Brian Lopes' insights help perfect mountain biking skills


Best-selling book to be updated

Champaign, IL–Brian Lopes’ Mastering Mountain Bike Skills (Human Kinetics, 2005) gets a makeover this spring as the legendary athlete and his coauthor Lee McCormack release a second edition of the popular instructional guide in May. The new edition maintains the core objective of the first edition–improving mountain biking techniques–and expands on the content with information on pumping and braking techniques to increase speed in the turns, information on the newest bikes and equipment, and tips for completing advanced jumps and tricks.


The updated edition also features advice from Lopes on practice time, including four tips for perfecting mountain biking skills for beginning riders:

  • One thing at a time. When riding, concentrate on one skill or component of a skill. “Think about executing each move perfectly,” Lopes says. “Soon you’ll be doing it without thought, and then you can move on to the next thing.”
  • Don’t let bad habits take over. Some mistakes are expected while learning, but when repeated they become bad habits. Lopes advises making bad habits difficult to continue by removing temptations. “You could attach a blinder to the mouthpiece of your full-face helmet so you can’t look down,” Lopes says. “If you tend to grab the brakes for no reason, wrap your fingers around the grips.” He also suggests changing environments. “After you stop on the lip a few times, you probably will not go for it. Come back later or try a similar jump elsewhere.”
  • Think about what you want to do rather than what you’re trying to avoid. Concentrate on learning a particular skill instead of focusing on what shouldn’t be done. “If you think, Don’t stare into the hole, where do you think you’ll stare? Try repeating a positive mantra instead,” Lopes says.
  • Precision now, speed later. When working on a new skill, practice slowly on easy terrain. Going too fast will introduce errors and greatly increase the danger. “We want to train effective habits,” Lopes says. “Don’t make yourself a human missile and hope you learn something before you explode.”

    “Ask yourself how you want to ride your bike, and then consciously practice the skills that will get you there,” Lopes concludes. For more information on the second edition of Mastering Mountain Bike Skills or any other outdoor sport resources, visit or call 800-747-4457.


    Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, Second Edition
    by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack

    Available in May · Paperback · Approx. 248 pp
    ISBN 978-0-7360-8371-3 · $23.95
    Ebook ISBN 978-0-7360-9017-9 · $21.95

    “Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Brian Lopes is an essential read for any mountain biker. The expertise, advice, and insight he shares in this book are guaranteed to take your riding to the next level.”
    Steve Peat
    Professional Downhill Mountain Biker
    Santa Cruz Syndicate

    “I love to mountain bike after a long season of races like the Tour de France and the Tour of California. Mastering Mountain Bike Skills has helped me to ride more safely and have more fun on the dirt, which improved my skills on and off road.”
    Levi Leipheimer
    Astana Pro Cyclist

    “Brian has amazing fitness and superb skills. I always step it up a notch when I ride with him, and I know that anyone who reads Mastering Mountain Bike Skills will see improvement too!”
    Willow Koerber
    Cross Country Bronze Medalist
    UCI World Championships 2009


    The name Brian Lopes is synonymous with American mountain bike racing. Since his professional debut in 1993, Brian has been a constant presence on race podiums worldwide. Brian is recognized as the winningest American pro mountain biker: He holds the most World Cup titles (25) of any male racer to date and has four World Championship titles and nine National Championship titles in both downhill and dual slalom.

    In 2008 his winning ways were recognized when Brian was inducted into both the Mountain Bike and BMX Halls of Fame.

    Having raced BMX for most of his childhood, Brian learned how to ride a bike at the age of 4, turning pro at the age of 17 and competing in the BMX circuit for 7 years before channeling all his efforts to mountain biking. He has appeared on EuroSport, Universal Sports, CBS Sports, and Outdoor Life Network and has graced the covers of every major national and international mountain biking magazine: Mountain Bike Action, MBUK, Dirt, Bicycling, VeloNews, and Mountain Biking. Brian also has received coverage in such mainstream media as Men’s Health, Rolling Stone, and USA Today.

    Brian currently has various signature mountain bike products: TLD knee guards, Bell helmet, Kenda tires, WTB bike seat, and a signature Sportsmobile design. Other career highlights include being nominated as the ESPY Extreme Athlete of the Year and starring as himself in Playstation’s video game Downhill Domination.

    Lee McCormack is the world’s leading technique instructor and uses his own sequential teaching curriculum to coach riders of all types and levels–from homemakers to pro downhillers–to ride better, safer, and faster. He is a journalist who has written for Bike, Mountain Bike Action, Twentysix, Flow, and Mountain Biking. He also publishes, a mountain biking Web site visited by thousands of readers worldwide.

    McCormack has won numerous writing and informational graphics awards at the state and regional levels and was part of the team that won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for public service. Lee has been a bike nut for over 20 years and enjoys all riding disciplines, including single-track, road, dirt jumps, pump tracks.


    Chapter 1: Choose Your Weapon
    Chapter 2: Become One With Your Bike
    Chapter 3: Make Great Power
    Chapter 4: Brake Better to Go Faster
    Chapter 5: Carve Any Corner
    Chapter 6: Wheelie and Hop Over Anything
    Chapter 7: Pump Terrain for Free Speed
    Chapter 8: Drop Like a Feather
    Chapter 9: Jump With the Greatest of Ease
    Chapter 10: Flow on Any Trail
    Chapter 11: Handle Crazy Conditions
    Chapter 12: Avoid Injuries
    Chapter 13: Race Like a Champ

    source: Human Kinetics News

  • About the author: Gregg Kato

    Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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    • Mr. P says:

      This book (I have v1) is the best upgrade you can ever buy.

      I credit it with a 1st place in the Downieville Downhill.

      It’s the real deal.


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