What is Downhill Mountain Biking? MTB DH Explained

Mountain biking is definitely an intriguing sport. It gives you the opportunity to step out of your house and have fun amongst nature’s terrains.

It features several daring and adventurous trails that are guaranteed to leave you with pleasant memories.

This article will particularly shed some light on what downhill mountain biking is and give you a few useful tips.

What is Downhill Mountain Biking?

If you’ve seen some pro bikers speeding down a sharp, daunting slope, they were probably doing what is known as downhill mountain biking (read this article if you want to know where was this sport invented). The trails associated with this activity are usually filled with rocky beds, drops, and jumps – there are other features associated with DH Biking.

It makes sense that bikes made for DH events are more durable and resilient than regular mountain bikes. The bikes are fitted with two suspensions (one in the back, and one in front) to boost speed and improve balance during motion.

One exciting event that DH bikers participate in is on the continuous trail. To successfully beat his racecourse, the bikers have to complete the race within the shortest time possible while staying between the marked lines on both sides of the trail. A Garmin bike computer would be very helpful in this case.

It’s important for a rider to know which line – depending on distance or speed preference – would serve best. Riders must try as much as possible not to go outside the lines on either side of the course. Crossing the sidelines at any point will deprive them of the usual time advantage.

At the beginning of a race, the competitors are lined up based on their speed abilities. At the end of the race, the winners emerge with a time-gap of a few seconds from other riders. The race is usually accurately timed with the appropriate equipment.

Downhill Mountain Biking Tips

extreme downhill rider with his bike

In case you know what downhill mountain biking is then you have to read on for useful tips – especially if you’re just starting and have just bought a quality bike rack.

1. Trace a Safe Path

You might not have paid attention to this before, but you need to know that the direction you’re looking in has a huge effect on your biking efficiency.

Target Fixation is a concept that describes how the direction you’re staring at is also the direction your bike will move towards. You can just imagine that if you’re staring at some really rough bed of rocks; your bike could crash into them.

When you’re biking, try to visually trace the safest trail and let your bike follow that path. This would save you from a bunch of accidents.

2. Loosen Up

If you want your bike to move smoothly along the mountain biking path, you need to stay loose. Being overly attached to the bike would only slow you down and make things difficult.

To loosen up, lift yourself off the bike so that your bottom is away from the bike seat and don’t hold too much on the MTB handlebar grips either. The more you keep your body loose, the easier it is for your bike to move over rough paths.

3. Lean Back on Your Bike

You must have seen bikers, maybe on television or in live races, leaning forward on their bikes at some point on the racecourse.

This act of shifting their weight is what helps them to easily move over steep, rocky inclines. When bikers are riding down a steep decline, they shift their weight backward.

4. Check Suspension

There’s a need for bikes to be fitted with as much technology as needed for an easy climb over rough terrains. This is exactly why bike suspensions are a big deal, otherwise mountain biking could turn to be extremely dangerous.

A combination of MTB suspension fork and shock absorber – both in the front and rear positions respectively – will make your biking experience wonderful. However, you must ensure that you set your suspension before you can get to enjoy it.

The knowledge of positioning your suspension the right way will save you from accidents on the trail – nobody wants to go home with bruises.

5. Maintain a Constant Speed

As you approach rougher paths, you need to add some more speed. Going faster on rougher trails will make the biking experience easier.

Always keep in mind that gaining more momentum will greatly benefit you as the trail gets tougher.

6. Switch Gears

You need to know that the terrains of mountain biking are rough and have varying elevations and depressions. Because of this nature, you will constantly need to switch gears as you approach new terrains and have bike helmet lights with you at all times.

Remember to shift into the gear you need just before entering the rough patches so that you would only need to maintain that gear through the bumpy ride.

7. Use the Brakes Properly

It’s not advisable to go “all out” when you’re trying to apply the mountain bike brakes on your bike. This is only a recipe for accidents.

The brakes placed on mountain bikes are quite sensitive and would be effective with just a little push. It would also be great if you could apply the brakes before you reach the really rough paths. This will ensure that you don’t hurt your knees while biking and you only need to maintain your desired speed without using the brakes while on the rocky beds.

You should practice using your brakes correctly before you go on more daunting rides. If you apply your brakes wrongly at a sharp bend, you may find yourself flung across the ground.


At this point, you should have enough answers to what is downhill mountain biking and you know it’s an intriguing exercise that you will enjoy.

You also need to remember all the tips given on how to go about mountain biking, especially if you’re a beginner. These tips will guide you on what and what not to do. Because of the wavy, undulating nature of these mountain trails, there are high chances of accidents when biking along them.

Anyone that ignores the proper know-how of mountain biking would end up getting bruised and scarred. Follow the tips above and you will have an easy time biking.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not out doing about every kind of biking and experiencing the occasional tumble. Ready to share the ride with you.

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