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0 Thoughts on “Gifts

  1. Linda Peterson on October 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm said:

    Hi didn’t get a chance to thank you for the class yesterday. so uh thank you very much I learned so good foundation Technics and had a good time . I hope to hit the intermediate class in the not so far off future.

  2. Have you considered applying to be a newspaper writer? Extremely wonderful writing!

  3. ignacio Castillo on September 15, 2015 at 12:40 pm said:

    I like to attend one of your jumping clinic, due to work I can only do it on a Friday, Saturday or sunday, please let me know when there is going to be a jump clinic on those days, I live in temecula

  4. Darren Lachel on September 21, 2015 at 5:17 pm said:

    Hey Richard I am really bummed to hear about your bike being stolen.
    I had a bike stolen a month ago. Fortunately for me is was just an old junker I just rode to the gym and back.
    Can you give a complete description (anything different from stock) of your bike? So I can send it out to all my mtn bike buddies to keep a look out.
    You can put it on the TCSD group site and I will forward it all over the place!

    Good luck getting it back

  5. Sad! 🙁 Passing the word. And by the way, coolest car ever!!

  6. Sorry to hear about your bike and car damage. Just makes me so mad.

  7. Alexa Price on June 17, 2016 at 5:32 pm said:

    This article is waaaay overthinking it! Go to a pump track, or a line of whoops. Practice. You can even watch videos or talk to an instructor about pumping. Eventually you’ll get lighter and lighter on the bike going over the rollers until you are actually getting air.

    Trying to think about the bike moving independently in its own arc and trying to create tension between your handlebars and pedals is enough to overload anyone. Beginners aren’t in the air for more than a second, anyway!

    The basics are so-called for a reason. You should be recommending that people learn the basics before progressing to jumps. If his feet are flying off his pedals he needs to take a step back.

  8. Aaron Lucy on June 18, 2016 at 10:47 am said:

    Hi Alexa,

    you are absolutely right, practice makes perfect! All the more important when you’re getting your wheels off the ground as the risk factor is definitely increased.

    That is why we are huge advocates of progressing through fundamental bike handling skills before approaching jumping in our lessons. We start small and build gradually.

    Sadly not everyone has access to or endless hours to spend at the pump track (something I think should be remedied immediately!)

    Riders come to us to learn skills at a rate faster than they would work them out alone. Part of how we achieve this is by increasing a riders body awareness, helping them understand the relationship between bike/body and earth. Concepts are introduced and developed throughout the lesson in a way that is progressive and digestible. When practiced on your bike pretty soon these complex thoughts turn into sweet feelings of success as everything starts to make sense!

    Developing skills takes time however and we encourage our students to contact us with questions as they learn and experiment. This article is an example of one of those questions being answered. It is not a complete tutorial on how to jump your bike but simply a small part of the picture.

    Thanks for your feedback Alexa, see you at the pump track!

    Aaron Lucy | Lead Skills Instructor

  9. Ernie Medina, Jr. on August 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm said:

    Great article! I’ve been working on incorporating this and it’s amazing when it all clicks together, how the bike just comes up beneath me and stays stuck to my feet! it’s happening more and more often, so definitely practicing makes perfect. Keep up the good work…and hope to do a jump clinic in person one of these days!

  10. Just finished with Richard and Aaron here in Santa Fe, New Mexico a two day Mountain Bike skills class. I gotta say, WOW!!!!! Picking up many skills is showing me an improved way to ride around our hills and mountains. Most of all the confidence to do drops that I otherwise ride around and high speed corners that I usually wash out on. Thanks guys and look forward to more in the future. Also big thanks to Katherine. Glad she is in our back yard. Pat Brown

  11. Bruce Hamby on September 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm said:

    Thanks Aaron, I to have had trouble keeping my line when climbing up a technical section here in Santa Fe. I know this will help my riding in those sections . Thanks again for coming down for the Great 2 day class . see you soon Bruce

  12. Patty Elliott on September 22, 2016 at 6:24 pm said:

    Thanks Aaron! What a great article.

  13. Thanks Aaron. What you describe in the article is the exact information I was looking for when I took the advanced (Ninja) class with you in May.

  14. Steve Fenn on October 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm said:

    Escondido or Liberty Station location, for Nov 3rd event?
    Don’t know who it was, but the female of short stature in Ninja kit who zoomed past me up Maple Springs Road, at the VQ, looked super fit. And then saw her singing and laughing as she rolled down Trabuco Trail. She might of finished in about 6 1/2 hours or so. Good going!!

  15. Steve Fenn on November 1, 2016 at 9:46 am said:

    Great, I’ll be there Thurs at Liberty Station. Thanks, Steve

  16. Susan Coffroth on November 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm said:

    sounds fun!!!

  17. Congrats everyone! Looking forward to an awesome season!

  18. Armando on December 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm said:

    Congratulations to all ninjas for being on this amazing team! Man, am I going to have to train hard now!

  19. Congratulations everyone !

  20. Patty Elliott on February 7, 2017 at 5:57 am said:

    Love the article!

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  25. Thanks for your blog.’Make sure the front wheel is straight as you bring the front wheel back down to the ground.’ I agree with you.

  26. Pingback: How to ride a drop, 9 steps | TEAM NINJA

  27. Tanya on July 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm said:

    Hi! Is the 2 day workshop in Santa Cruz for beginners and advanced? I am a beginner and my husband is advanced. Thanks!

  28. Curtis on July 5, 2017 at 7:26 pm said:

    Came here looking for instructions on the build per the instagram post.. could we see more details on that?

  29. Frustrated manualer on July 6, 2017 at 10:22 am said:

    Awesome, this is exactly what I need, practice at the balance point. How much for Steve to write up some blueprints so I can take this to my local carpenter to have him build one up for me? I’m totally serious by the way.

  30. Rich Gibbons on July 6, 2017 at 11:41 am said:

    Wish I could RENT one of these…

  31. I love your tips on riding. You guys/girls are great.

  32. Demi on July 11, 2017 at 7:22 am said:

    Can you please advise me regarding optimal shock & fork settings for jumping? Pressure, rebound, etc. I ride a Giant Reign and weigh 150 lbs. I find I’m struggling a bit with the compress & explode and wondering if settings have anything to do with it.

  33. Another who’d be interested in blueprints!

  34. Gman086 on July 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm said:

    #6 is flat out dead WRONG and could end up injuring someone reading this nonsense! If you keep your butt that far back after dropping you WILL land rear wheel first, slamming the front wheel down and into the cartwheel of shame. The PROPER way is to re-center your weight right after the rear wheel leaves the drop so as you can match your bike to the angle of landing (in many cases you will even need to be quite far forward and pushing on the bars if landing to steep transition).

    • Thank you for your comment! Upon review of the original steps we had outlined above, we agree the post needed a correction. You’re right, keeping your weight back after the wheels leave the drop would be potentially hazardous.

      Honestly, I think we just missed a step during the edit of this post. The orginal post was unclear at best. We’re grateful for your comment, and have updated the steps as per your suggestion.

      PS, let us know if you have any interest in being an instructor — you clearly have a great passion (and understanding) for mountain bikes. ..and, we’re guessing you shred too. ?

    • Mike Adler on December 28, 2017 at 8:20 am said:

      I couldn’t agree more with Gman086. Looks like you changed your post but still not correct. Manualing off a drop is an advanced progression that should never be taught until your student has an understanding and a grasp of the manual.
      Sorry don’t mean to troll you but some of you other posts are also questionable. Just looking at your photos I’m detecting errors in body and ankle position. And in a couple your students head is down( meaning probably their eyes as well). Sorry one other thing. Looks like in some photos your instuctors are riding clipless pedals? WTF

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mike. We’d love to get some clarification / comments from you regarding how you think a drop should be ridden for a non-advanced rider. In our article, we’re not suggesting the rider manuals off the drop, just that they move their weight (hips) back as they reach the end of the drop to arrest the front wheel from falling. It’s a similar move to the manual (but not a manual), note why we said ‘think manual’.

        Also, we would love to hear your thoughts as to why an instructor shouldn’t ride clipless pedals. We encourage our students to ride whatever equipment they have at our skills events. While we recommend flats for learning most skills learning, many of our students come from an XC or Endurance background.

        Wouldn’t you agree it’s important that riders with clipless pedals know how to corner, ride drops, jumps, etc. as well? Most of our instructors are comfortable with both pedal types and are equipped to speak to the nuances of each.

  35. About that location in pictures 2 and 5 near the top of Noble Canyon…that carsonite sign in picture 5 says to stay off. And electric bikes on Noble?

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment this post.

      You bring up a couple good points — 1st off, I was there the day those photos were taken and did not see a sign that said ‘stay off’. Are you sure it says that? I recall that being the trail maker for Penny Pines, but I could be wrong. I’ll double check the next time I’m out there.

      Regardless, we NEVER deliberately ride off trail — we are very grateful to be able to ride and teach on such great trails in the first place and would never doing anything to jeopardize that privilege.

      2nd about the Ebike. Up until that skills event, we had never had an Ebike at one of our camps. Since that weekend, I’ve reached out to a couple Park Ranger friends to find out the rules regarding them. The consensus in SoCal parks is that they’re motorized and thus not legal. Considering we teach in SoCal a lot, we’ve adopted the same stance. Unless a park permits them, they are no longer accepted at our events.

  36. One up on the blue prints. Can’t wait to make one it’s been killing me not being able to manual

  37. Jackie gough on July 13, 2017 at 4:48 am said:

    That’s killer would love to have one . Blueprints would becawesome

  38. Curtis on July 17, 2017 at 10:47 pm said:

    Great news on getting blue prints made up. That’s more of what I was asking for.
    I can’t wait to make one so I can really learn just how far back to go.

  39. Just signing in so I can find out when the blueprints will be available..

  40. old geezer on July 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm said:

    Levels of experience relative to current terrain, age, recent riding hours, and more affect one’s balance and poise and control. Knowing your comfort zone and only pushing gently on the envelope may seem to slow your advancement, but nothing slows it more than a few months of post-op rehab. Slow speed falls, where you can likely get a foot down and under, as long as your pedals are free (if cleated, clean and dry-lubed for smooth release) should be inconsequential, as long as you don’t lock your arm to brace, instead crumble and roll so no bone system is directly taking the brunt of impact. Many places you simply can’t afford to fall – exposed drop-offs, steep embankments with rocks and trees – and even moderate trails become dangerous above ten to fifteen mph if you hit something. Never let buddies bully you into ignoring your internal safety sense; they are not the ones who will bear the bruises or breaks. If no one is paying you to ride, you are an amateur riding for fun; if the fun has faded, back off and slow down.

  41. Savvy Senior on July 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm said:

    Sitting and spinning works on smooth steeps, but on the steepest trails I can barely ride, I’ve found that one gear up from lowest is the best compromise when smaller rocks and steps may be deal-breakers. It gives me a little surge to clear an obstacle, but keeps the pedal from arcing too low too close to the thing I’m trying to get over. It puts me into my red zone, so can be maintained only for a few yards at a stretch, meaning I can’t clean my hardest trails unless I’m above a decent fitness point, but can still be used for shorter sections – I just don’t last as long and eventually have to put a foot down.

  42. BobD. on July 20, 2017 at 2:10 pm said:

    Take my money.

  43. Mitch on July 21, 2017 at 6:32 pm said:

    Would love the blueprints also….

