I know it's been "answered" here, but I am still not satisfied.

In my view, you either have to decide whether you feather the brakes (go down hill at pace) or let go of the brakes (go down hill at full speed).

However, no one seems to be asking what posture one should have.

I found that riding down very steep hills (greater than 16deg), I place my butt over the back of the seat and put all the weight over the back wheel. Is that the way to do it, or is there another better way?

Thanks in advance

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    First thing to do, if you are trying to control your speed, is to sit upright, to maximize wind resistance. You only need to shift your weight way to the back if you anticipate hard braking, and you should only be doing that for brief periods at most. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 2:39
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    Concur - putting your weight to the back and sitting up can lead to high speed shimmy, which is no fun at all. You need some weight on the front wheel, but you can straighten your arms just before a hard brake.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 9:06
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    I suspect your optimal posture will depend on what you're trying to achieve - presumably you are trying to descend as quickly as possible?
    – PeteH
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


This answer will be for riding down hills fast, but a lot of the advice applies to slower speed descents.

When riding downhill you should have your hands in the drops, the pedals at level (i.e., one foot forward, one back) and depending on your flexibility you want to get your butt back and bring your head down close to the stem so you don't present your chest to the wind. You also want to avoid a "death grip" as this can make the bike unstable.

This position isn't entirely about aero (for that you can do the death tucks like lying on the top tub your getting your head and upper shoulder ahead of the handle bars forming a wedge). You want a weight distribution that makes the bike stable, but responsive enough that you can avoid obstacles and navigate turns. Getting into the drops shifts weight forward which slows down the responsiveness of the steering to light input but lets you carve harder turns. Conversely if you put all your weight on the back the steering becomes lighter which can be unstable at higher speeds. The drops is also the strongest position on the bike in terms of physical leverage.

I also like to hover above the saddle, that way if I hit a pot hole or dip the bike doesn't become unsettled.

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    Level pedal cranks is most aero, but cornering should be done with the "outside" crank down and weighted. Then you can level the cranks for the next straight.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 5:26
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    @Criggie for sharp corners yes I agree. For sweeper or wide corners level pedals are best.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 5:53

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