ROADIE ROB'S SKILLS #4
Posted on September 01 2016
Race drivers have a saying, "Slow in, Fast out" and this refers to entering a corner. If they brake late and therefore hit the corner at speed they will often need to make corrections through the turn and wash off speed. As they exit the turn they then have to accelerate more to get back to speed on the next straight. It's likely their top speed will be less than it could have been at the end of that straight. However, by braking harder or earlier before the turn they can then maintain momentum and begin accelerating earlier as they exit the turn and achieve a higher speed down the next straight. In the end this is faster. This all depends, of course, on the type of race car, and track surface etc but the basic lesson is valuable in MTB as well.
Tyre pressures are massively important the old school push on the tyre, if it’s firm she’ll be right doesn’t cut it, basic rule of thumb for general trail riding 28psi in the front 30-35psi in the back, get a good track pump. On flat corners try to enter the corner at the speed you can flow through without using brakes. Use your attack position, roadies sit down and drop the outside foot, but they’ve got nice smooth grippy bitumen, on the trail we’ve got loose soil or even gravel, if your in the attack position the bike can move around a lot without you sliding out all together, plus we get steeper corners, if the corners steep how are you going to get your weight back if you’re sitting down? Open your entry, if you watch any type of motor racing there is no way they’ll perform a corner from the centre of the racetrack, they’ll always open the corner out as wide as possible, so why do it on the trail, many people then say, “but I don’t want to damage or widen the trail.” Believe me you’ll do a lot less environmental damage by opening your entry, sure you don’t want to go right off trail or over the nice tree fern but opening out to the maximum width of the trail will reduce braking ruts and erosion problems. Look for the exit of the turn well before you get there and accelerate out. When you get it right you'll be faster and rip the trail up far less in the process. Get the principle right at slower speeds and then gradually speed it up, if you find yourself Nanna Braking (jabbing brakes halfway through a corner) slow down the entry to a comfortable speed then slowly increase the speed, get smooth and the speed will come. Remember keep you’re cornering basic, people get way caught up with push here push there, lean this lean that. Basics, attack position, smooth braking, open my entry look for my exit