Why Getting Low Will Make You Faster

By: Aaron Lucy | Lead Skills Instructor

One of my favorite components of a good Ready Position is riding with a low, flat torso.

169277_8-MD-SDWe humans (most of us anyway) have a natural tendency to protect ourselves from danger. For Mountain Bikers this often translates to pushing ourselves up into a high position on our bike, away from the potential hazards on the ground. Somehow this seems safer but it really is not. Riding in a high position is like trying to balance a cat on the end of a very long pole, funny to watch but its probably not going to end well.

Meribel-Downhill-Mountain-Bike-World-Cup-2014-2988If you are not already making a conscious effort to lower and flatten your torso while you ride, particularly over rough terrain then man have I got some great news for you! Once you start utilizing this technique as part of your Ready Position you will immediately improve your ride, and stay safer while doing it. Think about bringing your elbows up and forward creating roughly a 90 degree angle between your upper arm (biceps) and forearm, and also a 90 degree angle between your upper arm and ribcage. At the same time push your hips back lengthening your back and flattening your torso.

mountain-bike-in-raceRiding in a low position may seem counter intuitive at first, but by lowering your center of gravity and evenly distributing your weight on the bike you gain a ton of stability while maximizing your potential range of motion for absorbing rough terrain. Your arms and legs are the most effective form of suspension you have and riding with them extended is similar to pumping up your shock so hard that it won’t move! The lower you ride the more you can push your bike down into hollows and dips in the terrain to maintain traction and control, while still being in the perfect position to spring up and lift your bike over rocks and roots, it’s a win win situation!

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Photo Credit: Travis Fant

KHS Factory DH Pro Kevin Aiello is one of the smoothest looking riders you’ll see. Kevin knows how to use his limbs to isolate himself from the terrain, here you see how low he will go to maintain control through this loose section at Mammoth Mountain.

We call it “Setting the Human Sag!”

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