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How To Ride Natural Mountain Bike Trails | MTB Skills

How To Ride Natural Mountain Bike Trails | MTB Skills

– Bike parks are great. They offer a really good variety of riding for a massive range of abilities, but for me my favorite type of riding is riding natural trails. Trails that have just been cleared and then ridden in with
hardly any handwork at all. But they do offer their own challenges. So this is how to ride natural trails. (motivating rock music) Natural trails are often not
ridden by many people at all because they’re tucked away in
different parts of the woods and they won’t be graded as well. So a blue, a red, or a black trail. So make sure you’re comfortable
with that sort of terrain before you start pushing on. So we’re here in Fort William. Just over there we’ve got
the World Cup Down Hill track and just going through the woods, we’ve got the world’s
cross country course. But also these woods
there’s this crisscross with these natural trails. You can see the difference. There’s all sorts of roots and
rocks dug out of this place. You can see the topography of
that hillside shining through. And it is a completely different beast to riding those properly built trails. They just tend to be a lot rougher and you’ve got to expect the unexpected. (snazzy instrumental music) So the two biggest
differences to natural trails and manmade trails are
actually the difference when they’re dry and wet. So manmade trails tend to
be pretty much all weather. So you don’t get super
muddy and super slippery, whereas this is lovely and dry. Super grippy at the moment, but if this was wet it’d be a
completely different matter. You’re talking about fresh lying roots, it’s gonna be super slippy. You’re gonna have to think about riding this trail differently. Second biggest difference
is it’s much narrower than you’ll find in a normal
sort of manmade trail. So there’s lots more trees to duck around. And actually that’s
one of the main reasons why I run my bars at 750, 760 mil wide. ‘Cause these are the trails I love to ride and 800 mil wide, I’ll be
smashin’ my knuckles all the time. I kinda like working fingers. The conditions are absolutely
prime in the minute. You can see how it’s been
quite wet so under here. Still quite dark dirt where
people have been skidding down. On top it’s nice and light. I wouldn’t call it a low me, but it’s proper nice dirt. Loads of grip. You can also see where in the wet, there’s a big rock that’s
dug into that corner, but now it’s dried out. You can use that as a bump. You can really rail that corner. Loads of grip there. Don’t forget it’s just super natural. If you mess up that corner
and drop over that bank, see ya later. Natural trails can be some of the most tactical
trails you’ll find. This section here probably
started off as quite a mellowish but steep shoots and now it’s dug out and you’ve got big drops. You got stumps. You got roots, you got rocks. Again, it’s really narrow so line choices can be really important. You’ve got that right-hand
corner at the bottom so you can get a bit creative
with sections like this. Try and find the fresher bits, go outside, but I’ve gotta get inside to
find the rock in that corner. Otherwise I’m gonna crash
like I’ve already done. So learned that by experience. I’m actually just gonna
smash it down the middle down those bumps and hit that nice rock at the bottom of that corner. This trail is actually
quite common in the UK. You’ve got really thick forest, so trees absolutely everywhere. You get these natural undulations. This is where I think about getting heavy and then getting light. So by heavy, I mean really
trying to use that pump to make speed ’cause
you’ve got rocks and stumps and roots everywhere. It’s really easy and I
have been doing it already to clipping your pedal on the floor. You can see that rock there
with marks all over it where people are just
slamming their bike into it. And that can cause big crashes so I’m trying to rely on those pumps. And you’ve got those natural undulations. You can do it all over the place. So that’s getting heavy to make speed. And then getting light is where
I’m bringing in my bunny hop or the really smaller version of that where I’m just un-weighting the bike. And that is over the roots. I’ll definitely be doing
that way more if this is wet, but today it’s pretty grippy. So I can actually find
grip in those roots. There’s sections like this where if I drop into all these holes, it’s gonna be super rough. I could start moving around on my pedals and it’s not gonna be fast. So that’s just trying
to un-weight the bike. Sometimes even bunny hop. So there’s some tips that
I hope are gonna help you ride natural trails
a little bit better. I absolutely love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do is to session a trail like this where you’ve got stuff everywhere and try and really memorize the tracks and know where every rock and root is. And try and get the perfect run. One of my most favorite things to do. But even though it’s quite hard, these trails can be pretty difficult, I would say you still rely on a couple of really fundamental skills like
your pumping, like your hops. So there’s a couple of
videos on the screen now if you want to practice
those a little bit better. And let’s do a poll. Hit this button up here, let
us know which you prefer. Natural trails or bike parks. Give us a thumbs up for natural trails and don’t forget to hit that sub button, if you’re not already subbed.

