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In this second instalment of How To Ride Hill Climbs ADB Ed Mitch Lees shows you how to climb steep hills without breaking traction.

Last month we looked at the basics of finding that friction point with your clutch to improve your hill climbing technique. I mentioned meeting so many riders while working as a sweep rider on the VIP Experience rides that were fast on flat ground but didn’t understand the art of finding traction with slow, controlled clutch work when climbing hills. Here’s How To Ride Hill Climbs Part 2.

If you mastered the art of finding that friction point and holding the bike there with no throttle last month, it’s time to put that skill to work with the legendary crawl and blip.

  1. Plan your escape

There’s no harm in stopping at the bottom of a rocky hill and planning your exit. Don’t feel the peer pressure to just attack any hill with the same gusto you’ve been slicing singletrail. It also gives you a chance to setup your body position.

  1. Trigger happy 

Like we discussed last month, keep your index fingers over the clutch and brake. If you’ve stopped to assess your options you can regrip your handlebar and make sure your hands are ready to go.

  1. Learning to crawl 

With your clutch finger, find that friction point where you feel the flywheel start to take up. You can make sure your arse is a little further back on the seat for traction and to get your feet on the ground and then slowly begin to apply a small amount of throttle. Look up (not like I am here) and let the rear wheel begin to crawl, very slowly.

  1. Pedalling 

Try and meter your speed with the clutch so that your feet can walk slowly with the bike. Don’t drag them and don’t feel pressure to put them on the footpegs. Use them to stabilize your crawl. You should be going walking speed and in first gear.

  1. Don’t spin 

If you come across a few small rock ledges do not panic. Use the small blip technique you learnt last week to pop the front wheel 10cm then squeeze the clutch in ever so slightly to bring it back down and continue crawling. Do not panic and grab a handful of throttle or stop, trust the inertia and momentum to get you up and over.

  1. Continue walking 

Continue to use the momentum you’ve built to walk the bike up and try to hold your arse on the seat without sliding off the back. The sound of the motor shouldn’t change much and the revs should sound like they’re struggling and not spiking up and down.

Panic rev!

I see so many people on the VIP Experience rides panic when they come to a hill climb like this and they often don’t stop and just attack it with full force. They’re tired, off balance and not setup correctly and that means they end up stuck or cartwheeling, uphill.

If riders do stop, they often wait too long and panic then sets in and they forget to remain calm on the climb and the throttle and clutch low.

Remember these crucial points on your next climb:

  • Monotoned – You want the bike to stay at the same revs the entire time. It should sound like it’s low, almost stalling and not spiking. If you need to apply a small amount of throttle to get over a ledge you can but try and bring it back to monotone immediately.
  • Those fingers – I know it may not seem like a big deal but having your hands and fingers setup like I have explained will make a huge deal to your clutch and throttle control. Four fingers on the levers will limit your feel and cause fatigue.
  • Pedal power – If you’re feeling confident, don’t be afraid to use your legs to actually help push the bike a bit, not just stabilize it. You can even use your weight to compress the shock spring while your legs push the bike over a ledge.

With Mitch Lees





Trailriding or hard enduro


You will need a long hill to practice this, a flat or short hill defeats the purpose. It doesn’t have to be rocky but it needs to be at least 20 metres long.


Taller riders will find this trick easier to get their feet on the ground.


Careful not to rev too much or you risk looping out.


Groveling up hills with no energy used will make a hill look easier than it is which will throw your mates off!