How To Ride Technical Mountain Bike Trails Faster – 5 Ways To Ride Faster On Your Hardtail MTB

Although cross-country bikes aren’t
designed specifically for technical trails, one look at the very best
cross-country riders shows they’re more than fast enough.
So what are the secrets? Well, here are five things for you
to work at. ♪ [music] ♪ Line choice is always critical in mountain
biking, but on a cross-country hardtail, perhaps even more so. You’re going to have
to choose different lines than you might do on a bigger full suspension bike,
because your bike is simply going to reach the limits of its ability far sooner.
So when it comes to line selection, you can ride big rocks and big routes,
but on a ton of repeated big hits that you might find yourself getting a little bit
overfaced, and then potentially losing control. So for example, like a
big, gnarly rock section. And in those cases, it’s simply a case
of trying to pick the smoothest line that you can to avoid the biggest hits. To give yourself the best possible chance
of finding the right line, look ahead a good few meters down the
trail. The faster you go, the further you need to look, and looking ahead also
keeps your head up, which helps put your body in the right aggressive
position and lead you through turns. Just remember, don’t fixate
on obstacles, though, as you see them. Focus on the line instead, and then move
your gaze beyond that. When riding out the saddle, you want
to have your pedals level, and then be crouching over the bike
with your arms and legs slightly bent to absorb the shocks, but maintaining
clearance over your saddle. Now, if you do drop your seat,
then you also want to drop your heels. But with your saddle in a fixed position
like this one, then it’s better to have your feet closer to parallel with the
ground to give you that little bit more room to maneuver over the saddle. Although, on climbs or on pedaling
sections where you need to be seated for efficiency, you can sometimes hover
slightly out the saddle to give the bike just a degree or two of movement
underneath you. Now, one thing that goes in the favor
of hardtails is pedal clearance. Generally, it’s a little bit greater on a
hardtail than on a full suspension bike. So what it means is you can actually keep
pedaling for longer through really difficult sections. And I also find
there’s an extra bonus, that pedaling through really rough or technical sections
actually really helps to keep the bike under a bit more control. Now, you’ll see
it if you try it, doesn’t even have to be a particularly rough section of trail,
but do one run freewheeling through, and then one run pedaling through.
Compare the two, and you’ll probably find exactly the same. Aside from pedaling, there is another way
to conserve your momentum, and it’s a great skill to perfect. Without
suspension, or just with less of it, you have to absorb more of the shocks
to keep your wheels rolling, so you need to learn to ride light.
Clearly, there’s actually no way of making yourself lighter, but you can unweight
for key sections, and this means that you bounce on the pedals just before a rough
section of trail, and then effectively try to float the bike over it. It’s like a
very primitive form of bunny hopping, and anyone can do it, but to take it
further, it is critical to learn to hop. Hopping shouldn’t just be reserved
for bigger stuff, though. It’s amazingly effective on small imperfections in the
trail, as well. Any tiny bump or rock or root can be hopped in order to preserve
your momentum, and you can actually do it while pedaling, as well. It might seem a
bit labor intensive at first, to try and float over every lump or bump,
but believe me, when you get comfortable doing it, it will make a big difference. Final trail skill to unlock your potential
on technical trails is to get comfortable having your wheels slide
around underneath you and doing unpredictable things. Whether it’s rocks or roots or mud
or dust, when the trail gets tough, often the only way through is to let the
bike move around underneath you. Generally, this comes from experience,
but you can speed the process up by finding a short patch of roots
or rocks and riding it over and over again, getting familiar
with how the bike responds and finds its own way. So there are five
key ways to ride cross-country technical trails faster. You’ve got
to think about your line choice, going around obstacles, not necessarily
straight over the top of them. You’ve got to think about your body
position, conserve momentum, and then, finally, just get comfortable
with your wheels sliding around underneath you. Now,
we mentioned bunny hops as an absolutely key skill, so why not click up there,
and you can learn how to bunny hop in just 60 seconds? Then,
to do technical climbing, why not click down there, and watch that
video? And finally, you need to subscribe to GMBN, if you haven’t already done so. So a shortcut is just to click on me,
right now. Now then, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to go and ride some more
technical trails, because I’m quite enjoying myself. Just subscribe before I
go. I’m waiting. All right, thanks.


