Mountain Bike Tips – The Big Three

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

Galerie Defago – Champery, Switzerland

This blog predominantly represents road cycling and I try my best to keep it at that. However, the fact is that I was once a knuckle dragging mountain biker well before I became the uber cool roadie I am now. I know for a fact that many of you reading haven’t come out of the closet yet and admitted that you like to dabble on the singletrack from time to time. Therefore, just once in a while, I’ll put up the odd mountain bike post to satisfy my interest. Plus I’m just about to go to the You Yangs for a day of singletrack and buck’s night debauchery with my mountain biking mates. I thought it was an appropriate time for these mountain bike tips.

I also needed a reason to post this Danny MacAskill video that I haven’t been able to stop watching:

I know the question will be asked, so the first song is Wax & Wire – Loch Lomond, the second is The Jezabels – A Little Piece

The following mountain bike tips were written by Pat Fitzpatrick (Ride International). Pat is a good friend of mine who I did the Passportes du Soleil with in Switzerland last June. He’s also the mountain bike skills coach who I wish I had back when I was racing mtb competitively. Since I’ve known Pat I put my ego aside and started learning about proper mountain bike technique from square one. Pat is one of the few talented riders who can actually break down these techniques and teach them properly from the ground up. Many of these little things Pat talks about below are the basics that I never had anyone show me.

Pat and I have already begun our plans to head back to Switzerland for the Passportes du Soleil in 2011. After that I’ll be joining Dave Olle with Topbike Tours to tackle the Tour de France!

Also, the Australian Mountain Bike National Series is taking place at the You Yangs this weekend. Head on over if you want to see the best Aussie mountain bikers in action.

Have a great weekend!

Mountain Biking Tips – The Big Three For Technique

by Pat Fitzpatrick


  • Be controlled, smooth and precise in your action and use the counter steer to bring your bike to the outside of the trail as you enter into a turn. This action widens your cornering arc and allows you to carry more speed. It’s generally a smoother trail on the outside as well.
  • Ride around the top or bottom of bumps into and through corners. It’s smoother faster and more energy efficient.
  • Once you’ve entered the corner, position your body weight toward the front of the bike. This position keeps your center of gravity low on the bike. This stylised position is achieved by bending your elbows to act as suspension and bringing your chest toward the handle bars and stem. This assists the bike to turn sharply and brings extra traction to the front wheel.
  • As with your road bike when you stop pedaling in a corner your outside foot should go to the bottom of the pedal stroke.Your inside knee swings into the corner.
  • Inside shoulder drops.
  • Outside elbow rises.
  • Bring your head and chest toward the handle bars.
  • Bum off the seat allows you to turn your hips in the direction you want to go.
  • Lean into the corner.
  • Lower your center of gravity. Think snow skiing. Mountain biking is same same. It’s like carving a good turn on the snow.


  • Steep uphill riding position is similar to the cornering position. Bring your head and chest toward the handle bars by bending your elbows. Combined with sliding your butt forward on the seat keeps the bike tracking in a straight line and stops the bike from wandering across the trail. This keeps the front wheel down on the ground as you power into the pedals.
  • Remaining seated going uphill keeps maximum traction to the back wheel and keeps your pedaling technique smooth and efficient. As soon as you stand up and stomp on the pedals your heart rate jumps 10-15 beats per/min. It also offsets your balance and reduces your traction.


  • Keep your knees pointing down the track to where you want to go. Let-go of the seat with your inner thighs it allows the bike to pivot underneath you.
  • Stand up on your pedals as soon as you are rolling downhill. Dominant foot forward and slightly up from a horizontal position. This makes the front of the bike light and lets the front wheel aquaplane over the bumps.
  • Roll down through your heels when standing up. This evenly distributes your weight onto both legs and into the pedals. It allows you to have your weight further back on the bike and apply more back and front brake when your travelling in a straight line.
  • Choose the smoothest part of the trail when going downhill. Its more energy efficient and allows you to look ahead on the trail or through the corners.

Editors' Picks