How to drop into downslopes in 4 simple-to-learn steps

We show you how to deal with this trail obstacle

Dropping on to a downslope can be fairly intimidating, because you often can’t spot the landing until you’re in the air. Before attempting a drop to a downslope, we recommend that you’re comfortable hitting drops at slow speeds, and you’re also confident on steep gradients.

In nearly every case it’s best to ‘squash’ the drop so you’re actually making it smaller and not travelling as far through the air and further away from the landing. The aim is to get your bodyweight dropping just as you go over the lip, so good timing is essential – too early and your front wheel will dive too late and you’ll launch rather than drop.

How to drop into downslopes

1. The approach

1. Stay relaxed as you approach, but focus on your aim
1. Stay relaxed as you approach, but focus on your aim

Stand in your neutral position and stay loose and relaxed, because you’re going to need to be dynamic very soon! As you get closer, look for the landing but keep your head up.

2. Drop and push

2. Drop your body and push your bike forward as you leave the lip
2. Drop your body and push your bike forward as you leave the lip

As you approach the edge, drop your body and push the bike forwards with your arms. You need to time this so your bike is unweighted over the edge.

3. Extend your legs

3. Extend your legs as you drop and focus on making a smooth landing
3. Extend your legs as you drop and focus on making a smooth landing

As you travel through the air, start to extend your legs to bring the bike back underneath you. Keep looking up and think about landing over the pedals.

4. Compress as you land

4. Use your legs to absorb the impact as you land
4. Use your legs to absorb the impact as you land

Aim to land in a strong position and take the impact with your legs. This will ensure you’re ready for the next feature and in a strong position if you need to brake.

Points to remember

Practice makes perfect – follow our guide and you'll be nailing drops like this
Practice makes perfect – follow our guide and you'll be nailing drops like this
  • Get your speed right: Set your speed early so you have time to prepare yourself. Roll into the drop at a medium pace to start with – once you’re comfortable, you can hit it slower or faster.
  • Don’t lean back: Don’t confuse getting low with leaning back. Think about pushing the bike forwards and dropping your hips. This may look like you’re leaning back but you’re definitely not. The rear wheel should be unweighted as you go over the edge.
  • Be positive and focus: Concentrate on what you have to do. If you have any negative thoughts or doubts in your head, find a way to overcome them and focus on what you need to do before attempting the drop.

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