You’re on a bicycle, which makes sense. This is how every novice mountain biker remembers their first ride. The fact that you are riding over rocks, over streams, and through a variety of other terrains, though, seems to make no sense at first.
It’s thrilling and entertaining while also being tense and terrifying. With time, it gets simpler—and more enjoyable! But there are some tips and tricks that each of us wishes we had known when we were just beginning as beginners. Here are the best beginner mountain biking tips for learning mountain riding for those who are just starting out.
Best Beginner Mountain Biking Tips
You’ve come to the perfect place if you want to improve your riding, gain new knowledge, and gain confidence. You may start developing your bike handling skills with the help of these 10 mountain biking tips for beginners, which will also make you feel more at ease when riding.
The feelings of riding down a steep gravel trail for the first time and being drenched in sweat at the end, applying the brakes too hard and the wheels suddenly locking up, or feeling your arms ache from the cramped grip on the handlebars. Despite the saying that the first step is the toughest, using these tips will make starting much simpler. It’s all worth it for a sport this much fun, and above all, you will get better and better with time.
Read on to learn about the best beginner mountain biking tips that you should follow:
Get Your Bike Set Up Correctly
There are a few things you should do to configure your mountain bike for your weight and height when you buy a new (or new-to-you) bike. This is something that many beginner mountain bikers neglect to do, yet it may significantly increase comfort and confidence when riding. You need to adjust the following two settings before you ride:
The majority of mountain bikes use air pressure to operate the front fork and rear shock (unless you have a coil shock), and your weight determines the appropriate air pressure. It’s known as sag. You’ll need a shock pump to fill your shocks with air and some study to determine the proper amount of psi for your body weight in order to establish sag. A chart sticker may be present on some shocks for quick reference. However, the majority do not. If not, you’ll need to adjust your sag through some trial and error.
Your seat height is probably improper if you’re wondering why cycling makes your lower back or knees suffer or why it feels like you’re climbing Everest. If it’s too high, your lower back will ache; if it’s too low, your knees will suffer, and pedaling will be SO MUCH harder.
When the pedal is closest to the ground, the seat should be high enough so that your knee is slightly bent. This could imply that you can’t put both feet on the ground when you’re seated on the seat, but that’s normal.
Keep Your Body Loose & Springy
Not as easy as it seems. However, if you maintain a loose body, especially in the arms, shoulders, and knees, your bike will be easier to control, and your riding will feel much smoother when descending hills and navigating dangers in the route.
Keep these two things in mind before starting:
- You may maintain loose elbows and shoulders by bringing your chest to the handlebars. This reduces your center of gravity and facilitates steering.
- Mountain bikers careening around a corner with their hips way off to the side of their saddle are certainly pictured somewhere. You should make an effort to achieve this. The term for it is body-bike separation. To enable autonomous movement of your body from the bike, keep your knees open and springy. The handlebars and pedals will always be in contact with your hands and feet, but your hips and knees should be free to move without interference from the bike. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to turn more easily, go faster, and confidently hit bigger features.
Momentum is Important
Many new mountain bikers will rely more than necessary on their brakes. Although it can be frightening to travel at a quicker speed than you are adapted to, momentum is actually your friend when mountain riding.
Once you have the abilities and confidence to do so, speed will enable you to cruise down drops and jumps, go through tough rock sections with ease, and float around curves.
In reality, lack of speed is the main cause of crashes for novice mountain cyclists. You’ve probably seen movies of motorcyclists falling into a rock garden or going over the handlebars. This occurs (often) when momentum is lost, and the rider loses control of their balance.
You’ll be astonished at how much momentum can assist you to get through more challenging sections of the path if you keep focusing on releasing the brakes.
Look Where You Want to Go
This beginner’s mountain biking tip may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s so crucial. Keep your eyes forward and focus on the direction you want your bike to travel in. In a large berm, look for the exit. Look at the landing if you’re approaching a small drop. Look straight ahead if you are in a straightaway.
You may arrange your body to guide your bike in the direction you wish to travel by staring in that direction.
Keep your body flexible so that you’re not struggling against yourself by remembering mountain biking tip number two. Turning the bike in the desired direction won’t be simple if your arms are stiff.
Shift Early & Shift Often
Shifting early and frequently is one of the most important mountain biking advice for beginners since it always makes me angry to see riders try to blast over climbs in too high of a gear.
If you anticipate a climb, downshift immediately before it begins. You shouldn’t change gears while climbing because doing so could damage the drivetrain and potentially cause a chain to drop or, worse, a derailleur to break. Your pedaling up to the top will be much easier and more enjoyable if you shift right before the climb begins.
For descents, the same holds true. When you reach the bottom of the hill, change into a harder gear so that your legs aren’t spinning at a mile per minute.
