Mountain biking is a process that requires a lot of learning. These are the top tips and mistakes you should avoid in order to make mountain biking easier.
1. When braking, use one finger
As a beginner, your brake levers should be set up first. Before you install any controls on your handlebars, these should be set up. These should be set up so that your pointer finger for each hand is at the end of the lever. This will allow you to have more leverage.
Modern mountain bikes come with modern brakes, and you will see that very good riders never use more then one finger to brake. This habit should be adopted by beginners immediately. Even if you wanted to you couldn’t fit two fingers on a brake lever nowadays.
It is important to know the angle of your next brake lever. Your bars will be too heavy if your brake levers are placed too low. Place your brake levers slightly higher on the bars. This will help to reduce your weight.
2. Flat pedals are best
Flat pedals are recommended for those who are just beginning mountain biking. Flat pedals will help you gain confidence and speed up your learning curve. Flat pedals will save you frustration. Flats allow you to quickly and easily put your foot to the ground when you need.
You will learn good technique by using flat pedals first before you move onto clips. You could end up with bad technique and bad habits if you start with clips.
At first, riding with clips will limit your ability to develop as a rider. Clips can make it difficult to get your inner foot off the ground while going around corners. You won’t be able to do that on clips as easily and you may crash and lose confidence.
3. Buy new tires
Many newbies will continue to use the same tires they received with their bike after purchasing it. It is important to choose the best tire for you and the terrain you want to ride.
The right combination of rolling resistance, puncture resistance and grip is important for the type of riding you do. Consider your weight and how hard you ride the trails.
Cross-country riders will ride mostly on flat trails. You don’t need a tire that is very heavy, super-gripping, puncture-resistant, or large. The above tire might be the right choice if you plan to ride downhill and go over drops, rocks, and jumps.
It doesn’t matter what type of riding you do, the important thing is to make sure you get the correct tire. Don’t stick with the tires that came with the bike.
4. Use rebound damping
Once you have adjusted your suspension sag, this is the amount the springs will compress after the bike settles on a rider. The rebound damping is what helps the suspension return back to its original position after it hits a bump, landing from a drop or jump.
Many new riders have been riding without rebound damping or very little. This is fine if your ride involves small bumps. It’s okay, you can still sit comfortably on your saddle.
You will notice that your bike starts to feel shocked once you get out from your seat. You might feel unsteady and be thrown to the side by your handlebars.
Rebound damping should not be used too often, as it can make your ride feel rough. Probably worse is that your shocks won’t be able to react quickly enough to multiple bumps. You can also damage your tires and puncture your tires by the impact.
5. The correct length stem is used
Your stem length should be shorter if you intend to ride downhill. I prefer to keep my stem at around 50ml for downhill riding. This length allows me to ride downhill more comfortably and safely.
Use a longer stem for climbing uphill. This allows me to keep my weight on the front tire. If my weight was too far back while climbing I might start doing a wheelie which I don’t want. Sometimes, I see riders who ride downhill with a long stem which slows down their ability to steer.
You want to have a balanced balance, so you don’t feel too tight. Also, make sure your bars are in a good place for going downhill. This will allow you to steer more quickly. For going uphill, your stem should be longer (80 to 100ml) and farther forward. This will slow down your steering.
6. Maintain the correct tire pressure
You need to adjust your tire pressure according to the type of mountain biking that you do. Too many beginners don’t check their tire pressure enough and run into problems later on.
Your rims can be damaged if your pressure is too high. Your tires will burp more if they are not tubeless. This is when air comes out of your tires upon impact.
You will lose grip if the pressure is too high. This will cause you bounce off rocks and will make it difficult to grip the ground.
To increase grip, you can make the pressure on your front tire a little lower. You can make the pressure on your rear tire more aggressive as it takes the most impact. You will learn to determine the right pressure for you as you ride more.
7. Set the handlebar height
Like the tires, most beginner riders leave the handlebar height unchanged from when they bought their mountain bikes. The type of riding you do will determine the height of your handlebars.
Two factors determine the height of the handlebar: how high you have raised the handlebar and how much space you have under the steering tub.
Riders with high handlebars are common on trails. They have lots of space under their stems. This can be quite comfortable when going downhill but it can cause the front tire to lose weight.
You will notice that your front tire is too heavy when this happens.
It is difficult to find the right height for everyone. It all depends on how you ride and what your riding style is. Cross-country riding will require you to set your bars lower so that you can climb hills with more weight on your front tire.
