How To Drift A Mountain Bike: Crossing The Line Of Traction

Mountain biking becomes more fun if you know the right tactics that see you overcome various obstacles on the trail. Cornering or drifting a mountain bike is one of the skills which requires you to be keen as you move at high speed around the turn while your bike’s tires lose traction with the ground. 

When your bike’s tire loses the right traction, you’ll not be able to maintain your speed if you’re not a pro. Doing this is never easy, so you need to learn how to drift a mountain bike. This involves leaning into the turn and shifting your weight towards the front wheel. Learning this technique requires you to practice often so you maintain your posture and improve your speed.

How To Drift A Mountain Bike

If you’re planning to get better at drifting a mountain bike, this article will be helpful as we’ll discuss it here.

What Is Drifting?

Drifting a mountain bike is when you’re riding around a corner, and your tires lose traction with the ground. If you drift unknowingly, you can fall and get injured. But if you do it the right way, it will make it easier for you to make turns in challenging corners at high speed.

It’s important to learn how to drift a mountain bike if the trail offers little traction. You can drift a mountain bike on singletrack or double track. However, the singletrack offers you less area to do this. Note that your bike’s rear wheel should do most of the sliding. If you try doing that with the front wheel, you’ll fall. The pros can manage to make two-wheel mountain bike drifting which tends to be hard.

How You Can Drift a Mountain Bike

You can use two major stages to learn how to drift a mountain bike. They include knowing the basic motions or moves and practicing how to drift a mountain bike.

Understanding the Basic Motion Method

If you want to be a pro at drifting mountain bikes, it’s best to learn the basic motions. The basic moves you should make to keep you ahead of the game include;

  • Approaching A Turn at High Speed

One trick to make you successful in how to drift a mountain bike is to pedal faster while approaching the turn. Doing this will enable your bike’s wheel to skid easily and help you maintain your speed.

  • Let Your Weight Shift Forward

You should also position yourself in a way that you lean forward around the handlebars. This will make your weight shift forward towards the front wheel as you go around the turn. When you achieve this posture, your back tire should start drifting outwards. Gently press on the rear brake if you want the rear wheel to break loose.

  • Lean Towards the Turn

Another helpful tactic is to lean towards the turn. Let your bodyweight move towards the turn to have your body and bike be at 45 degrees from the ground. Maintain that posture throughout the corner of the turn.

  • Stretch Your Inside Foot Out

If you extend your inside foot this way as it hovers over the ground, it will be easier to drift a mountain bike. Remember, your inside foot is the one near the inside of the turn. Let it remain in that position until you finish going around the corner. However, if you realize you’re not stable or about to fall, let your inside foot land on the ground to create stability.

  • Re-Adjust Your Bike and Body

As you finish the turn, re-adjust your bike and body’s posture. Doing this will help your mountain bike gain traction after drifting. You should stop leaning forward and into the turn to have your body upright on the bike.

Start Practicing How to Drift a Mountain Bike

After understanding the basics moves on how to drift a mountain bike, it’s time to put them into practice. To do this, you should;

  • Start At Lower Speed

It’s best to start at a lower speed, although drifting mountain bike is easier and more fun when you’re cycling faster. As a beginner, high speed will increase your chances of tripping, which can be discouraging. To avoid that, approach the corners at low speed and try leaning into the turn. Also, shift your weight forward and increase the pace after gaining momentum while around the turn.

  • Practice On Round Turns

If you want to improve at drifting mountain bikes, avoid thin turns that offer little room for errors and less practice time. Instead, go for wider round turns to give you more time to perfect the art as you move around it.

  • Practice Drifting a Mountain Bike in A Gravel Parking Lot

Practice at the gravel parking lot before you become a pro who can drift a mountain bike on a trail. Mark where you’d wish to turn in the parking lot with a marker. After that, cycle towards that direction and try making your rear wheel drift outwards while going around the turn.

Practicing how to drift a mountain bike on a parking lot is much safer for you than on a downhill trail where you’re also likely to damage the track. It’s advisable not to drift a mountain bike on a public path as it will ruin the fun for other riders. But if that’s your private trail, you can practice drifting a mountain bike there.

  • Be Patient and Persistent

As you know, patience and persistence pay. So will regular practicing on how to drift a bike. It might take ages to be good at it, but you will improve if you keep practicing. If your bike’s tires aren’t drifting, try adjusting your weight forward and leaning more towards the turn, even if you keep pedaling. You can have someone with you to watch how you position yourself on the bike and take the corrections positively. With time you’ll be a pro as you’ve wished all through.

Bottom Line

It’s best to know how to drift a mountain bike to add much fun when riding on your favorite trail. Drifting a mountain bike requires you to move around the corner without the tires maintaining traction with the ground. The best part of this is it enables you to move around the turn at high speed without falling.

However, as a beginner, it’s good to start practicing on a gravel parking lot before moving to a trail to avoid damaging it to other users. This should be after learning the basic moves and the best body posture to allow you to drift a mountain bike easily, as this guide has elaborated.

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How To Drift A Mountain Bike



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