How do you ride berms on a mountain bike? And what are berms? Berms are banked turns, which are a common feature of bike parks and local trail networks.
What do berms do? Berms give your tires great support and traction so you can hit them faster than flat corners. When you enter a berm just right, you leave with more speed than what you had going in.
How do you ride berms on a mountain bike?
While riding berms there’s a few helpful things you must keep in mind. You should think beyond your basic cornering technique. Remember to brake before the turn. Look ahead through the exit. And maintain good body position.
These are all important tips that will help you ride berms much better. But the two most important techniques you need to think about when you hit a berm are line choice, and lean.
Choosing Your Line
When you hit a berm you want to start high and end low, just like a flat turn. You want to enter wide and exit tight.
When you enter high, your turn happens early. This allows you to use the downward slope to gain speed out of the turn. Just be careful not to enter too high and fly over the top.
Many times the high line isn’t an option. In this scenario you have to enter lower and make your turn later.
It’s important to remember that any time you enter low, the berm will push you up high, likely sending you over the top.
Also keep an eye on trail conditions because gravel and loose dirt tend to collect at the low point.
It’s super important to look ahead so you know which line you have to take. This is especially important if you have to enter the berm low. Make sure you do all your braking before you hit the berm. Don’t brake mid-turn, or you’ll lose control.
How much you need to lean the bike over depends on how steep the berm is and how fast you hit it. Thanks to all the extra support a steep berm gives you, if you’re going nice and fast you can actually lean over with your bike.
If the berm isn’t as steep or you didn’t hit it fast enough, you’ll have to lean the bike into the turn and counterbalance with your body.
No matter which line you take or how you lean the bike, good body position can really help you stay in control through the berm. Keep a slight bend in your elbows to keep pressure on the front wheel. And remember that while taking a corner, look ahead through the exit as early as you can to be ready for what’s next.
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