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  46. Mark Stewart on July 26, 2017 at 7:40 pm said:

    Thanks Stephen for such a great idea. I was able to build one a few weeks ago in just a couple hours from your pictures, I substituted metal in a few places as I’m blessed to have a full shop with tools and welders. I would be happy to submit pictures but can’t find any links to upload them.

  47. Steve on July 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm said:

    Thanks for this. Any idea, what is the max width rear tire you can use with this design?

  48. Manual machine is a great idea! How about a bunny hop version that allows rear wheel to travel vertically but constrains lateral and fore/aft movement?

  49. SumGuy on August 11, 2017 at 1:50 pm said:

    I have been doing this with an indoor trainer. No strap. The con to doing this on an indoor trainer is it gets loose at the skewer.

    I like the strap idea, and I will add that to mine. As for the rest I am too lazy, and will continue to deal with the skewer loosening up. I still dont have my manuals performed naturally yet.

    Thanks for posting, keep sharing.

    • exactly! and i agree, the front wheel strap is a good addition.

      A small indoor trainer works well to get a feel for the body position and the leg motion but it doesn’t help with balancing side to side or feathering the brake. its also better to allow the rear wheel to spin so you can readjust the pedals properly. I can do a good wheelie but still the manual eludes me because i always grab too much brake. i think i need some kind of extra wide wheelie bar attached to my bike so it stops me from falling over sideways and backward but leaves enough “play” to learn the balance. Im going to set mine up again today and add the front wheel strap. good luck all.

  50. Tony Robinson on August 17, 2017 at 7:01 pm said:

    In order to do a real manual vs. a wheelie, you have to take the chain off the chainring. With the back wheel locked down, your foot pressure on the pedals drives the front of the bike up and makes it much easier to balance. Try it both ways to see what I mean.

    • Jerry wiatrowski on March 3, 2018 at 7:07 pm said:

      Thanks, that makes sense. I did see another manual machine demonstrated with the chain off and wondered about that.

  51. Links are to a nonexistent website. It is currently on Kickstarter with only $2000+ of the $18,000 goal. $230 retail for an oversized caddy does not seem worth it, not to mention the space it will take up compared to a large messenger bag which I have been using to fit all of my gear.

    • Hi HBD!

      We appreciate your comments. We initially thought Kickstarter would be the best option for us as we launched our business and The Bullfrog into full production. But after many messages and comments, we’ve listened and learned our fans would prefer to connect with us directly. On Monday we transitioned our website to an online store, which is why the site was down for a few hours. It’s back up now. I’m sorry you experienced a not-so-great first impression!

      We understand your comments about price. With Kickstarter’s fees and having to include shipping, we were in a corner and had to list much higher than what we intended. Yet another reason why we’ve invested in the new website and connect with people directly.

      As far as the size goes, we worked for years trying to determine the perfect size. We think the current size is ideal for most gear, even accomodating a full face helmet. We understand some people won’t have a need for that but it’s nice to have the room when traveling on longer, overnight trips.

      To help with space and storage, we’ve integrated a storage loop on the back to help get your gear up and out of the way. You can even tuck the mesh top in on itself. I ride a lot straight from my house. My Bullfrog is hanging on the wall and acts like a gear shelving unit. Then when I need to, I take it down, zip the top up and throw it in the car.

      I will share that we are planning to launch our online store Labor Day Weekend. We’ll be offering a 20% discount to The Ninja crew off of the $139.99 online price.

      Thanks again for the comments! Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions or comments at

  52. Mark Burzynski on August 21, 2017 at 1:16 pm said:

    Where can I get a Terra Gear Bullfrog?? Their web domain is a dead end.
    Looks like a great product. Can I get one without joining the kickstarter??

    • Hi Mark! Thanks so much for your comment. We’re in process of improving our website, which will include an online store. Unfortunately, the site will be down for a few hours today while everything gets done. As soon as it’s back up, I’ll message you. Thanks again!

      • I had posted a comment a couple days ago but it seems to have been deleted. I guess positive comments only or else they get deleted.

      • Hi Mark,

        Quick update; the new website is up and running. I’m excited to share we will be launching our online store Labor Day weekend! We’ve got a special 20% off code for the Ninja Crew. I’ll be sending over details to Richard so he can make a site wide announcement. Please email me at mike@terragear if you have any questions.

  53. falllinemaniac on August 31, 2017 at 10:53 am said:

    Assessment is key, crashing can dump major adrenaline and you really gotta take an extra half minute to make sure arms still bend, shoulders mobile and hands still grip. Stand up if you are up bend knees, ankles.

    If there is a injury you should know by now, check the bike.

  54. falllinemaniac on September 1, 2017 at 8:51 pm said:

    Seated climbing can be more dynamic with the addition of a firm push forward on the grips. Time them with the weak part of the pedal stroke.

    I originally saw elite cross country riders on a furious pace on steep hills, they were so smooth at it I could hardly tell what they were doing.

  55. falllinemaniac on September 1, 2017 at 11:52 pm said:

    I have the hardest time keeping the finger on the brake lever.

    I even have the reach adjusted, my preference is to let em run and brake as late as possible.

    Launching and manuals seem to flow better too. It took a long time getting accustomed to not using the brakes all the time on descents. Like skiing, there are counter-intuitive techniques and letting them run is not what a sane person does.

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  57. aprender a dominar a su bici y podrqan hacer muchos trucos en cada salida

  58. Michael Regimbal on September 12, 2017 at 4:42 pm said:


    I signed up for the 2 day Santa Cruz adventure class and I have a question. I’ve been a roadie for 20+ years and now about 6 mos of MtB riding in at mostly blue square level. Are there any skills I should work on in advance to best take advantage of the sessions. Looking forward to it.


  59. Hi Michael —

    There inst any specific pre-training required, but you’d get a big jump on the camp is you take some time to read / study the articles in our how-to section here:

    See ya at the camp!

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  61. Damon Poor on September 29, 2017 at 11:24 pm said:

    Trying to reach Karen. I work at Black Mountain Bicycles and am a member of Linked cycling San Diego. i had planned to come and help but am having an outpatient procedure on Thursday. I would still like to help as best I can. I was thinking about bringing a stand and tools and help if anyone needs last minute repairs. if I feel well enough I may also bring a bike and help in the way also. Please let me know.

    Damon Poor

  62. Please know REI started this because they
    1) don’t offer “black Friday” specials and always had A LOT of people asking what the specials were. Customers were, more often than not, irritated that REI didn’t have specials…which led to unhappy customers…
    2) business was always slow on “black Friday”

    So from this number cruncher, it was/is cheaper for REI to close. AND it’s a marketing strategy for them to close and avoid have angry customers who were search for discounts…

    This is what led to the creation of #optoutside…

    It would be a sincere effort if it had been prompted by a PURE altruistic thought, versus a marketing strategy to save $$ by marketing. Those are the two issues, $$ and marketing, closing is supposed to be standing against :/

  63. I submitted an email inquiry – so stoked to hear more about any opportunities you have in my area.

    Shawn Gentry 213-999-6173

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

    Great demo, Hannah!

  65. Dayrdrai on February 5, 2018 at 9:45 am said:

    Cool article . Very helpful:)

  66. Ricky Lo on February 19, 2018 at 8:55 am said:

    Where can I download a copy of the blueprints?

  67. blakely on March 1, 2018 at 10:53 am said:

    i admit it. i am a so called “brake hog” i love to use the brakes to adjust my speed whenever going down hill but is mostly do to my fear of running into another rider. i will try to practice with this. thanks for the tip

  68. Nate Glass on April 2, 2018 at 11:34 am said:

    All good points! I’d add that practicing track stands is a good skill for when it’s time for Skinnies. This way you can come to a full stop if you need to, correct your steering and continue on. Practice Practice Practice is absolutely correct!

  69. Chris on April 11, 2018 at 1:06 pm said:

    hey, not sure I understand step #3. It seems to state that the wheel is 45 degrees in the direction of your front foot. But, both pictures show the wheel pointed “away” from your front foot.

  70. That’s an excellent observation Chris! When first learning to track-stand, we’ve found it’s easier when your front wheel is pointed towards your foot. However, we should have mentioned, that in *all cases* your front wheel should be pointed up-hill.

    So, if your riding right foot forward, it’d be potentially easier to learn to track-stand pointing your wheel to the right, up hill. Makes sense?

    • Richard, It seems that you didn’t address the point of Chris’s question (same question I had). The photo of the rider demonstrating the track stand has LEFT foot forward and has the front wheel pointed uphill to the RGHT; hence away from the forward foot rather than towards it. So, the photo contradicts your description of the technique in step #3. Please address the contradiction. Is the rider in the photo simply not doing what you recommend?

      • Hi Mike — I just re-read the article and see your point. That really wasn’t clear. I edited #3 above to hopefully provide clarification on this skill re: wheel and foot placement. We’ll head out shortly to get some better photos (and video) to clean this ‘how-to’ up a bit. Thanks so much for your feedback / comment.

  71. love the video! it really shows how good form helps keep your head so still!

  72. Steve Fischer on April 24, 2018 at 4:56 pm said:

    sign up for a clinic. ez pz!

  73. Gary Nowicki on April 25, 2018 at 3:51 pm said:

    Interested, do you allow class 1 ebikes?

  74. Matt Martel on May 3, 2018 at 8:55 am said:

    Cory appears to be too high and too far forward. Hannah did it perfectly!

  75. falllinemaniac on May 4, 2018 at 6:32 pm said:

    Step 8, rail your corners whenever possible. Riding across the carpark while your buddy fidgets with her bike, straight shots back from the trail and going around corners in the neighborhood all offer opportunity to practice.

  76. Brian Graybush on May 17, 2018 at 9:19 am said:

    Interested in skills camp for my 13yo son. He just finished his first season with NICA/Cape Fear Fins and is looking forward to next year already. Can you please add us to your email list.

  77. Steve rivera on May 23, 2018 at 11:15 am said:

    If anything opens up please let me know

  78. falllinemaniac on June 5, 2018 at 11:24 am said:

    In the good old days of 26″ wheels and clicked in pedals bunnyhops were stupid easy with the ability to lift the feet and the bike.

    Now on a modern steed with flats, this is a good way to put a knee into the rear tire (I have a scar from this). I have been working on a proper bunnyhop.

    The main driver for amplitude is in your step 3 involving thrusting the hips forward more than bringing the bars towards the chest.

    Your instructions appear to be more of a punch technique that I can perform easier than a full hip thrust. Those require far more core strength to explode forward than my fat old body can effectively muster. This looks similar but is much different when installing into muscle memory.

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


  80. falllinemaniac on September 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm said:

    This is the most excellent pointer regarding the front brake that I have ever seen.

  81. Can you do this if you don’t have disc brakes? Does it work with the cantelever brakes?

    • Hi Eli! Thanks for your question. It most cases, yes — you should use one finger (your index finger) for braking regardless of your braking system. However, I can see where (with cantilever brakes) you might find situations (steep / fast descents) where one finger isn’t enough — and unfortunately, you’re going to have to sacrifice some handling / grip control and add another finger to your brake levers. Keeping your brake pads clean and properly aligned can go a long way for maintaining the best possible braking power.

  82. Ralph Campbell on September 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm said:

    Took the Knoxville fundamentals clinic. The teachers were excellent. They tailored the session to the ability of the group. I’ve been MTBing for 5 years. Learned a lot. Plenty of critically important skills that I needed to correct. Great experience. Well worth the time and cost.

