MTB

5 tricks to give your riding more style

© Daniel Rönnback/Red Bull Content Pool
Written by Hanna Jonsson
Martin Söderström picks his five favourite tricks to learn on the mountain bike to make your riding look cooler and feel more fun.
Martin Söderström is one of the most stylish riders out there. The way he twitches and twerks his bike is insane. How does he do it? Well, if you take a look at his Instagram he does give away a tip or two. Before you can go mastering the big tricks, you need to perfect these "simpler" moves that will give your runs more steeze and are a lot of fun to play around with.
See, whether Martin is spinning upside down 3 meters up in the air, laying down the most stylish nose bonk to table you’ve ever seen or barspinning his way through the local dirt jumps, his style and ease starts with him having mastered a few basic tricks in the first place. These tricks aren't just for slopestyle stars, in fact, they are important for mountain bikers of all discipline, as they will make you faster, smoother and more stylish out on the trails. And who doesn’t want that?
Make the most of the winter to master these five tricks at the local skatepark and you'll soon be flying down your local trails with style and ease like never before.

1. WHEELIE

The wheelie is one of those classic tricks that can be used pretty much everywhere; mid downhill run, the pump track or even down the road when you're popping out to get some bread and milk. It looks cool and it is also a very practical skill to have out on the trails to get up and over obstacles.
How to master the skill:
  • Find a slight uphill and get into a middle gear.
  • Lower the saddle down to half the height that you normally have it.
  • To get the front wheel into the air, bend your arms and lower your chest towards the handlebars.
  • Push off in one motion and lift the front wheel by starting to pedal.
  • Straighten arms once the front wheel is up and keep your weight over the back to keep the front wheel up in the air.
  • Combine pulling on the handlebars with pedal strokes to move forward.
  • To maintain the balance point, use the handlebars, knees and your upper body for control.

2. MANUAL

A manual and a wheelie might look exactly the same at first glance, but while you use your pedal stroke to propel your front wheel up for a wheelie, a manual is initiated by shifting your body weight towards the back of the bike and pulling on the handlebars. It is another great skill to have out on the trails to keep flow over ruts, small doubles and other obstacles and it is also a first step in learning how to bunny hop.
How to master the skill:
  • Slide your bum off the back of the saddle and get your hips in line with the rear hub in one smooth movement.
  • Pull with your arms (but not too hard).
  • Use your hips and legs to find and keep the balance. Shift your body weight back and forth to keep your front wheel up.

3. BUNNY HOP

Being able to bunny hop is an amazing skill to have out on the trails. It enables you to jump over roots, fallen trees, rocks and other obstacles without slowing down.
This trick is a combination of two different skills: front wheel lift and rear wheel lift. You want to be able to combine these two skills in one fluid and explosive movement in order to lift both wheels of the ground.
How to master the skill:
Lifting the front wheel:
  • The first step is to lift the front wheel by doing a pumped manual: pump down and into the bike by lowering your position over the centre of the bike, bending your arms and legs as you do. In the same movement pull back on the handlebars to lift the front wheel in the air.
  • As the front wheel comes up, push through with your feet and stand tall using your weight to hold the bike on the back wheel.
Then the back wheel:
  • Keep your pedals level and lower your weight on the bike.
  • As you roll in this position, come up straight in an explosive movement upwards, moving your hips forward. At the same time lift the handlebars. Scoop up the bike and pedals behind you.
  • The further forward you push your weight on the bike the more the rear wheel comes off the ground.
Getting the bunny hop dialled requires a lot of practice connecting the two movements into one fluid jump.

4. JUMP

From bunny hops to jumps – both skills involve being in the air but whilst a bunny hop is done on flat ground, a jump is a built feature that requires a slightly different technique. Knowing how to jump a bike properly will make a huge difference for your trail skills. Instead of uncontrollably catapulting yourself off the local jumps, you will soon be able to steeze it up, go bigger and even do some tricks.
How to master the skill:
  • Find a jump that you are comfortable with and roll in at a comfortable speed (not too fast, but not too slow either).
  • Keep your weight central and lower your chest.
  • Compress the bike into the lip of the jump by pushing the front wheel into it.
  • Halfway up the lip move the weight from the arms to the legs and push down with your feet.
  • Pressing down and then releasing your weight through each wheel when jumping is the same as when you bunny hop.
  • Keep your weight as centred as possible in the air and use your arms and legs to absorb the landing. Try to land both wheels at the same time.

5. WHIP

Once you feel comfortable in the air you have to learn how to throw a whip. A whip is about getting the bike sideways and – although so simple - it is one of the most classical and stylish tricks you can do.
How to master the skill:
  • Learn how to carve your bike across the jump and turn your front wheel, then bring it back before the landing. Think about twisting your shoulders as well as the front wheel, but keep your chest centred.
  • While the front wheel turn comes from your arms, it’s twisting and moving your hips that will make the back wheel come out.
  • To bring the bike back for a good landing, just do everything in reverse. If you turned your front wheel to the left and your back wheel is coming round in an anti-clockwise direction, you stall your turn by turning your front wheel and throwing your momentum to the right (or clockwise).
  • Bringing the bike back can often feel like the hardest part, so make sure you start of small and don’t go too far sideways in the beginning.

Now put it all together Martin Söderström-style!

Good luck!
Feel up for the challenge? Here are a few more tips:
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