How To Ride An E Bike In The Mud | EMTB Winter Riding Tips

How To Ride An E Bike In The Mud | EMTB Winter Riding Tips


– You’ve got to love riding mud. I mean, I love it, sliding, drifting, in and out of control. Now, you might think I’m
about to dive into a video where I tell you what and what not to do in terms of technique, but
there’s loads of things to consider before you even hit the trail. So, join me, then, in a
masterclass of mud riding. (relaxed funk music) Right, let’s start off with
some techniques for mud which is on flat ground. Now, as you can see I’m on
a 15 foot wide track here and there’s a range of
different mud conditions. Now, on my right here is, well, it’s almost not mud, it’s like hardpack. And then you move across
and you’ve got something which is a bit more of a sludge, a bit of a cake mix. And then you get into
the really sort of, muddy terrain. A bit of water, bit of grass, and then something which
is a mix of grass and mud. And then, of course, back over here onto the hardpack. So, common sense would probably tell you to go either side, avoid the mud, and ride on the hardpack. But, you might not always have
the hardpack on each side. And many people would actually avoid the wet part of the ground. But, the key thing is, if
there’s something wet there, it means there’s actually
a hard surface in there so a lot of the time, the wet part is probably the easiest
part to get through. Let me have a look if it works. So, I’m in trail mode. Yeah, I can feel those
stones, it’s easy going. And if there’s mud, there’s pretty much going
to be ruts there as well, I think one of the biggest downfalls is people’s inability to deal with ruts. What tends to happen is
they get cross-rutted, they got one tire one side,
one tire the other side, and you simply slide to a halt. So, what happens in this kind of situation? Well, what you do, again,
is you raise the tempo and you start going across those ruts at maybe 45 degrees or 90 degrees before you get the cadence
up again, the speed up again. you straighten it up, you get back on line and you keep pressing on. I’m on a bit of a trail,
I’m on an uphill trail, this is an uphill technique. So obviously, if you were riding this, you would take the drier,
grippier, stony conditions. But, what if there’s a man down? Say, someone’s fallen over on the trail, they’ve got their bike lying on the ground so you have to take avoiding action. And you have to ride in
the mud, how do you do it? So, the first thing to do is, you might’ve been riding your E-bike for an hour or so in muddy conditions, your tire might well have got clogged up because it’s so heavy. So the first thing to do, all times, is clear that back tire. So that clears the tread pattern. So in you dive, so high cadence, loads of momentum, and through you go. Now, momentum is very much your friend when it comes to riding mud. This is what happens when
you take a slower approach. You simply slide out, you just cannot get through it. Speed, then. Very important when it
comes to mud riding. Right, let’s throw some
terrain into the mix. First of all, some mud with roots. Now, a key skill here is to look for the line
of least resistance. As you can see, we have
a step in the root here. And then we have a more gradual
lower profile root here. So, if you think about it, if
you go through that high step, it’s going to be stalling
as you go up the hill whereas if you go on the lower step, you’re going to be able
to maintain your momentum. But not only that, now because I started off this climb knowing the conditions, knowing the material I was dealing with, as you can see, there’s
hints along the trail, this is a bit of sandstone,
lot of grit in it. So I know that underneath there there’s going to be
some grippy conditions. So I can trust that if I start spinning, there’s a good chance
that I’ll find something to grip onto at some point. So it’s all about a little
bit of confidence as well. Okay, so I’ve got good cadence, I’ve got good speed, I’ve got
confidence in the terrain, and I’m spotting that line. Up on the line, boom! Now, that probably looked very simple if I say so myself, there’s
actually a few things going on there which you
might not have noticed. And that is, when you’re
getting up over the step, this little section here, what you try not to do is get
your weight over the front. Because if you get the
weight over the front, there’s a high chance
you’re taking the traction off that rear tire, and
you might start spinning. However, if you keep a neutral position, get the weight down through that tire, it’ll grab into that root
and drive you upwards. I mean, look at that. Look at that, now, no technique video in the world will get you upright through conditions like that. I mean, there is simply no grip. Best thing to do there is avoidance. However, have you considered, the upper part of the root? Now, most of the time when
you get close to trees the lower parts of the root system, the bark has come off it,
so there’s no grip there. However if you look up here, it’s actually still pretty grippy, there’s loads of gnarly old bark on there. So, good technique if you’re
riding roots and trees is actually stick close
to the base of that tree. (Steve laughing) Oh, I broke all the rules! Broke all the rules. (he laughs) Didn’t look where I was going, I mean, look at that. Look at that. Absolutely horrific. I think you get the message. Right, what I’ll have a look at here is line choice and exit strategies when it comes to mud and corners. As you can see here, there’s
one, two, three roots all angled into the corner. Now it’s for sure, if you get
your front wheel tangled up in one of these roots, it’ll have you off. However, as I mentioned earlier, the base of the tree,
there’s loads of grip there, plus this root here is at
more of a 45, 90 degree angle compared to these, which
