Pro Riding Tip—Riding The Edges With Evan Smith

How to get out of the rough stuff to drop your lap times and save energy

Evan Smith
Evan Smith steers his front wheel around the outside of a rut that has formed at the exit of this turn at a National Enduro.Shan Moore

The fastest riders have a way of making a really rough and technical racecourse look smooth and easy. National Enduro pro racer Evan Smith has a silky-smooth style, and he's one of the best at ironing out a bumpy course. Just before the recent Alligator National Enduro, Smith gave us one of his tips on how to be smooth when the going gets rough.

Evan Smith
“The goal is to keep the rear wheel out of the rut, but even if it drops into the rut, just having the front wheel out of the rut and on flat ground gives you a little more ability to steer the bike,” Smith explains.Shan Moore

“On a course with a lot of ruts and holes, if you are able to miss the ruts, or ‘skirt’ them, you can go faster and carry more momentum,” Smith said. “The smoother you are, the more you can plan ahead for what’s coming. If you’re hitting bumps and flying all over the place, it’s really hard to read the trail in front of you.

Evan Smith
Now that he’s pointed in the right direction, Smith can power his way out of the turn, no matter where his rear wheel tracked.Shan Moore

"Riding the edges of the ruts, or just getting out of the rough stuff, is crucial to faster lap times, especially in GNCC racing where the holes get deep and there are roots and rocks and stuff," he continued. "Whenever you hit a bump, it unsettles the bike, and it burns a lot of your energy. It just feels like pandemonium. The key to faster lap times is to get up on the edge of the holes and ruts. Even if there's a tree at the base of the line you want, you can go to the base of the tree. It may drop two or three inches, but it's a lot better than dropping a foot or two. If you can just ride the edges of every bump, you will save a lot of energy."