hill descent
Top Tips

Completing an off road Hill Descent … SAFELY


Hill descents are another off road task that when conducted correctly are quite safe, however if not, the result can end in a rollover.

A few simple steps to follow and it will become second nature.

woodpark decent
Image; Woodpark

If the decent is new to you, walk the hill to ensure there are no hidden surprises out of view, such as drop offs. Ask yourself, is this above your skill level? We all have to start small to build confidence and controlling skills. Ok so far?

Several golden rules apply here to the hill decent;

  • No clutch work once you are committed: this will cause loss of control.
  • No hard braking: this will cause you to skid and loose control
  • Enter the decent head on and straight: or you may have the backend swing round on you.
  • Maintain traction throughout: deflate tyres slightly if very wet and steep


Nightjar decent
image; nightjar

So we are good to go, stationary and slightly away from the brow of the hill. Secure your seat belt, have your arms slightly bent on the wheel, first gear low-range is selected, we are off …

Many people tend to go for the smoothest route down, this can be a mistake, as the smoothest route has less traction. Don’t be afraid of following ruts, usually ruts have more traction with your tyres in contact on the walls as well as the floor, they also tend to be rougher than the surrounding terrain. The rut will also act as a train line guiding you down to the bottom safely and preventing your backend kicking out.

Riding on the edge of ruts can get you into trouble by slipping off and getting into a side slide, followed by a rollover. Be alert and stay safe.


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