Grant Langston On Corners With Elevation Changes
Intro and Photos: Garth Milan
So you finally figured out how to navigate your bike through deep ruts, slide it through hard, slick, flat turns, and rail around deep, loamy berms. Well guess what? There’s still more to learn!
This tip comes straight from the National track at Glen Helen, where the designers thought they’d get tricky and add large, steep single jumps in the middle of their tightest turns. Have no fear; Grant Langston swore to us that if you follow his few simple rules, you will be flying (literally) past the single jumps and into the turns that follow in no time. Take it away, Grant¿
“When you come into a corner with a big bump or jump in the middle, you don’t want to be sitting down in your seat before it, because what that will do is give you a seat bounce effect. That is exactly what you don’t want; you want to be as close to the ground as possible, not launching into the air.
HIT THE BRAKES
“Get as much braking as possible done before the rise and even halfway up it; what you don’t want to do is brake too heavily right at the top, because as soon as you let go of the brakes on the face, your suspension will rebound. You don’t want your suspension uploading at any stage. Release them as you crest, and then begin to sit down on the seat. Your weight will push the front end of the bike down and make it grab onto the backside of the jump sooner, minimizing airtime. Once you catch the dirt again, your suspension will compress downward, and as it compresses, it will get traction. Be careful that you don’t compress too far on a steep angle, though, or your wheels will slip out.
“As you’re cresting the rise and your suspension is unloading, the front end is going to want to come up and push you wide in the turn. You need to make sure that you have your weight in the correct spot on the bike, up toward the front of the seat and over the bars. Don’t lean back in the wheelie position, because it will launch you higher and also make you out of control, as your rear wheel will touch down first. As for the side-to-side movement, you need to really weight the outside of the peg and seat, because there is no berm for your bike to drive out of and the traction is limited because of how slippery it is.
“The inside leg should only be taken off once, right at the top of the rise. This is for both balance and security. If the front end washes out a little, I will use my leg to dab slightly and correct.”