Choosing better lines on mountain bike trails

Choosing better lines through technical terrain

Line choice is an often neglected part of riding, but a critical to being fast, efficient and maintaining full control through technical terrain. Riders often follow the default and most worn parts of the trail, which isn’t always the best line and usually results in excessive weaving, top-heavy body movements and fighting of the bike. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best lines.

  1. Take the straightest and most direct path to the end of the section you’re riding.
  2. Minimise weaving and moving around on the bike, as this causes your upper body to be thrown around and therefore pulling the bike around too.
  3. Prioritise a direct line choice over avoiding obstacles. Popping over and absorbing trail obstacles is usually easier than steering around them. That way you keep your body stable laterally and avoid pauses in your pedal strokes.
  4. Work on absorbing bumps and other obstacles smoothly by pumping well, unweighting your bike effectively and bunny hopping effortlessly.
  5. When things get rough, focus on the main contours of the trail and look at where you want to go rather than being fixated on obstacles. Join up rocks, roots and other objects and use them to create a smoother path instead of dodging them and hitting low points on the track.
  6. Instead of avoiding obstacles like rock faces, lumps and roots work at using them to help you get through longer rough sections smoothly. For example using a lump or rock face to get air and clear subsequent obstacles.