10 Mountain Bike Cornering Tips


As you lean your body, you will assume the attack position, which is the same position when going down a terrain. As you approach the corner, you should stand on the pedals in a level position. This is what will fuel your next move, which will let you get through the corner safe and sound.  

  • Lower Your Center of Gravity 

If you want to master how to corner on a mountain bike, then you need to learn how you can lower your center of gravity. Above, we mentioned that you should not lean your body. However, this does not mean that you should be standing up tall and proud when you are cornering. Without leaning, you need to keep your body low. The lower your center of gravity is, the easier it will be to cut through the corner. 

Get your body low by using your hips as the hinge. Slightly position your hips backward, folding it at the same level as your torso. This will rely on your glutes and hamstrings for supporting the weight of your body. 

Lower your shoulders until they are almost next to the MTB handlebars. This will provide you with better freedom of movement. While you are doing this, your arms and your elbows should be in relaxed positions. Your hands should be weightless, and your feet should be the ones applying pressure on the bike so that you can turn it accordingly once you approach a corner. 

  • Put Your Weight Outside the Pedal 

Successful mountain bike cornering requires managing your weight properly. This means that you should know when exactly to shift weight, and most importantly, where your weight should be. In this case, you should put your weight outside the mountain bike pedals

This is done once you are already in the corner. Doing this earlier will make the maneuver inefficient. Once you reach the outside of the turn, shift your weight into the pedals. One of the benefits of the latter is that it will press the tires firmly on the ground. This will help gain additional traction so that you won’t slide. It will automatically raise you inside the pedal. This lowers the chances of striking dirt and crashing. 

  • Match Your Tires to the Trail 

The fastest way to corner on a mountain bike is to match the tires for the requirement of the trail. A tire with a big, wide, and soft knob will be appropriate on hard-packed surfaces. On the other hand, in softer conditions, a thinner tire with slightly taller knobs will do a better job. Your tire choice matched with terrain conditions will let you conquer corners fast! 

You should also pay attention to the inflation of the tires. Over and under-inflation can affect your performance on the trail, especially when you are cornering. See to it that the tires have the right air levels to ensure their best performance and safety.  

  • Adjust Your Bike’s Suspension 

Aside from the tires, the suspension is another important part of the cornering technique. Your bike’s suspension is crucial as it cushions your body from the impact on the terrain. This means that even when you are on rough surfaces, the suspension system will help to minimize the vibrations that your body feels, making you more comfortable. 

By adjusting the suspension, you are increasing traction and improving handling. One thing that you can do is to add compression damping. It minimizes the amount of the turning force that is directed to your suspension travel. This improves the performance of the mountain bike on a variety of trail sections, including corners. 

  • Ride Uphill and Downhill Switchbacks Efficiently 

There will be instances wherein the terrain will get steep during your ride. This is where you will see switchbacks, which are hairpin curves that will traverse slowly as you go downhill or uphill. 

When you are cornering switchbacks, you can apply a combination of the tips and techniques that we have listed on this guide. For instance, for uphill switchbacks, you need to enter with a wide perspective. The trail is steep, so entering wide will give you a better opportunity to scan the area and assess the possible obstacles. Before entering the switchback, make sure that you already shift the gear. You should also sit in front of the MTB saddle and crouch. By putting your body’s weight in front, it is easier to manage your weight and avoid crashing. 

If you are doing a downhill switchback, like what has been mentioned above, you need to focus wide. Instead of shifting early, you should brake early. Apply even pressure on both the brakes to put the mountain bike at a complete stop without being too sudden. Maintain the cowboy stance as you hit the brakes, which means that your knees should be wide. You should also have weighted pedals, so at this point, keep your hands light and your feet heavy. 

  • Position Your Foot Properly 

Earlier in this article, we talked about how you should be weighing your outside foot off the pedal. Aside from switching the weight, you need to learn the fundamentals of proper foot positioning when you are cornering. 

One thing that you need to learn is the back-foot turn. This is a great choice for right-handed riders as it requires turning on your left. Here, you will be using your right side of the body to steer your bike in the opposite direction. It is our body’s natural reaction to go against where you are applying pressure on your foot. 

Another technique you should learn when it comes to foot placements is the front-foot turn. In this case, your left arms and legs will be doing most of the work. Move your front foot forward and down, allowing it to create pressure that will turn your mountain bike to the right. 

If you are looking for more lateral acceleration, then it will be hard to go wrong with the back-foot turn. However, this does not mean that this is the technique that will always work best. at the end of the day, you should assess the situation, especially the direction of the turn, and decide which side of your feet should be doing the work. 

  • Practice Good Vision Hygiene 

We started the list of tips on how to corner on a mountain bike by highlighting the importance of scouting the area. We are ending the guide on a similar note. If you want to optimize your mountain bike cornering technique, then it is a must to have good vision hygiene. Your vision and technical skills are linked. Rather than looking at the front wheel of the mountain bike. look ahead and look far. 

One thing that you need to practice is what the pro bikers call soft focus. By focusing on a single object, such as a rock, that is a hard focus. On the other hand, when you focus on the wider picture, that is soft focus. It is more important to see everything than limit your sight at one thing. 

You also need to peek ahead as you reach the end of the turn. This will let you know where you should be steering the bike. 



Q: How do you practice cornering on a mountain bike?


To practice cornering on a mountain bike, you need to learn the fundamentals of braking, especially the right timing. Positioning your body and lowering your center of gravity are also important. It is also important that you work on conquering switchbacks, as well as improving your vision hygiene.

Q: What is the fastest way to corner on a mountain bike?


The fastest way to corner a mountain bike is to put pressure on your right foot if you would like to turn left. On the other hand, if you want to turn right, then you need to put more pressure on your left foot. The outside foot that you will be stepping off will be the one controlling your body, letting you know where to move. 

To improve your mountain bike cornering, learn how to scout the area for possible obstacles and practice good vision hygiene. Hit the brakes before getting into the corner. Lean the bike and not your body. Keep the center of gravity low.

Globo Surf Overview 

Cornering is not one thing that you can master overnight. Take note of the tips mentioned above and learn how to corner on a mountain bike like a pro. To improve your mountain bike cornering, learn how to scout the area for possible obstacles, and practice good vision hygiene. Hit the brakes before getting into the corner. Lean the bike and not your body. Keep the center of gravity low. Doing these things will make it effortless to conquer turns without losing balance and momentum. 

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!