How To Ride Slab: Tips From Remy Metallier
Get Pro Tips On Riding Steep Slabs
Remy Metallier is a professional mountain biker who frequents Squamish’s iconic slabs. You may also see him riding in Red Bull Rampage or training for one of his numerous MTB races each season. To see him manual the entire In-N-Out slab, check out Outervention Cascadia: Episode 3.
Slabs are an iconic part of mountain bike riding, especially in Squamish. On our latest Outervention, our friend Remy gave us his best tips for approaching the steep, grippy rock to take our riding to the next level.
A few things to keep in mind before the fun part begins. You’ll want to make sure your bike is set up properly for descending a steep slab. This can include lowering your dropper post and even letting some air out of your tires for maximum traction. Tires manage traction, brakes manage speed, so test your brakes on a less steep descent before entering something big.
Body Position For Steep Slabs
The name of the game is getting as heavy as you can on your bike. You’ll want to lower your center of gravity—your hips and torso—by bending your knees and elbows and dropping closer to your bike.
Shift your hips back in ratio to the steepness of the slope: the more your front wheel is below your rear, the farther your hips need to go back. This will keep your weight centered between the wheels to help maintain traction.
Drop your heels—yes, even more than you think you should. Like moving your hips back, your heels should drop in ratio so that the pressure through your pedals matches the direction gravity is pulling you.
Steep Technique: Brakes
It’s a common misconception that when things get steep, we only use our rear brake. Your rear brake will slow you down, but if you exclusively use your rear brake, you set yourself up to lose traction on your back wheel and skid. On the other hand (pun intended), your front brake is the only thing that can stop you on the really steep stuff—and gives you much more control.
Try these exercises to get a good feel for what your brakes are doing:
- Go downhill as slowly as you can. It’s harder and forces you to work on your brake technique.
- Try descending with only your rear brake and feel how the bike wants to skid. If you lock the rear wheel, try not to panic—just engage the front brake and gently release the rear.
- Practice using only your front brake and get comfortable with the idea that it won’t make you OTB (.
- Finally, try riding at your normal pace, modulating both brakes simultaneously and see if you feel more in control
- Like all new techniques, apply this to a smaller slab before progressing to a bigger one
Need a visual? Check out this video of Remy explaining how to ride slab in Squamish.