Building the ultimate wooden MTB berm!
Are you a mountain biking enthusiast who also loves woodworking? Have you ever dreamed of building your own backyard trails to ride? Then you’ll love this story of how I used my woodworking skills to create a safer mountain bike trail on my property.
It all started with a feature on the trail called “The Dunny Drop.” This jump had a landing zone that was too close to some trees, making it a dangerous feature. If a rider crashed, they risked hitting a tree and ending up in the hospital. The solution was to build a berm, also known as a banked turn, to catch the rider and send them in the opposite direction.
So what is a mountain bike berm? A berm is a curved section of a mountain bike trail that is built up with soil and other materials, creating a banked surface that allows riders to maintain speed and control through sharp turns. In this case, I decided to make the berm out of wood, and it ended up being over 25 meters long, making it a significant feature on the trail.
How to build a berm… Lots of planning
Before construction could begin, I spent a lot of time in the planning stage. I used makeshift tripods out of sticks found on the ground to replicate where the finished berm would be placed. I tied string between these tripods to help visualize the feature and work out the best placement and curve.
Once the planning was done, it was time to find all the wood necessary for the build. Fallen trees from a recent storm were collected with a tractor and taken to the timber mill to be milled. It took a few weeks to gather enough wood for the project, but the construction itself was relatively easy and straightforward. I used a chainsaw to trim pieces of wood that were too long and put the berm together.
The real test of the berm came when I invited two friends, Dave and Carl, to test ride the feature with me. They were blown away by the size of it and couldn’t wait to give it a try. We took turns riding the berm, and it was fast, exciting, and a lot of fun.
The feature was a success and made the Dunny Drop much safer to ride. There was only one crash, which happened at the very end of the video, and it is very funny to watch. You can see it for yourself in the accompanying YouTube video.
If you are a mountain biking enthusiast who also loves woodworking, this story shows how you can combine your two passions to create something amazing. A wooden berm is a significant feature on any trail, and it can make riding much safer and more enjoyable. So why not get out there and start building your own backyard mountain bike trail today?