Traversing off-camber rock climbs is scary, get it wrong and the consequences can be expensive.
Advanced riding techniques: Off-camber rock climbs.
The sound of plastic and metal grinding on rock is awful. If you’ve ever been on a tough trailride or on a hard enduro run then you’ll know the sound. It’s not often you come across a rock section this big but there are some creeks and mountains in the country that are full of them and skipping across without sliding down is a scary but easy trick to master.
We recently caught up with Ben Grabham to discuss the best technique for traversing this cliff face.
1. Pick your line
Before you start traversing an off-camber rock section look up and pick the line you want to take. Be realistic with what your skill level can handle and remember on a sandstone rock like this your side knobs will bite and grip more than you might think.
2. Look up!
So many people make the mistake of worrying about what their front trye is tracking over and end up staring at the front mudguard. Don’t do this, as you will definitely lose the front end. Look where you want to finish and keep what’s under your tyres in your peripheral vision.
3. Centre your weight
If you lean back for this trick the front wheel will not bite the rock and you risk it sliding out. You need to keep your weight over the middle of the bike with some bias toward the front-end. Also think about putting a little weight on the outside peg to push the inside knobs into the rock.
For a cliff like this I like to use first gear but you may find some you can use second for. You don’t really want to be accelerating or braking just using the friction point of the throttle to keep the bike moving. Don’t stop and don’t rip the throttle.
5. Feel it go
If you feel like you’re losing your balance don’t be afraid to let the bike wander down the cliff a little, providing there is enough run off at the bottom. Rescuing a wandering front-end on the side of a cliff like this is almost impossible.
6. Stay standing
Even if you feel the bike lose balance and want to drop to the bottom remain standing. By standing you can counter the bumps and slips with your weight easily and it gives you better control of your rear brake and clutch not to mention allowing you to see further ahead.
CLIFF DIVING: WHAT NOT TO DO
There are lots of things to get wrong on this How To but it is actually quite an easy trick to master if you enter it with confidence and respect.
Here’s what I definitely would NOT do:
- Sit down – By sitting down you cannot control your weight balance and risk falling down the cliff and not getting away from the bike. Standing might be scary because you are higher, but it is better.
- Grab a fistful – Not of accelerator but front brake. If you unsettle the front-end by grabbing the brake it will end in a low side.
- Look down – I see so many people look down at the bottom of the cliff. If you do that, that is where you will go. Look ahead of yourself and try to focus on the next move not your imminent death if you sail to the bottom.
With Bec Wilson
WHO’S IT FOR
Trailriding and hard enduro.
Start on something not so steep and long.
STRENGTH & HEIGHT
Bigger, more plump blokes may find it hard to control their weight balance.
If you fall there is a good chance of getting hurt!
Holding your line and not dropping down looks cool and is faster!