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It’s important to learn to crawl before you can walk! We take a look at the best way to climb gnarly hills.

If you’ve mastered Part One and Part Two of our Hill Climb How To then you’re ready for the third and final instalment. It is crucial that you have all other aspects of the hillclimb down pat before you attempt this third instalment of how to climb gnarly hills.

For Part Three we are going to look at how to change direction if the hill is simply too steep or there’s a ledge in the way. Most of the time you can’t just change direction like you’re on flat ground, often it requires some skill and balance to get around or over an object halfway up a hill and we suggest a slight pivot wheelie.

  1. Sure footed

If you’re climbing a hill and you can’t get over the next obstacle try and stop in a position where you can get one foot on the ground. If you’re not looking far enough ahead you won’t be able to do this as you won’t know when to give up.

  1. Hill hold

As you ideally plant your left foot, jump on the rear brake with your right. The last thing you need to do is start rolling back. You’d be amazed at how many people I see forget to grab the brake and roll back downhill. If you can only put your right foot down, grab the front brake.

  1. Clutch it

Like we learnt in Part One and Part Two, now is the point at which you need to find that friction point with the clutch. Slowly let it out until you hear the engine dip slightly and the motor start to hold the bike on the hill.

  1. Out your arse into it

We were never told to sit on the back of the seat in regular enduro or motocross coaching but if you’re about to pop a wheelie and pivot you want your arse in the rear third of the seat. This not only helps the front end come up but also helps get your inside foot on the ground as the shock will sag more, lowering the seat height.

  1. Pop it

Like we learnt in Part One and Part Two begin to pop the front-end by small blips of the throttle and pops of the clutch while letting go of the brake a little. Remember, you’re already on a hill so it won’t take much to get the front-end up.

  1. Weight transfer

Once the front wheel has cleared the obstacle begin to pull the front wheel in the direction you want to go. Remember to do this in small amounts as you don’t want it going too far around and sending you back down the hill. You can take several goes at getting the front wheel to your desired direction.


  1. Drop it like it’s hot

When your front wheel is clear, just pull the clutch in and jump back on the rear brake. The front end will come down and you can begin to crawl out in your new direction using the tips you learnt from Part Two.


The last thing you want to do is loop out a move like this but it is easy to do. In fact, most riders will loop out before they even get to this position. Remember, when climbing a hill like this to use what you learnt in Part One and Part Two which is patience and small throttle and clutch inputs.

Try to avoid these nasty pivot turn habits:

  • Dual foot – Resist the urge to put both feet on the ground when trying to change direction in the air. It might seem like the safer way to hold the bike on the hill but you won’t be able to cover the brake when you wheelie and it can throw you off balance.
  • Small applications – Doing several small front-end pops is much better than doing one big one and going too far or looping out. If you go too far and end up facing downhill, you might as well start again from the bottom.
  • Momentum – If you’re keen to get going, in one motion, after you wheelie, stand on the footpegs with both feet and with the front wheel still off the ground drive that rear wheel into the ground and lurch forward over the obstacle. Standing up and lurching will help the rear end get traction.

With Mitch Lees





Trailriding or hard enduro


The only way to really practice this skill is to actually do it.


The taller you are the easier it will be to find the ground and save it with your foot.


You cold cartwheel back down the hill losing all dignity.


Not only do small pivot wheelies look cool, they’re a quick, energy saving way of getting out of trouble.