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-Brake before going into the turn, using both brakes. If you have a lot of traction: -Push the outside foot down and lean to the inside (if you have traction). -Enter the corner wide, hit the apex with the bike near the inside edge and leave the corner wide. -Do not use the front brake if you are turning at the bike's limit. The front tire is using all its traction for turning. If you use your front brake, it will lose its grip and wash out. A front wheel slide is almost impossible to recover. A back end slide is easier to recover. Also, the brake tire is doing less work than the front, therefore, you can use some of its "spare" traction for braking. If you are turning on loose surfaces, keep this in mind: -This technique involves keeping the bike relatively upright; instead, the body is leaned in the direction of the turn. -Transfer weight slightly forward. Push down on the outside pedal. -Twist your upper body to face the trail. Align your upper body so that your upper body is slightly leaning toward the inside of the turn. -Push down on handlebar on the outside and pull up on the inside. Others have pointed out: Dave Blake [email@example.com] In loose stuff, steering is definitely the preferred way to turn. This is the reason many roadies with good bike skills cannot handle tight singletrack very well. To steer, put your weight on the inside of the turn. Turn your front wheel toward the turn, and hold your bike upright. Even if one or both of your wheels begin to skid you can easily recover. In contrast, if you lean hard through a turn on loose material and either wheel loses traction, you will be picking gravel out of your leg. You almost always want your weight centered between your wheels. This means you move your butt further back as the terrain gets steeper. Learn to feather your front brake. Let off on the brake when your wheel hits an obstacle, and hit it harder when you have a smooth even braking surface. Many people do not learn to feather the brake, so they put their weight too far towards the rear to keep from endoing. This rear weight shift results in too little weight being placed on the front wheel, so that you cannot easily steer. firstname.lastname@example.org I find that the most consistent mistake that I make when turning on downhills is to shift too much weight to the rear. This causes the front wheel to become too light causing it to wash out :-( If my weight is more evenly distributed on the bike, I find that I am also in a position to recover if the front starts to wash out (if I'm not going too fast) although it is not often I can reover from a front wheel washout. John Stevenson [email@example.com] Look at the inside of the turn, not the outside. Your body tends to subconsciously point in the same direction as your eyes, so this keeps you focused on staying tight in the curve, not straying to the outer edge. Blaine Bauer [firstname.lastname@example.org] One thing that I've learned through hard knocks is sharp turning - especially in loose soil. We have some trails that constantly wind through the woods, and have little room on each side (re: trees). I've found that negotiating sharp turns at some reasonable speed is easier when the seat is an inch or so lower than normal. The trick is to lean the bike (but not the rider). This is really just a variation of normal turning. - Point the inside leg in the direction of the turn (knee away from the frame), putting all weight on the outside pedal. - Push down on the inside handlebar. At this point almost all weight should be distributed between the inside grip and the outside pedal. This is much easier with a rigid fork - with a suspension fork, you really have to bear down on the handlebar (a grunt may be required!). - At this point the bike is leaning under the rider, with the seat anywhere from under the thigh to just under the knee. The rider's weight is centered over the point where the two wheels are in contact with the ground, so there isn't a washout problem even in loose conditions. This method will feel very uncomfortable at first. Pushing the handlebars away from oneself is...well, disquieting. The best way to practice this is to do figure-8 turns in a driveway. When you've got it down, hose down the driveway and then try it. If you can make sharp turns on wet concrete you can do it in loose soil.