  1. What pants are you wearing? I've been looking everywhere but I cant find anything that is just a bit looser than bibs yet not baggy like DH pants. I cant stand bibs, it's like having a second layer of skin. The only pants I've found so far is Specialized Atlas which looks great but no store has them in my size, either to small or to big. If anyone has any tips I would appreciate it. Maybe this could be a future video for GMBN?

  2. Hi GCN can you kindly put a simple 10 min video Don or Si naturally riding the trail. Preferably from a front facing perspective like in this video. Commentary over the video would be nice for tips and strategy. A lot can be learned just by watching a skilled rider ride. This would add a lot to your series, I belive. I like all the other member of gcn just Don and Si seem more my "style" of riding.Thanks again for the video.

    Also it seems the series could benefit from tips to avoid injuries, treat injuries, and causes of injuries. By causes of injury I mean soreness in body parts as a result of poor fitment.

  3. When he talked about sliding your wheels I realised I hadn't completely wasted my childhood wearing through tyres.

  4. I ride my hardtail like a downhill bike, the trails are smoother but still with lots of roots and very muddy, I prefer the feedback from hardtails, I'm quicker on many of my local downhills than the full susser. Slack head angle and lots of grip at the front with a sticky but more xc focused back tyre.

  5. how did he lift his front wheel that high while on the saddle during his bunnyhop?? when i try to bunnyhop whith my saddle high, it always gets in my way when i try to lean forward to lift the back wheel

  6. +Global Mountain Bike Network – Hey guys, John Pifer from Nashville, Tennessee here. I ride a 2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er hardtail. Just discovered your channel, and wanted to say that I really appreciate the professionalism with which you make your videos, and the quality of the filming. I'm learning a lot from your videos, even if I am a bit slow to implement the technique 🙂

    Keep 'em comin' boys! Good on ya!

  7. I do go a lot out of the saddle or hovering when doing a trail. Sometimes I remain seated when working on control and pedaling cadence on a trail.

  8. This is great. I know XC is no longer what is "cool" or popular but many of us simply cannot afford these full sus bikes. Plus a hardtail is very useful for folks who have to ride to the trail head like me.
    Don't get me wrong, enduro bikes and enduro is awesome, its more thrilling and more capable which, lets face it, sells.
    I got a few grand a couple years back after a good decade without a mtb. Obviously,I had grown up with hardtails being primarily a 90s rider and was really temted to go for full suspension but finally went hardtail because of a number of reasons.
    I cannot mis what I never had and had never ridden a DS bike. I could get a much nicer hardtail for the money. Money! I cannot afford the trappings of dedicated bikes. They are expensive, require a vehicle and are costly to maintain while a hardtail can be what gets me to the trail, can be a bike to get around, is fun just limited to less crazy runs.
    Finally, I think people tend to forget that a hardtail is still quite a capable bike, and very exciting to clean a trail on one.

  9. Hi guys, I'm just one of your grateful subscriber here in the Philippines, I would like to ask what's the best technique riding technical trails in fix high saddle cross country bike. thanks very much!

  10. Firstley thank you , although i have at the moment a fully xc bike Merida with 120mm travel .I am a bit pieved at its performance when getting ( Overheated in the trails).Gonna change soon i hope for an Enduro, but till then this video really puts down what you have to be aware off ta very much!

  11. I love your videos. I'm thrilled to hit some singletrails of Beskid Mountains. Maybe I will do some video too and share it with you. Thanks 🙂

  12. Hi GMBN, i love watching your videos, but all i want to know is how to choose the right suspension fork for my hard tail frame, size of my frame is 26 with 31.6mm seat post, im 5'6 tall, im from philippines, planning to buy a rockshock fork, my frame is MOSSO 2608 its the cheaper frame, thank you, and nice video. God bless.

  13. hi gmbn am from philippines
    may i ask can i use my carbon hardtail on a pump track trail? can i make my mtb jump, even if its carbon?

  14. got my bike stolen but they arrested the guy and i get it back in march. Its a beautiful orbea alma cross country bike, ill never leave it locked outside again.

  15. This was incredibly useful for me ! I always wondered how I could take my hardtail down some exciting trails, but always lost my confidence when it came to actually trying. Very informative ! Thanks !

  16. Thanks to your channel and others like it I realized I was doing so many things wrong and although I haven't put all the things I have learned into practice yet, I have absolute faith that these videos will significantly accelerate my skills as a biker.

    Thank you so much for all your hard work!
    -A novice

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