    The only improvement I would suggest would be to send the participants home with written key points of what was learned.

  83. Renee hasserodt on October 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm said:

    Awesome- couldn’t help but laugh at a few of these- pretty much have heard some of this advise coming out of my mouth……ouch!! Way to bring it home!

  84. Sunshine Cycles in Athens, GA is amazing. Jimmy, the owner, always goes above and beyond. I drive by 10 other shops, and travel over an hour to have my bike worked on by him.

    • Hey Mitzi!
      We know the Sunshine Crew, too! Say hi to Howie, Raa, and Elizabeth for me 🙂 I lived in Athens for three years and loved it. If you’re ever looking for a group ladies’ ride, check out the 706P Chicks Club.
      Enjoy riding in that sweet Southern Autumn!

  85. Thanks for this great post. While Outerbike is like a festival (yes we have food, beer & guided rides) we still keep the bike demo experience as the #1 priority of the weekend. some balk at the $240 price to get in, but if you try to rent/demo a high end bike in Moab these days it’s at least $90/ day. Plus shuttles to Mag 7, plus food, etc. If you’re serious about testing bikes it’s hard to beat the experience of all those brands and getting to try them back to back to back. For 2019 here’s our dates:
    Sun Valley June 21-23, 2019
    CB August 16-18, 2019
    Moab October 4-6, 2019
    Bentonville October 25-27, 2019

    • Thanks for the Outerbike deets, Mark! I’ve attended your October Moab event and had an incredible experience. You and your team put together a seamlessly executed weekend full of rad bikes, stoked folks, and delicious food. We’re already looking forward to your Sun Valley stop next year!

  86. peter connors on October 25, 2018 at 2:32 pm said:

    If you add volume spaces…do you go back to step 1?

  87. isartrails on November 29, 2018 at 10:37 am said:

    You are missing the most important point: your cockpit. Handlebar, stem, fork steerer connections. And everything on the handlebar: grips, shifter bolt, brake bolts.

  88. SC Nomad on December 13, 2018 at 9:32 am said:

    2. “…loosing the wheelie”? Is that the opposite of tightening the wheelie?

  89. Fatbiker100 on December 13, 2018 at 4:29 pm said:

    This past spring, at (a very athletic) 55 yrs old I gave it a try. I wheelied across a car park for about 80 ft when I leaned a bit far back.
    As I went to put my feet down I realized I WAS IN MY CLIPLESS pedals!
    I couldn’t escape and as I fell backwards I saw the blue sky. I landed with a very audible thud on my spine.
    My back slammed into the ground. I thought I’d broken my back.
    I still did my 20 km Fat Bike ride and in 3 days I’d recovered 🙂

    • Jared Daley on December 14, 2018 at 8:33 pm said:

      I did a 40 mile ride and at the end, I pulled a wheelie on my road bike while clipped in. I went too far and landed on my back. I fractured my T4 vertebrae. Had to sit out the entire summer. Fortunately no surgery was needed. Now I only do wheelies on my mountain bikes with flat pedals. I was 51 at the time, and in very good shape.

    • Jesse Diehl on August 22, 2020 at 12:38 pm said:

      I love hearing about people older than me (46) having fun on MTBs. I started riding MTB about 15-16 months ago as a way for me to spend time with my boys (12 & 10), stay in shape, and have a scary good time doing it. Strangely enough, I am finding myself far more daring and adventurous than my boys… for now. 😎

  90. Yes, Peter — exactly.

  91. M. Webb on January 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm said:

    Lots of great tips thanks!

  92. Totally disagree with 1 and 3. First off your bike does want to just roll over stuff. It is our hesitation and inoppurtune rider inputs that stymie your bike’s natural tendencies.
    Second, riders who are faster than you are often more skillful too. Following them often allows one to see the better more efficient line. However remember that you do not possess all their skills yet so don’t abandon good judgment. On the other hand riding lines slowly to figure out lines is good also but slow. Combining the two is the ticket.

    • Hey Walt, Thanks for the dialogue here. I definitely agree that our bikes are very capable but I would argue that they only work if we give the right input. If you send your bike down a steep, rocky shoot without a rider it will fall / cartwheel / crash. The bike doesn’t stay upright and magically roll through the smoothest line on it’s own. It requires a rider with proper body positioning, even weight on the pedals, a slight bend in the elbows, eyes looking ahead down the trail etc.

      My concern with the advice “Just let it roll…the bike knows what to do!” is that it assumes the rider already knows all of these skills. To your point, it is often times poor technique – hesitation or stiffness, a dropped pedal that clips a rock, or being too far off the back of the bike – that gets us into trouble. I’m trying to get the point across that you can’t make a blanket statement to “let the bike roll” unless you are confident the rider has all the other foundational riding skills dialed. If that’s the case, I’d yell out “You know what to do – put those skills to work!”.

      As for riding with people who are faster than you, I completely agree that riding with faster and more skilled riders can have it’s benefits. However, from my personal experience and from watching lots of other riders getting into the sport, riding with people who are 10 levels above you often means you either a) get dropped on the ride and don’t actually get to see the more skilled riders pick their lines or b) you abandon good judgment, forget your limitations and ride out of control. My point here is NOT that you should always ride slowly with people at your same skills level or below. Rather, I’m offering a friendly reminder that you don’t magically gain skills and master techniques simply by adding more speed to the equation.

      Shred on my friend! ✌️

    • Jeroen on July 21, 2019 at 6:34 am said:

      I agree with Walt, at least concerning point 3.
      It depends on how those “better riders” guide you.
      By following their line you just might be able to get that tricky descent or climb. If they do not guide you, or take notice of tou capability then point 3 is correct, if they take you capability in to account then you will defenitly learn!

  93. I agree mostly with Walt but some things are better ridden over faster. Your tires will roll over gaps with a bit of speed but drop in and get stuck while going slow.

    • Good point, Jim. Absolutely agree that in certain situations, speed and momentum can be your friend. This can be especially true in chunky, rocky terrain. My point is simply that trying to keep up with faster riders doesn’t necessarily improve your skills. Pedaling as hard as you can to keep up – and then riding the brakes all the way through the corner – and pedaling again to catch back up, is not going to make you a better rider. If you want to become a faster, more skilled rider in the long run, you may need to slow down a little to give your body and mind a chance to pickup the correct techniques. 🐢💨

  94. Stephen Heseltine on January 26, 2019 at 1:57 am said:

    Hi I’m going over some jumps that have a downward slope landing but my front wheel is hitting the ground way before my second wheel. What advice could you suggest please?

    • Hi Stephen — If the jump has a descending landing, you should land on your front wheel right before your rear wheel. This will give you more directional control and smooth out the landing. If you land rear wheel first on a descending landing, the front of the bike is likely to pivot forward and slam the ground thus thrusting your weight abruptly forward and potentially over the front of the bike.

      When you say your front wheel is hitting the ground ‘WAY’ before your rear wheel, can you be more specific? Are you riding a nose wheelie when landing?

      Also, we recently updated this article with better photos and slo-mo video that might help as well. Check here:

  95. I love my cargo pants

  96. Chris Bosnall on February 7, 2019 at 10:01 am said:

    Great Article and even Better MTB Relationship Advice! Only think you forgot is the Mid Ride Excursion to a Lake, Ocean Side or Mountain Top View. Our personal favorite was any Swimming Hole or Lake. In my previous life, MTBiking made for a greater relationship.

    • So glad you enjoy this article. Great call on adding a fun excursion into the ride. Anytime I have the option to hike/ride out to a viewpoint, I take it. And a mid or post-ride swim in the summer is the BEST! Plus, having a mid-ride destination is another great way to build in a forced break – must stop for a scenic snack!

  97. Jimbo99 on February 7, 2019 at 11:50 am said:

    It never ends well, when training & exercise is the goal. Another’s significant other rarely match for rides. That said, realize that one of you will be sacrificing a normal ride day for a more social one. And even there appeasing those others may not go well. Wait until ASO sandbags the ride far enough away from home by wearing long blue jeans pants, has to stop every mile for hydration, has to choose the eating spot. Some are needier than others. Doesn’t matter if you simply gave up any say in any of it. Even what time the ride happens on their schedule. Hey, you know I’m just keeping it real.

  98. daniel lee on February 12, 2019 at 8:42 pm said:

    It’s really great. Thanks

  99. Victoria on February 14, 2019 at 4:14 pm said:

    Get in the moment, don’t feel like you should or need to stay on each others’ wheel and shut up and ride!

  100. stephen fullerton on February 16, 2019 at 7:12 am said:

    All good points, but why are there 6 points when the title says 5?

  101. Mike Ruzicka on February 21, 2019 at 2:05 pm said:

    I have an ohlins coil spring fork, the travel is 150 mm. I believe that the spring may be to heavy for my weight, even on heavy hits there is still at least 30%travel left?

    • Sam Livingston on March 13, 2019 at 10:02 am said:

      Yes, sounds like your spring is way too stiff for your weight. On the biggest hits you should use 90-95% of your travel.

      • Phorest Bateson on May 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm said:

        You say the shock loses air when removing the shock pump. I believe the article is wrong – the shock only loses air when attaching the pump. So, in short, you don’t need to add extra air before removing the pump.

  102. Sorry, but I totally disagree with you guys about index finger braking. Using your middle finger gives you a wider grip on the bars and thus, more control, and allows you to shift with the index finger while braking if needed. That tendon thing you describe has nothing to do with this. With the middle finger on the brake lever the ring finger still has full grip power. Try this: Put you middle finger out and see if you can still grip the bar with your ring finger, yes, you can!

    • After braking with just my middle finger for 6 years now, I read through this article thinking that there was no way it would change me. Then I did the little ‘middle finger on the table experiment’ and instantly thought: “that’s it…I am going to change my riding style tomorrow”…then I read this comment and thought: “yeah…wait, he’s right: I CAN grip my bar with my other 3 fingers just fine”
      So…thank you Mark…You restored my faith in my own goofy riding style!
      Cheers mate!

      • First off, I just re-read this article and agree with you and Mark … to an extent. I think we got too caught up in the catchy title.

        In hindsight, this article would have been better written as “When Not to Brake with Two Fingers”. Referring to your middle finger AND your index finger [which we commonly see in riders attending our events].

        As you’ve both indicated, you still get a pretty good grip with your index, ring and pinky finger on the bars, BUT still not as strong as the grip (and control) you get from your middle, ring and pinky.

        Additionally, there’s one other factor you’re both overlooking …

        When you brake with your middle finger, your index finger is in the way of your brake lever. In order to engage your brake with your index finger on the grip, you have to set your brake levers engagement point way out in front of your handgrips.

        Most Professional Enduro/DH riders ride with their brake levers very close to the bars, often barley touching or less than 1mm off the bars when fully actuated. This give them lots of grip / control and keep the brake levers quickly accessible.

        I appreciate your feedback / comments and would love to keep the discussion going.

        • Thanks for the response and validation! I totally agree that with modern disc brakes 2 finger braking is not needed or desired.

          I don’t know if I’d get a stronger grip when braking with my index finger, but I do know that I grip over a wider area when braking with my middle finger, which gives better control.

          That’s an interesting point about the index finger being in the way when braking with the middle finger. I’ve never actually changed the engagement point on any of my brakes and it’s not an issue. If my brake lever is getting that close to the bars, something is wrong and needs to be addressed, like a brake bleed or new pads. I have no idea about DH or Enduro racers, but normal riders do not set their brakes up with levers that close to the bars.

