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Essential technique for going downhill quickly and safely

GCN have released an online video showing you how to get the most out of your descending.

The video advises you to descend on the drops of your handlebars for extra stability and to lower your centre of gravity, and to hold the bars firmly but not over-tightly.

It also tells you to get into a low, aerodynamic position with your knees and elbows in if you want to increase your speed on really fast sections.

Many people freewheel on descents but just a small amount of effort can help you go considerably faster.

Check out GCN’s video on cornering technique to help get your line choice right through downhill bends. 

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

3 comments

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Ham-planet [112 posts] 1 year ago
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"In general, the fastest line choice downhill is the shortest…"
"…look to smooth out corners, taking wider lines into and out of them."
A blatant contradiction within a 15 s interval; you'll forgive me if I disregard descending advice from pretty much all road cyclists if this is what the best of them come up with.

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timtak [48 posts] 1 year ago
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"*In general* the fastest line choice downhill is the shortest but (first proviso)...if possible though (second proviso) look to smooth out corners..." Sounds okay to me. But I am a coward and prefer to go downhill slowly. Downhills aren't much of a workout either.

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DavidC [134 posts] 1 year ago
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timtak wrote:

But I am a coward and prefer to go downhill slowly.

There really is no reason to go blazing down hills at top speed — the risks can be great compared to the thrills involved — but good descending technique will make slow descents safer too.