Hill starts

I went out for a bit of forest trail riding in the Lake District (UK) over Easter and discovered that I have a problem mounting up hill.

I use static or roll-back mount, or a bit of both. On the level or slight incline I am almost 100 percent, especially on tarmac.

I found that on an incline of about 20 to 25 percent I can’t do it off road (1 in 4 or 5 for the non-euro zone). The wheel rolls out back before I can get on. If I do manage to get on I don’t have the forword momentum to get going. If I try to step up more aggresively to give me the forward momentum the uni rolls out back even faster.

On some tracks I could mount across the hill and then steer up hill to where I want to go, but where the track wasn’t wide enough I tried mounting down hill and hopping into the right direction but find that getting going from the hop very unreliable also. Again on smooth ground I can do this much better as I seem to need less oomph to get that first pedal rotation.

Has anyone devised a good reliable technique for hill mounting. I bet you are all going say PRACTISE MORE! :roll_eyes:


It’s hard to mount uphill, no doubt. One thing to remember is that your pedals really should be level relative to the center of the earth, not level to the ground. So your front pedal should be down further than it looks like it should be.

Taking a running leap at it can be helpful; it’s hard to get enough forward momentum with a standard mount, so if you jump on with both feet it can be better.

Or, just walk up to the next flat spot, that’s what most people do.

a trick you can have with normal bikes which can apply here, if the patch is wide enough, you can mount sideways on the hill and ride a little and then turn into the hill, which will give you momentum.

I think I’ll give that a try next time, I have just started to jump mount, could be interesting.

I did a bit of that too but some trails have long hills and I don’t want to look lke I can’t ride the damn thing while I’m pushing it.

My other thought was to take a stick or child with me to lean on while I get up.


I find mounting sideways then turning up the hill works best for me on a really steep hill. On a slightly less steep hill I’m getting better at doing a normal static mount up hill - just put virtually no pressure on the back pedal while mounting.
If you can hop, a popular technique is to mount facing up the hill, the hop a few times before riding off, rather than having to ride straight from the mount.


Yeah, I sometimes do this. Mount to hop, then ride up. Mounting to hopping is a useful habit to get into for any situation where you’re likely to fluff the mount, you can often recover a failed mount by hopping to straighten yourself up.

The other thing I do is a rollback mount, but get my feet on as early as possible, so as to have a decent amount of time to slow the wheel down. I think I often rollback to hopping and then start off too.


The best way is to do a static mount. Start out with the saddle under you and your weak foot on the weak pedal in the back, a little below horizontal. Jump off your other foot, making sure to not put any weight on the weak crank, and land your weight on the strong pedal and the saddle.

This gives you good power to start out with on a hill. You can mount this way directly into standing with all of your weight on the front pedal and pulling up on the seat. Then just crank, one revolution at a time until you get some speed.

This is my preferred technique: start by working on the jump mount, then progress to the walking jump mount (remember to jump just before your cranks are horizontal). When you’re nearing 100% success with that skill, start working on the jogging jump mount. It gets really fun when you start the full-speed-running jump mount… it’s like getting a turbo boost!

There aren’t many hills you can’t conquer with the jogging / running mount.

i always found that its easier to mount perpendicular to the slope then turn if its not to steep