It is difficult to find the right bar height. Then, go out on your bike and decide the height of the bar. Start by riding around a corner. If the front tire does not wash out, then your handlebars need to be adjusted.
8. Find the right saddle height
Beginners mountain bikers love to jump on their bikes and not think about the saddle height. You will feel cramped on your bike if it is too high.
Your seat should not be too high. You will hardly be able to reach the pedal, and you certainly won’t be able to clip in.
Next, adjust your seat position. Cross country riders are often beginners. Next, you will want to tilt your seat slightly down and sit slightly forward. You will be able to get your head above the front of the bike and can then pedal faster uphill by keeping the front wheel on the ground.
To go downhill faster and with gravity at your side, raise your nose so that you can grip the saddle with both your legs. This will help stabilize you, and prevent you slipping off your bike if you go too far forward.
Start by positioning your saddle so it is flat. Next, adjust the position depending on your riding needs.
9. Make sure you check your bike
Mountain bikers new to the sport just want to ride, have fun and explore new trails. While this is exciting, many novice mountain bikers neglect to inspect their bike. Many people ride their bikes without realizing there is a problem.
You should check your bike regularly to identify any signs of wear or needing repairs. Wheels don’t usually fail on you unless there is already a loose spoke or two, and then you hit a steep drop.
Tires that are old will cause them to lose their puncture resistance and grip. Make sure to check your bike every now and again. It will make it easier to spot another rider out on the trail.
10. Suspension lockout
This is something new riders don’t think about much. If you’re new to downhill, you should make sure to disable your suspension lockout at the top of any downhill. When going downhill, your suspension should be firm. You don’t want to be bouncing down the hill.
11. Don’t sit down or have your pedals down
When they first start riding, beginners can be very lazy. It is easy to be lazy when you ride your bike by sitting on your saddle with one pedal going down and the other going up.
This type of riding is dangerous and puts your body in danger. Your body position is not stable, and you are at risk of an accident. This position will slow down your reaction time. This is a common mistake made by new bikers and should be rectified immediately.
If you are riding off-road on a trail, it is advisable to get in an attack position. You should have your feet in line with each other on the pedals. Your elbows should be slightly bent and your knees slightly bent. Your torso should be slightly in front and your eyes should be directed forward to where you want it to be.
This position will allow you to shift your weight in accordance with the terrain. You want to conquer the trails, not rest on them. Always be prepared.
12. Don’t over brake on turns
It is common for new riders to be cautious at first, but not to be aggressive on the trails. Some riders may be hesitant to brake on the trails, or even worse, to start riding their brakes. If you brake too often on trails, this can cause damage to your brakes and possibly an accident.
Corners should be avoided. You don’t need to stop braking completely, but when you are within the corner it is much better to feather your brakes. The same goes for a car. If you are driving fast, you should pump the brakes off, on, and off. The same goes for mountain biking in corners.
You should slow down if you see you’re approaching a corner too quickly. Then you can regulate your braking as you go around the corner, but don’t hit the brakes to hard. Eventually you will be able to control your braking before the turn so that when you get to the corner you won’t need to brake at all and you can go through the corner fast.
13. Make sure to keep your tools and spares handy
It is a mistake that beginners make by not bringing along tools and spare parts. You could end up in serious trouble if this is not done. This is something that many novice riders discover the hard way after getting stuck in the middle nowhere with no one to help.
The simplest of things will help you get back on track and return to your home. At the very least, you should have a multitool, an innertube, a pump, as well as a mech hangar. These items will help you get home, except if you’re going on a short ride.
14. Find the perfect shoes
Even though it’s important to have the right footwear, new riders often forget about it. If you are riding on flat pedals then you don’t need to get mountain bike specific shoes.
It is enough to choose a shoe with a large flat sole and good grip. It’s not a good idea to let your foot slip off the pedal.
You will use clips if you want to ride in the right shoes and pedals. Start with a large pedal if you’re new to the sport.
Make sure you choose a pedal with a big cage on its outside. This will allow you to feel the cage in your shoes. Make sure the pedal has good grip on both your shoe and the pedal.
Avoid light-weight pedals for cross-country riding with carbon fiber soles. Although they may be cool, it can be hard to attach them. You won’t have any grip if they aren’t clipped in.
