Learning how to corner correctly will make riding a heck of a lot more fun and you’ll be faster and more efficient. While cornering is a skill we could probably write a book about on its own, here we’ve broken down the basics to help you improve you flow:
1. Slow down to a speed at which you can safely negotiate the corner. If you overestimate, use your rear brake only to check speed. Never use your front brake in a corner; your front wheel could easily wash out.
2. Get in the ready position with your center of mass low and push your handlebar down towards the inside of the corner while your other arm pulls up. Do not pull either side of the handlebars towards you, or you’ll turn the front wheel, and we want to lean the bike.
3. Enter the corner on the outside. That means, if it’s a left-hand corner, enter on the right side of the entrance and lean the bike into the apex of the corner. Once you’ve passed the apex of the corner you can start to bring the bike back upright for the exit.
4. Separate yourself from the bike by swinging your hips to the outside of the corner, so your butt is next to your saddle. If you have a dropper seat post, drop it to allow your leg to easily move over the saddle. If you have a fixed seat post, bring your butt forward and around the saddle to get your weight to the outside of the corner.
5. Look through the corner. As you enter keep your head up and look at the exit. As you finish your corner, look down the trail to whatever happens to be coming up next. Head up, head up, head up.
6. Keep your knees out to allow the bike to lean beneath you. Your weight needs to be to the outside counter-balancing the bike as you flow through the corner. If keep even weight on your pedals, you’ll notice the inside pedal will come up as you lean the bike and separate from it.
7. Twist your hips in the direction you want to corner. Imagine you have lasers attached to them and you want to point them through the corner towards the exit. Initiate your lean as your enter the corner, well before your reach the apex.
8. Remember to relax and breathe. Smooth is fast.
We recommend practicing this skill on a grassy area around a tree or some cones. Setting up a 180-degree flat corner about 12 feet wide is a great way to get your cornering on track. As you improve, reduce the size of the corner, or try adding in speed.