How to Ride Like a Pro: Brian Lopes

Brian Lopes

Photo by Brian Plunkett/Shreddy Shots

Brian Lopes has been a top star in mountain biking for more than 25 years. He is a multi-time national and world champion. He’s also one of the top racers in history in Whistler’s Crankworx racing. 

1. When going through a big berm, you want to keep your head up and look towards the exit of the turn. Get the majority of your braking done before entering and carry as much speed as you feel comfortable with through the turn so you exit the turn with maximum momentum.

2. Corners that look loose and blown out are often hard to read. If you aren’t confident in the traction when entering a turn like this, taking a foot out for safety is often a good idea. This will allow you to charge harder in, push your wheels with greater force into the terrain and have the ability to dab your inside foot if your tires break loose.

3. Carrying maximum momentum over a jump sometimes requires that you use the “scrub” technique so you don’t over-jump the landing. The object is to get the wheels back on the ground and land perfectly on the backside landing. This requires you to suck up the lip by letting the bike come up into your body while pushing the bike down towards the ground. You’ll often see riders turn off the takeoff to get the bike even lower while adding a little distance to the jump by taking off on, for example, the left side and landing on the right. This is an advanced move, and every inch counts.

4. Medium- to large-size drop-offs should always be looked at before attempting. Knowing where to land so you can gauge how much speed you need to carry into the takeoff is the first step. Often we want to get our wheels to the ground ASAP, making the landing smoother, but we also have to make sure there aren’t any hazards we need to clear. The right amount of speed allows you to clear those hazards and keep the front wheel from dropping too much before the rear wheel leaves the takeoff. As the front wheel leaves the takeoff, you will lift and shift your weight back so that your bike is parallel to the landing where your bike’s wheels will touch down. The shift of your body towards the rear will help keep that front wheel up while allowing the bike to come up into you. You want the wheels to get down to the ground without dropping any further than necessary. Pinpoint that landing and let your suspension, arms and legs absorb touchdown.


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