From berms to flat corners, knowing how to corner properly is a big part of mountain biking, and having the correct technique will help make you a faster overall rider. With professionally built trail centres and riding spots popping up all over the UK, there has never been a better time to refine your cornering skills.

What Is a Berm?

A berm is a banked corner that you will undoubtedly find at your local riding spot or trail centre.

Allowing you to corner faster, a berm can help you carry more speed into the turn and then exit quicker, with little to no braking, providing more flow throughout the trail.


To ride a berm fast, you have to pick your line correctly. Beginning your turn wide means you are able to ‘cut’ across the berm towards your exit line, with minimal braking, as the bike will find a natural arch throughout the berm. If you enter the berm too low, you’re at risk of being too far up the berm before you’ve finished turning causing you to brake.


To ensure you ride through the berm in one smooth motion, keep your head up and look down the trail to your exit routes. This will ensure you stay adaptive to the cycle trail conditions and can react to any obstructions or changes ahead.


For an ideal negotiation of a berm, all braking should be done before the turn rather than during for the fastest way around it. The speed at which you hit the berm is reliant on the type of berm it is, the conditions of the trail, and how experienced you are at speed.

Start off slower, on a familiar berm and then increase speed, to manage your braking and improve your style.


Your body position is important for grip and balance when riding a berm. Keep your weight centrally over the bike for stability,   apply a balanced amount of grip to both the front and rear tires to send you through the berm at speed.


Too much weight over the front may force the wheel tucking under, but too much over the rear might not provide enough grip to the front and send you off course. It’s a balancing act, but when you get it, you’ll be able to pin berms like no tomorrow.

What Are The Flat Corners?

When mountain biking, you will likely come into contact with a flat corner of some sort. This is a corner where there is no banked surface, so can be harder to ride fast as there no ‘berm’ to keep you in an optimum cornering position.

There is also a higher likelihood of loose, rocky, rooty, or rutted terrain so riding them at speed can be challenging.


Looking for the best line is vital when hitting a flat corner as you do not have a banked corner (berm) to give you support and keep you in line. You need to judge which part of the flat corner is going to give you the most amount of grip and attack the turn there to give you the most speed to exit the turn. Then you need to spot your exit to blast out of the flat corner and down the rest of the trail. Watch out for roots, gravel sections, or slippery surfaces that might send you flying!


Similar to a berm, you need to keep the correct body position to negotiate a flat corner fast and safely. A good technique is called ‘dipping’ the bike. This is where you push the bike over at more of an angle and keep your body position more upright. By doing this movement, you’ll force more weight through the tyres gaining more grip during the turn.

As there is no berm in a flat corner, they can be very loose to ride and the front or rear can wash out if you drop concentration. If you feel the wheel going, drop your inside foot off the pedal to provide more balance and bring the wheel back into grip.


Due to the loose nature of a flat corner, it is important to do all your braking before you hit the turn to negotiate it as fast as possible and as safe as possible. If you pull the brakes during the turn itself, you are putting the bike at a greater risk of sliding out completely. However, if you have to brake, brake the rear wheel for better control; pulling the front brake will more likely end in a wash out.