How to Roost Like a Pro on Your Mountain Bike

How to Roost Like a Pro on Your Mountain Bike

Roosting on a mountain bike isn't just showing off; it's a skill that offers better control when riding trails with loose surfaces. Mastering the artistry of roosting – kicking up dirt while taking tight corners at speed – adds excitement to your rides and demonstrates advanced bike handling prowess. But beyond the visual spectacle, it's about making quick, controlled turns. This technique allows you to maintain momentum, using the bike's rear wheel to pivot around a turn efficiently.

Understanding the mechanics of roosting is crucial. It involves weight distribution, precise timing, and sharp bike handling. Your body position must be aggressive, with your centre of gravity low and behind the saddle, allowing the rear wheel to break traction just enough to slide. Remember, roosting is not purely about speed; it's about control and understanding how to modulate it. A well-executed roost is smooth and controlled, allowing for a rapid change of direction without losing the flow or speed of your ride.

Table of Contents

Mastering the Basics
Advanced Roosting Techniques

Mastering the Basics

Choosing the Right Mountain Bike

1. Bike Type: Opt for a full-suspension bike if you're riding on rugged terrain, where shock absorption is key. For smoother trails, a hardtail bike may suffice.

2. Wheel Size: Consider 27.5-inch wheels for agility or 29-inch wheels for stability and rollover capability.

Frame Material: Typically, aluminium offers a balance of durability and affordability, while carbon fibre provides a lighter, albeit pricier, option.

Understanding Bike Setup


  • Pressure: Aim for a range between 22-35 psi, depending on your weight and trail roughness.
  • Tread Pattern: Ensure your tyres match the terrain – deeper treads for muddy conditions, lower profile for hard-packed dirt.


  • Fork and Shock: Adjust to your weight and riding style; a sag of 25-30% is a general rule of thumb.
  • Rebound: Set rebound damping to allow the suspension to recover quickly, but not so fast that it feels bouncy.


  • Ensure brake levers are within easy reach and the pads are in good condition for optimal stopping power.

Learning Body Positioning

Centre of Gravity:

  • Keep your weight centred over the bike to maintain balance.
  • Use your legs as shock absorbers; bend them slightly when traversing rough terrain.


  • Grip the handlebars firmly but not tightly to steer effectively.
  • Look ahead and anticipate turns to choose the best line and prepare for manoeuvres.

    Advanced Roosting Techniques

    Mastering advanced roosting techniques will elevate your mountain biking skills, providing you with the ability to navigate corners with speed while maintaining control.

    Executing Cornering Roosts

    To properly execute a cornering roost, set up your approach by positioning your body to the outside of the bike. This increases the tyres' grip by transferring your weight. As you enter the corner, pivot your hips towards the turn's apex and drop your outside foot to anchor your weight. Snap the rear of the bike around by simultaneously pushing into the handlebars and modulating the rear brake.

    Managing Speed and Momentum

    Your roosting technique thrives on precise speed and momentum management. Begin by scouting the terrain and adjusting your approach speed to match the corner's difficulty. Keep a consistent pace by feathering the brakes lightly rather than gripping them abruptly. Use body positioning to maintain momentum, leaning back slightly when accelerating out of the turn.

    Applying Braking Techniques

    Incorporating advanced braking techniques is crucial for a controlled roost. Use the front brake sparingly; it's about finding the balance between too much and too little. Apply the rear brake more aggressively to initiate the skid, while modulating pressure to avoid a complete lock-up. Remember, the key to a successful roost is the modulation of brake pressure to match the corner's radius and your desired speed.

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