          I guess I’m a bit of an outlier, as most people brake with their index finger…

  103. Ken Frank on February 25, 2019 at 7:05 pm said:

    I had on-going issues with “tennis elbow” that seemed to be related to my riding. When I switched to single finger braking using my index fingers, the elbow pain went away and has never returned.

  104. Troy Pfuntner on March 8, 2019 at 2:33 am said:

    Great article. As a “beginner” these really help me a lot. I do question “being stronger” with elbows out. The further from your body a “joint” gets (elbow) the weaker you become. I do agree that you have more control with elbows out. More planes of movement, but not stronger. Love your articles! Can’t wait till spring. Built a Knolly Fugitvive late last fall, super excited about the upcoming season. Keep up the great work!

  105. Hey Troy!

    So glad you are enjoying the articles – we love hearing that these are helping you with your riding.

    When I think about having my elbows out in my ready position, I think about doing a push-up at the gym. When I try to do a push up with my elbows tucked in at my side, I’m using primarily my triceps, and it’s hard. When I bring my elbows out and give myself a wider platform for the push-up, I start to engage more muscle groups including shoulders and chest, where I’m much stronger. Riding a bike is pretty much doing mini pushups on repeat! Hope that helps to explain the added strength you get from the wider arm stance.

  106. JavierStype on March 12, 2019 at 10:50 pm said:

    Forex 1000 To 1 Million – Turning $10,000 into $1 Million in Forex:

  107. Randy Inglis on March 13, 2019 at 7:58 am said:

    I always get a little anxiety when I show up to ride with a new group. Good article Hannah.


  108. Molly Winters on March 13, 2019 at 9:21 am said:

    This is very well written, thank you! You’ve done a great job of simplifying a complex topic. You might just want to re-read and replace “dampening” with “damping.” I don’t think you meant to say that you were getting the suspension a little soggy 🙂 And for people learning suspension theory, seeing two different words for the same thing can be confusing.

  109. Sam Livingston on March 13, 2019 at 10:01 am said:

    Pretty good article, although I do see a technical error.

    It has been shown that if your shock pump and valve interface are working properly you DO NOT lose any air pressure when removing your hose, you lose air pressure when CONNECTING the hose.

    When you figure out what pressure yo need, just remember when you RE-CONNECT the hose it will drop and show (maybe 8-10 lbs) less than what was actually in the shock or fork.

  110. Max Lent on March 13, 2019 at 10:24 am said:

    “You will probably notice that some air escapes as you remove the pump, this will mean that your air pressure may now be slightly less than what you recorded it as”

    That air you hear “escaping” is just from the pump. Not the actual shock. The Schrader valve does not allow any air to escape. The reason you see less PSI when you reattached the pump is from the air in the shock filling the pump to that pressure. This is a common misconception we should try and clear up. Good article overall.

  111. Holly Hoffman on March 20, 2019 at 2:32 pm said:

    Just finished my second lesson with Gail Schaffer, she is amazing! I ask a LOT of questions and she is always happy to answer them. She is great at breaking down the process and techniques so you have a full understanding of what is going to happen. Then how to do it; and even redo it , haha. She has been integral at me becoming a stronger downhill rider and now I can fly through rock gardens with confidence and correct TECHNIQUE! I don’t have to hike-a-bike each drop anymore or those silly switchbacks. THANKS GAIL and NINJA BIKE.

  112. How about #8, sign up for some spring trail maintenance days? This time of year they are hugely important and serve as the best way to educate riders on how to be good trail users and stewards. They will also learn the how to best decide when to ride and when to stay home (or do a trail walk and clean up deadfall, spot drainage problems, and any other light work that is permitted).

  113. jwilli on March 26, 2019 at 2:31 pm said:

    One of the best and easy to follow suspension setup articles I have read. Good job Richard!

  114. Mogsie on March 27, 2019 at 5:12 am said:

    I’ve read a lot of pages about suspension setup and I also think that this one is really nice: clear and simple yet complete…
    I have 2 questions:
    I’m a pretty heavy rider (240 pounds with all my gears) but I don’t really jump anything big. I just ride in trails. When you say that 90-95% of the shock should be used, is it for the agressive rider that do bigger features and then I could say that maybe for me it should be about maybe 80% of the travel or it just doesn’t work this way?
    Also, I removed all the spacers in my fork suspension even if I’m the heavy side of a rider and I find it better this way… If so, does it mean that it should be the same with the back suspension ( there is no spacer there right now) or should I experiment as the back suspension seems to be more sollicitated and I found it less plush than the front. I already use less pressure that recommended on trek website ( fuel ex 9.8). 20% less up front and 8% less in the back… Thanks!

  115. I think I’d kill someone because I suck at riding on the road never mind rocks. Went mountain one time and crashed 6 times in 3 miles; scared to bring my body out again never mind someone else. Obviously I need a lesson on how to ride a bike through wet rocks and roots where I’d actually go faster dismounting and portaging the bike. It wasn’t fun at all and depressing getting 3 miles behind me and no real progress, scenery (got lost to boot). Heck, I need to get up an work for a living; hard to do with broken bones (from experience road cycling) and this 50 year old bod doesn’t heal quite like it used to. I don’t care who’s the better biker, if you really want to enjoy each others company and return in one piece HIKE! It’s just as healthy, gets you to more cool places than a bike, and allows for more conversation/togetherness time while not completely out of breath. We both want to end up happy and bloodless if possible. I find that on a bike regardless of most riding environments; I paying to much attention to the road conditions, traffic, etc to be able to ride with someone as a leisure pursuit. When I see people riding together (not a training pack) they tend to be all over the place and not paying attention to others riders because they’re having a converstion and pointing out the “sights”. Maybe when I find someone who sucks as much as I do we can both fall off immediately and share an ambulance ride.

  116. ZeroKewl on March 27, 2019 at 10:00 am said:

    I Just read this article. It’s written really well and much easier to understand. I really liked how you even went as far as talking about the colors of the switches. In the past I’ve read a lot of articles and even watched some youtube videos on how to setup a full suspension bike. I just didn’t feel like I understood or retained all the info when trying to do the tasks. BUT now, I have a much better understanding all due to this article. Thanks for the science.

  117. CyclinAl on March 27, 2019 at 9:29 pm said:

    If I may, I’d like to add a couple of tips to “riding in sand”. I live on the coast north of Perth, Western Australia and although I actively hunt out the firmer patches, I still have to deal with a lot of soft sand. I use 2.25 & 2.3 tyres @ 17-19psi.
    1- Keep your weight right back on the saddle. Your front wheel should be as light as possible to stop it from digging in, which is the source of all the problems when riding sand. In this position, you can actually enter sand patches (traps) at speed without any problem.
    2- Stay flexible at the waist. As your front wheel encounters irregularities in the sand surface (wheel ruts, foot prints…) and the resistance they create, fluctuates, it will cause your back wheel to lose traction and squirm around. Untrained riders see this as requiring corrective action, usually backing off on the pedals, which only ends up bringing them to a full stop. The best way is to ignore the squirming, keep your waist flexible, let your bum follow your back wheel as it wanders around while your upper body keeps the front wheel pointed in the right direction. Maintain a smooth cadence and you’ll find your rear wheel naturally comes back in line with your front wheel. Feathering your rear brake will help your back wheel maintain traction, if necessary.
    I hope this helps.

  118. 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.

  119. Well written, Jeremiah! From one of our former students.

  120. Brent Feller on April 4, 2019 at 5:54 am said:

    Good, advise. You can add ebike in there. It really is all about fun.

  121. Paul Moore on April 9, 2019 at 1:26 pm said:

    OK – fun, but on 14 roadies have us beat, and I do not want to be branded that way.

  122. it looks like you skipped the transition from stair to level ground? that usually causes me some issues.

  123. Poetdro Jameson on April 25, 2019 at 7:12 pm said:

    Most helpful and especially useful for pre-ride. Well done, lad…Pedro in PA

  124. Gary Kulhanek on April 26, 2019 at 10:53 am said:

    Dog get bored?

  125. Jenny on April 29, 2019 at 5:40 am said:

    I made one of these, and I am happy to report that I am making progress

  126. #10 – Be prepared to get your butt whipped by the little shredders you have created. They learn quickly, recover faster and seem to have endless energy.

  127. Kamala Slight on April 30, 2019 at 2:55 pm said:

    Great insight, Teri!

  128. Rusty Baillie on April 30, 2019 at 3:44 pm said:

    Good practical advice………especially the post crash assessment.
    Regarding “positive thought”:
    I find those strategies most useful which do not set the mind against itself…..which means that, rather than pretending that the situation is OK — when obviously it’s not, because you crashed, you build on your Step #2 — figure out where you went wrong, but then also figure out a mini training schedule to teach you how to do it successfully. This will probably involve doing a lot of repetitions, building back up to where you wanted to be when you crashed.
    With some perseverance, all those reps should have replaced the memory of the crash with solid, real evidence that you can now pull off the trick.

    Thanks for the good tips……

  129. With bikes evolving with slacker and slacker head angles, the ‘ready position’ seems to have also evolved with more elbow bend, to get the torso more over the front wheel. This seems to help with front wheel washouts. I also seem to like a stem one size longer and a seat slid forward the same amount. Some newer bike designs, like the new Ripley 4, are steepening the seat angle and lengthening the top tube [even more] to help the front tire bite better and also aid climbing.
    One more comment about extreme elbows out – makes it more difficult to prevent the shoulders from rolling forward. If you’ve ever had rotator cuff issues, this will resonate…

  130. Steve Pacini on May 29, 2019 at 6:05 am said:

    This is amazing!

  131. Louis on May 30, 2019 at 7:50 pm said:

    Wondering about the location?

  132. Louis on May 30, 2019 at 7:51 pm said:


  133. Zoso on May 31, 2019 at 6:00 am said:

    #5 is dead on! I even have my kids trained to find the lines when we hike.

  134. Jeffrey Balmeo on May 31, 2019 at 9:32 am said:

    Lol.. Love it. All spot on, except for the hair for me. But I will wear the trucker hat.

  135. Ralph Cady on May 31, 2019 at 10:34 am said:

    #17: “You consider plaid a neutral.”

    It isn’t?

  136. Brent Thomas on June 6, 2019 at 12:41 pm said:

    Nailed it, Hannah! Solo rides are the frosting on the cake that is mountain-biking. Thanks for the article… @thomastownusa (instagram)

  137. PeterRabbid on June 11, 2019 at 10:28 am said:

    I love to ride solo! But number 2 is so important. Had a bad fall a few years back and broke my sternum. Couldn’t ride out and had to life flighted. Now, I never ride solo without telling someone my expected itinerary!

  138. joeb on June 11, 2019 at 3:46 pm said:

    what happens when you need a new tire?? you donotbhave it!!!
    you have derailler hanger, you might never need, extra gloves, really, but much more likely you could cut your tires and you nneed a piece of gorila tape to be able to go on. Riding solo is about common sense first place and a real life experiances you do not have yet. Maybe later in your life…plus since your advise is to stay close to your car, kind of, minimalistic preparations is fine.

  139. falllinemaniac on June 12, 2019 at 4:33 am said:

    Most of my rides are solo. The youngins are too fast and the greybeards and silver ladies are way too sedate.

  140. Walt on June 24, 2019 at 7:55 am said:

    I don’t think this is good advice. Stretching before exercise decreases your power output and strength. Best to stretch after your ride. You still need to warm up though.

