Monday, July 26, 2010

Advanced Switchback Technique

After talking about the main points in riding a switchback last Thursday, I thought it necessary to explain an advanced switchback descending technique.  This is generally accepted as the fastest way to negotiate a sharp switchback while going downhill.  Please note: I've never actually done this before.  I've had it explained to me, and been shown how to do it, but I've never actually attempted it.

  1.  Approach the switchback with much more speed than you would normally use to ride through the turn. 
  2. When your front wheel is well into the turn, grab your front brakes hard, bringing your rear wheel high off the ground.
  3. Instead of going over the handle bars, swing the back end of your bike around towards the outside of the turn, until you are directly inline with the lower trail.
  4. Release your front brake as you let your rear wheel down, and ride straight out of the turn.
The four steps above take place over a matter of a few seconds.  When done correctly, this is a visually stunning technique that is bound to leave your riding buddies in awe... and lagging far behind you.

Remember to wear your helmet (as you should be anyway) while you attempt to master this technique!

Your Turn:
Are you one of the talented few who can pull of this maneuver? If so, I'd love to hear a more detailed explanation!  Feel free to post it in the comments section below!


Jeremy (GoldenGoose),  July 27, 2010 at 8:12 PM  

It's actually not as hard as you'd think. VERY doable on the trail. However, I wouldn't approach it with "much more speed" as you said. No need for it because you have to come to a stop either way. Btw, GREAT brakes are a must for this maneuver. This video has a couple great examples of the technique in action. 1st on is at 1:55.

Greg Heil July 28, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

Great video, thanks for sharing the link. I may have to try this out...

eastwood,  July 29, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

That video is sweet. Love the area... bet you'd just fly on that trail in the spring or summer without the cover of the leaves. And I do like the idea of the front brake back wheel flip at that lower speed rather than full speed stop and whip : )

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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