Mountain Biking Technique: Riding Off-Camber

Mountain Biking Technique: Riding Off-Camber


I’m Kat Sweet, professional mountain bike
coach, jumper, downhiller, I live and breathe mountain biking. When you hit more difficult
trails, you’ll start to come across off camber sections. Now these are particularly tricky
because the angle of the slope is falling away from your wheels. Think of the slope
of the ground as being opposite of a berm. Whether the off camber section is straight
or in a corner, strong cornering skills are key. Focus on braking, line choice and lean.
It’s even more important in off cambers to do all braking before the terrain changes.
Traction is already limited so any tap on the brakes is likely to send your wheels sliding
out from under you. Picking a better line could set you up for
success. Whether the section is straight, or you’re hitting a corner, you usually want
to stay high. The terrain is naturally going to push you low so start as high as you can.
Staying high also helps you deal with the roots that often come with off camber sections.
Roots tend to spread out so aim high before they fork and take over the trail. If you
can, hit them square on so they are less likely to grab your tire and send it sliding. The main line in most off camber corners will
have you making your turn through the difficult section as the terrain starts falling away.
This can work, but try to make it easier on yourself. Try to open up the corner and make
your turn early and hit the off camber section straight. Leaning is a little trickier in off cambers.
You want to lean the bike slightly into the hill to get the knobs on the edge of the tire
to really dig in, without leaning so far that you lose traction and slide out. At the same
time, counter-balance by moving your hips slightly away from the bike to keep your weight
centered over the tires. As always, keep your hips pointed where you
want to go. Your bike will follow. Pedal balance is also important. You’ll need to keep your
feet evenly weighted but let your inner pedal come up so it doesn’t clip the ground. This
also helps open your hips for easier leaning. If there are just too many rocks and roots
to deal with, a small bunny hop can help get you over the rough sections with style.