  141. Chalker on June 25, 2019 at 9:54 pm said:

    First rider too slow

  142. Nick on July 5, 2019 at 11:03 am said:

    These are some great points.
    I get so frustrated with many MTB Youtubers (who are honestly 10x worse at riding than they think they are) who spout nonsense about “overcoming their fear” and “just sending it.”

    Every year when the Whistler videos come out, you know a handful of clowns will start making videos of themselves stiff-arming some big jumps, praying they make it through without crashing. And of course making the obligatory “I/my friend crashed on the first turn!” video, downplaying their awful form while concluding they “just needed more speed.” The worst part is many of these guys have 100,000+ subscribers, breeding a new generation of terrible, reckless riders who are too impatient to ride within their skill zone.

  143. I sure don’t miss cargo pants, but bring back the halter tops …

  144. Delton Bush on July 11, 2019 at 6:55 am said:

    Recently attended the two-day course in Bentonville, AR with Matt Beall and Cory Rimmer as the instructors. Awesome class! Learned a lot of techniques and skills that I would have never figured out on my own. The instructors obviously new their craft and would push you but never beyond your comfort level. Tried things I probably would have never tried on my own but with their tips and instructions these things were doable. Thanks again!

  145. Leadmoto on July 17, 2019 at 8:51 am said:

    If your using clipless and lifting with your feet than it’s not a bunny hop. It’s mostly an upper body move.

  146. Shanna on July 17, 2019 at 11:30 am said:

    Well, it’s Cory, Hannah, Bernadette and Shanna in order of appearance.

  147. falllinemaniac on August 7, 2019 at 2:58 pm said:

    Cool tip I’m trying this today

  148. CColesJr on August 20, 2019 at 3:14 pm said:

    Good article. I used to wash my bike after very ride. Now I only wash it every 3-4 weeks. For the frame, I use Muc-Off. It works great and gives my bike a showroom shine. For the drivetrain, I use Simple Green. It’s environmentally friendly and is citrus based. To dry off my bike, I use a soft chamois. Nice to know I’m not the only person bouncing their bike to get the extra water out!

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  151. james jones on August 27, 2019 at 10:03 am said:

    use leaf blower to get rid of water. easier and no knuckle scuffs

    • Since I’ve lived in a townhouse community, that’s the only thing I use my “leaf blower” for :-). Not only no scraped knuckles, but blows water from areas you can’t reach with a chamois.

      Also: great article!

    • Good idea, never thought of that. I should of read this before washed my mtn and road bikes yesterday!

  152. What’s the product in the photo where the fork is being sprayed? All I see in the text is “silicone-based spray.”

  153. Rick Abrams on September 10, 2019 at 9:21 am said:

    I appreciate the regular communication relative to tips on better
    Mountain Bike Riding.

    I once mentioned to your org. that if you could add Tucson, AZ to your course schedule; I would definitely attend a class.

    Rick Abrams
    Tucson, AZ

  154. Tom Schutter on September 12, 2019 at 8:01 am said:

    I believe that step 4 should start with:
    Right as your front wheel passes the obstacle
    not “as your back wheel passes”.

  155. Wow, this sounds like a lot of work. Here’s my routine:
    Bounce bike a few times to remove loose mud or dirt.
    Wipe off seat post and fork stanchions.
    Wipe chain thoroughly.
    Lube chain (I recommend chain lube).
    Wipe chain thoroughly.

  156. Chuck Finley on September 19, 2019 at 6:44 pm said:

    Perhaps Emily Batty needs the input of your wealth of experience.

  157. Very well explained. My cornering has been crap lately, this sounds, um, unintuitively right. Thank you.

  158. Paul Mitchell on September 30, 2019 at 9:54 am said:

    I just finished a 2-day clinic with Susan and Brian (at Kingdom Trails, VT), and they were great. They both have the ability to break down a skill into smaller more manageable components that you can practice individually before trying to integrate them all together as a more complex skill.
    I took this clinic because I wanted to be able to do small drops and jumps properly, and I really feel like I got that. Understanding why you do something a certain way and having a skilled rider/instructor demo it and then watch you try and critique what you just did is absolutely invaluable.
    Susan and Brian were just super nice people. They created a learning environment where everyone felt comfortable and we all just had a really great time.

    (I also have to thank Patrick for turning me on to Ninja MTB in the first place!!!)

  159. Hi,
    How nice article this is! I am a bike lover. Your valuable tips and suggestions is very wrathful for me to bring my biking skills one step ahead. Keep posting new tips with us..

  160. itsnotbroken on October 21, 2019 at 10:11 pm said:

    Great stuff! Just hard to remember it all when going downhill at 25MPH

  161. Brian Felix on October 22, 2019 at 4:37 pm said:

    True on every reason! Keep up the great work!

  162. Hi,
    This is such a handy informative article. Thanks for your valuable suggestions. It is really important to know as dirt-bike riders. Keep sharing your suggestions with us.

  163. My reasons for not riding.

    Some of the people that I was riding with pissed me off so much that it was more grief than glory.

    The trails are closed because of weather.

  164. Hi, Thank you for the information. I have a Query about the bicycle.
    Which bicycle is the best for the mountains ?

  165. Beverly Seabreeze on November 5, 2019 at 2:26 pm said:

    Somebody should really check her exercises and their appropriateness for intermediate athletes.Clam shells are a closed chain exercises – the feet remain together the knees are bent and only the knees separate. She is demonstrating a side leg lift, which is open chain and put a tremendous amount of pressure on the hip joint -Especially with a band.

    The single leg knee squats below 90° are also only for people who have progressed to that level of difficulty- Could really blow someone’s knee out. Then it just gets worse..

    Great topic. But her solutions are way off base for functional exercise and safety and progression. That’s just my opinion:)

  166. Krista Thomas on November 5, 2019 at 7:24 pm said:

    I love the pics where the clinicians are standing at the ready to help the rider around or over the path. I’d like that to try to learn how to ride switchbacks and over small logs.. would def take a class next summer if this were the case!
    Really enjoy the articles, pics, & dreaming!

  167. Hi, Thank you for the information. I have a query about the bicycle.
    Which bicycle is the best for the mountains ?

  168. Carlos Danger on November 6, 2019 at 6:56 am said:

    Useless article. 27 years ago I read a GOOD one in some bicycling mag which laid out a SPECIFIC 3 month plan which rotated between low reps, medium reps, and high reps. I followed the plan and had EXCELLENT results. I still have it stashed away somewhere – think I’ll go look for it.

    • Hi Carlos,
      The purpose of this article was not to provide a specific workout plan, but to provide reasons to seek out a training plan along with a few resources to get started. Sounds like this article wasn’t useless at all since it’s inspired you to dig up that old article and hit the gym 🙂
      Happy training and happy trails.

  169. Carlos- if you find the workout, can you share it?

  170. bill katz on November 6, 2019 at 10:40 am said:

    100 % concur with above comments!!
    I find it difficult to understand how a person “credentialed” as she claims , would post such difficult and potentially injurious exercises to an general audience.

    • Bekah Rottenberg on November 6, 2019 at 2:04 pm said:

      Hi, thank you for the feedback! I use both these exercises regularly with my clients who are beginner, intermediate, and advanced cyclists and I’ve seen great results. The pistol squat is definitely an advanced exercise when done unsupported, which is why the article offer progressions. Side lying leg lifts and clamshells do a great job at activating the glutes both to increase strength and turn on those muscles prior to squatting. There are many exercises that folks can do to increase single leg strength and stability. The purpose of the article was to provide two options, and have one with a progression (pistol squats). Do you have exercises you prefer to use for single leg strength and stability?

  171. Greetings Amy, I appreciate your article and the guidance that it gives. So many are caught in a routine which really should be updated for those who truly wish to improve their performance.

    You might want to research the benefits of BFR training. will bring you to the best approach available today. Appropriate for age groups from 9 to 90 years this technology applies to all performance programs with 1/2 the weight, 1/2 the time AND BETTER results than traditional weights. Regards

  172. gato ryak on November 18, 2019 at 3:26 pm said:

    “If you walk into a shop and don’t get a good vibe then take your business elsewhere.” I agree with that bit of advice. And I’ve walked out of several bike shops that opened the sales process with this attitude: “Just come in knowing your budget and what you want to do on your new bike. You don’t need to come to our store prepared with more than that,”

    I don’t keep up with all the latest MTB trends, so when I go to buy a new bike, I bring in my bike and ask, “How are the new bikes better than my current bike?” Of course we talk about what trails I like, but also what trails I don’t like and why. This is where I decide if the salesperson is a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’. Any discussion of budget at this point turns the discussion into a ‘no-go’.

    Assuming ‘go’, the first decision should be which frame that would best suit me. Then we start talking about what my dollars are buying. I won’t divulge a budget. I ask. “In your opinion, which component level is the best value?” Then I ask about the performance difference of that model vs. one level down and then vs. one level up. If I judge one of the bikes is a better value than the original recommendation, I repeat the question with the next next level until I find the right balance of $ vs. benefits, for me. If the salesman can’t inform me in a knowledgeable yet patient manner, I’m out the door. If he can, I need to be able to demo the bike on a trail of my choice.

  173. Thank for blue print

  174. Sorry….. but gotta call you out. Here goes:

    No explanation of why it works? Well, the first turn is unnecessary; just set-up wide and make the smoothest possible arc through the corner. That’s what’s working—the wider arc. Also, you shouldn’t drop both feet—you really shouldn’t turn twice. No real rider drops a left foot, turns right, then drops a right foot around the left corner (if the foot needs to drop around the left—the real corner—for the correct reasons, that’s ok).

    Can you show me someone doing this in high level DH or Enduro racing? Answer: no. Also, teaching beginners, intermediated, etc., this will create bad habits and is dangerous (pedal strikes and just bad technique).

    Also, you won’t be able to brake well at all if you’re putting a turn before your turn—especially if you’re dropping a foot. And, this “technique” will be nearly impossible to do with any speed on any steep or difficult trail.

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but this isn’t a technique that is used by decent riders (set up wide? Sure. But the “two turn” thing? You won’t see it)

    This bums me out because teaching this kind of BS is bad for the business of mtb coaching. There are all kinds of real and relevant cornering techniques you could teach. Please stick to those. This “two turn” deal is the kind of thing that turns people away from mtb coaching. And that upsets me and takes away from my business.

    If you’re coaching good stuff that ALL riders can benefit from, cool. There’s plenty to go around. But this sort of 2-turn thing is pretty kooky, people will get that and now, collectively, mtb coaching takes a hit.

    Sorry. But I have a tough time letting stuff like this slide…

    • Hey Andy — thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Happy to share some more examples of your points / comment / questions:

      Check this video from Simon Lawton (x-pro DH rider, Ninja contributor and friend), he breaks this down a bit further and provides a solid demo:

      Also, another great explanation of foot work with detail and demos here:

      And YES — every single DH rider on a pro level does this.

      Are you ever in Oregon? If so, stop by — I’d be happy to meet up for coffee and review some slow-mo with you of the worlds top riders.

      Richard / NINJA

      P.S. You run a MTB coaching business, right?

    • Andy,

      “…just set-up wide and make the smoothest possible arc through the corner.”
      Yes – the pre-turn is a way to “just set-up wide”, which then allows you more space to make the “smoothest possible arc through the corner” and allows you the ability to make adjustments as needed due to terrain.

