There’s nothing else out there quite like mountain biking. You get the views and scenery or hiking, the rush of gravity sports, and a great workout to boot. On top of it all, mountain biking is simply one of the most fun things out there.
Finding your way into the sport as a beginner can be a scary and intimidating task for beginner riders. From choosing your mountain bike to finding out where to go, there’s a lot of logistics before you even start pedaling.
Beginner Mountain Bike Tips to Keep in Mind
Here, we’ll try to take some of the burden off, letting you focus on the fun parts – riding, learning, and progressing.
1. Do I Need a Nice New Bike?
While a top-of-the-line full-suspension mountain bike is an amazing tool, you definitely don’t need to drop big bucks just to get started.
Sure, a more capable bike will let you ride the gnarliest trails, but for increasing your confidence and learning some skills, you can start riding on almost any bike.
A couple of features we like to look out for are wide handlebars, hydraulic disc brakes, and a dropper seatpost. Again, not a necessity, but all very nice to have.
2. Where Do I Find Trails?
Figuring out where to ride can seem like a bit of a guessing game. While it’s fun to explore and stumble onto some gems, there are also tools that can help you find great mountain bike trails.
Trailforks is a mobile app that lays it all out for you, trails are categorized by difficulty on the maps, letting you tailor rides to your skill level.
Some areas have mountain bike skill parks that are awesome places to learn basic MTB skills and figure out how to ride different terrain. Look for one in your area.
3. What Are Some Basic Techniques I Should Know?
This is one of the most important beginner mountain bike tips. Sure, it’s just like riding a bike, because it’s just riding a bike. That said, a few technique pointers will go a long way on your first couple of mountain bike rides.
First, know when to stand up and when to sit down. Standing up on the pedals, with your feet parallel to the ground when you’re descending will give you a more comfortable ride, and give you more control over your cheap MTB bike.
Bend your knees and elbows slightly, this lets you use your body as suspension. When you’re climbing or going uphill, try to sit down unless you really need a short burst of power to get over an obstacle.
Setting your seat to the proper height can help here, and a dropper seat post lets you adjust on the go. When you’re pedaling seated, your seat should be high enough that your leg straightens out almost (but not quite!) all the way.
When you’re descending, you can put your seat all the way down. You’ll be standing up and this gets it out of your way.
One more tip for beginners is to not hold on too tight. If you hold on to the handlebars too tight, it won’t only fatigue your hands and forearms, but it will tense up the rest of your body, too.
Staying loose and relaxed will mean that you’re working with the bike, not against it.
4. Do I Need Any Accessories?
Aside from a helmet, you don’t need any accessories, but there are a few things that can make your riding experience more comfortable and fun.
Padded riding shorts, sometimes called chamois, can be a godsend, letting you focus on riding, not pain. Bike gloves, meanwhile, can reduce fatigue in your hands and arms while giving you a better grip.
Finally, specialized bike shoes, even if you’re riding on flat pedals, are great because of their stiffness and grip. This means you won’t slip off the pedals, and your feet will stay more comfortable, too.
These are just some of the many lessons that you’ll learn along your mountain bike journey. That’s another one of the best things about mountain biking – you never stop learning and progressing.
There are also no hard-set rules here, go out there and see what works for you. Remember, the best mountain biker out there is the one having the most fun.