Vittoria How-To Series: How to descend

Follow these five tips to go downhill faster — and safer

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Keep your head up and eyes focused on where you want to go. If you focus on where you don’t want to go, your bike will invariably head that direction.

Keep your head up and eyes focused on where you want to go. If you focus on where you don’t want to go, your bike will invariably head that direction (click to enlarge).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Vittoria How-To Series and is courtesy Vittoria.

Descending on your mountain bike can be extremely intimidating, especially when it involves technical terrain. But once you master a few of the finer points, going downhill will quickly become the best part of your ride experience.

In this episode of the Vittoria How-To Series, downhill pro Rachel Throop of GT Factory Racing walks us through the keys to confident descending on a mountain bike so you can push yourself to the next level.

Here’s a recap of what you just saw.

  1. Use the one finger braking technique, which leaves the rest of your fingers free to maintain a secure grip on the handlebars.
  2. Keep your feet in a neutral position with heels dropped. This puts pressure on the pedals, which in turn makes you more stable on your bike.
  3. Keep your rear end off the saddle and back. This counteracts the forces of gravity pulling you forward down the hill, and also allows the bike to move around as you descend, rather than being stuck in one position.
  4. Keep your head up and eyes focused on where you want to go. If you focus on where you don’t want to go, your bike will invariably head that direction.
  5. Use your body as a shock absorber by bending your elbows and knees when going through rough terrain.
Keep your feet in a neutral position with heels dropped. This puts pressure on the pedals, which in turn makes you more stable on your bike.

Keep your feet in a neutral position with heels dropped. This puts pressure on the pedals, which in turn makes you more stable on your bike (click to enlarge).

Finally, remember to follow the rules of progression. If you’re new to mountain biking, work your way up to riding more technical terrain by first dialing in your skills on easier trails. With a little practice, you’ll soon be blasting through (or over) rock gardens just like Rachel.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Mtbr

Mtbr.com is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.


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