How To Get Into Mountain Biking: The Ultimate Guide

Are you looking for a new adventure? Do you love the great outdoors and want to experience it in a new way?

Mountain biking might be just what you need.

After 10 years of biking experience, I can confidently say that mountain biking is the most thrilling and challenging biking activity that allows you to explore the natural world while getting a great workout.

But if you’re new to the sport, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Here I’ll guide you through the basics of how to get into mountain biking, including choosing the right bike, finding the best trails, and building your skills and confidence on the bike.

What Is Mountain Biking?

Mountain biking is a sport that involves riding bicycles off-road, typically on rough terrain such as mountains, forests, or trails.

It requires skill, endurance, and balance to navigate through various obstacles and challenges.

Mountain biking enthusiasts enjoy the adrenaline rush and the connection with nature that this activity provides.

Early videos of adventurers bombing down steep and sketchy terrain on their rickety bikes should give any first-time mountain biker pause before taking the plunge.

Mountain biking has come a long way since then and today there are plenty of professionally built flow trails, mountain bikes specifically designed for going up and down hills more efficiently, lift-served bike parks, and even electric bike options if you still find pedaling too strenuous.

There are three main types of mountain biking:

  • Cross-country
  • Enduro
  • Downhill

Below, I’ll explain each in more detail.

Types Of Mountain Biking

Before you hit the trails, it’s wise to know the different types of mountain biking disciplines and their unique features.

Each type offers a different style of riding, and selecting the right bike for your preferred discipline can improve your overall experience.

1. Cross-Country (XC) Mountain Biking

Cross-Country (XC) biking is the most approachable style and ideal for beginners. XC bikes have lightweight frames, narrow tires, and shorter travel suspensions, making them fast and efficient.

They are designed for covering long distances on less technical trails such as fire roads or smooth singletrack. XC biking is perfect for those who want to enjoy the scenery while getting a good workout.

mountain biker during cross country race

2. Enduro or All-Mountain Mountain Biking

Enduro or All-Mountain mountain biking is also designed for both beginners and experienced cyclists.

Unlike cross-country biking, which typically involves pedaling over less technical terrain, Enduro mountain biking includes all sorts of terrains, from steep descents to technical climbs.

If you’re interested to learn more about Enduro races, head over to this post.

3. Downhill (DH) Mountain Biking

Downhill mountain biking focuses on descending through rough and steep terrain at high speeds.

It’s all about the thrill and challenge of conquering technical features like drops, jumps, and berms.

To fully enjoy this adrenaline-pumping sport, a specialized downhill bike is essential.

Unlike lighter bikes, these beasts are designed for stability, control, and safety in rough conditions.

With their unique frame geometry, suspension, and brakes, they are perfectly tailored to the demands of downhill mountain biking.

mountain biker during downhill race

How Difficult Is Mountain Biking?

Mountain biking tests your physical and mental abilities, regardless of your fitness level.

You’ll encounter steep hills, rocky terrain, and tight corners, challenging you physically.

Mentally, you’ll conquer the fear of falling, make quick decisions, and stay focused.

But don’t worry, with practice and preparation, you can overcome these obstacles.

Start with beginner-friendly trails and gradually progress to tougher ones as your confidence and skills grow.

Is Mountain Biking Dangerous?

Let’s talk about something we all know too well: crashing. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal, especially when you’re just starting out.

But the good news is, the more you ride, the more confident you’ll become and the less time you’ll spend on the ground.

Now, I know it can be tempting to push yourself on more challenging trails, but it’s important to be realistic about your skill level.

extreme terrain in mountain biking trail

There’s no shame in starting small and working your way up. It’s all about finding trails that are right for you and gradually building up your skills and confidence.

And of course, safety should always be a top priority. Make sure to wear the proper gear, including helmets, body armor, and gloves to prevent injuries. It may sound trivial, but they make all the difference.

And don’t forget to scope out new trails before attempting them. Take the time to familiarize yourself with any obstacles or tricky terrain.

If you want to know the most common injuries and how to minimize risk, head over to this post.

Things To Consider When Choosing Your First Mountain Bike

When choosing your first mountain bike, there are several factors to consider, including the type of bike, frame size, wheel size, and frame material.

Below, we’ll explore each of these factors in more detail.

1. Bike Type

If you’re new to the game, it’s essential to understand the different types of mountain bikes before making your first purchase.

There are two main types of mountain bikes – full suspension and hardtail.