      This video is very basic and the movements exaggerated. As an experienced coach I am sure that you are well aware that you need to exaggerate your demos so your students do at least half of what you are teaching/showing them. Also, the pre-turn can later lead to more aggressive forms of opening up turns and controlling the arc/radius, which is something seen in many pro races – both DH and Enduro, heck even in cyclocross we use this move sometimes. I am not saying that this is for every turn, but it is a great piece of knowledge and a skill to have in your toolbox.

      It is even helpful on up hill switchbacks when you need to avoid obstacles. It is useful anytime that you need to control arcs that your wheels track around corners.

      What is a Pre-turn? | Mountain bike skills with Simon Lawton from Fluidride

      How To Ride Tight & Steep Switchback Corners On Your Mountain Bike

      Sam Hill Takes On The Hot Lap Challenge | Pinkbike Hot Laps

      How To Ride Blind Corners | Mountain Bike Skills

      How To Ride Tight Corners – Trail Tips with Nathan McComb – Ep2

      How To Ride The High Line | MTB Skills

      EWS 7: A French Classic. Valberg-Guillaume’s Highlights, France (Nicolas Vouilloz – 10 time Downhill Mountain Bike World Champ)

      ENDURO WORLD SERIES VITAL RAW – Getting Buck Wild in France! (Ritchie Rude pre-turn to open up the corner)

      How to improve your line choice

  175. Jeff Stevenson on December 15, 2019 at 5:56 am said:

    Hanna – so very well said.
    I also pass along many of these golden nuggets to fellow trail riders. Hopefully one or two of these ‘stick’, and get used out on the trail. Many seem to have respect at their core, a concept that seems often challenged aT time in our Coulter, and on our trails. Grateful you taking the time to write these up so nicely, and making a positive impact.

  176. Eddie Geisel on January 6, 2020 at 4:45 am said:

    Amazing Coaching on Epic Trails!

    I just completed the Sedona 2-day Adventure clinic with Phil and Joanna Yates that included a day of advanced training with jumps, drops, and high-speed turning on Sedona’s epic trail system. It was amazing! I have done my share of coaching, and I can say that Phil and Joanna are top-notch professional trainers! They ramp up the skills training from fundamentals to advanced riding techniques over two days. Their coaching styles are complimentary as they target each rider’s desired areas of improvement. Both Phil and Joanna have a calm and reassuring manner of instruction that helped build my confidence over the two-day clinic. I highly recommend Phil and Joanna’s Sedona clinics.

  177. Deveren on January 14, 2020 at 11:15 am said:

    I really love this post! I’m a former roadie turned MTB’er and gravel racer. I love my Lycra even a bit more than my baggies, so It’s good to be accepted regardless of what you where to the trailhead. As long as you have a helmet, you’re good to go! I can’t wait for my next Ninja clinic in Vermont, this coming Spring!

  178. Kamala Slight on January 14, 2020 at 10:16 pm said:

    Great post! I give a wholehearted “YES, PLEASE!” to all three of the revised questions!

  179. I ride in lycra because it is cooler. Temperature not style. I ride clips because I have been riding clips for 30 years and it is too late to switch now. I do not use a dropper because I started riding long before they were invented (ignoring the Hite-Rite). At that time you learned to bend your arms to lower your shoulders to lower your center of gravity. That being said baggies, flats and droppers all work great if that is the way you like it. I own a 26, a 27.5 and a 29er. All do their own thing. Tight quick twisties is the 26. Stable cruising is the 29er. Most of the time the 27.5 covers everything.

  180. I fantasized about a dropper post for years before I found the first primitive 2-position, bounce-on-it (Gravity Dropper I think) for sale…and haven’t had a bike without one for 15+ years. Ditto for full suspension (20 years) and 29ers (first time I tried either I knew I was never going back!). And I’ve never liked spandex – and let’s just say that it doesn’t flatter my physique – so have been riding in baggy whatever-shorts/shirts ever since my first MTB. But….haven’t switched out from SPDs since ditching the toe-clips back in the dark ages.

    While I dont care much for being trendy, advancing technology has been a great thing for the sport and my enjoyment of it………..who knows, I might even think about an E-BIKE sometime after I enter my 8th decade….

    • I’m with ya! I’m all about taking advantage of new technology. I’ve seen dramatic improvements in my own riding from simple component upgrades like new wheel set, different tires, a new shifter that better fits my hands.

  181. I ride road, gravel, and MTB. Lycra is always my first choice for comfort and efficiency. Good bibs and a long sleeve jersey (sun protection) with pockets. Clipless and flat for the MTB. I change pedals/shoes for different rides. I could live without a dropper post, but it happens to be on my current ride. I’ve always been a land steward for my “local spot,” first as a rider and then as a member of a local land trust. If you want more people to enter the sport, dare I ask to welcome people on Class 1 e-bikes?

    • I definitely could not live without a dropper post, but that’s just me! 🙂 I don’t have a dropper post on my winter fat bike and every time I ride downhill, I find myself reaching for a dropper lever that doesn’t exist. As for e-bikes, as long as the venues where we teach permit e-bikes, riders are welcome to bring one to their Ninja clinic. We do ask the participants take responsibility for doing the research to determine if their e-bike is permitted on the trails where we teach.

  182. …so much for inclusivity #e-bikes. How about you selecting trails where e-bikes are permitted?

    • Hey Bob, I’m sure you can appreciate that a lot of work goes into selecting clinic venues that are conducive to a great clinic experience, with lots of different factors coming into play. We have clinics in 25 states and over 40 cities, many of which are held on e-bike friendly trails. If we can help to direct you to a location near you that is e-bike friendly, feel free to shoot us an email at

    • Hey, let’s include Ebikers; otherwise we are excluding MANY who we may likely have no awareness of

      Thank you

  183. Jeffrey Todd Skinner on January 30, 2020 at 11:47 am said:

    Not sure if you’ve done an article on this, but I’d like to hear one about riding in wet conditions be it rain or puddle or mud. What are the risks to yourself and your bike?
    Riding in wet conditions is fun, but is it worth it?

  184. Great article!

    It would be great to see the actual speed as well as the slow-motion cut.

    Thanks for the great content – I look forward to my first clinic with you guys in May.

    • Thanks for the great feedback, Joe and KidX. We’ll update it so you see them back to back and be sure to do the same for future episodes. We’re stoked to have you join us for a clinic, KidX!

  185. Joe Smith on February 4, 2020 at 1:47 pm said:

    Agree with KidX. Full speed and then slow mo back to back would have been awesome.

  186. That manual was awesome. I never do those. Also thanks for adding the slow mo. Looking forward to two of your clinics in North Carolina this year.

  187. Andrew Wheeler on March 5, 2020 at 10:23 am said:

    I was considering buying a dropper post but that means I will not be able to use a rear mud guard. I’m usually in wet and/or muddy places so the mud guard saves me from having a huge splurge of dirty water and mud up my back after each ride. Is it possible to have a dropper post but yet have a rear mud guard as well?

    • robert spencer on March 5, 2020 at 11:47 am said:

      yes get one that fits on the top tubes of your rear triangle

    • Hey Andrew –
      As Robert and George mentioned, there are lots of rear mudguard options for you to run with a dropper – start with ProGuard and Mudhugger. There are a few DIY options floating around, but they’re more for protecting your bike and not very useful for keeping you dry.
      Happy dropping!

  188. George Lawrence on March 5, 2020 at 6:49 pm said:

    Or choose a dropper length that leaves an inch of post that does not move exposed above the seat tube, and attached the rear fender to that section of post.

  189. nice job really helped

  190. Hi, can you please email me the plans so I may build the Manual Machine?

  191. Patty Elliot on March 23, 2020 at 11:26 am said:

    This is brilliant!

  192. Mike O'Farrell on March 23, 2020 at 8:21 pm said:

    This was actually one of the coolest “tips on how to stay at home” e-mails I’ve gotten yet!

    Very well done and very useful! Thank you!

  193. falllinemaniac on April 13, 2020 at 11:17 am said:

    I got so into heavy heels I find scooping the back wheel up refreshing.

  194. Ian Hillerud on April 13, 2020 at 12:22 pm said:

    All worthwhile but should include the lateral bunny hop (though some might argue that jumping sideways up onto a curb is a more urban survival skill).

  195. Me too a dirt lover! 🙂 Amazing content, keep it up!! Much love from team Geekwake.!

  196. Hahaha. I’ve only been riding for a year, but I’m hooked. I realized I was a mtb when my friend said, “that’s a Santa Cruz Tallboy” when we were looking at bikes in a parking lot. I said “no, they didn’t make the Tallboy in that color in 2019, that’s a High Tower”.

  197. TrailWorker on May 26, 2020 at 11:03 pm said:

    I would like to second CyclinAl,
    I ride a lot of sand in Nor Cal in the summer time from the beaches to the Sierra Mountains, we encounter sand often in low sections of the trails. My first tip to riders who struggle to stay balanced in the loose stuff, is to sit on that back wheel. I agree with the keep your head up and that helps shift the weight, but butt heavy back and arms straight and keep the speed. If you can keep your front wheel floating on the sand you have it made. Slow down, brake, or try to avoid an obstacle and you are doomed on anything other than a fat bike! Make it fun not a fight.

    Keep up the great positive articles!

  198. Ed K on May 28, 2020 at 11:33 am said:

    I’ve been riding MTB for 24 years and feel like I just now learned how to brake properly. Thanks Singletracks!

  199. Falllinemaniac on June 8, 2020 at 12:20 pm said:

    I enjoy the vice of braking into the apex as late as possible, done right momentum is preserved. The acceleration through the apex from slowing down before the corner just is not as fun, even if faster.

  200. Falllinemaniac on June 8, 2020 at 5:03 pm said:

    My old school roots have me use the rear brake to make the front heavy, traction does increase with use tho diminishing returns await chronic use.

  201. Nisene Marks on June 9, 2020 at 9:10 am said:

    Great article! I think it’s smart for any beginning mountain biker to learn braking and basic fire road handling on a completely rigid bike due to the additional feedback you get from the bike – the rider can feel exactly what is going on with both the bike and their body position. A rigid front fork really hones braking technique as well as keeping the upper body loose to “float” over obstacles on the trail. Modern suspensions forgive so many ham fisted mistakes that one can get bad habits ingrained and when they do crash it is at a much higher speed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a trail bike with almost 6″ of travel front and back and it’s great fun, but learning old school first has its benefits.

  202. This is an important topic but I think it missed some really important points. Points such as “ride on the most durable surfaces”. Not on the moss on the rocks at DuPont. Where to ride on the trail and what to do if you can’t ride a feature. A big issue in our area is becoming trails widening from 2 feet wide up to 15 feet wide in some areas due to riders making their own lines around technical sections rather than walking through them. It is very important for riders to walk the center of trails they can’t ride. That being said, I think our goals really should be to ride in the middle of the trail. That’s where all of the good technical shit usually happens anyway. The other issue is mud puddles. In The Pisgah where I ride and teach, the appropriate place to ride mud puddles is right through the middle. Many of the same 2ft to 15ft issues are happening due to mud puddles. Good start but I would like to see more of this and more in depth articles about how Leave No Trace can be practiced by the mountain bike community. This is THE most important thing our user groups need to be educated on. Our trail longevity and trail access depends on it.

    • Sandee Miller on June 11, 2020 at 9:24 am said:

      Thank you for bringing up the point. I have seen small marsh areas being widened by bikes trying to avoid mud.

