How to ride bombholes

Riding natural bowls is all about getting your speed right

Riding natural bowls is all about getting your speed right

Joe Rafferty talks us through the steps to tackling bombholes (crater-like holes) on the trail.


1. Judge your approach

Ride towards the downslope stood up, with your pedals level, your head up and your weight through your feet.

You’ll need to judge your speed to make sure you can get out the other side, ideally without pedalling.

Bear in mind that you’ll pick up speed on the way down and lose a lot on the way back up. Falling down backwards isn’t fun, so if the upslope is big and steep on the other side, make sure you have enough speed to get out.

2. Dropping in

As your front wheel reaches the transition from flat to downhill, extend your arms and drop your hips so your body weight is above the bottom bracket and supported by your legs when your bike pitches forward.

It’ll look like you’re leaning back but you aren’t — you’ve just extended your arms and bent your legs so the bike can change angle.

If you think you need speed, pump the downslope. If you think you’re going too fast, brake progressively using both brakes.

3. Bottoming out

As you transition from downhill to flat, you’ll be hitting max speed and pulling some Gs! If you’re stood up in a strong position, you should be able to handle the pressure. If not, you could buckle.

Focus on keeping your weight through your feet and absorbing most of the forces through your legs and pedals. If too much of your weight transfers onto the handlebar, you’ll find it hard to transition from flat to uphill.

4. Exit strategy

Allow your bike to transition smoothly from flat to uphill, by bending your arms to absorb the front wheel impact.


At this point, if you’ve misjudged your speed on the approach and dropped in too slowly, you may have to put in a couple of quick pedal strokes in order to make it out the other side.