15. Your bike can be pressure washed
A clean, new bike is a must-have for all riders. This is especially true if your first mountain bike ride or you just bought a new bike. It is not fun for your bike to get dirty. You’ll want to make sure your bike is clean and tidy as soon as possible.
It is not a good idea to spend too much time wiping down your bike if it is cold and wet outside. You can clean your bike quickly with a pressure washer
However, this method is not ideal as you can get rid all dirt and mud from your bike.
This is possible in two ways. The first is to pressure wash your bike. After that, you will need lubricate your bike. Another way to wash your bike is to stand at least 15 feet from it. This will wash off dirt and mud, but not grease.
16. Get your bike energized
Newbie riders make the common mistake of not eating enough before going out on the trails. If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates before riding, you won’t get far. Mountain biking requires more energy and calories than road biking.
Many beginner riders forget to take enough water and food with them. After riding for an hour, you might feel hungry.
You have eaten a snack but didn’t bring enough. You will have to ride back slowly if you are feeling really tired and dehydrated.
17. Know your fitness level
You can lose your confidence by riding on too difficult terrain. You might also want to avoid a trail with steep downhills and sharp corners. You may have to slow down, or even walk through sections. You may feel discouraged and even want to quit.
As a new rider don’t be overly stoked, use trail center grading. This means that you should look for trails with a difficulty rating. This could be easy, intermediate or difficult.
It is a good idea to ride with someone who is familiar with the trail if you don’t want to go on a trail that has been graded. They will be able to tell you when you’re approaching a tricky section and how you should proceed.
This is not always possible. My advice is to pick a trail with a grade and then work on your skills. This will allow you to gradually progress on to more difficult trails.
18. Don’t crunch your gears
Crunching your wheels is easy if you don’t pay attention. This is because riders pedal at maximum power while changing gears. Your gears can be damaged if you push down on the pedals while changing from one gear to another.
You could also damage your chain by slipping through the gears. As you shift gears, be sure to regulate your pedal power. You need to be able to change gears with finesse and not just power. Wait until you have changed into the gear that you desire, then you can pedal power and continue your journey.
19. Don’t stop in the middle of the trail
You’re riding along the trail when you feel tired or hungry. Perhaps there’s a beautiful view that you would like to see or perhaps you think you’re lost. You should stop wherever you are, especially if it is new. Even if you are not on the trail, it does not matter.
It is dangerous to stop in the middle or at the end of a trail for any reason. It’s not safe. Plus you don’t know who is going to come up riding behind you.
You could be hit by a rider. Depending on your location, the rider might not be able to see you until it is too late. You can stop if you absolutely have to.
20. You can work on your bike
Even if your bike has been around for a while, you need to learn how to adjust and fix it. Depending on what type of riding you do, get proficient at changing the tire pressure.
Adjust your cockpit to the correct height and adjust your gears, brake levers and saddle height. If you have a flat, practice removing the inner tube. Learn how to replace your own gear cables. It is best to remove it and replace it with a new one.
When working on your bike, be careful not to tighten the bolts or nuts too much. If you do this, you’ll have trouble loosening them when you need. Be careful not to smack your knuckles while tightening and loosening nuts.
21. Be sure to bring your bike
Don’t forget to bring your bike with you. It may seem odd at first. You will bring your bike. Mountain bikers keep their bikes in their garage, and take them out to the trail when they need it.
But what most new riders don’t know is many riders take apart their bike because they need to drive to the trail. It is best to remove your bike from your vehicle and bring it along to the trail.
So now, don’t forget to bring your bike makes more sense, right? It is important to have all components of your mountain biking equipment with you. You will need to bring the frame, rear wheel, front tire, pedals and saddle as well as the handlebars and fork. You will need less to disassemble a larger vehicle.
22. You can ride your bike in comfort
You don’t just want to hop on your bike with sweat pants and a t-shirt. To make your riding experience more pleasant, there are certain clothes that you should own.
Wear padded shorts, this is something newbies don’t consider at all at first. Jeans, shorts, and sweat pants aren’t very comfortable. While you’re riding, a pair of padded shorts will provide you with a comfortable and pleasant feeling.
Then, add shorts to the padded shorts. Next, put on a tee shirt and a cycling jersey. As long as they provide protection, you can put on knee and elbow pads.
You should choose comfortable sport socks that can be worn in the right shoes, regardless of whether you are using clipped pedals or flats. It all depends on the socks you’re using. Comfortable gloves and a well-fitting helmet are essential. Now, you’re ready to go.