How-To: Master Tight Corners on an e-MTB
There is a huge segment of dirt bikers who love to throw the leg over an MTB from time to time. In fact, all three of us here at Transmoto regularly hit the trails around the Northern Beaches on both peddle and powered whips. We figured our audience might be of the same mindset so we hit up Australia’s foremost authority when it comes to MTB/e-MTB, [R]evolution + [E]volution Magazine, to showcase the new world of power-assisted riding and understand how these things really work. In this installment, the lad’s dive into tackling tight uphill corners on an e-MTB.
Uphill cornering is without a doubt one of the most fun things you can do on an e-MTB, especially when you can link four or five switchbacks together.
Whether this is a tight technical corner 5kmph, or a higher speed uphill corner 15-20kmph. The amount that you need to move your weight around is massive, we won’t talk much about weight transfer as that is best taught on the trail, let’s talk about the basic process. I try to think of uphill corners like a downhill track. Firstly and most importantly, set up on entry is key!
On entry into the corner, be quick to spot the exit (if you can’t spot the exit, make a judgment on where the corner ends). Automatically you should be working back from the point that you want to exit the corner.
Checklist for any corner:
- Use the full width of the track on entry.
- Not the exit.
- Nail the apex, while committing your eyes on the exit.
- Use the full width of the track on exit.
Don’t be afraid to use the wall on the exit as a light berm or as a wall to tap your front wheel off to help you get around those tight corners. Remember you are on an e-MTB, not a normal bike, so the speed in which you enter and exit will usually be much faster.
Traditionally on a normal bike, you take an uphill corner in two parts… Ride into the corner on the saddle, and then stand up for the mid to exit of the corner while you lay down the power
I think it’s important to try to change the way you think when riding an e-MTB. Flat corners are harder to hit faster than bermed corners, right? Cool. Also, e-MTBs can be faster than traditional bikes on uphill corners, right? Sweet. So with all that extra speed, you are going to need support to lean the bike into. That support is usually found on the outside of corners sometimes unintentionally by the trail builders as the trails were built before e-MTB existed. It is always good to be on the lookout for these unintentional berms/banks on the exit of uphill corners. It will elevate your whole e-MTB riding experience as you will find yourself riding at a higher tempo with more flow on the trail.
I am a huge supporter of sustainable trails in the future for every rider, not just e-bikers. Whether this is through new trails or through maintaining trails. I believe that in moderation, using the exit banks of uphill corners for support could potentially over time help reduce wear in the mainline of the track. I have watched my wheels closely when riding these alternate lines over the last 12 months, and it would be interesting to see when tested over a period of time if riding these lines drops small amounts of soil back in to fill the ‘mainline rut’. Maybe a way of self-maintenance/repair? Maybe, a question for the pro trail builders.