Women’s mountain bikes are specifically designed for women and come in both full-suspension and hardtail options.

Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes

One type of bike that has become increasingly popular among riders is the full-suspension mountain bike.

These bad boys come equipped with both a front fork and a rear shock to absorb impacts from the terrain, resulting in a smoother and more comfortable ride.

Perfect for tackling technical terrains like rocky trails, steep descents, and root-laden paths, full-suspension mountain bikes are an excellent choice for experienced riders.

Trek Full Suspension Bike TopFuelXT
Trek Full Suspension Bike (Source: Trek)

Beyond that, they can be used for all-mountain or downhill riding. With front fork travel ranging from 100 mm to over 200 mm, these bikes offer excellent cushioning for riders when tackling bumps and obstacles along the trail.

If you’re looking for a bike to tackle some cross-country trails without too many tricky features, a short-travel full-suspension mountain bike with a 100mm-130mm front fork travel is the way to go.

However, if you’re craving a bit more adventure and planning on hitting up some all-mountain or Enduro-style terrain, you’ll want to opt for a mid-travel full-suspension mountain bike with a 130mm-160mm front fork travel.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes

If you are on the hunt for a mountain bike that won’t break the bank, is lightweight and efficient, look no further than a hardtail mountain bike.

These bikes have front fork suspension but no rear shock, making them lighter and more efficient than full-suspension bikes.

However, they may not be the best choice for advanced riders who want a more forgiving ride.

Trek Hardtail Bike Procaliber B Portrait
Trek Hardtail Mountain Bike (Source: Trek)

Without rear suspension, they’re less comfortable and can cause more fatigue in your upper body.

But don’t worry, hardtail mountain bikes are incredibly popular due to their versatility and affordability.

They’re perfect for cross-country riding and trails without too many technical features. Plus, their lighter weight and efficient pedaling make long rides a breeze.

If you prefer a more comfortable ride on rough terrain or want more technical features, a full-suspension bike might be a better fit.

What About Women’s Mountain Bikes?

Ladies, if you’re into mountain biking, you might be wondering if you should invest in a bike specifically designed for women.

Two brands that come to mind are Juliana and Liv – both producing mountain bikes that cater to the female form.

Juliana Bicycles Home Page

But the question is, do you really need a women’s-specific bike or can you ride a unisex one?

Well, the main differences lie in the frame geometry and sizing. Women’s-specific bikes tend to have a shorter top tube and a lower standover height, making them a more comfortable ride for us gals.

Plus, they usually come with narrower handlebars and saddles to fit our body type. But don’t worry, many women ride unisex bikes without any problems.

So, it’s up to you – go to a bike shop, get a test ride, and choose what feels right.

Electric Mountain Bikes

Electric bikes, or “e-bikes”, are gaining popularity among riders of all skill levels. They provide a new option for adventurers looking to explore nature on two wheels.

However, not all trail systems allow e-bikes, so it’s crucial to do your homework before heading out.

When riding an e-bike, it’s important to be aware of its capabilities, such as high speeds, and to use caution.

Trek Hardtail Bike Procaliber B Portrait
Trek Hardtail Electric Mountain Bike (Source: Trek)

Even seasoned riders can face new challenges with these bikes, as higher speeds can turn rocks and logs into dangerous obstacles in a flash.

If you are an experienced rider, you have the opportunity to be a role model for novice riders.

Offer guidance when needed and encourage respect for the trails, so everyone can have a great time.

2. Frame Size

Let’s be real, no one wants a subpar ride. One of the most critical factors to consider when getting into mountain biking is the frame size.

Trust me, riding on a bike that doesn’t fit well can seriously affect your performance, comfort, and most importantly, your health. So, take the time to select the right frame size for your height.

Now, I know you may be thinking, “But I know my height, so I know what size bike I need.” But don’t be so sure!

Each brand has its own sizing chart, so it’s important to refer to those before making a purchase. Don’t assume you know what size bike you need based solely on your height.

Take the time to compare your height to the sizing chart provided by the brand you’re interested in.

3. Wheel Size

The three main wheel sizes for mountain bikes are 26″, 27.5″, and 29″.

It’s all about personal preference. You have to try yourself and get a feel for which one is most comfortable for you.

Below, I’ll give some tips for you to understand the difference.

26” Wheels

While this size used to be the go-to for many riders, it’s not as common these days due to advancements in technology and changing preferences.