Ride With People Who Are Better Than You
Riding with others who are better riders than you will improve your riding. This may sound scarier than sending your first drop.
Don’t worry about “holding them up” or about moving slowly through the technical parts. The majority of mountain bikers are simply excited to ride some trails with a great bunch of folks like you!
You get the chance to watch skilled riders maneuver their bodies and motorcycles by riding alongside those who are better than you. You can pick up a lot just by watching.
Take Control of Your Bike
Bicycling can be done in one of two ways. You have two riding options: active riding and passive riding. Passive riders essentially sit back and enjoy the trip like a passenger, letting the bike take them along the trail. On the other hand, active riders aggressively steer and manage the bike through features and around curves. It is obvious that professional mountain bikers are the drivers and have perfect control over their bikes if you observe how they maneuver them. They don’t appear to be acting passively at all.
But how can a novice mountain biker takes charge of the bike? Start making active use of your suspension as one option.
The shocks are made to absorb trail chatter as you cruise down the trail, thereby enhancing the smoothness of your ride. Without your intervention, the front and rear shocks are responding to the trail’s characteristics.
However, you may also actively employ your suspension by compressing or pumping into it. This can assist you in maintaining momentum, hopping over rocks and roots, negotiating corners more easily, lifting your front wheel over obstructions, and other maneuvers.
Gaining control of your bike and pushing your suspension into shape takes some practice, but the more you do it, the more fluid your riding will be. The ideal places to practice are on a pump track, but you can also do this on the trail without difficulty.
Learn How to Track Stand
The track stand is the one ability you should acquire to increase your confidence and mountain bike skills immediately.
The ability to stand up on your bike while it is stationary is known as a track stand.
Why is this crucial? For equilibrium and control. Control and balance are necessary for a number of trail conditions, including steep roll-downs, narrow switchbacks, and tricky climbs. If you can’t maintain your balance when riding slowly, you may collapse over or have to put your foot down.
With a little practice, learning track stands is rather simple. Spend 5 minutes practicing your balance before each ride!
Choose Different Lines
Choosing new lines on the trail is one method to advance your mountain biking abilities, especially if the trail is one you have ridden frequently. The obvious way is usually the “easiest” line. Thus it’s helpful to look for other lines if you want to improve and feel more secure as a rider. Spend some time researching a new line before attempting it.
For example, riding over rocks and other obstacles rather than around them is a fantastic place to start. The more you change it up on the trail, the better you’ll get at riding.
Watch Videos to Learn
Like me, you probably learn best through observation. It is simpler to recreate a skill or technique on the trail with practice if you can see how it is done in a video. I particularly enjoy seeing mountain bike videos of experienced riders because of this.
Practice is one of the most crucial elements of mountain biking. Therefore, don’t be frightened to attempt anything new because only in doing so will you be able to adjust and advance your method continuously. You’ll observe that it gets simpler and simpler as you go along and that you learn from your errors. Don’t put too much strain on yourself; try to enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Even though stepping outside of your comfort zone may appear challenging initially, doing so is typically quite beneficial because it’s the only way to test your boundaries and improve your abilities. We mountain bikers adore the speed and freedom that mountain biking provides.
We hope these best beginner mountain biking tips will give you more courage to explore the trails. Keep these suggestions in the back of your mind and just have fun because, like everything else, the more you practice, the better you’ll get.
Our last piece of advice is to face your fear. Most riders experience anxiety when they tackle their first downhill part, but if you relax and maintain pulsing your brakes, your falls will be more humorous than frightful. The secret is to ride loosely and comfortably, allowing your bike to move how it naturally should. But above all, just remember to enjoy yourself!
Which beginner mountain biking advice has been the most helpful to you over the years? Which queries remain unanswered? Comment down below!
Is Mountain Biking Hard for Beginners?
Mountain biking may be physically demanding, just like any other type of exercise, especially when you’re just starting out and your muscles aren’t used to riding a bike. That depends on what you consider difficult. Yes, pedaling uphill requires effort, and you can occasionally feel like you’re going to die.
Is Mountain Biking Harder than Hiking?
Hiking burns more calories during the easy sections, whereas cycling burns more calories on rougher terrain. If you want to maintain your weight and stay in shape, they are both great options. Even though bikepacking is generally more expensive, you can still enjoy both with inexpensive, basic equipment.
Is Mountain Biking Harder than Road?
On paved surfaces, road bikes are quick and simple to pedal. They are less effective when used off the beaten path. Some people find it challenging to comfortably maintain the “dropped” riding position for an extended period of time. On paved surfaces, mountain bikes are slower and harder to pedal.
Is Mountain Biking Hard on Your Body?
Since mountain biking has a low impact on your joints compared to other aerobic sports like running, it is a low-impact sport. Cycling is also regarded as a non-load-bearing activity, which means that sitting down relieves pressure on your joints and lowers the likelihood of injury.