Mountain Biking: How to Ride Off-Camber

Published October 17, 2017

A mountain biker riding over rocks.

When you ride more difficult mountain bike trails, you'll start to come across off-camber sections. Off camber describes any section where the outside edge of the trailbed is lower than the inside edge. These are particularly tricky because the angle of the slope is falling away from your wheels.

The same skills that are used in cornering can be applied to off-camber sections of trails. Focus on braking, line choice, lean and pedal position.

Video: Riding Off-Camber Corners

Off-Camber Technique


It's important to do all braking before you hit the off-camber section. Traction is already limited so any tap on the brakes while riding the off-camber terrain is likely to send your wheels sliding out from under you.

Find your line

Picking a good line can set you up for success. Whether the section is straight, or you're hitting a corner, you usually want to stay high. The terrain is naturally going to push you low so start as high as you can.

Staying high also helps you deal with the roots that often come with off-camber sections. Try to hit roots straight on, otherwise, the roots may grab your tire and send it sliding.

In corners, try to make your turn early and hit the off-camber section straight on.

Adjust your lean

Leaning is a little tricky in off-cambers. You want to lean the bike slightly into the hill to get the knobs on the edge of the tire to really dig in, without leaning so far that you lose traction and slide out. As you do this, counter-balance by moving your hips slightly away from the bike to keep your weight centered over the tires. As always, keep your hips pointed where you want to go. Your bike will follow.

Adjust pedal position

Pedal balance is also important. You'll need to keep your feet evenly weighted but let your inner pedal come up so it doesn't clip the ground. This also helps open your hips for easier leaning. If there are just too many rocks and roots to deal with, a small bunny hop can help get you over the rough sections with style.

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