Climbing technique for loose and slippery climbs


Maintaining tire grip up loose, sandy, or slippery climbs can often be a challenge. But there’s one mountain bike climbing technique that can turn the odds in your favor, and it’s very easy to learn.

As you’re climbing, simply follow through each pedal down-stroke with a ‘pull back, up and around’ with each foot, like you’re trying to wipe something off the bottom of your shoe. You’ll generate a more fluid and constant pedaling motion that will spread power further around each crank rotation, delivering smoother and more constant power to the rear wheel.(smooth pedal motion 90 second video)

Is this what You do?

Stomping on the pedals with all your might up loose or slippery climbs interrupts constant traction, reduces your tire grip and slows your momentum.  On loose climbs you’ll be spitting rocks out, on sandy climbs you’ll be digging holes, and on slippery climbs stomping will have you sliding all about the place.

On the other hand, a near full-circle pedaling pressure generates more constant and predictable grip from both tires, by transferring power to the rear wheel more smoothly.  Do this and you’ll climb with better traction, balance and steering control which will boost your momentum and climbing ability.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it

Next time you approach that loose, sandy or slippery climb, say this chant in your head, ‘Smooth, not stomping’.  That’s all it will take to remind you of this mountain bike climbing tip, to help you pedal up that tricky climb with better traction than ever before.



The stomping vs. smooth pedaling 90 second video:

  Super Tips to help you learn faster:

Spinning is Winning. Use an easy gear so that you’re pedaling a relatively high cadence. A relatively high cadence helps you avoid ‘stomping’ and also helps you overcome obstacles easier.

Grip is Gold!  Grippy all-ground tires with horizontal braking/traction bars or blocks in the tread pattern will help improve your traction up slippery climbs and make it easier to pedal smoothly.

Cheating is Good. Lower your tire pressures for extra grip up that climb that you just can’t seem to make. Once you’ve topped that climb a few times with lower pressures you should have the confidence and climbing technique to make the top using normal tire pressures.

Relax and Look.  Relax your shoulders and your grip on the handlebar, and look ahead up the trail to where you want your wheels to go.  Remember the Golden Rule of Mountain Biking: ‘Your wheels will follow your eyes’

More 90 second mountain bike climbing technique videos to give you incredible climbing skill:

Learn to Climb steeper in 90 seconds

Learn the mountain bike Hill Start in 90 seconds

How to climb like the Pros

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