The Mountain Biking ‘Attack’ Position
A good attack position forms the foundation for
mountain biking; whether you are a novice or a pro the
attack position should be mastered. (Lopes and McCormack, 2010).
A good attack position helps you make every
move with more power, and can make the ride
more comfortable (Lopes and McCormack, 2010).
A good attack position acts as the
start and finish position for every
mountain biking skill (7stanes, 2012).
Head up, and eyes forward
On a flat surface practice rolling
along in the attack position,
swapping the lead foot around.
The ability to ride with either
foot forward will come in handy
for more advanced techniques.
Practice lowering your body,
making sure you stay centred
over the bike. Ensure your
weight is on the pedals at all
times, and not on the
Flexion at the hip
Flexion at knee)
Have your ride partner check
your positioning and give
Weight driving into
Once you feel confident on a flat
surface try it out on some basic
(Flexion at the neck)
Flexion at the elbow
Abduction at the shoulders and
Plantar flexion of the foot)
The photo above shows the attack
position, and the key principles that
can help make your ride faster and
Head up and eyes forward:
Keep your eyes on the prize, your bike will
automatically follow your line-of-sight, so looking at
the tree will inadvertently drive you towards it, so
make sure you look where you want to go, not
worrying about where you don’t want to go (Mountain
Bike Guru, 2011).
Riding with your elbows out increases your range of
motion, making it easier to push, pull and lean as needed
along the trail (MTB Techniques,2009; Lopes and McCormack,
Pushing your hips back will bring your shoulders
forward, balancing each other out, it will also allow you
to ride with more power and stability.
Bending your knees allows your body to work as a
spring, going over lumps and bumps on the trail will be
much more comfortable. It also lowers your centre of
gravity, the lower the better (Speciality Outdoors, 2006).
Weight driving into the pedals:
Your feet should be heavy on the pedals, and allowing
your hands to be lightly resting on your handle bars
(Lopes and McCormack, 2010). With all your weight being
supported on the pedals you will use the handlebars for
stability and to help you stay balanced (MTB Technique,
Things to avoid:
Riding too high
Too stiff or tensed up
Too far forward or back
Bottom too close to the seat
Forth, C. (2011) The Mountain Bike Skills Manual: Fitness and Skills for Every Rider. London:A&C Black Publishers Ltd.
Lopes, B. and McCormack, L. (2010) Mastering Mountain Bike Skills. Dawsonera [Online]. Available at:
http://www.dawsonera.com/depp/reader/protected/external/AbstractView/S9781450404433 (Accessed: 31 March 2013).
Mills, S. and Mills, H. (2003) Mountain Biking: The Essential Guide to Equipment and Techniques.
Mountain Bike Guru (2011) The Attack Position. Available at: http://www.mountainbikeguru.co.za/blog/the-attack-position/ (Accessed: 6
MTB Techniques (2009) Fundamentals: The Attack Position. Available at: http://www.mtbtechniques.co.uk/FundamentalsAttack.html
(Accessed: 6 April 2013).
Nealy, W. (2007) Mountain Bike! A Manual of Beginning to Advanced Technique. 13th edn. USA: Menasha Ridge Press.
Speciality Outdoors (2006) Mountain Bike Tips, Opinions and Comments. Available at:
http://www.specialityoutdoors.com/penny/biking/ridetips.asp (Accessed: 6 April 2013).
7stanes (2012) Core Techniques. Available at: http://www.7stanesmountainbiking.com/Beginners-Guide/Skills-And-Tips (Accessed: 6 April
Centre Image: Cooper, B. (2012)