From riding through pristine trails and maintained paths to making your own off road adventures, mountain biking is a sport that really can cater to a variety of individuals. In the next few minutes we will teach you all the basics you need to know to make your first mountain biking trip a successful one.
Mountain Biking Tip #1. TRUST THE BIKE One of the most important parts of mountain biking is trusting the finely crafted machine you’re on. Once you let any fear into you that you are going to fall… you will.
Mountain Biking Tip #2. GEAR SHIFTING
Learning proper gear shifting will allow you to travel up and down hills with more efficiency. After constant practice (although mountain bike shifting is more fast paced than road biking) shifting gears becomes a sort of second nature to the user.
Make sure to shift before the uphill. Otherwise you will hit the hill and waste your energy pedaling much harder in the wrong gear. Furthermore, if you try to shift on an uphill it is very hard on your gears and can even cause your chain to slide or even worse snap off the gears.
Another important aspect of shifting gears is trying not to cross-chain. Cross-Chaining is the strain on the gear when the chain is lying on the big gear in the front and back or on the little gear on the front and back, causing the bike chain to lie diagonally and either stretch or pop off the chain, thus causing damage that is totally avoidable.
The final part of gear shifting that is important to remember is to continuously pedal through the shift of gears as well as trying to avoid putting your full weight on the pedals (easier to do while sitting.) Otherwise the chain may be destroyed.
Mountain Biking Tip #3. BRAKING
When speeding down a hill don’t be so afraid of flying over the handlebars that you don’t use the front brake. In fact less than a third of the power lies in the back brakes when you’re going downhill, the rest lies with the front brakes. This DOES NOT mean however to use only the front brake. Using only the front brake is most definitely going to cause a head over heels disaster, but when the back brake is used in conjunction with the front brake, the back brake is able to balance out the power of the front, making for a very controlled braking experience. In summary, try to feather the front brake while controlling the back brake with a harder pinch.
Mountain Biking Tip #4. SHIFTING WEIGHTWhen going down a hill, also make sure to shift your weight back with butt behind seat in order to increase the friction on the back tire so that you don’t fly over the front of the bike. On the other hand, when you are going up a hill, make sure that you shift your body weight forward by leaning your body to help your front tire from bouncing off the ground. However contrary to what many beginners believe, DO NOT STAND UP. This effectively removes weight from the back wheel, thus decreasing the friction, causing the back tire to spin.
Mountain Biking Tip #5. FINDING YOUR LINE
When one refers to “finding a line”, they mean observing what is up ahead on the trail and figuring out how to approach it before you get there. Many times difficult looking terrain can be easily traversed by finding your line and simply placing the wheels where you are visualizing they should go. Don’t focus on the root or rock sticking out next to your line, only focus on where you want to go and put your wheels there
Mountain Biking Tip #6. ATTACK POSITION
Elbows bent and loose to absorb shock, feet parallel on the pedals, knees apart and bent and ready to take any shock just like the elbows to allow proper maneuverability, and butt off seat. Be ready to use the attack position over any major bumpy terrain or jumps but not necessarily for tight turns and cornering as there is a lack in maneuverability that accompanies the position.
Mountain Biking Tip #7. HOW TO DO JUMPS ON THE BIKE
Always take a good look at the jump first and inspect it. Decide how much speed you think you will need. Approach the ramp of the jump with appropriate speed but stop pedaling right before ramp and be in attack position. Compress your front shocks into the ramp as you enter it. This is known as loading up and will give you more air as you subsequently pull the front up into the air as you leave the ramp. After the front is pulled up pull the rear and keep your line as you then land the bike. Practice and practice until you can land bigger jumps. Start with small jumps and hit them often. Work your way up in size until you’re at the level you desire.