Doing mtb drops well is one of the most crucial skills a mountain biker can learn these days. Whether it’s a 6-inch drop or a 6-footer, these trail features or obstacles can cause great havoc or great joy in a rider. Some are natural and some man-made and the shape and quality of these drops can have endless permutations. And while some are avoidable, many drops are not on interesting and challenging trails. Having the confidence and proper technique is often the difference between thriving, surviving, walking or getting hurt on bigger drops.
A good local rider from Northern California attempted a drop and failed miserably. The crash could have resulted in major injury but the stars aligned and the rider was able to walk away and even better, ride away. Often, the greatest result of crashes when recorded is it can teach the rider what went wrong. And our hope is dozens or maybe hundreds of riders can learn from someone else’s mistakes.
We sent this video by Mile Solis from Northern California to many experienced and pro level riders and many have shed insight on what the rider did wrong. Jeff Lenosky, who is no stranger to drops analyzed the sequence and created this wonderful How-To video for all of us to learn from.
Some helpful tips are:
1) Get off the bike and understand the drop. Scope out the landing and the take-off.
2) Establish the speed required to do the drop. Always get enough speed before the drop to avoid pedaling. Ensure the rear wheel clears the take-off before the front wheel starts dropping. Regulate the speed if the landing entails more obstacles or corners.
3) Get in a pre-loaded position – lean forward, bend arms and store energy to use for the drop. The slower the speed, the more energy is required to level the bike at take-off.
5) Understand the take-off point and execute the weight shift move as the front wheel passes the take-off.
6) Prepare for the landing by matching the attitude of the bike with the slope of the landing. Straighten your legs and absorb the landing blow by bending the arms and legs.
Do you agree with his analysis of what happened and his recommended techniques? What height is your drop limit?