Insights for Mountain Bikers on Cornering from John McGuinness

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EMC’s trailer/advert for their collaboration with TT (what’s the TT?) racing legend John McGuinness recently turned up in my recommended section on YouTube and I thought I’d share it. There’s two posts worth of performance enhancing learning from this video clip. This first post is dedicated to cornering <click here for the second post on speed conditioning>.

EMC basically set out to see ‘What makes John McGuinness so fast?’ and did this by analysing his physiological performance along with his bike’s performance.  If you move the video clip on to 2.30, Mike Foley (of EMC) talks about how John significantly out performed their control bike racer in the corners and the main factors he cites are “…he’d set up for the turn earlier, bank harder and take a line that allowed him to minimise the distance and exit at a higher velocity”.

This is something we can learn from – if you want to be faster, set up for corners earlier, bank your bike harder and minimise the distance round the turn.  To prove that these tips are useful in mountain biking I’ve included Chain Reaction Cycles #OnTheHunt: Episode 1 along with 3 still images below.

The still images are taken at 6.09 from the riding section that begins at 5.50.  Joe Smith is on the left, Matt Simmonds is on the right and Sam Hill is in the middle – can you spot the legend between the two rookies?

Look at Sam’s position compared to Joe and Matt’s.  Sam’s set himself up for the corner earlier, putting him further up the bank, and compare the angle of his front wheel with the other two – he’s banking the bike harder and railing the turn.  Also take note that the bodies of all three riders are at similar angles but the angle of Sam’s bike is significantly different to the other two.

So John McGuinness and Sam Hill have taught us that if you want to improve your cornering then two of the most important factors you need to be working on are setting yourself early and increasing the banking angle of your bike.  You might also want to check out one of my previous posts ‘Insights for Mountain Bikers from Sir Issac Newton’ as this touches on some of the science behind why this works.

Practice like a legend.



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