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How To Turn Around on Steep Hills | How To

All enduro and trailriders will have to perform a U-turn on a steep hill at some stage.

Even Graham Jarvis finds himself stuck with no choice but to turn around and try again. However, one small mistake can cost both you and the bike big time.

So how do you spin a 120kg dirtbike around on a cliff without cartwheeling to the bottom?
When you run out of talent and can’t climb any further, stall the bike in first gear and lower your outriggers. When you’re confident the bike will balance resting in gear, hop off to the left, holding onto the left handgrip.

While balancing the bike with your left hand, lean down and grab the rear guard or grab handle on the left side of the bike with you right hand. You should have your left hand on the handlebar and the other one behind the seat. Make sure you have a secure foothold as well.

With the bike turned off, pull the clutch in to allow the bike to edge down the hill. Push the handlebar in so the rear of the bike turns towards your side of the hill as it rolls backwards. Use your right arm to help drag the arse around.

To encourage the bike to come around to your side of the hill, lean it towards you slightly. This will also prevent it from shifting its weight to the downhill side and flipping over. Keeping your knees bent, make sure the bike is sideways on the hill, remove your hand from the rear and grab the front brake.

With the bike leaning into the hill, throw you right leg over the bike but make sure it is still leaning into the higher side. Before setting off down hill you will need to make sure the bike is facing the right way so turn the ‘bar back and forth until the front wheel starts to edge down.

Once the bike is almost facing down hill jump on the footpegs and make sure you remain standing while riding the brakes and clutch down to safety. Editor Mitch Lees

What Not To Do

This trick can seem scary, with the possibility of a long fall yielding broken parts and bones, so here are some things you need to make sure you don’t do.
Pivot Wheelie: I can’t think of many riders who can perform a 180-degree pivot wheelie on a vertical climb, so don’t do it.
Lean in: Make sure you and the bike are always leaning into the high side of the hill to prevent the bike from spiralling down hill. If it goes, at least it will slide and not flip.
Slow and steady: When reversing backwards do not let the bike roll too fast, otherwise when you turn the front wheel the bike may knife and high side.
Hop off on the right: You need to use the clutch to allow the bike to roll down the hill so make sure you are on the left when you dismount.
Set off: Before jumping on the bike to roll back to the bottom make sure you are almost facing down the hill. If you’re still sideways you may end up getting ejected when you take off.

Who’s It For?

Intermediate to advanced. If you’re tackling hills this steep, you want some experience.
Trailriding or extreme enduro
Start with a hill that’s not too steep and with less stuff to run into and then work your way up from there. You will need some form of a hill for the bike to roll backwards.
Taller riders will feel more confident getting on and off the bike.
If you let the bike highside you may be up for manslaughter when it squashes someone below. If you stay on the higher side of the hill, you’ll be fine.
It looks boring but at least your clutch and brake levers will be in one piece.