Pro Riding Tip—Uphill Pivot Turns With Nick Fahringer

An essential hard enduro skill for relentless, steep uphills.

In part 5 of Nick Fahringer’s series on tackling extreme terrain, the hard enduro expert demonstrates the uphill pivot turn—a must-know technique for riding your dirt bike up steep, relentless uphills. In fact, the FactoryOne Sherco rider says you can’t compete in an event like Romaniacs unless you are proficient at pivot turns, so here’s his take on the technique.

“In the classic Romaniacs hard enduro rally, the pivot turn is like the staple move. If you’re riding in the Silver or Gold class, you have to use it to go up these climbs that go on for so long. Speed, momentum, power—they don’t matter anymore. You have to dissect the hill by finding shelves to boost from one ledge to the next. And it’s critical that you are able to do a pivot turn to redirect the bike using momentum—the last bit of momentum you have on the climb—before you get to the next shelf, redirect, and build more speed. At Romaniacs, there will be hills where you will do 100 pivot turns. [I’m] not exaggerating. And if you’re not proficient at [pivot turns], the hill will take twice as long.”Shan Moore
“Here, I’m coming around an off-camber turn, up a slight camber of a hill to then turn right to go perpendicular to the hill on a shelf. And so, I want to make a tighter-than-90-degree turn on the lip to throw my momentum up the hill to then be sitting atop the shelf. So my weight is on the downhill [foot]peg. I’m loading the flywheel with the motor and clutch. You always want your rear tire to end in a safe place to stop or regroup, so the flattest spot. And when I say ‘loading the clutch,’ I mean you’re slipping the clutch because you’re essentially slowing. You’re slowing, but you also need maximum torque to hold pressure on the rear tire and have that explosiveness to blip a wheelie while shooting up that last bit, and then a twist. So you need to be on the clutch to have the engine rpm and flywheel to propel you. But then you also need to cover the clutch because as soon as you get the last pirouette of a twist, you need to pull the clutch in and only have enough clutch drive to hold pressure, but not move. Otherwise you could wheelie off your position.”Shan Moore
“It’s always better to aim high than low because if you don’t make it to the shelf, then you’re going to have to pick the back of the bike up. So the key here is to propel the rear of the bike at least to a flat spot or beyond to be safe. With the spot in mind, I coil my flywheel and my legs to wheelie the bike and initiate a rotation of my turn while throwing my hips and upper body to almost high-side the bike because I have to flip my angle of lean. And in doing that, I have to shift my weight from the left leg to the right leg to be weighting the downhill peg. This is to maintain traction, but also my unweighted foot—my foot that’s not weighting a peg—is available to dab on the side that I can touch.”Shan Moore
“It seems counterintuitive, but you have to weight the outside peg to create traction. It’s funny because this is a floating pivot situation. You start out leaning into the turn but then at the end, you’re leaning out of the turn to flip the bike up the hill. You’re essentially turning the bike in a vertical stance because if you lean into the turn, you’re going to push out on the off-camber. So it’s a very counterintuitive thing where you’re weighting the outside peg doing a turn while unloading with your body upright.”Shan Moore
“At the last second, you throw the front end of the bike to the direction you’re turning and you throw your upper body outside the turn, so you transfer the weight and your lean to be prepared for the next transition.”Shan Moore