Hip Steering (Mountain Biking) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Bicycle Riding Techniques Glossary

What is Hip Steering in Mountain Biking?

Hip steering is a technique used by mountain bikers to initiate turns by shifting their hips and body weight rather than relying solely on the handlebars. By using hip steering, riders can navigate tight corners, switchbacks, and technical terrain with more control and precision. This technique allows riders to maintain better balance and stability while cornering at high speeds, making it a valuable skill for both beginner and advanced mountain bikers.

How to Properly Execute Hip Steering

To properly execute hip steering, riders should follow these steps:

1. Approach the turn with proper speed and momentum.
2. As you enter the turn, shift your weight towards the inside of the corner by leaning your hips in the direction you want to go.
3. Keep your upper body and arms relaxed and allow your bike to lean naturally into the turn.
4. Use your outside foot to apply pressure to the pedals and maintain traction.
5. Look ahead and focus on where you want to go, rather than fixating on obstacles or the trail directly in front of you.
6. Exit the turn smoothly by gradually straightening your bike and returning your weight to a neutral position.

By following these steps, riders can effectively use hip steering to navigate corners with speed and control.

Benefits of Using Hip Steering

There are several benefits to using hip steering in mountain biking, including:

1. Improved control and stability: By using hip steering, riders can maintain better balance and stability while cornering, especially on technical terrain.
2. Increased speed and efficiency: Hip steering allows riders to navigate turns more quickly and efficiently, reducing the need to brake excessively or slow down.
3. Enhanced maneuverability: This technique enables riders to make tight turns and switchbacks with greater precision, making it easier to navigate challenging sections of the trail.
4. Reduced strain on the arms and upper body: By using hip steering to initiate turns, riders can take some of the pressure off their arms and upper body, leading to a more relaxed and comfortable riding experience.

Overall, hip steering can help riders become more confident and skilled mountain bikers by improving their cornering technique and overall trail performance.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Hip Steering

While hip steering can be a valuable technique for mountain bikers, there are some common mistakes to avoid:

1. Overturning: Riders should be careful not to oversteer with their hips, as this can cause them to lose balance and control. It’s important to make subtle movements and let the bike lean naturally into the turn.
2. Stiff upper body: Riders should keep their upper body and arms relaxed while using hip steering, as tensing up can hinder their ability to maneuver the bike effectively. Stay loose and fluid in your movements.
3. Looking down: Riders should focus on where they want to go, rather than looking down at the trail directly in front of them. Keeping your eyes up and looking ahead will help you anticipate obstacles and navigate turns more smoothly.
4. Lack of practice: Hip steering is a skill that takes time and practice to master. Riders should dedicate time to practicing this technique on different types of terrain to improve their cornering abilities.

By avoiding these common mistakes, riders can effectively use hip steering to enhance their mountain biking skills and performance on the trail.

When to Use Hip Steering on the Trail

Hip steering can be used in a variety of situations on the trail, including:

1. Tight corners: When navigating tight corners or switchbacks, hip steering can help riders maintain control and maneuver their bike more effectively.
2. Technical terrain: Hip steering is especially useful on technical terrain with rocks, roots, and other obstacles that require precise cornering skills.
3. High-speed descents: When descending at high speeds, hip steering can help riders maintain stability and control while cornering aggressively.
4. Off-camber turns: Hip steering is valuable for navigating off-camber turns where the trail slopes to one side, requiring riders to lean their bike and body weight accordingly.

By recognizing when to use hip steering on the trail, riders can improve their cornering technique and overall performance in various riding conditions.

Tips for Improving Hip Steering Technique

To improve your hip steering technique, consider the following tips:

1. Practice on different types of terrain: Experiment with hip steering on flat corners, berms, switchbacks, and technical sections to develop your skills in various scenarios.
2. Focus on body positioning: Pay attention to how you shift your weight and position your body while using hip steering. Make sure to lean your hips in the direction you want to go and keep your upper body relaxed and balanced.
3. Work on your timing: Timing is crucial when using hip steering to initiate turns. Practice entering and exiting corners smoothly and efficiently to improve your overall cornering speed and control.
4. Get feedback from others: Ask for feedback from more experienced riders or consider taking a skills clinic to receive personalized tips and advice on improving your hip steering technique.

By incorporating these tips into your riding routine, you can enhance your hip steering skills and become a more confident and proficient mountain biker on the trail.