Manufacturers have shifted their focus to producing bikes with 27.5” or 29” wheels, which offer better performance on a variety of terrains.

If you do decide to go with a 26” bike, be aware that it may come with some challenges.

Finding replacement parts and accessories might be a bit of a hunt, as this size is no longer as popular.

Older technology on a 26” bike could mean more maintenance and repairs over time.

Compared to newer bikes with more advanced features, a full-suspension 26” bike may not have the same level of shock absorption, leading to more wear and tear on the bike and a less comfortable ride.

27.5” Wheels

The 27.5″ wheels offer a level of responsiveness and playfulness that can take your riding to the next level. They’re perfect for those of us on smaller frames who crave quicker handling and maneuverability.

If you’re all about shredding the bike park or mastering your jumping skills, then 27.5″ wheels are definitely worth considering.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that they may not be as stable at high speeds compared to larger 29″ wheels, and they may not be as nimble in corners.

29” Wheels

I absolutely love 29” wheels because they offer unmatched stability and control. With their larger diameter, these wheels give you more contact with the ground, making it easier to stay on course at high speeds and over bumpy terrain.

And let’s not forget about their speed – 29” wheels are faster and stable, perfect for powering up climbs and maintaining momentum on long descents.

But don’t get me wrong, there are some downsides to these wheels. They may not be as nimble as smaller sizes, which can make turning a bit of a challenge.

You might feel like your bike is slower to respond to steering input on tight, twisty trails. But in my opinion, the benefits of 29” wheels far outweigh any drawbacks.

Mixed-Size Wheels

Mixed-wheel bikes, also known as mullets, have become increasingly popular among mountain bikers in recent years.

These bikes feature a larger 29” front wheel and a smaller 27.5” rear wheel, creating a unique riding experience that differs from traditional mountain bikes.

One of the best things about mixed-wheel bikes is the perfect combination of speed and maneuverability they provide. With a larger 29” front wheel, you can maintain your speed on rough and technical terrain, while the smaller 27.5” rear wheel offers improved handling for tight turns and obstacles.

Now, it’s important to note that not all bikes are manufactured as mullets. However, if you’re interested in converting your current bike to a mixed-wheel design, a skilled bike mechanic can help you out.

4. Frame Material

The final important factor to consider when choosing a bike is the frame material. It can really make a difference in the bike’s overall performance and durability.

Carbon and aluminum are the most common materials for mountain bike frames.

If you’re an experienced rider who values speed and performance, a carbon frame is the way to go.

It’s lightweight, aerodynamic, and provides a smooth ride even on rough terrain.

However, carbon frames are more prone to damage and come with a higher price tag.

On the other hand, if you’re a beginner or need a bike that can withstand wear and tear, an aluminum frame is a more affordable and durable choice.

It may be a bit stiffer and not as good at absorbing shock, but it’s easy to find and repair.

Regardless of how strong and durable your bike frame is, it will eventually get scratched and chipped here and there. I recommend investing in a bike frame protection kit to minimize scratches and chips.

Best Places To Buy A Mountain Bike

Backcountry Mountain Bike products
Backcountry Mountain Bike Products (Source: Backcountry)

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect bike to match your riding style, paying a visit to your local bike shops is a good idea.

You can chat with friendly and knowledgeable salespeople, but you can also take some test rides and get a feel for different models.

These experts can give you the lowdown on all the different bikes available and help you narrow down your options.

When taking a test ride, pay attention to the bike’s handling, comfort, and overall fit.

For those who prefer to shop online, I have a couple of favorite retailers and brands:

Mountain Bike Gear and Accessories

Getting into mountain biking is not just about picking out a bike. You’ll need some essential gear and accessories to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

In this section, we’ll explore all the different aspects of mountain bike gear that every beginner should have to make their rides as enjoyable as possible (head over to this post for the complete mountain biking packing list).

Mountain Bike Shoes and Pedals

For mountain biking, having the right footwear is crucial for optimal performance. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way.

Regular sneakers simply won’t cut it.

You need specialized shoes designed specifically for this sport, featuring a sturdier sole for optimal pedal support and rubber/lugs on the bottom for maximum grip on those flat bike pedals.

That’s where my beloved FiveTen Freerider shoe comes into play.

It’s a favorite among riders, offering unrivaled traction with its sticky rubber soles.

And ladies, don’t worry, they come in women’s sizes too.

This shoe has truly become my ultimate mountain biking companion.

Pedals, on the other hand, are a matter of personal preference.