38 comments on “How To Ride Natural Mountain Bike Trails | MTB Skills

  1. So many people only ride park/trail centers these days, show half of them an off camber with some roots and they go to shit, dumbed down trails will be the end of the seemingly never ending supply of top WC riders coming from the UK I think, or at least slow it down greatly

  2. I love natural trails. I'd love to see a follow up video, or a series, going into more detail of how and when to bring in those skills you mentioned

  3. In my country we mainly have natural trails, like 99% of them and only a few bike parks, but I do love natural trails a lot. The connection between you, your bike and raw nature is awesome, the adrenaline and excitement of expecting the unexpected is something you don't get in a man made trail and the thing I love the most is you can ride it once, visit it a couple months later and find sections that are slightly or even totally different, specially here when we have long winters with intermittent sunny days in between so there's always adventure even on the places you've ridden before.

  4. Love these tips! Just brainstorming new video ideas-> How to: Ride tight trails. I am realizing most of the UK is somewhat open and the trees are spread out. I am from New Hampshire, USA and continually deal with hand bashing on trees and losing speed around tight turns. Some of our trails pack a few miles into minimal space meaning quick flat turns in tight trees. There may not be a great place for you guys to film this but it would certainly be a all new How to video.

  5. We don't have any cycling parks here so everyday i go on natural trails and every day i find a new way

  6. My local trail is definitely a natural trail. I never knew there was a term for it so it was always kind of hard to describe to people.

  7. Excellent video! well done Neil, a great insight into natural trails. i pretty much only ride natural trails and love getting lost in the aussie bush on my own tackling the terrain. its about as pure as mountain biking gets, it teaches you to learn and respect the landscape you are riding..navigate correctly or it will almost certainly break you and/or your bike. i agree it is a highly technical way of riding, where i am it is dry, gravelly and very rocky, quite unforgiving.
    i really relate with how you ride…i session downhill trail and not really try to be as fast as possible rather as efficient on the trail as possible, finding the best lines and in turn learning to go faster thru them.

    also, completely off subject, how do you find the ergon grips without gloves? i am dropping pretty big dollars on a new bike and going to fit it out with the good gear..i really like the idea behind ergon i just thought composition looked like it could be a little slippery with sweaty hands…(i live in an area that doesn't have any bike shops close by to look at things, mostly internet purchases) i ride without gloves..every time i crash i always rethink this! haha but then i ride with gloves once and end up taking them off. 🤙😊

  8. I ride only naturals. They teach you to look way ahead, analyze the trail in front of you faster, decide what to do quicker and of course the crashes often are nasty. Cracking sticks caught in between my spokes and frame or fork, leaves and all sorts of crap stuck in my drivetrain, rock gardens for countless kilometers ahead, stones the size of my head and smaller…. sometimes if lucky to hit the right line you get to find some non-air time, because you are bouncing off every time when one of the wheels touch them nasty ass edgy rocks. You learn what not to do the hard way. This year I managed to get to an Italian bike park and the trails there were so flowy… I had the balls to actually let off the brakes for a long time. Just wow

  9. Are those Five Ten Freerider Pro's worth it? I'm thinking about buying a pair, but I've never had Five Ten's 🙂

  10. Love mountian biking but in my area there's nothing really to ride nowadays since.katrina fucked up the trails and shit….now I just hit whatever I can find lol :/

  11. I think folks in the comments are confusing the meaning of the terms Natural, Man-made, and machine-built. They think it's either "bike park" riding, or "Natural" riding but there are many more ways of managing (and thinking about) trails. Most of the trails people are calling natural are actually man-made is my point.

  12. Natural trails are what I learned to ride trails fast on. Lewis and Clark monument MTB trail was too far with no car at the time but my dad's house had woods all around begging for me to ride. Most of the trails are short, steep, difficult and fast. My 7 inch travel freeride bike feels great on them.

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