are in line with the track. Moving down to here, as you can see, a nice flat bit of ground here. Definitely a good exit
route to the corner. However, on the outside
you’ve got this almighty root coming down here, which you
definitely want to avoid. So what I’m saying,
pick your line choices, and pick ’em carefully. As I mentioned earlier, it’s about confidence and commitment. And that commitment starts with your tire. When you’re out on a
ride, push the envelope, see how far it’ll actually
go until it actually lets go, you’ll be surprised how
far these tires will grip. What you tend to find these days in trail centers and bike
parks around the world are trails which get worn in, then the water comes down them, washes away all the organic matter. It actually becomes
pretty solid underfoot. That pure riding, that pure mud condition, that’s what we’re really talking about and as you can see here, is
a fresh track, fresh mud, it’s absolute heaven to ride in. However, it requires lots of skills. One of the skills, actually
finding catch points. So there’s actually very little grip coming into this corner, but, because you know you’ve
got a catch point there, you can just slam it in! (upbeat rock music) So what, then, is the magic
formula for conquering mud? Well, I think it comes
down to the three Ts. Actually, it’s two Ts and an M, but it doesn’t matter. And those are, tires, tech, and mindset. This is a king-size statement, but probably, arguably,
the most important factor when it comes to your
ability to succeed in mud, is going to be your tire choice. Now, tires come in a
range of shapes and size and they’re also terrain and
mud specific, can you believe? I think, in general, it’s good to go for an intermediate style tire. Now, an intermediate tire is
neither a dry weather tire nor a full on wet weather mud tire. A tire such as this,
actually, it’s a Shorty. Now, there’s other tires on the market such as the Hillbilly from Specialized or the Magic Mary from Schwalbe. And the characteristics of these tires are such things as an open tread pattern. That means it can disperse
the mud quite easily. It’s got a good, solid,
angular knob profile to it which means it’s going to dig into the mud and also it’s going to hook you up on those climbs as well. And also it’s not going to be too tall or too short, now if it’s too tall, obviously it’s going to interfere when you go through
sections of roots and rock. There’s three other things to consider when we’re talking tires. That’s tire weight, tire
pressure, and tire compound. Now, I tend mostly to go
with downhill casing tires on an E-bike ’cause
riding technical terrain. But what you might want to think about is the fact that if
you’ve got a heavier tire, and you’re going to be riding in mud, the bike will in general
become quite heavy. Still, nonetheless a great
option for an E-bike tire. Secondly is tire pressure. Now, at 90 kilos I normally
tend to run about 28 psi but I do actually know people, when they ride in deeper,
muddier conditions like this, they do actually tend to ride
slightly higher pressures. And that’s because the tire can dig in, it can cut into the mud
a little bit easier. And finally, tire compounds. Now, obviously, if you’re going
to be riding sticky conditions, where there’s rocks and roots involved, it definitely is important to go for a slightly softer compound tire over a harder compound one. Now there’s no point in
having really good tires if you can’t see where you’re going. And my second T is for the tech. And by tech I mean such
things as a mudguard and also goggles so
you’ve got good clarity, you can actually pick your lines. You can see where you’re going. Because if you’re riding
in muddy conditions, there is a high chance you’re going to get a big dollop of mud fly
off the front of the tire, boom, in your eye, and you
won’t be going anywhere. I’ll probably add two other
things to that mix as well, I would say a good set of grips because if you’re going
to be riding in mud, there’s a high likelihood that
you’re going to be falling over and your grips are going
to be covered in sludge. So, something that clears really easily and still gives you some traction even when it’s wet. And also, pedals. Now, I am a firm believer that you have to have flat
pedals to succeed in mud. Yes, there are people who
have proved that wrong, but if you’re learning to
deal with these conditions then it’s highly likely you’re
going to be sliding around, your foot’s going to be off the pedal, you’re going to be working it out. I think the best training tool for learning to ride mud is flat pedals. Mindset is so, so important
when you’re tackling mud. Now, I see so many people
that are phased by mud, they really do believe
that they cannot ride it. Yet, with the right mindset, and by mindset, I mean commitment. Because, if you commit to mud, now, if you’ve got the right tires, you got your goggles, you
got your line of choice, then you can actually ride mud exactly like you would
if it was dry conditions. Now, if you want an example of
a masterclass in mud riding, Google Sam Hill Champery 2007, it is absolutely off the charts. Now, more than anything
when it comes to mud is all about awareness and anticipation. I’ve got no idea what
kind of mud situations you’re going to be in. But when you’re out and about, look for those grip
spots, those dry spots, the flat spots and the angles to help you get through
the muddy situations. If you think this is muddy, by the way, you’ve got it totally wrong, this is simply a manicured man-made trail. If you want to see some mud action, have a look at the video which
I’m leaving just down below. In the meantime, if
you’ve got any comments, any questions about mud, love to get involved with you guys, let us know in the comments down below. Give us a thumbs up if
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