Learning how to ride rocky terrain correctly is an essential technique that enables you to refine your technical riding skills, as well as prevent damage to your bike, as well as minimize the possibility of injury.
Rocks come in all shapes and sizes, but the fact remain that – if rocky terrain is ridden incorrectly – they can inflict damage to your bike and your body. Here are a few tips to enable you to refine your rocky terrain riding.
1. Increase your tire pressure: The advantages of running lower tire pressures off-road outweigh the disadvantages in most situations, but riding trails with a lot of sharp and/or big rocks can call for higher tire pressures (at least 35 PSI, but I don’t recommend you go over 40 PSI). Firmer tires will minimize the possibility of pinch-flatting and cuts to your tires’ sidewalls. When buying tires, choose ones with thicker sidewalls and more aggressive knobs, which work best on our dry and rough trails in Egypt.
2. Gear choice and pedalling technique: On long stretches of rocky terrain, pick a gear that will enable you to maintain a constant, smooth pedaling over the rocky sections. Pick too tall a gear and you’ll risk stalling. Try to stay in the saddle and focus on a smooth pedal stroke and let your suspension do what it is designed to do.
3. Choose a good line and commit to it: This last point seems to be common to advice in riding most situations. Keep your head up, scout out the trail as far ahead as possible and plan your entry and exit on various sections. If, for instance, you’re riding fast and flowy singletrack littered with rocky sections, pick up adequate speed, loosen up your elbows and knees and concentrate on “floating” your bike over the rocks by shifting your body weight and loading/unloading your suspension. With enough speed and good technique, you’ll be surprised at how you can quite easily ride through some very rough sections.