How to Heel Drop for Better Mountain Bike Control?


If you want to be an expert when it comes to mastering terrains that are rough and steep, then you would need to learn a couple tricks and techniques that most experienced bikers do. This is essential for you to have better control in steering your bike and faster speed when on descents.

The heel drop is one of the most valued techniques because when you use it in the right terrain and situation, you can instantly enhance your control in the bike and your stability. The heel drop technique is used in certain instances like:

  • Gradually slowing your braking system
  • When you’re doing aggressive braking during on steep descents
  • Steadily breaking and rolling through terrains or corners

drop heel bike control

Doing the heel drop properly

It is important that you learn on how to do a heel drop properly. You can achieve this by doing the following steps while riding your mountain bike:

  1. First you drop your heels into your pedal and slightly turning it in an upward angle. This will enable you to absorb any forces of impact using your muscles in your lower body.
  2. The next thing that you should do is to move your body backwards depending on how steep the terrain is or how fast you are going.
  3. The next thing that you should do is to drop low your torso with your hips back in your bike. The whole idea is to look forward, chin up, chest low and hips back.
  4. Next is to get your elbows down and wrists down.
  5. The last thing that you should do is to raise the brake levers of your bike. This will allow you to have smoother access to clear obstacles, roll back your shoulders and lift your riding vision to have better performance.

Practicing your heel drop is very important especially when you love to go on rough and steep terrains. You can easily drop your heels from a slightly upward to a total upward position. The position of your heels will make a big difference on your ride and overall stability. Moreover, if you keep practicing your heel drop technique, it becomes instantly automatic when you’re on the move.

heel drop mountain bike

The importance of doing the heel drop technique

Here are some reasons why doing the heel drop on a steep terrain is very important:

  • It can massively improve your center of gravity and stability while you’re on your bike
  • When your feet and pedals are angled in an upward position, it counters the inertia of your body while you are breaking in a steep terrain
  • When you’re moving your body back, it improves your steering control by taking the pressure off your handlebars and bringing it to your back wheels and the center of your bike.
  • Usually, when a biker keeps going for a hard break they have the tendency to lift from the bike. The heel drop technique will reduce your chances of going up. Thus, it gives you more chances for stability and control.

Sample of a scenario when going to use a heel drop

If you’re in a rough and steep terrain with an almost 180° turn and you break too hard and too early, there is a big chance that you will only let your tire be shed to pieces. The idea is to past through the steep terrain, use your front brakes just before going on a hard turn while you’re using your heel drop. Then immediately use a hard break and skid through the corners of the terrain.

With this situation, you’ll be able to control the speed of your descent, improve your steering abilities and maximize the center of gravity of your bike. Practice this often and you’ll master the art of this technique in no time.