusari Posts: 26
    edited October 2009
    Let go of the brakes and unweight over the rougher sections, brake on the smoother bits. Use you bodies natural suspension (arms and legs) and lift the bike over bigger rocks, look where you want to go and stay loose.

    Keep your weight balanced centrally over cranks rather than hanging off or holding yourself up on the bars. This will allow you to perform a front lift the front over bigger obstacles by performing a manual front wheel lift or bunny hop. If your bodyweight is already towards the rear of the bike it's really hard get rearward shift in your bodies momentum required to lift the front end whilst still staying loose enough to absorb the bumps. If it's to far forward the front end will dig in and spit you over the bars.

    Rough Trails
  • Sir HC
    Sir HC Posts: 20,148
    Look ahead and pick the smoothest line through. Try to stay off the brakes and avoid any big steering movements.
    Intense Socom
  • Turrican
    Turrican Posts: 755
    What rocks?......oh :D

    I stay lose low and slightly crouched over seat post and also maintain good speed to fly over or through them rocks while looking ahead and maintaining control, use the momentum to carry you throught the narly stuff. Try and lighten the front wheel too IE small manuals / wheelies just little bit to carry you over the rock or logs or what ever and the rear end lightens so it gets you over or you can jump straight over, if it is clear thats is and can land it but if its rough just keep it light on front.
    Just imaging almost floating over it all hehe :wink:

    Edit; oh and try not to turn on rocks too or narly terrain you should have your line your riding down already just before you hit it, you can maybe turn slightly to correct any thing all depends.
    I don't have a bike addiction problem.....bikes seems to have a problem with just can't seem to stay on.