Personally, I prefer flat pedals instead of clipless as they provide excellent maneuverability and positioning for speed by allowing me to place my foot on a flat surface.

Yes, relying solely on shoe/pedal grip can be a bit nerve-wracking at times, but for me, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Hydration Backpacks

We all know that proper hydration is absolutely crucial for performing at our best and staying safe while tearing up those trails. And that’s where a good hydration backpack comes in handy!

But let’s not just settle for any old backpack. You’ll want one with plenty of room for snacks, an extra layer of clothing, and all the tools you need for repairs.

And don’t forget about accessibility! Look for a backpack with easy-to-reach pockets and compartments, so you can grab what you need without having to stop and dig around.

One of the best things about hydration backpacks is that they eliminate the need for a separate water bottle.

You can just sip away as you ride, without having to awkwardly fumble around with a bottle.

This is especially important on those long rides or on hot days when you need to stay hydrated.

Mountain Bike Repair Kit Essentials

When you’re out on a ride, unexpected mechanical issues can be frustrating. That’s why it’s important to always have a mountain bike repair kit with you.

Here are the essential items you should include:

  • Spare tube: A flat tire can ruin a ride, so a spare tube is a must-have. Just make sure to get the right size.
  • Pump or CO2 inflator: You’ll need something to re-inflate the tire.
  • Multitool: This will help you make adjustments on the spot, such as adjusting brakes.
  • Optional extras: An inner tube repair kit, shift cable set, and chain links plus a new rivet pin can come in handy.

Being prepared with these items can save you from a ride-ending disaster.

Getting Dressed For Mountain Biking

Mountain biker outfit

When hitting the trails on your mountain bike, don’t underestimate the importance of proper clothing.

Head over to this post to get a full list of what you should wear during mountain biking.

Shorts are a crucial element in your mountain biking attire, and there are two types to choose from: form-fitting or baggy.

If you’re a cross-country racer, you’ll probably prefer the snug fit of form-fitting shorts as they offer less coverage and more flexibility.

I usually wear looser pants over my tight shorts for more protection and freedom of movement.

Another piece of clothing to consider is a mountain bike jersey. Just like shorts, there are both form-fitting and looser options available.

When choosing a jersey, look for one that wicks sweat away and dries quickly to prevent overheating on the most challenging terrains.

Finding Suitable Trails

As a beginner mountain biker, finding trails that will fit your skill level can be a challenge.

But fear not, I have a few easy tips to help you find beginner-friendly trails.

Best Apps For Trail-Finding

As someone who’s just starting out on the mountain biking scene, you might feel overwhelmed by the prospect of finding trails that cater to your beginner level.

The good news is there are apps out there that can make your search a lot easier.

Here are two of my favorites – TrailForks and MTB Project.

TrailForks home page

First up is TrailForks. This is what I currently use and is great for beginners, thanks to a super huge database of trails (548,081 trails in 135 countries to be precise, and it keeps updating).

They have a 7-day free trial and if you decide to subscribe to the $36/year pro-plan, you’ll get unlimited access to all of the trail maps and can even use them offline.

So if you’re interested in exploring new areas, this app is definitely worth the investment.

Another app that’s worth checking out is MTB Project. This one is free and is supported by REI, so you know it’s legit.

It has lesser trails listed but not bad considering it’s free to use. For beginners, stick to green or blue trails as they are suited for novices.

Talk To Your Local Bike Shop

If you’re just starting out, don’t underestimate the power of your local bike shop. These guys are the real deal – they know their stuff inside out.

Whether you’re looking for beginner-friendly trails or trying to figure out what bike to buy, they’ve got your back. Their expert advice is worth its weight in gold.

So don’t be shy, pop in and say hi! You won’t regret it.

What You Will Find On The Trails

Every trail and destination is unique, so you never know what to expect. However, some regions have their own distinct characteristics that riders have gotten used to over time.

In some regions, you might have to pedal over rocks and roots and climb short but steep hills, while in others you have to navigate through slippery rock slabs.

Regardless of where you ride, there are some common features and terms that you’ll come across in mountain biking.

This article has a comprehensive list of mountain biking terms. Feel free to check it out.

Getting Ready For Your First Ride

Before hitting the trails, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride.

