Mountain biking is an incredibly fun and thrilling way to explore the outdoors. Whether you are an experienced mountain biker or just getting started, mastering the basics is the key to successful and safe riding. This article outlines 5 of the most essential mountain biking techniques you will need to pick up in order to become a skilled and accomplished rider. Read on to ensure you have the right skills and knowledge to take your mountain biking to the next level.
1. Proper Positioning
Standing vs Sitting Position
The position of your body when mountain biking is important in order to properly balance and control your bike, create a more efficient ride, and minimize any strain on your body. The ideal mountain biking position has your head and torso upright and your back straight. Both your hands should grip the handlebars and your elbows should be slightly bent for comfort. When you’re about to climb a hill or take on technical terrain, standing offers more control and power over your bike. However, when riding on flat terrain and downhill, sitting offers a more smooth and controlled ride.
In order to keep your balance when mountain biking it is important to distribute the weight of your body evenly between the front and the rear of the bike. When climbing a hill, most of your weight should be shifted to the back of the bike, and when descending a hill you should move the weight to the front of the bike. This will provide you with better control, balance and traction when riding.
Learning the Basics
Cornering is a vital mountain biking technique that you’ll need to learn in order to become a skilled rider. The key to cornering is shifting your weight and choosing the right line. When you are entering into a corner, you should lean your body away from the corner. This will help you to shift the weight to the rear of the bike and make the turn easier and smoother. When exiting, you should then lean your body into the corner to help shift the weight towards the front of the bike.
Choosing the Right Line
When facing sharp turns, it is recommended to take the outside line to reduce the sharpness of the turn. This will allow you to approach the corner at a less extreme angle and make the turn easier to handle. When cornering on flat ground, a mid-line can be taken to minimize the cornering radius. Maintaining your momentum and focusing on the exit of the corner is important to maximize your speed and minimize the turning radius.
3. Braking and Accelerating
Learning the Basics
Learning the basics of braking and accelerating is of utmost importance to any biker. Breaking should be done in a controlled manner, with a 50/50 distribution of your weight between the front and the back brake. There should not be a sudden release of brakes before the end of the braking motion as it will cause your bike to quickly slow down or skid. Accelerating should be gradual and consistent, while your weight should be distributed 60/40 towards the back with your arms completely relaxed and handlebars straight.
Braking on Descent
When descending, it is important to practice good line selection and braking in order to stay safe and maintain speed. You should primarily use the rear brake to control your speed. You should also avoid excessive braking as it will reduce your momentum and cause your suspension to bottom out. Lastly, be sure to keep your arms relaxed while braking, as it will help to prevent any skidding or loss of traction.
4. Climbing and Descending Techniques
Successfully riding uphill requires greater physical and technical skill than riding on flat terrain. When approaching a hill, you should stand up and shift your weight to the rear of the bike. This will provide more traction on the rear tire and make the climb smoother. To maximize your power and momentum, you should maintain a steady cadence and avoid any sudden peddling. If the hill is steep, it will be necessary to dismount and push your bike or take a slow and gradual line.
When descending in slippery or bumpy terrain, it is important to keep your arms relaxed and your body in the correct position. You should also maintain a steady speed by using your brakes sparingly. As with cornering, you should shift your weight to the front of the bike when descending, so that your front wheel is in direct contact with the ground and has more traction. Lastly, it is important to look as far ahead as you can to ensure you’re taking the right line.
5. Shifting Gears
Signals to Change Gears
In order to maximize your performance when mountain biking it is important to know when and how to properly shift your gears. When you feel your pedals becoming harder to press down and you reach a certain cadence, it is time to shift up to a higher gear to maintain speed. On the other hand, mid-climb, when you hit a steep or sharp turn, or when you start to lose momentum, it is time to shift down to a lower gear. You should only shift when your bicycle is in motion in order to avoid damage to the drive train.
Easy Gear Shifting on the Trail
Most mountain bikes have trigger shifters which make it easier to change gears while riding. When shifting up, press the trigger lever with your thumb, and when shifting down press the lever with your index finger. Press the pedals in a steady motion to make the shift smooth and ensure that your chain is securely in place. When you’re about to take on a steep or technical section always shift the gear lower before tackling it.
People Also Ask
What are the different mountain biking techniques?
The five basic mountain biking techniques are proper positioning, cornering, braking and accelerating, climbing and descending, and shifting gears.
How do you corner a mountain bike?
When cornering, lean your body away from the corner when entering and lean into the corner when exiting. You should also choose the right line and maintain momentum in order to make the corner easier to handle.
What is the best way to shift gears on a mountain bike?
Most mountain bikes have trigger shifters which make it easier to change gears while riding. When shifting up, press the trigger lever with your thumb, and when shifting down press the lever with your index finger.
Why is proper positioning important in mountain biking?
Proper positioning of your body when mountain biking is important in order to properly balance and control your bike, create a more efficient ride, and minimize any strain on your body.
How do you brake on a mountain bike?
When biking downhill, use the rear brake to control your speed. Braking should be done in a controlled manner, with a 50/50 distribution of your weight between the front and the back brake. Avoid excessive braking and keep your arms relaxed when braking.
Now that you are familiar with the five most important mountain biking techniques, you are well-equipped to take on the trails. Be sure to practice the techniques outlined above in order to become a successful and safe mountain biker. With enough patience and dedication, you can easily master the basics and become a skilled and confident mountain biker.