How to master the attack position

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Scottish mountain bike guide Chris Gibbs shares his top tips on how to master the attack position

Chris’ tips on how to master the attack position like a pro

Whether you’re new to mountain biking, or a seasoned rider joining us on an advanced trip like Torridon + Skye or Norway it’s always a good idea to revisit the fundamentals. Having solid technique means you can enjoy the adventure even more, with fewer near-death experiences!

In a series of blogs we will be looking at skills to help you get the most out of your mountain bike adventures, and here, we’re focusing on the attack position.

The Attack Position

I’ve heard it called everything from the Boss Stance to the Power Pose, but whatever you call it the attack position/ready position is a foundation skill in mountain biking, on which much of your technique is built.

The attack position is the body position that you should adopt when you’re not pedalling, and entering into unknown and technical sections of trail.

Experienced riders will have this neutral position as second nature and will adopt the stance naturally as soon as standing up on the pedals.

A good attack position should be nice and relaxed allowing the bike to move without throwing the rider around. A big baggy gorilla is the perfect role model!

“The attack position is the body position you should adopt when entering into unknown and technical sections of trail”

How to master the attack position - great descents

Above: When the attack position becomes an automatic and natural stance you’ll always be ready to drop into the most beautiful and exciting descents in the world.

Below: Our guide, Mark, Perfectly illustrating some of the key steps in a good position.

Practising the attack position

Practise makes perfect and with this key skill it is very definitely the case. After a time it will become second nature on the trail but to get things started you should:

  1. Keep cranks positioned horizontally
  2. Slightly drop your heels below the pedal axle
  3. Keep your head up, looking down the trail
  4. Position your weight over the centre of the bike (above the bottom bracket area when on flat ground)
  5. Stand tall with knees slightly bent and open, creating space for the bike to move side to side underneath you
  6. Slightly bend your arms and keep your elbows wide
  7. Always cover the brakes with one finger

A few common faults to watch out for:

  1. Being too low and squashed over the bike
  2. Looking down
  3. Being rigid
  4. Positioning your centre of gravity too far forwards or back
  5. Hugging the frame and keeping your knees closed

Get out and practise your big, baggy monkey and you’ll be hitting the trails with confidence and flow!

If you’ve found this blog helpful, take a look at our tips on lifting your front wheel, Perfecting a manual on your mountain bike and how to make your first mountain bike tour a complete success!

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