How to Ride a Short Steep Descent

At some time or another you’re bound to come across a steep transition.  These can be quite intimidating without a solid plan of action.  Using the following 6 steps,  you’ll find these quite easy and fun!


Ninja Coach Hannah Levine demonstrates the correct technique for riding a steep transition.  The transition she’s riding in this video is about 4′.  We recommend you start with something smaller and progress to bigger transitions as you get comfortable with the technique.

1. Inspect

Before you tackle any unfamiliar section of trail, take a minute to evaluate the situation.  Look for what may be an obvious ‘line’ (a route that most other mountain bikes have taken).  This route may not always be the most efficient choice or even the smoothest, but it’s usually the path of least overall resistance.

2. Approach

As you approach the descent, slow down, bring your weight forward and look over the bars down the descent.

3. Confirm Line

Once you’ve made your line choice, start down.

4. Explode!

Just as your front tire starts to descend, quickly and explosively, lunge your bike forward.  This will bring your hips back behind the saddle and put all your weight directly on the pedals.

5. Stay Ready

Make sure you’re in full Ninja (ready) position at this point: heels down, knees bent,  low center of mass, elbows bent, knees out, fingers not overly tight on the grips, index finger over each brake lever, head up.

6. Roll Out

As you finish the steep transition, bring your weight forward over the saddle.  Look where you want to go, relax and roll out!


About Ninja Skills Guru

The Guru’s #1 passion is taking bike skills and breaking them down into tangible, progressive steps. Is there a skill you just can’t master? A maneuver you don’t understand? A fear you can’t seem to get past? Turn to the Guru! The Ninja Skills Guru has spent years riding bikes and carefully breaking down riding skills into easy digestible steps so you can tackle the trail with confidence. Yup, the guru is that friend who doesn’t talk about anything but bikes!

3 Thoughts on “How to Ride a Short Steep Descent

  1. Avatar Kamala Slight on January 10, 2018 at 9:20 pm said:

    Great demo, Hannah!

  2. Avatar VADIM GOZIKER on July 19, 2018 at 3:18 pm said:


  3. Avatar AlanBardsley on April 1, 2019 at 10:38 am said:

    I always think of the bike as pivoting below the rider. It rotates, the rider doesn’t.

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