  203. DustyShredder on June 9, 2020 at 3:09 pm said:

    Just one comment: skidding does not necessarily mean you are out of control. Racers skid all the time to tighten the radius of their turns so they can hold more speed through it. That being said, those trails are also maintained before and after every event, and by no means should everybody start doing it. It does cause significant erosion.

  204. SoCal2Foco on June 9, 2020 at 9:25 pm said:

    Great article. Saying hi and being friendly used to be commonplace in the early days but seems more and more less frequent.
    One point of asking, though – and I am open to feedback, is the yielding to uphill riders. When you’re finally enjoying the reward of a hard climb on a predominately downhill route and come across someone wanting to at temp it uphill, I feel the uphill rider can easily move aside and let the downhill person enjoy the flow. When I’m riding uphill I always give way to the downhiller so they can have their fun. Think of the guy riding Rocket or Meadows in Aliso, come on, let the downhillers enjoy the ride, it’s easy for the uphuller to step off for a few seconds. Think if it were you enjoying the downhill to have to stop for an someone riding oppo.
    Just my opinion. Open to feedback.

    • Thanks for the comment, SoCal. Sometimes I miss the friendly greetings, too, but that won’s stop me from doing my part to share the stoke by smiling and saying hi to every single person I see. Let’s hold strong 🙂
      As for your thoughts on yielding, I think it’s important that everyone knows exactly what’s expected out on the trails – in this case, the rider coming downhill pulling to the side to let the climber continue uphill. That being said, exceptions can be made BUT only by the person with the right-of-way. As the climber, you can yield your right-of-way to let the downhill-er maintain their flow on the descent, you just cannot expect others to do the same for you. As always, clear (and kind) communication is key.

      • L'autre on June 22, 2020 at 6:25 pm said:

        Spot on! … except, If etiquette is going to work It shouldn’t come down to rider judgement. Ride like there are others on the trail. Pull over, make a friend, its really gratifying.

    • 100% Agree. What is the logic for the fastest person with the most momentum having to slam on their brakes for someone going much slower uphill? I say this as the person going up hill as well. It feels so un-natural to make the person bombing down at you stop so you can crawl by them. The person going up hill can almost always hear the person coming down and move out of the way far in advance of the person going down, who can’t hear anything other than their own motion. Anyone know what the thought process is to this “rule”?

      • A big part of it is where you are looking when you desend vs climb. When desend you are looking further down the trail. When climbing, especially on a technical climb you are looking at the trail directly in front of you. Uphill riders may not see you in time to yield. Additionally, the faster rider has the most potential energy. If the uphill riders yields and the down hill rider makes no effort to slow down, and something goes wrong (uphill rider can’t get far enough off the trail) it is the speed of the down hill rider that will cause the damage.

  205. Billy on June 11, 2020 at 3:38 pm said:

    This looks a lot like a technique called counter steering that is used for high speed turns on everything from motorcycles to fire trucks. The dynamics of shifting the mass in one direction before turning sharper in the opposite direction may seem counterintuitive but trust me they do work (:

  206. SvenSteadly on June 12, 2020 at 8:35 am said:

    As a trail user who mountain bikes and hikes, I always appreciate it when the first biker approaching, me going the other way, indicates how many other riders are behind him or her. The mountain biker saying, “two more”, lets me know that I can expect two other riders behind him. This is especially helpful on more narrow trails.

    • DUNCAN COOK on June 12, 2020 at 11:42 am said:

      spot on, it’s polite and informs the other trail user. They then know what to expect and can remain cool and happy that us mtb ers are considerate and not a bunch of adrenaline fueled twats.
      I also use my very friendly cling…clongggg bell in areas that are fast and where their may be other trail users that I cannot see.
      Easy isn’t it???!?

  207. DUNCAN COOK on June 12, 2020 at 11:33 am said:

    Skids are for kids and roadies!

  208. DUNCAN COOK on June 12, 2020 at 11:35 am said:

    Take pride in leaving no mark!

  209. John Ramella on June 12, 2020 at 7:16 pm said:

    As far as hikers go… I find it rare when I slow down and greet them they don’t move off the trail and let me pass. Very rare for them not to. I must not live in the area of the country where the hikers are out to get the mountain bikers. hehe

  210. Curtis Powers on June 13, 2020 at 2:49 pm said:

    Aaron, really good explanation!! I’ve watched a couple videos about pedals and I don’t recall the tip that “thinner is better”. It makes sense. Thank you for that. Also, your explanation about not keeping my arms and legs stiff through the jump is a good reminder. I’ve read that before but putting into practice is taking time. It doesn’t come naturally. For me, anyway.
    I’m saving this article because for me the more I read good directions, practice them, reread them, and practice them again. My comprehension and understanding along with a lot of practice is evolving into a natural technique. Very rewarding!!!
    And…..less cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
    – curtis

  211. A better mental strategy might be:
    Think Realistically ……..not Positively OR Negatively.
    True — Don’t put yourself down, but also don’t build yourself up just through wishing.
    If you know you can do something, by having proved your abilities, go ahead and send it; if you have realistic doubts, go back and train and practice more.
    Being realistic is a lot more sane and fun……….and it keeps you out of the ER.

  212. Kevin D on June 15, 2020 at 4:24 pm said:

    Love this post. Add “Ride it don’t slide it” , “Speed is your friend”, and “Just send it!” to the list of poor and unexplained advice. Quality coaching that teaches riders how to manage speed, braking, body position, bike body separation, and looking at the right spots on the trail (looking ahead, etc.) are the keys to safe and fun riding while learning to ride more technical terrain with style and confidence.

  213. Falllinemaniac on June 18, 2020 at 11:28 am said:

    I recommend putting the “cover the rear brake lever first

    I have been trying to get a feel, and one particular attempt I succeeded far more than expected and looped out. This was in a blink of the eye it was that fast.

  214. Yechiel Benedikt on June 19, 2020 at 3:39 am said:

    What about gloves?

  215. Eric King on June 19, 2020 at 4:57 pm said:

    You might want to re-think #4. How many new riders start out on a bike with a dropper post? Very few. Most would be better served starting out on a modestly priced hard tail and learn the basics before attempting descents.

  216. Great article. Just one point for clarification, this applies to hikers too which is where I learned it.

    When you pull over to let a horse pass, pull over on the lower side of the trail, as if you’re on the higher side, your could be taller than the horse and be seen as a threat, and the horse could become unpredictable. Rare but it can happen.

  217. Kevin D on June 23, 2020 at 10:46 am said:

    Excellent points and I do them all. IMBA teaches this also in it’s BICP course.
    One item to add is that the uphill rider has the right of way on two direction trails.
    Yield to a rider that’s climbing and be aware of riders that might need a little more room because their bike handling skills are not quite dialed in yet.

  218. Amazing post. Personally love dropper posts because they are so versatile.

    Don’t forget the number 1 reason they were invented in the first place: to adjust seat height without getting off the bike.

  219. ZeeBeast on July 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm said:

    How do you keep from getting lost in the dunes?

  220. Really great article and it applies to riding with kids and beginners you are trying to introduce to the sport.

    I’ll add:
    – use all your knowledge and experience to find a trail and route that will maximize the fun and potential for success. Match the trail with the skills/preference of you your riding partner, not you.

    – Prepare and overprepare. Make sure the bikes are dialed and the nutrition and hydration are stocked up. Make the experience about the ride, not the bikes or the lack of tools and supplies.

    – start inviting their peers or folks at their level. When your significant other is not the slowest, least skilled rider, their confidence/fun goes up

    • Great additions! And yes, these tips totally apply for introducing new riders to the sport and riding with kiddos. We have two other articles on similar topics you might find helpful…checkout “8 Steps to Successfully Introducing a Friend to Mountain Biking” and “7 Must Know Skills For The New Mountain Biker”. Happy trails!

  221. “Looking up and looking ahead can make all the different in clearing” …. *difference 🙂

    Great tips!

  222. Whoops! Thx for catching that. 🙈

  223. Michael Dawson on July 24, 2020 at 11:43 pm said:

    Thanks for the article, some useful tips in there. I’ve made learning to jump my lockdown skill to master and have come a bit stuck on an issue i’m having. I don’t think my feet leave the pedals but once i’m airborne the pedals definitely rotate a half rotation or so before coming back to level for the landing. I’m not conscious of it at the time but it looks real weird in videos. Any tips?

  224. Paul Lehman on July 27, 2020 at 6:33 am said:

    Physics….it’s all in the physics – we need a science guru to weigh in and explain how this technique affects the interim of bike and rider. Any science stud(ess)es out there?

  225. richard mullen on July 29, 2020 at 7:29 am said:

    never saw such a clean and smooth switchback

  226. TinaMarie Bell on August 4, 2020 at 4:07 pm said:

    Love This!!!

  227. Wonderful! Thank you for your time for this wonderful read!!

  228. Yechiel Benedikt on August 4, 2020 at 8:45 pm said:

    Very insightful and inspiring. Thank you Hannah for posting this article.

  229. Steve on August 6, 2020 at 8:22 pm said:

    I rode 20+ years without one. Recently added one to my 2013 Rocky mountain altitude. After having it on for 8 months never really found areas/conditions when I ride to continually drop or raise my seat. Used it maybe 2x in drop position and didn’t really feel any benefit and found it more of a distraction when I accidentally would hit it and drop the seat while peddling. Just removed it and I don’t miss it all.

  230. Rusty Baillie on August 13, 2020 at 3:34 pm said:

    Good advice………..and encouragement!

    Yes: Solo is Life.

    However — While solo, I tend to use the “Slow – Trials” type approach, trying to go for Control.
    Just leave the “Hit It Straight And Fast” method for another time…………


  231. Ken Mueller on August 18, 2020 at 8:52 pm said:

    Hi Hannah. It’s great to see you teaching again. 🙂

  232. Daniel M Burge on August 19, 2020 at 9:31 am said:

    Just a thought when getting off the bike to check chainring clearance. On a dual suspension, when you get back on the bike it will sag a little and may reduce your clearance a little more than you anticipate. I learned the hard way.

    I just signed up for DE in October and can’t wait. I can’t tell you how helpful the one I took in Phoenix with Jeremiah, Joanne, and Becky was.

    • Really good point! Indeed, your bike will be even lower with rider weight so definitely keep that in mind when doing a “roll over” test.

      So glad you had a great clinic in Phoenix – we look forward to seeing you on the other side of the country this fall!

  233. Bob G. on August 25, 2020 at 10:29 am said:

    #8 is good! At your furthest point from the car (or trailhead), do you have time to walk out, and will it be during daylight?

    Also, if I’m going out into the “backcountry”, or even heavily traveled trails with no cell service, I will take my Garmin inReach satellite communicator. Not just for me, but if I were to come upon someone injured and there’s no cell service, I can still summon help.

  234. These are great ideas. Thank you!
    I think you need to stress that the things you teach have to be PRACTICED. Some people just want a quick fix and don’t realize that what you are teaching are SKILLS, and like all other skills you have to practice to get much better. I have started going to a local bike park to focus on my jumping. Then when i get back on the trails I concentrate on the obstacle and know my skills will be ready when needed.

    • Great point – YES to practice, practice, practice! There are very few “quick fixes” in mountain biking. If you want to see results, you have to commit to putting in the work! You also can’t learn everything at once, so focusing on one or two skills at a time is a great way to ride.

