How to negotiate tight turns

Consecutive corners can be tricky, especially if they’re steep. Here’s how to find your flow...

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Three-time 4X world champion and Olympic BMX medallist Jill Kintner switched to downhill mountain biking in 2010 and has five World Cup podiums to her name, plus enduro, slalom and pump track titles.

The accomplished mountain biker shares her tips and tricks for negotiating tight turns, to help you find your flow and maximise speed and traction.

1. Recce

Check out tricky sections on foot first. This will help you identify lines and hazards, and let you see what comes after the turns, which will help with gear choice and exit lines.

Working your way up from the bottom can teach you a lot about where you want to end up.

2. Entry speed

Good control in the first turn will set you up for the next one. Get your braking done in the straight line before the turn and try to be off the brakes when you hit the apex or change direction.

Dragging your brakes hinders traction and makes it hard to lean the bike.

3. Line choice

The main line may not be the best, so look around and be creative.

In tight turns, look for a way to open up the angle. Identify the widest (smooth) line into the corner — this may mean hopping onto the outside bank. Then aim for the apex.

4. Lean

Drop your inside knee slightly and direct your hips, torso and head in the direction you want to go.

Assist the lean by putting pressure on the handlebar, particularly the inside grip. Don’t hang off the back of the bike — find a balanced position between both wheels.

5. Exit speed

The final turn is what matters in a sequence of corners. You want to be in the right place and gear to power out of it.

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If safe to do so, go back and practice the section until you get what you want out of it. Try new lines and experiment.