Veteran enduro champion Wyn Hughes shares his secrets for mastering steep inclines
When it comes to riding off-road, steep inclines can often be more difficult than nerve-racking descents. Get it wrong halfway up the climb and you’ll lose traction and bin the bike and trying to steady a bike while gravity is constantly pulling it down is tricky and exhausting work. Fortunately, with proper technique these steep sections can be great fun, so here’s what to do when next faced with a monster slope.
When approaching a steep hill always make sure you check to see if there are any other riders halfway up, if there are, wait until your route is completely clear. Once you’ve ascertained that your path is clear of bodies and bike parts, give yourself as much distance as possible for your approach and get the bike in second gear. As you build speed change up into third as soon as possible.
Focus your eyes on the top of the hill, rather than just in front of where you are riding. As you make your way up the slope and the bike starts to lose power change to second in plenty of time to keep up momentum, but don’t be tempted to go down into first. This will make the bike wheel spin and you’ll get stranded halfway up.
Your bodyweight should be placed on the middle to front of the seat to keep weight on the front wheel, if you’re hanging off the back it will make the front end too light to steer. Also, try to keep your feet on the pegs. Removing them causes the bike to lose balance and makes it harder to find grip.
Your progress should be good and as you approach the top of the hill where it is usually most slippery, reduce the throttle and the torque of the engine will carry you over the top. If you are ever unfortunate enough to get stuck on the way up or drop the bike, it is always better to ride down and attempt the climb again from the bottom. Safe riding!