Mastering flat turn cornering with Skills with Phil

Phil helps us through one of the hardest skills to learn

How To Video

This example of good form shows Phil with his weight on the outside foot with body and hips separated from the bike almost perpendicular to the ground.

Cornering is the greatest quest for the mountain biker as it is almost impossible to master. Phil helps us through one of the hardest variations which is flat turn cornering.

Flat turn cornering involves separating the body from the bike and positioning it almost perpendicular to the ground with weight on the outside foot. This allows maximum traction on the tires and when the tires start to slip, the rider is able to stay upright and slide with the bike without slamming on to the ground.

In most bike rides, there is a wide array of cornering conditions from the flat turns mentioned here to bermed corners to loose dirt or rock filled turns. This is what makes cornering so difficult as the rider needs to read all these conditions and make a decision on what cornering technique to use to get through as fast and safe as possible.


Phil leans his body with the bike resulting in the front tire slipping out and causing him to fall.

As usual, get the most predictable tires for your conditions and wear knee pads and gloves for these learning endeavors. Flat pedals are handy too to give an extra array of bailout options.

It is a good idea to read all the information possible on a given corner, like soil type, build quality, recent weather, berm solidity and most important, test it out. Never come in to an unknown corner fully committed. Always test and come in a skeptic. Listen and feel the feedback and commit more as the conditions allow.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • mikeD says:

    Cutting the flat corner at as close to (or past) 20mph as possible is definitely fun. Feeling both front and rear tires starting to slide sideways if even more fun. And no extreme terrain necessary – local forest preserve/park path is sufficient.

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