  • Start by familiarizing yourself with all of the parts on your bike, both for mechanical and safety purposes. You should become comfortable operating the gears, brakes, dropper posts, and any other features that your particular bike has.
  • Set up your bike according to your riding style and preferences including adjusting seat height and suspension settings.
  • Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather conditions and terrain you plan to ride.
  • Make sure that all zippers and straps on clothing such as jackets are secure before starting out so they don’t get caught on anything during the ride.
  • Check your tire pressure. It’s a smart move to pump them up before every ride, but the amount of PSI you need can vary based on your weight, ride style, and tire size. The recommended PSI range should be marked on your tires.
  • Another key step is to lube up your chain. Depending on the conditions you’re riding in, it’s a good idea to do this before every ride or every few rides.
  • Fill up your water bottle or hydration pack before you head out. Even if you’re only planning on a short ride, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I personally always bring at least a liter of water in my hydration pack.
  • Bring a multi-tool and some tire plugs for emergency situations.
  • Review your riding plan. Let someone know where you’re going and what your route is. If you’re just starting out, you might want to stick to the local trails, but as you gain confidence and skill, you can start exploring further afield.

Getting Your Bike To The Site

Before embarking on any mountain biking adventure, it’s crucial to consider how you’ll transport your precious ride.

There are a few options available.

You can fit your bike inside your car. If you have a small car, check out our guide on how to fit your bike into Toyota Prius or Honda Civic. The principle applies to any car.

If you have a pickup truck, use a tailgate pad and load the bike into the back of the truck. This option is the easiest and especially helpful if you have a larger or full-suspension bike that might not fit comfortably on some racks.

car with bike racks and bicycles at autumn meadow

If you have a lighter bike, a roof rack might be the way to go. Keep in mind that lifting a heavier bike onto the roof can be a bit of a challenge, so make sure you’re up for the task.

A hitch-mounted bike rack is a great option if your car is equipped with a hitch. Just make sure to double-check the carrying capacity of your hitch and the weight of your bike before making a purchase.

For those without a hitch or roof rack, a trunk-mounted bike rack is a fantastic choice. These racks attach directly to the trunk of your car and can hold anywhere from one to multiple bikes, depending on the model.

How to Unleash Your Mountain Biking Skills and Boost Confidence

If you want to up your mountain biking game, it’s going to take some serious commitment.

Sure, nothing beats real-life experience, but there are definitely some tricks you can use to speed up your progress.

And lucky for you, I’ve got 10 practical tips that are sure to help you improve your skills and boost your confidence on the bike.

So buckle up and let’s dive in.

Hit The Gym

Mountain biking requires you to use your entire body, especially your core, to stay balanced and react quickly to any obstacles that come your way.

Strengthening your core will give you better control over your bike and allow you to maintain an athletic stance while riding.

This stance involves keeping your chest up, elbows bent, and weight centered on the bike.

By having a strong core, you’ll be able to maintain this position for longer periods of time, reducing fatigue and giving you even more control over technical terrain.

Take A Coaching Clinic

There are plenty of options for mountain biking lessons and clinics in the USA.

A Singletrack Mind offers both private and group clinics to enhance your mountain bike skills.

The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance offers classes, camps, and clinics for all ages and levels of experience.

Dynamic Cycling Adventures provides mountain biking clinics, events, and adventures.

The Ride Series offers top-notch MTB skills clinics based on professional riding and racing experience.

Grit Clinics provides first-rate private lessons and group clinics led by top coaches from around the country.

If you’re in search of even more specialized instruction, there are several programs available throughout the US and Canada.

Ladies AllRide is a popular program aimed at female riders.

The Dirt Series offers clinics for beginner and intermediate riders of all genders.

Ninja Mountain Bike Performance provides both group clinics and private lessons for riders looking to improve their skills and confidence.

Master Your Body Position

One of the most essential things you need to do is assume an athletic stance.

This means keeping your butt slightly back over the saddle, lowering your torso towards the handlebars, and bending your knees and elbows.

Why is this so important?

Well, it ensures that you can react quickly to any obstacles in your path and absorb any impact like a boss.

Now, let’s talk about how to position your body correctly.

maintaining proper body position during cornering with mountain bike

First and foremost, keep those knees and arms slightly bent. This will help you maintain your balance and take on any impact that comes your way.

Secondly, make sure your center of gravity is above the bottom bracket to ensure maximum stability and control.

If you really want to take your mountain biking game to the next level, then you need to incorporate stretching and cross-training into your routine. These will improve your performance and decrease your risk of injury.

Ride With Experienced Bikers

One great way to take on challenging features is by going through obstacles with a riding buddy.

