Is there a downhill technique to stop a bump in tarmac throwing you forward off the bike?

So it seems where I am they don’t lay tarmac so good, really lumpy, not rough, but just not straight.

Anyway one new area I found to climb is brilliant and quiet, but the downhill is brutal, looks straight and fast, no potholes, but there’s a sneaky hard to see bump in the tarmac that jolts you forward and off the saddle.

First time was mental, nearly came off the bike. I’ve been anticipating it since and have a better idea for where it is now so I slow right down. Thing is I don’t want slow right down on that bit because… well Strava ahem and it’s ruining my fun after the climb.

Is there a way you deal with this type of rogue tarmac that lets you bomb over it at speed? For example - you know those speed bumps you see on flat roads, you can blast over those by standing out of the saddle and letting the bike move under you as your legs act as suspension, if that makes sense.

Can you do that downhill when going at proper speeds though, and in that sort of angle?

Yes you can. I have the same kind of roads where I live. You have to almost hover over your saddle and let the bike move underneath you. It’s when you’re firmly planted on the saddle and hit those lumps and bumps you get thrown around.


Same as best practice for most descents really - on the drops, soft arms, hips behind saddle and preferably slightly elevated. Let the bike go up and down underneath you. Extreme cases may benefit from a dropper post, but I’ve not tried that on a road bike!


I think first, and most importantly - slow down and be safe. It sounds like you’re riding these roads for fun and not in a competitive event. Don’t do anything that puts your health at risk for a Strava segment

Depending on the bump and what you’re looking at - you want to move your weight backwards on the bike. The less weight you have on the front wheel the less likely you lose control of the bike when you hit something.

One thing that happens when you hit a bump without your weight back is that you run the risk of having your weight shifted up off the back wheel and thus you’re basically riding on the front only which is extremely hard to control.

Married to this issue is the possibility that the bump is sudden enough to cause a significant impact on the back wheel (essentially - does it have sharp edges or soft edges). If it is going to be a harsh impact then you want to move your weight back and off the saddle - so that you don’t get a pinch flat when the rear wheel comes in contact with it.

Good luck, but be safe


Thanks guys, I’ll try unseating on tomorrow’s run. It does make sense when you think about it, just wasn’t sure if that’s the way to go at high speeds downhill. Will start slow and build up to see how the bike moves on it. I was doing the opposite, trying to push away against the drop bars and planting myself even firmer.

Wasn’t helping, still got the jolt…

Was even thinking to get a spray can out and mark it!

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Just jump it?


Take some spray paint and spray it on the spot or spots to identify them (obviously when you aren’t mid ride!). Then, either stand up at those spots so you don’t get jolted out of your seat or bunny hop them. I would just bunny hop.

Bunny hop it.


+1 for drops. Not so keen on getting out the saddle. Your centre of gravity gets too high. I like to bunny hop too when I’m feeling frisky.

You don’t need to get out of the saddle much, just enough so you can absorb it with your feet, and not get jolted forward. Don’t see why you can’t descent out of the saddle though, you do that on a mtb too…

Spray painting it is a good idea though, you might save someone else from a nasty surprise too.

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Low center of gravity, body-bike separation. Descend in the drops, and I agree with those saying hover slightly over the saddle. Bunny hopping is also a great skill for this kind of thing. A descent right by my house has lots of metal covers from recent construction, so I end up bunny hopping three or four of those every time I do it.

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Once I learned to hop well, I became a bunny hopping fiend. Stick in the road? Hop it. speed bump? Hop it. Shadow? Can’t be too safe.

But really, it’s a super useful skill.


definitely need to watch out for those shadows, even more so when there are 2 in a row with a suitable gap to land in between hop the 2nd immediately

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Yeah, using your knees to absorb some of the shock, but also keep your hips back. Almost like a MTB technique. It’s actually like going over a waterbar on a firetrail road.


Chest low, hips back, In the drops, and hover slightly. Centre of gravity as low as possible

In the drops, a few inches off the saddle, and move a bit toward the back of the bike. Unless it’s really steep (or a really big bump), you don’t need to get all the way behind the saddle. Generally, pedals level with your preferred foot forward (unless it’s in a corner, then observe proper cornering technique). Keep knees & elbows bent slightly. The idea is that your torso is the biggest mass in the bike/body system, and you don’t want to move it up/down any more than necessary. Absorb the bump with your arms & legs, and your torso stays steady.

If you like to push your limits on descents, you’ll also find that this makes you faster on regular road surfaces too, with just normal undulations and uneven pavement. The less energy that goes into moving your torso up & down, the more is available for speed.