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How to: Descending Switchbacks

Descending tight switchbacks can be challenging, but with the right technique and practice, you can navigate them safely and efficiently. Here are four key points to keep in mind:


Control Your Speed: Before entering the switchback, make sure to control your speed. Brake gently and steadily to slow down to a manageable pace.

Avoid using excessive front brakes while turning, as it can cause your front wheel to skid out. Instead, use a combination of front and rear brakes to modulate your speed.


Maintain a balanced and centered body position: Keep your weight low and centered between the wheels to maximize traction and stability.

As you approach the switchback, shift your weight slightly back and lower your heels, allowing your body to move with the bike as it leans into the turn.


Plan Your Line: Plan your line to maximize the radius of the turn. Try to enter wide and exit wide, as this allows for smoother cornering.


Look Ahead: Focus on where you want to go, not directly in front of your wheel. This will help you anticipate the trajectory and choose the best line through the switchback. This visual offers better balance as well, since your equilibrium can make more sense of things.


Remember that descending tight switchbacks takes practice, and it's essential to build your skills gradually. Start with less challenging switchbacks in the driveway and work your way up to more technical ones as you become more confident and skilled.

Additionally, consider taking a skills clinic or seeking guidance from experienced riders if you're new to handling tight switchbacks on the trail.

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