You can take turns trying out different lines, and practicing until you master the feature.

However, it’s important to remember not to compare yourself to others. Everyone progresses at their own pace and has their own strengths and weaknesses.

mountain biking with a more experienced friend

Instead, ask questions and study their technique, so you can continue to learn and improve.

If you’re having trouble finding riding buddies, consider joining a local mountain biking club.

These clubs often offer group rides for a variety of skill levels, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded riders who share your passion for mountain biking.

Explore New Trails And Terrains

While it’s easy to stick to familiar trails and routes, it’s important to explore beyond your local area and seek out new terrain to ride.

This can include more challenging trails with technical features, steep climbs, or challenging descents.

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be challenging at first, but it’s essential for growth as a rider.

Use Your Brakes Efficiently

The key to efficient braking is to start by mastering the basic position where one finger is placed on each brake lever.

This allows for controlled force to be applied to either brake with minimal effort, ensuring that the bike is always under control.

To avoid locking up the rear wheel, the weight should be shifted back and down. This technique is especially important when braking on steep descents or loose terrain.

The weight distribution should be such that both wheels are evenly loaded, allowing for maximum traction and avoiding the rear wheel from locking up.

The recommended technique for brake operation involves using one finger to pull the brake lever, leaving the rest of the fingers to grip the handlebar.

This helps to maintain a strong grip and control over the bike.

Shift Gear Properly

I know it can be tempting to use a higher gear in order to feel the burn during your workout or go faster than ever before, but let me tell you – that’s a common misconception that can actually make you more exhausted in the long run.

Instead, try focusing on shifting into easier gear. This will give you better acceleration and help you maneuver through curves like a pro.

Now, when it comes to changing gears, it’s important to be mindful of the terrain ahead. If you’re about to face a climb or descent, make sure you’re in the right gear before you even start.

And remember, maintaining momentum throughout challenging terrain can make all the difference in clearing those tough sections with ease.

Corner Like A Boss

When you’re taking on a corner, it’s crucial to maintain your balance and stability. One way to do this is by standing on your pedals.

This position helps you distribute your weight over the bike and improves your cornering experience.

man practices cornering with mountain bike

But be careful not to lean too far forward or back. You’ll lose traction and slip on loose terrain.

Speed is also an important factor in cornering. If you’re going too fast, don’t panic. Just use your rear brake to reduce your speed while still keeping control through the turn.

Remember to apply gentle pressure to the rear brake and use it in combination with proper body positioning and other braking techniques to prolong the lifespan of your brake pads.

Overusing the rear brake can cause a loss of traction, so use it wisely.

It’s Scarier Than It Actually Is

One of the most effective ways to overcome fear while mountain biking is to practice visualization.

When approaching an obstacle, take a deep breath and focus on the line you want to take. Instead of staring at the scary part, visualize yourself rolling effortlessly through it.

This technique can help calm nerves and build the confidence needed to tackle even the most challenging terrain.

Another key to overcoming fear is to start small and work your way up. Practicing smaller features can help you build skills and confidence before tackling bigger obstacles.

Remember that everyone falls, and it’s all part of the learning process.

Practice Makes Perfect

Repetition and consistency are key to becoming a skilled rider. Improving your mountain biking skills is a gradual process that requires dedication and effort (check out our 18 practical mountain biking tips for beginners).

There are several areas to focus on when practicing your skills, such as your pedaling technique, shifting, attacking downhill, and cornering.

To improve your pedaling, ensure that your cadence is quick and smooth by maintaining a consistent rhythm and using the right gear for the terrain.

Avoid mashing, which can cause muscle fatigue and energy loss, and instead focus on applying steady and consistent pressure to your pedals.

Make sure to track your progress with an Apple Watch (or other smartwatches) or a bike computer and connect to apps like Strava so you can see the statistics. However, beware that there might be a high degree of inaccuracy in Strava’s data as it is only an estimate

Stop Overthinking And Hit The Trail

Mountain biking can be an exhilarating and challenging experience, and sometimes, all you need to do is to trust your bike and its ability to absorb the rough ride.

As a beginner, it’s easy to get intimidated, especially if you’re facing a technical and challenging trail.

While it’s great to research and learn about the sport, over-watching YouTube videos and filling your brain with too much information can be counterproductive.

Sometimes, it’s best to trust your instincts and go with the flow. Empty your mind, focus on the ride, and take things one step at a time.

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