  235. I would suggest adding pull off to the right when yielding or stopping for another rider.

  236. Thank you for these tips. Riding on sand is a little bit harder than riding along a trail. I have ridden on sands a couple of times, can’t say I hate it. But It wasn’t very enjoyable as well BUt Next time when I will go to a sandy ride, I will definitely follow your tips.
    Very helpful post. Thanks for sharing.

  237. Chris Craig on September 3, 2020 at 10:12 am said:

    Avoid skidding. It is the least efficient way to slow down and tears up the trails.

    • Stevie Nomad on September 3, 2020 at 11:32 am said:

      ++ thank you, Chris Craig!

      It seems like somewhere along the line trail etiquette has been lost and people want to drag their rear tire around every corner. Please don’t!

  238. Chris B on September 8, 2020 at 2:05 pm said:

    In the drop step, is it necessary or does it help to lower your saddle with your dropper first?


  239. Great question, Chris. Having your seat up significantly limits your ability to explode DOWN and back because it’s in the dang way. Always drop your seat before hitting a drop. Happy dropping!

  240. Why does it need the hinge? Seems like you could just back into it and strap the rear wheel in.

  241. Great post! Really appreciated this for both MTB and life.


  242. Such good reminders, aptly timed. Thank you Bekah!

  243. Kamala S Slight on September 22, 2020 at 2:42 pm said:

    Great Post and very appropriate to the times! Happily shared this with our GGR Chapter in San Diego.

  244. Richard Dingman on September 22, 2020 at 3:20 pm said:

    Riding alone is natural for me, since I started only 1 year ago. I am 73 years old and never mountain biked before. At first I just dinked around my neighborhood trying to get used to my new bike. Then covid came and though I would like to take classes and join in on group rides, I’m not risking it. So now I use apps to plan remoter rides, take appropriate gear with me and am conservative and cautious. I am improving almost every time out and enjoying being in beautiful places with peace and quiet. Still have never ridden with anyone else, so I look forward to that time!

  245. Glad you enjoyed the article, Lisa!

  246. Conrad Clayton on September 24, 2020 at 10:35 am said:

    Second these comments, great article, with some transferable tips…
    Enjoy the ride is a good slogan.
    Many thanks for sharing.

  247. Aargh! I just can’t ride these #@&$ things. As a mountain bike coach to a bunch of beginners, I need to master this skill. I’ve built one in my backyard. Zero for 263.

  248. Sounds good.

    The part I find most tricky is the bottom of the Roll (the transition?).
    This is where the max energy from descending the drop hits you, and wants to put you OTB.
    You have to brace your arms to counter this force and, presumably still be a little back to send the bike forward BUT you don’t want to get too far back and loop out.

    Presumably there are some transitions that are not smooth enough to allow a Roll — that need a technique that lifts the front wheel?

    How do you see balancing all this?


    • Hi Rusty – great questions!

      First, it’s important to recognize the difference between riding a steep transition as a roll down (as described in this article) and riding a steep transition as a drop. These are two different techniques.

      For the steep transition technique described in this article, it is the “push” (combined with even weight in your feet + good body positioning) that will prevent you from being pulled forward. When done correctly, you should feel completely stable and in control. Sometimes I see riders who make the following mistake: instead of pushing the bike down and forward, the rider instead pushes their body back. When this happens, the riders weight will be too far back and their bike will pull them down. I call this the “bobble-head-effect” when the rider gets a jarring pull down (thanks gravity) and their head bobbles. Proper technique can help you avoid this completely!

      There are some obstacles that are too tall for the technique described here. I describe how to determine when a steep transition is too tall under the “Size it up” section above. For larger obstacles, you will likely want to ride it as a drop. Checkout our recent article title How to Ride A Drop: Down and Back Technique (

      Hope that helps clear up your questions!

  249. Steve, I am the same way. Maybe I don’t ride enough technical descents but I ride about 2000 miles a year on singletrack in Missouri and have never felt the need for one.

  250. G. Rice on October 20, 2020 at 4:21 pm said:

    Just attended the Intermediate/Advanced skills lesson at Norbrook CT with Instructor Patrick and Instructor Tom. Learned a lot. Can do the downhill berms properly now. I will remember to Look Up!! and Tom thanks for the tip on the shock rebound. Bike is now plush!! Course and instructors are Top Notch!!!

  251. Finally! I’ve always wanted to take my 125cc supermoto on the local pump track, but those old fashioned “environmentalist trail-builders” have discriminated against “motorized vehicles” and excluded me. Now that motorized bikes are trending, I’m totally going to shred it!

  252. Andrew on October 27, 2020 at 4:35 am said:

    One explanation that I have seen (which is probably in one of the many linked videos in the earlier comments) is that the pre-turn sets the rear wheel on a better line so that it hits the apex of the turn closer to the same line as the front wheel rather than tracking farther in. If you’ve ever seen an 18-wheeler (or anything pulling a trailer) make a right turn, that’s exactly the same technique they use to get the trailer on a wider track so it doesn’t clip the inside of the turn.

  253. At 73 I find it impossible to find a ‘riding buddy’ as you put it.
    Everyone I ask is either too young and too fast for me, or too old (50 and up) and
    and are usually concerned that I will be too fast for them !
    I enjoy my mountain bikes very much, riding to keep my heart pumping as well as enjoying the scenery not to mention appreciating my beautiful bikes and the way in which they perform.
    I enjoy riding with my daughters when I get the opportunity, they live in Melbourne where as I live in North Central Victoria, I enjoy riding with my son, but he lives in Munich Germany. But what the heck, at my age I’m lucky to be able to ride at all..

  254. Eric Brown on November 17, 2020 at 6:35 am said:

    Every trail and local recreation agency in N.A. asks that riders avoid muddy trails. This set of Ninja Skillz is whacked unless you live in the U.K. If people are getting this muddy riding they need to stay off the trails. Irresponsible. I ride year round and never get this muddy.

  255. I agree. As someone who does help with building and maintaining trails, stay off when wet!! Hit the road instead! Or ride on gravel bike paths. But stay off trails.

  256. thank you very much for this guide. I was looking for a riding guide like this. I have been riding a bike for a long time. Articles like this are gold. helps new riders. This is a hobby of madness.
    Love the content, keep it coming.

  257. Consider touching base with physical ability to include proper diet and hydration. When I first started riding MTB I was unable to have enough umpf to keep up yeti thought I was strong. I mentioned this to several folks at a bike shop where one of the guys put me in my place and indicated that I totally lacked on core strength and as you can imagine I was taken back. Well guess what he was totally correct. Now after a year physically training I can now kick some serious butt.

    • Diet, hydration AND strength training can all play a very important role in your mountain biking experience! Sounds like those guys at your local bike shop could have used some better tact…but glad you were able to identify an area to work on. Keep kicking butt!

  258. Gary Ciminelli on December 10, 2020 at 1:44 pm said:

    I have the honor and privilege to live in Park City, UT. We have a great mtn biking trail system here because of Charlie Sturgis and his Mountain Trails Foundation. So I am very proud to support them by continually doing everything mentioned above to spread the Trail Magic…

  259. ”This differs to how you would place your foot with clipless pedals”
    No, clipless mountain pedals are best with foot placement behind the ball of the foot as well. It just took shoe makers many years to move cleat channels back.

  260. Correct braking technique is essential on downhills. Front/rear balance will help stop you in the most precarious situations. Skidding is not a braking technique (some would argue that it is more a turning technique). Fun as it may be, it provides ineffective traction and just tears up the trails. Please be conscientious

  261. Albert C Weihl on December 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm said:

    “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” Like knowing breaks from brakes.

  262. I understand that uphill have riders have right of way but on the other side of the coin you have earned that downhill sometimes with an hour or more of riding and climbing. To have that downhill run you’ve been working and waiting for the whole ride ruined by someone doing less than walking pace climbing can be very frustrating. It’s the same rules on a 4wd trail but that makes sense because 4wd’s aren’t trying to get downhill as fast as they can and the uphill momentum is sometimes critical to get up the hill for the 4wd that’s climbing it. This is rarely the case with an MTB. 99.9% of the time you can get back to climbing after a stop of usually no more than 3 or 4 seconds with very little effort once the rider on the downhill run passes. It has had very little impact on the rider climbing and the downhill rider is happy. A quick “THANKS MATE” or “THANK YOU” from the downhill rider on the way past is all it takes to show the climbing some appreciation then I find everyone is happy. Even though I know I have right of way while I’m climbing I will ALWAYS pull the side and give the rider on their downhill run the track to enjoy what they’ve worked for and I find most experienced MTB riders will do the same.

  263. Gary Kovarik on January 1, 2021 at 7:58 am said:

    I have been riding single speed mountain bike for 6 or 7 years. Reading this I see techniques that I have figured out through necessity. I have some bad habits as well that articles like this help correct.

  264. Ed Kelly on January 2, 2021 at 11:40 am said:

    I’ve two bikes with dropper posts, the first was bought about 4 years ago. This is the best article I’ve seen on how best to use them. Great job!

  265. This post is well enough to understand the advantage and disadvantage between road bike and mountain bike. Your provided ideas are very helpful for the bikers. I’m little bit confused of which one is much better for me. Now I fix my decision. I should thanking you a lot for this unique ideas.

  266. Great advice, tho a disclaimer maybe necessary about rear brake is on the right hand, here in the UK the brakes are the opposite, right hand is front brake. Otherwise a great article.

  267. As with a helmet, always wear eye protection, even if just clear lenses. Branches and cacti are everywhere and you don’t want to lose an eye just because you weren’t planning to wreck.

  268. Mike Croteau on January 12, 2021 at 2:04 pm said:

    Need to conserve space in your vehicle? dropper!

  269. Gregory J Wise on January 12, 2021 at 2:24 pm said:

    I will agree that a dropper will be a big asset to your bike, but I don’t think it’s quite as important as the author thinks it is. I have one on my bike and rarely use it. It’s quite heavy, and the only reason I don’t ditch it and put on a standard post is because it would be a pain to reinstall the internally routed cable if I ever decide to go back to it.
    I should add that I am an older rider (so my perspective varies from most) and have had every type of bike with almost any mountain biking innovation since 1990. And I’m so used to shifting my weight around the bike that I don’t even think about it.
    For my purposes, there are a few much more important innovations in the sport, such as suspension forks, threadless headsets (my first MTB had a quill stem) and the elimination of front derailleurs. Wider tires, Boost spacing, and disc brakes (I had cantilevers for years) are a few others, at least to me.
    I think newer riders probably do like them much more than do I, as it does give an advantage when less experienced. I think there are a few other “old as dirt” riders like myself who might agree.
    Every year I continue to try to embrace the dropper, but in the end I just leave it stocked out fully unless I’m descending. You have some good ideas I haven’t tried yet to make this work, so I am looking forward to giving it a shot in the coming riding season. Thanks for the insight.

  270. Jennifer Disser on January 12, 2021 at 10:29 pm said:

    The answer about clipless above is a little off. The cage and strap combination are called “toe clips” and allowed for increased efficiency by securing the foot to the pedal. The introduction of the current systems meant one could accomplish the same foot to pedal connection without toe clips, hence the name ‘clipless’. Since I’ve been a cyclist since about 1984, I still have a pair of toe clips in my garage.

    • Thanks Jennifer. It’s definitely hard to explain that in writing without having a conversation. We’ll integrate your well written description into the article so that people are (hopefully) LESS confused. Appreciate the feedback!

      -Ninja Team

  271. Thanks for the tips. I like the pool noodle and gnome ideas. They seem like the kids will like them and learn the associated skill.