Irish mountain biking legend and three-time Red Bull Fox Hunt winner Colin Ross explains the art of railin’ berms right…
As a three-time Red Bull Foxhunt winner, multi-time Irish mountain bike champion and riding skills coach with Rosco Lines, there’s little Colin Ross doesn’t know about riding fast.
With an invaluable wealth of experience, Colin offers his hot tips on riding smoother, better and ultimately faster on the trail. In this issue he shows us how to rail berms.
Words: Colin Ross, Photos: Robert Lynn
Cornering is where trail speed is won and lost. Confidently carrying speed into and — most importantly — out of a berm will see you flow much more efficiently down the hill and avoid wasting energy as you frantically pump in unnecessary pedal strokes.
Berms are essentially banked corners — usually 90 or 180 degrees in length — and a staple feature on every trail centre, so getting your technique dialled will see you right pretty much anywhere you ride. The aim of a berm is to use it to benefit your speed and momentum by exiting the corner as efficiently as possible.
Approach the berm as wide you can go to make the turn easier. A wide line allows you to carry speed. Although you are taking the longest way around, that additional speed compensates for the extra distance travelled.
As you approach, adjust your speed so you don’t have to brake or pedal mid turn. Look for the apex (midpoint) of the berm, it will naturally steer you wider.
Leaning into the corner with arms and knees slightly bent and bum over the rear of the saddle ensures your body weight compresses down into both the tyres and suspension to get maximum grip.
Keeping your pedals level, with your best foot forward, allows for even weight distribution. At the apex release the brakes and look up to spot your exit point.
Looking for the exit point will increase your confidence to stay off the brakes because you can see the direction you want to go in.
You want to control the exit of the corner. Once past the apex, allow your body weight to come slightly forward to maintain grip on the front wheel.
Staying too far back reduces control of your front wheel. Use the full length of the berm to drive down off it and build your speed.
Rosco’s top tips…
Smoothness builds speed. Start slowly and build up. Once you get the technique dialled you can begin to brake later, lean into the berm more and ultimately exit faster.
Breaking the berm into three parts — entry, apex and exit — allows you to focus on each section as it happens.
For specialised one-on-one and tailored group coaching contact Colin Ross and book your place on one of his Rosco Line’s riding clinics.
For more information visit Rosco Lines Facebook