This is where we teach you all the Tips and tricks, soo hold on......
These Tips will help when you are out riding the trails, read them and put them into practice next time you go out
Going up hills is all about balance control and traction, the important thing is to keep your weight up front so don't sit at the back of the bike, if you do the front will get light, steering will become loose and you could even flip your precious bike.
So get your weight over the front wheel of the bike, this will help you to control the bike much better. The steeper the hill the more you need to get the weight over the front wheel. You can do this sitting or standing up, generally standing makes it easier. If you are sitting down its important to pull yurself forward and aim to get your head over the handle bars and over the front wheel.
Keep your momentum up, find the balance between going to slow or to fast. If you go too slow you will lose speed and will get stuck, don't be afraid to try and go a little faster, but not too fast. If you go too fast you could lose control and wander all over the place and possibly crash.
If the front wheel lifts, throttle off just a bit and get your weight more forward to give you more control.
Keep your sideways balance and continually check your side to side movements, you will have to counter balance to the other side to keep your traction maximised. If you find yourself in ever increasing sideways motions with the back end stepping out then slow down a bit and try to regain control.
Allways look ahead so you can see where you want to go and not where the front wheel is going. Don't focus on ruts, logs or rocks, if you do then you will surely hit them.
Dont forget gear selection, choose the gear the gives you the best response and remember if you lose speed try slipping the clutch before trying to change gear.
Going down hills is all about balance control and traction too. But this time you need keep your weight at the back of the bike, also keep your arms out slightly bent and lean back a bit. The whole idea is to move the weight bias towards the back of the bike to maintain traction. Failure to do this will make the front of the bike harder to steer and control, you may even go over the handlebars.
Keep your fingers on the clutch and front brake and also make sure your foot is over the rear brake lever. This is where your ability to control the brakes and clutch comes in here. Use the clutch, rear brake and front brake to slow you down, use more of the same if you are going too fast or need to wash off speed. Please note too much front brake can cause you to crash or allow to back of the bike to overtake the front.
Choose a line that allows you to descend as slowly and comfortably as you like and try not to lock the wheels up. The right gear selection along with delicate clutch control helps tremendously.
And dont forget your counter balancing skills that you learnt during your slow speed excercises in Beginners Tips .
Blurp the throttle a bit when you need to negotiate step downs, ledges or rocks and maintain your momentum, its your friend and will help keep you balanced.
If its all too much there's still another way. Turn the bike off, put it in first gear get off your bike, pull the clutch in and walk the bike down the hill using the clutch and front brake. Sometimes when the hill is too steep its the best way and you and your bike will get down in one piece. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valour.
Remember always look ahead so you can see where you want to go and not where the front wheel is going. Same as going uphills, don't focus on ruts, logs or rocks, if you do then you will hit them.
We will cover small and medium sized logs here, large ones will be covered in the advanced section. Dont forget you must approach logs straight on so if the log is on an angle you need to line it up. You can do this by either brake sliding or going wide to line the log up. Many a time a small wet log that a rider has considered inconsequential has brought them undone.
Small logs are easy, just approach the log straight on at whatever speed you consider safe, load up the front end a little, accelerate a bit and lean back. You should scale the log nicely, don't forget to keep the throttle constant. Dont accelerate as you go over and if you let off the throttle then the back wheel could get kicked up and put you out of shape or you could even get stuck on the log.
Medium logs are a bit harder, you need to slow down a lot more, then tap the log with your front wheel use a little throttle and you and the bike will scale the log. The other way is to lift the front end as you approach the log and just power over it and continue, takes a little practice, its quicker and looks good. However if you dont line up correctly or the log is wet and dont get the throttle control quite right then good will turn ugly and you probably will end up in a close examination of the ground for your efforts.
When you front wheel can no longer naturally roll up and over the log and just gets jammed against the base of the log, you have reached large log territory. This is covered in the advanced section.
You will get very wet, its the fear of riding over something that you cant see but could spit you into the drink in an instant.
If the water is too deep don't even try, just get off the bike and walk it across, that way you shouldn't take in any water into the airbox or down the exhaust pipe. If there are a few of you then you can use a good strong tree branch to help you carry the bike across.
If you want to ride then try to keep your feet on the pegs (better to stay balanced than drop the bike and drown the engine). Sit in the middle of the seat, go slowly with a steady throttle, look forward and hope for the best.
Creek crossings generally mean mud and rocks and this is where your counter steering exercises will help. If you haven't already done any counter steering exercises you can find them in the Beginners Tips section.
The key to riding with rocks is to stand up, pick your line, take it steady and of course, look ahead. Keep a firm but relaxed grip on the handlebars and be ready with the clutch and brakes. Also make sure your bike is in the right gear for the terrain giving you the best traction and response to throttle control.
The worst thing about rocks is you fixating on them which means you will then hit them and maybe drop the bike. If they are in the way then keep your momentum up and hit them square on using the same techniques as you would with logs.
Beware, wet rocks can be just as slippery as logs and you need to maintain your sideways balance negotiating rocky sections. If the rocky section is particularly nasty you may also want to consider sitting down, at least until you become more comfortable with rocks. If you really get off balance dont be afraid to put your feet down.
MUD AND SLIPPERY CONDITIONS
Tips for riding in mud. First sit further back and balance your weight towards the back end of the bike rather than the front, this will take the weight off the front end a bit (which you need for mud). Be relaxed and don't stiffen up, the bike will feel loose in the mud and you need to be loose too. Use rear brake and clutch more so than the front brake, a fist full of front brake will see you going down like a sack of potatoes.
Mud techniques are a lot like down hill ones plus the front end will tend to float over the mud surface and your steering will feel loose. You may need a bit of counter steer here and there (especially if you lock up the front brake) so once again counter steering practice helps.
Oh did I say front brake?.Once again be very careful with the front brake, in mud its much easier to lock the front wheel and become a missile and then continue in a straight line until your momentum dies.
Too much throttle means loss of traction, the rear end may want to overtake the front and could get very scary, so if your bike has an ignition setting for mud use it. Once again counter steering techniques come into play again, very usefull in mud as the tyres can become mud clogged. The bike will move under you a lot but you will get used to it. Riding in the mud requires a fine balance between traction, sliding and counter steering.
So got all that, go cautiously at first, remember all of the above and as you go you will find your balance point, become more accustomed to mud and after a while start riding like a pro. But remember, nothing beats practice.