Tim Don’s off-road masterclass: Descending

Eighth at the Xterra Worlds shows 'The Don' is as handy off-road as on it. In the third and final part, Tim shares his descending tips and tricks


Issue ID: January 2013


Unlike cornering and climbing, you want to get up and out of the saddle when it comes to going downhill. By doing so you put more of your weight over the back of the bike, which frees up the front to float more easily over any obstacles. It also allows you to brake harder on steeper slopes without having to worry so much about being pitched forwards over the bars.

Even if you have suspension, it’s worth keeping your arms bent and as relaxed as you can. This will help absorb any bumps but also allow you to steer more easily.

Keep your knees bent, too, but also spread apart a bit so there’s room for the bike to move about. And, as always, keep your head up and your eyes looking ahead to pick out the best line.

Descending fast off-road just takes practice,” says Don. “The more you do it, the better you’ll get. It’s all about looking for the smoothest, fastest line and having confidence in your skills and kit.


Bent arms and a relaxed grip on the bars will give you greater control of the front wheel.


Look ahead to spot any obstacles early and give yourself time to deal with them.


Get up out of the saddle to shift your weight back over the rear wheel so the front is free to roll over any bumps.


Keep your knees bent to help absorb any big hits, and hold them wider apart to allow the bike space to move.


Photos: Paul Whitfield