Mountain biking is a learning curve. Yes, you might know how to ride a bike and obviously you are not going to forget how to ride one. There are, however, skills and techniques you will learn along the way. This is a vast field and there is no way you are going to exhaust every single thing you need to know about mountain biking, but the more skills you acquire the much better.
When getting started, as with any other new activity you get yourself into today, you might find the whole thing a bit complicated. But with experience and willing to learn, you will be surprised by how the whole thing is easy. Here are mountain bike tips for beginners to help you take your game a notch higher.
The type of bike you are going to ride is paramount and must be the first thing to consider. There are quite a number of designs and styles in the market and you might want to ensure the choice you make is a proper fit. Normally, a number of factors will come into play. Your height and also the area you are likely to visit will decide what you are going to need. For example, for technical terrains, you need a full-suspension bike.
MOUNTAIN BIKE PARTS TIPS
Our mountain bikes come made of various parts, and the more you know about these parts, the better rider you would be today. Here are top tips about these parts you may want to keep in mind at all times.
Well, the saddle can influence a number of things and top on the list is the level of comfort you can get as you cross the country or take those technical terrains with your bike. Since you will spend most of your time seated on this part, you might want to ensure it comes with the highest level of comfort you can actually get. There are quite a number of designs in the market and before you dish out your money for anyone of them, take your time and try a couple of them. Ensure you get something that can comfortably support your sit bones. It must also be lightweight and well padded for more comfort.
There is where you place your foot and it is what pushes the bike forward. They come mostly made of plastic and metals. We have two types of pedal; clipless and platforms. When it comes to what to choose, we suggest you go for a clipless pedal preferably made from metal. They are sturdy, long lasting and are more resistant than those plastic platform pedals we are all used to.
Gears are some of the most confusing parts of a mountain bike. And if you don’t know how to use them in the correct way, they are no way you are going to enjoy your rides. They come mounted on the rear wheel and you can control them using rings normally found on the handlebars. If at some point you notice you have issues shifting or they slip; well, you need to have the derailleur checked. It could be there is cable tension or even friction.
Your bike’s tires play a very crucial role and before you set out with the bike, you might want to give it a quick check. In any case, we are talking about the amount of pressure your tires have. The amount of pressure the tires come with is essential as it can influence the level of traction you are going to get, especially on those uneven road surfaces. At this point, it is advisable you keep things a little bit moderate; the pressure shouldnt be too high nor too low.
High pressure can make the tire bounced off the road and that could send you flying into a thicket. On the other hand, low pressure also comes with its own share of risks; you could end up denting your rim or even hit by a flat tire. So when deciding on the ideal pressure you might want to find one that can handle your weight, topography, rim weight among others.
This is what steers the bike and it is important you give this part a lot of consideration. It must be a perfect fit and it is important you adjust according to your height. Normally, riders are always advised to find a lower handlebar for that comes with plenty of benefits. One, it helps reduce the center of gravity, making sure you get the right level of traction.
This is a moving part and you should expect it to wear after a considerable use. It must be protected from corrosion. In any case, you might want to make sure the chain is properly cleaned and lubricated. There are quite a number of lubes you can use on this part, but ceramic lube formula comes highly recommended. It is long-lasting and with it, you will not have to apply it frequently. That could save you all the trouble and also money in the long run.
One of the best protection gears you could have today. As a mountain biker, you need to pick the right fit. Ideally, it should not be loose and should not wobble from one side to the other. The kind of straps it also comes with must provide the much needed securing as well. They must fit snugly and the chain straps should bind right under your chin. In other cases, if you are going to hit one of the hottest areas out of town, you may want to pay attention to the number of vents the helmet comes with. The higher the number the better ventilation you will get. It is as simple as that.
The braking system is one important component of a mountain bike. It is one part that determines if you are going to stop with precision or end up flying into a thicket. It is because of this you need to go for a functional set of brakes and in this case, most people prefer disc brakes. They are long lasting and come with incredible stopping power. As if that is not even enough; how you use the brakes is also paramount. For example, when you are descending on a hill, remember over 50 percent of your braking power is in the front brakes. So for the best results, use both front and rear brakes to help you slow and eventually stop without any problem.
- CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
If you are going to cover miles and miles with a few visits to high elevation locations, you need to be prepared for everything. In this case, you need to ensure you will be comfortable all through. You should also be ready for any eventualities including rain and also darkness. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind at all times.
– What to wear
Yes, it is true you don’t need the entire biking wardrobe with you, but it is worth putting some money on some quality essential and clothing. Here you need to ensure you get the highest level of comfort and also performance. Ideally, you might need to invest in quality breathable and waterproof garments. Additionally, you need well-padded biking gloves and also a lightweight jersey.
Pretty much like any other trip you take into the wild today when it comes to mountain biking, there is quite a number of equipments you need to have with you. In this case, a GPS must be on top of the list. This will allow you to find your way in and out of the wild with so much ease. Additionally, a flashlight will come truly in handy. You might be got in the darkness and you know what a flashlight can really do.
PRACTICE BASIC RIDING SKILLS
As a beginner, there are some basic riding skills and techniques you need to have before you set out with your bike. You really don’t have to be a pro, but these simple skills will help you handle a number of terrains and trails with so much ease.
- Riding downhill
Obviously, you are going to need to travel downhill and for this reason, you need to be well prepared for it. In this case, we have a number of skills you need to practice in order to allow you to handle those serious downhill rides in with so much ease. One of them is what we call compression. This is a very crucial skill as it allows you to transfer kinetic energy from the frame right into the tires. To pull off this, you will have to crouch down right from your waist and using your arms pull off the handlebar as you push down the pedal with your legs. That compression will help you keep perfect control of the movement of your bike.
- Riding uphill
Riding uphill is also as technical as downhill riding; you need to learn how to do it the correct way. Ideally, there are quite a number of ways you can practice that. Normally, riders are advised to put the bike in the lowest gear possible. Once you do that, ensure you put more power into pedaling to help increase the frequency. Additainly, you need to remain seated on your bike as you make that slight lean to your handlebars as you also move to the edge of your saddle. That alone will allow you to achieve great traction in the front tire and help it not to pop up.
- Practice how to corner a bike
As a beginner, handling a tight corner can be one of the trickiest encounters you will have to handle most of the time. For that, you need to learn how to corner your bike with precision and safety.
For you to handle corners, you need to learn a technique called releasing. With this, you will have to use both your legs and arms all at the same time. Push off your bike in a quick and forceful motion and then return to a crouched position. That releasing will help distribute weight across the bike, making sure you don’t lose balance.
- Always anticipate what is ahead of you
Ask any experienced rider today and they will all tell you anticipation is the rule of the game. Most beginners tend to keep their eyes down, just right on the front wheel; that could come with a lot of problems. You are advised to keep your head looking at the front of the trail. You need to anticipate what is ahead and find a solution to how you are going to tackle the problem upfront.
Know your trails and fitness levels
Normally, before you set out if you are not familiar with the area you are going to ride in, you need to find a map or trail advice about the area. At no time, you should not ride blindly. Know about access, the distance you are likely to cover and also difficulty. That alone will allow you to prepare yourself for anything upfront.
Your fitness level is also important and must be factored in at all times. Mountain biking is one demanding activity and before you can go for those long and heavy-duty rides, you must have trained well.
Carry just more than a bottle of water
Even if you are just going out there for a few hours, you need to be prepared for any eventualities. In this case, you are advised to carry just more than a bottle of water. If you can go with a first aid kit that you make a lot of sense. A flat tire change kit is also what you need to have. Things can get really crazy out there and it is important you are well prepared.
In the end, it is important to note you are not going to be a pro rider in one afternoon. Like any other skill you learn today, learning how to ride a bike with great skills is going to take some time. During this time, you need to keep practicing. However, we are sure the above tip will help you start in a great way.
Updated on December 6, 2021 by Ben