And finally more about cross training enduro
Our vids feature dirt riding tips from Graham Jarvis, Ruben Chadwick, Tim Coleman, Chris Birch and other top enduro riders on cross training - a blend of trials and enduro techniques. The rise of extreme enduro, endurocross and hard enduro events has led to cross training - trials skills applied to dirt riding on enduro bikes.
So cross training is the application of trials-based skills to dirt riding, and it's got solid backing from the world's top riders. Graham Jarvis says "Going fast is the easy bit. It’s going slowly that will help you develop control. Simple riding exercises which are actually difficult to perform can give you a lot of control".
Taddy Blazusiak says, "Want to be faster off-road? Slow down! Try to be as calculated, calm and precise as possible". Jonny Walker, Alfredo Gomez and Manny Lettenbichler are all highly skilled trials riders now on enduro bikes who agree.
In a recent interview, Graham Jarvis said his riding tips for becoming a better rider were:
- learn trials
- go slow
- master the clutch
- develop balance
- build your confidence in the key techniques.
Initially, cross training enduro skills slow you right down (even to a stand still!) so that you can relearn key dirt riding skills then gradually build up your speed again. We'll start by looking at how the principles of trials riding can make such a big difference to your dirt riding, with riding tips from from the best enduro riders out there.
TRACTION & DIRT BIKE SKILLS
Losing traction is a cardinal sin in trials riding, and riders go to extreme lengths to ensure their tires don't slip. Wheel spin and slides look great but in most cases mean you losing control of the bike to some extent. The top extreme enduro riders will only lose traction deliberately for certain techniques, such as locking up the rear brake to line themselves up into a tight turn. Maintaining traction is a critical skill in cross training.
BODY POSITION & WEIGHTING
Watching top trials riders like Graham Jarvis, Alfredo Gomez or Manny Lettenbichler is like poetry in motion - from a standing start they can flip their bikes in mid air through 180 degrees, or climb a six foot vertical wall. A key part of moves like this is the use of body positioning and 'weighting' - choosing when to exert pressure on the pegs and when to 'de-weight' or lift the bike up. Cross training means you will almost always be standing on the pegs and learning how to use your body weight and positioning to maximum effect.
Everything in tough gnarly terrain is trying to throw you off balance, so balancing lays a strong foundation for enduro skills. Trials riders can balance at a stand still for as long as they like. Cross training has a strong focus on being able to balance on your enduro bike, even at a stand still - this is a handy skill when you have minimal run up to your next obstacle. Balance also means you can spend more time standing on the pegs in tough terrain instead of sitting down, so you will have far more control of your bike.
CLUTCH & THROTTLE CONTROL
Most trials techniques involve precise use of the clutch, such as feathering the clutch for traction control up hills or dropping the clutch to launch the bike into the air as Jonny Walker and Graham Jarvis can do on enduro bikes and trials bikes. Cross training applies the same principles to enduro bike - you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in terms of traction and advanced techniques such as jumping up vertical rock faces or massive logs.
GET INTO TRIALS RIDING
Like almost every top extreme enduro rider, Graham Jarvis came into the sport from an expert level trials background. "You can pick up tricks on an enduro bike pretty quickly if you’ve done trials because the skills are there", according to Graham. "With my trials background, I never had to practice tricks on an enduro bike."
Not surprisingly, trials skills are most easily learnt on a trials bike due to their light weight and size. Cross training techniques are much easier to learn on a trials bike first, then transfer the skill to your enduro bike. If you are serious about learning advanced riding techniques, it is definitely worth thinking about getting a trials bike and joining a local club.