What are some tips for cross country

Driving technique tips: With these three maneuvers safely through the terrain

Good driving technique and mastery of the mountain bike are the prerequisites for a successful cross-country tour. In the first part of our riding technique tips, we explained the five basic skills that you should master on the bike. But on a ride over hill and dale it rarely rolls without obstacles or sudden changes of direction. You should be prepared for such a situation and master the bunny hop, the wheelie and riding serpentines.


Jump over small obstacles with the bunny hop


Seldom can you only get through the cross-country without barriers. Branches, small tree trunks or rocky edges, of course obstacles, sometimes require acrobatic driving techniques. Even in the asphalt jungle, bikers regularly come across curbs that are not necessarily worth getting off. A suitable maneuver for this is the bunny hop, with which you can jump over small obstacles with little effort. To ensure that the Bunny Hopp does not fall, you always approach an obstacle with horizontal cranks at a right angle. With bent knees and low posture, the body's center of gravity is brought close to the bottom bracket. From the basic position there is then a controlled, explosive extension of the legs with a shift of the upper body backwards and upwards. At the same time the arms are stretched and the impulse lifts the front wheel. Pulling the handlebars and pressing the pedals pushes the rear wheel forward at the same time. Now the body is also moved dynamically upwards and upwards, with the hips being moved towards the handlebars. Only if the feet remain firmly on the pedals does the rear wheel lift off so that both wheels are now in the air at the same time. First the front wheel lands again, and by shifting the body backwards, the rear wheel is pushed forward a little and the landing is smoothly cushioned. Real obstacles should be left out, especially at the beginning, and just jump over a marked line at first. This technique is also good for taking steps up or down quickly.


Wheelie on a mountain bike


Almost every two-wheeler has tried a wheelie, driving on the rear wheel. Actually a simple maneuver that can also make an impression, provided that a few rules of physics are observed. Anyone who masters the bunny hop is half the battle, because the wheelie only adds a certain sense of speed and balance. With your knees bent and your upper body over the handlebars, you start slowly, sitting firmly in the saddle and always checking the rear brake with two fingers. With a short, powerful start in low gear and a shift of the body's center of gravity backwards over the rear wheel axle, the front wheel is raised. A simultaneous dynamic extension of the arms and an impulsive push of the rear wheel forwards support this. By pedaling carefully and moving the knees slightly outwards, the balance and the mountain bike can be kept in line during the wheelie. You can avoid going backwards through controlled braking and lowering the front wheel through more pressure on the pedal. The landing of the front wheel is gently cushioned by bending the legs and arms.


Mountain bike riding technique: serpentines


Anyone who goes up in the cross country usually has to go down again. Often you roll faster and only rarely in a straight line. It gets exciting as soon as there are serpentines downhill and the curves become steeper. Because serpentines require some skill even uphill. But balance, shifting the center of gravity and the right timing for serpentine journeys can certainly be practiced. You should definitely take the momentum out of the straight uphill with you and by quickly shifting your upper body backwards, the bike is steered upwards around the curve with a powerful start. Meanwhile, the inside pedal is up so that it does not touch down.

Downhill requires some risk awareness, although slower is not necessarily safer. With a little more speed, you can often let the rear wheel drift around the curve in a more controlled manner, especially in hairpin bends. The tight, steep curves are approached while standing with bent knees, horizontal crank and the body's center of gravity above the bottom bracket. As you enter the curve, your gaze is directed towards the exit of the curve, the outer pedal is pressed down and your body's center of gravity is shifted slightly to the rear. The fingers only control the rear brake in order to apply the brakes in a controlled manner. When entering the hairpin, the bike is placed inside in a controlled manner. If necessary, you can take the inside foot off the pedal. The eyes continue to fixate on the exit of the curve, while the head, shoulders and hips also turn in this direction - so the wheel follows almost automatically. At the apex of the curve, the brake can be pulled a little harder and the body can be leaned slightly forward and down to take the load off the rear wheel, then it slides quickly around the rest of the bend. With a short start, the bike is stabilized again and the journey continues.

There are even more tips on driving technique in the first part: Basic tips for better driving technique


  • The right posture in every situation
  • If you brake properly, you won't lose
  • Straight through every curve
  • The mountain bike - means to an end: climbing uphill
  • Where it goes up, it goes down again