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Friday, June 17, 2016

BikeTrial Tutorial 2 - Pivoting

Now that you have mastered the track stand, it is time to move on to the next fundamental skill of BikeTrials, pivoting, also referred to as "rocking".

Pivoting is all about leverage and momentum. By shifting your body weight and using the brakes to counter the forward and backward momentum, you are able to pivot your bike forward, backward or sideways to change the directions you intend to go. Get into a rhythm and the pivots become almost effortless.

What can I do with Pivoting?

You can use pivoting to easily lift up your front wheel onto a ledge, cross a gap or for balancing to set up another technique. Here are some examples.

Use pivoting to raise the front wheel into a rear wheel hop.

Start off with pivoting your bike to get the momentum and rhythm going. On the backward pivot, lift up the front wheel and pedal down to bring the bike into the rear wheel position. Then hop on the rear wheel to maintain balance. This is one way to use pivoting to set up another technique.

In later tutorials, I will give detailed steps and methods to show how to learn and master the rear wheel hop. You will need to master all 3 skills (track stand, pivoting and hopping) to be able to do this. Arguably, you can learn the rear wheel hop without learning the pivot. I will explain when we come to that tutorial.

Use pivoting to balance to setup the next move.

You can also use the pivot to balance by either adjusting the front wheel or rear wheel. Most riders use this method from a stationary position on the front wheel to line up the next move like the pedal up or touch up. The main goal is to align the bike's front and rear wheels in a straight line.

Get into a rhythm to use pivoting to change directions effortlessly.

By pivoting your bike, you can move the front or back wheel to face any directions that you want. When you have a very small space to navigate, pivoting becomes invaluable to move around.

Without pivoting, it takes more strength and effort to change directions.

The above animated gif shows how difficult it is to change directions by using the arms to jerk the front wheel into position. Pivoting makes it super easy and effortless.

Learn Pivot from Track Stand

If you have totally mastered track stand, then you can start pivoting from that position. Depending on your preference, you can start off by lifting either your front wheel or the rear wheel. Personally, I find that lifting the rear wheel is easier.

  • Starting with the Rear Wheel - From your track stand position, lift your rear wheel using your feet (push backward and up on the pedals with your feet) and at the same time shift your body weight to lean forward.

    Next, when you let the rear wheel drop, using the leverage from the downward momentum, lean your body backward and with your hands lift up the front wheel.
  • Starting with the Front Wheel - Similarly, from your track stand position, lift your front wheel with your arm and at the same time shift your body weight to lean backward.

    Next, when you let the front wheel drop, using the leverage from the downward momentum, lean your body forward and with feet lift up the rear wheel (push backward and up on the pedals with your feet).
Learn Pivot from a Roll

This is the easiest way to learn the pivot if you have not mastered the track stand. What you need to do is to pedal your bike into a slow roll moving forward. When you are ready, apply your front brakes. When your bike is coming to a full stop, lift your feet up to allow the momentum and leverage to lift up the rear wheel.

When the rear wheel is coming down, lean backward to bring up the front wheel using the same momentum and leverage. You can basically keep going for a long time without much effort.

Once you get the rhythm of the pivots, it will be very easy to just shift your body weights forward and backward. After you are comfortable with the forward and backward motion. Try shifting the front or the rear tires left or right to change directions. Used together with the track stand, pivoting will give you more control when navigating a tight section.

In my next tutorial, I will be explaining Hopping. One of the most used techniques in BikeTrials.