Flat corners, photo analysis

Last weekend, I raced the Catalan’duro, a local enduro race organised by the Catalan’s Team VTT around the small village of Corbère. It was a great sucess with more than 300 racers at the start, ready to ride flat out on the 6 technical AND physical stages… enduro as it should be!

Race over, I went online hoping to find that elusive photo of me shredding a turn Sam Hill style…I didn’t find it ! But I couldn’t help noticing quite a range of positions amongst my fellow racers… professional habit I guess !

So here’s a little selection of photos with a short analysis, I hope it will help you improve your flat corner skills and also answer the classic question : «  tuition for my kids/partner, sure but why would I get some when I am already a racer? ».

All shots are from the same corner (stage 6), after a big step so you would get there with plenty of speed… and exhaustion (last stage) !

NB : if you are one of the racers on these photos and don’t want it published here, let me know and I’ll delete it ASAP (they were already on FB though).

To make a bike turn at speed, the most effective way is to lean it, which means that the rider must find a position which allows him/her to lean the bike without losing balance but also keep enough freedom of movement to manage the pressure of the tyres on the ground.

CD 1

Ex1 : the top half of the body is commited to the corner (good eye anticipation), but the bike is still standing up, it’s not turning and the rider is going to have to hit the brakes which might compromise his balance.

What to do ? Lean the bike in by streching the inside arm.

CD 2

Ex2 : Foot out without a need for it, the bike is standing up and is not going to slide here… even less turn ! The rider can’t use his legs anymore to push on the pedals or accelerate… you can actually see a bit of panic in his eyes !

What to do ? Keep the feet on the pedals and better anticipate the braking to avoid coming into the corner too fast.

CD 3

Ex3 : The upper body is facing the outside of the corner, the hips are leaning with the bike, the rider isn’t in a balanced/comfortable position but also can’t put pressure efficiently on his outside pedal/tyres, it is also limiting how much he can lean the bike in.

What to do ? Push the backside out so the hips are facing the exit of the turn and end up above the outside pedal .

CD 4

Ex4 : Knees hugging the top tube stop the rider from leaning the bike but most of all he can’t use his legs to « work » the terrain.

What to do ? Spread the knees to let the bike move, have some room to lean it and unlock the leg joints.

CD 6

Ex5 : The position isn’t bad if you consider that the rider is about to lean his bike… and stop staring at the photographer! His outside pedal is too low, too early though. In this position, you can’t use your legs to absorb the bumps of the ground or put pressure on the rear tyre for to brake better, also, the large amplitude isn’t necessary here and is going to slow down how quickly the rider can pedal again.

What to do ? Keep the pedals level until the bike is getting into the turn… stop looking at the camera!

Geo Buisan

Ex6: Geoffrey Buisan, from the Intense Les Angles DH team, has been cutting his teeth at the DH World Cup this year. You can clearly see how much he his leaning the bike, the head upright, the upper body facing the exit, hips above the outside pedal, right knee pushing against the top tube for extra stability and the outside pedal sligtly lower… it went so fast that the photographer missed his head!

What to do? Duck your head down!

Sylvain Buisan

Ex7 : Sylvain Buisan, Geoffrey’s cousin and teammate. The position is a tiny bit more « new school », the bike is still leant a lot, the head still up and looking for the exit but the body is leaning with the bike a bit more and the feet more leveled, one can imagine that Sylvain has let the bike sled into the small rut and his about to push hard on both legs to exit the corner even faster than he came in !

What to do ? Shout « braaap » !!

Now, it’s your turn ! Grab your bike, find a flat open space (preferably grassy, it won’t sting as much if you push it too far!) and link a few turns. Try to film/photograph yourself or get a friend to and compare with the above shots…how low can you go ?!

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