Essential Mountain Biking Tips
Whether you’ve got tons of experience or are just starting out, there are several essential factors you should be taking into account at all times. Let’s take a look at some essential mountain biking tips.
When you’re riding, correct body position is one of the most important things you’ll need to consider. As a rule, riding seated is more efficient, but no doubt you’ll be standing up to get some power, or on more technical parts of the trail.
You should keep your body loose, with your knees and elbows bent (think the press-up position). When you’re riding, don’t be stiff. Keeping loose helps your body act as the suspension, and encourages the bike to easily roll over the terrain beneath you.
Your body should be moving around on the bike too, which can take beginners some getting used to. For example, when travelling downhill, shifting your weight backwards prevents you from going over the handlebars.
Likewise, when you brake, your weight will be sent forward. Shifting your body backwards keeps everything balanced. You’ll find yourself moving your body backwards and forwards a lot, which is why you’d ideally want a dropper post. If not, get your saddle as low as possible to ensure you’re free to move.
Your pedal position should remain parallel. Avoid having one pedal closer to the ground, which makes it vulnerable to getting knocked by obstacles and nudging you off course.
When you’re riding, keep your head up and looking at the trail ahead. Focus on looking past your front wheel and down the trail. Rather than looking at the obstacle immediately in front of you that you need to avoid, look past it and at where you want to go.
Even for seasoned riders, this skill is tricky, so keep reminding yourself to look further ahead at the trail!
Closely linked to where you should be looking is your gear changing. Changing gears properly when riding your mountain bike is essential to riding efficiently, getting over obstacles, and effectively getting up hills.
Looking ahead at the trail means you can anticipate gear changes early and keep the necessary momentum. Delaying a gear shift means you might end up changing gear whilst climbing uphill, resulting in a bigger chance of losing momentum.
Back off the pedalling force a bit when you do change gear, as pedalling with full power and changing can damage the components. Anticipation is key!
Decent mountain bike brakes don’t require much pressure, and braking with one finger should be enough – not to mention the fact that this allows your other fingers to retain control of the handlebars. Aim for small feathering of the brakes rather than big pumps to keep your ride smooth, and as said above, move your weight back when braking.
Moving your weight around is absolutely essential when braking. When you brake hard, your weight is sent forward and you’re in danger of going over the handlebars. Move your weight back when you brake and drop your heels toward the floor.
Braking when taking corners should be avoided if possible. Instead, when approaching turns, brake before the turn to reduce speed and then maintain your speed through the turn. Ideally, the bike should lean more than your body on a flat corner.
Covering body position, braking, changing gears and your head position, these mountain biking tips are essential for any rider. Check out our blog for more info on topics like mountain bike safety tips and Enduro racing!