Mountain Bike Skills For New Riders

With the optimized performance of today’s mountain bikes combined with the ergonomic body friendly geometry and the comfortable ride of modern bike suspensions mountain biking is more accessible to everyone these days. Add in that the number of women biking these days has reached a critical tipping point where mountain bike companies are now dedicating major resources to, and delivering the highest quality women specific bikes. This has been greatly appreciated by the female market and their numbers have increase proportionally. All of this combined with the new generation of modern “flowy” mountain bike trails that are easier to ride and easier on your body more people of both sexes than ever hitting the singletrack!

Even with a fine-tuned machine and a user-friendly trail mountain biking can still be intimidating. Learning skills on the fly can result in costly and potentially painful crash. As with many skills just having the confidence that you are doing it right makes all the difference. With all this in mind we are creating a mountain bike primer for those new to the sport. Read on to learn more about body positioning, braking, how to take tight corners and more!

Taking a mountain biking clinic from a trained instructor is the best ways to improve your bike skills, there are many different ways to approach a situation and varying circumstances and these tutorials can not cover all these differences. Always ride within your limits, mountain biking is awesome but does have inhering risks.

Braking Skills

  1. Use front brakes for slowing down and stopping
  2. Use rear brakes for maintaining speed
  3. Use your brakes like a dimmer switch, not an on/off switch
  4. Do not lock your brakes so your wheels are not spinning as you loose traction
  5. Instead gradually apply and pump your brakes
  6. For quick braking use both brakes evenly
  7. Slow down before entering a corner and pump the rear brake while in the turn
  8. Once you reach the apex of the turn let go of the brakes and let it roll
  9. Use caution braking over tree roots
  10. Brake lightly on loose dirt and mud
  11. When braking hard drop your heels and brace with your arms

Downhill Body Positioning on the Bike

    1. Drop your heels
    2. Hips shifted slightly back
    3. Arms and legs bent
    4. Stay flexible and ready to react
    5. Lower your chest
    6. Chin should be over the bike stem
    7. Be low not back to build traction

Uphill Body Positioning on the Bike

    1. Adjust your body position to the incline
    2. Shift slightly forward in your seat
    3. Move your chest towards the handlebars
    4. Keep weight distributed between both wheels
    5. Keep elbows relaxed and bent
    6. Lower chest and shift forward if you are losing traction on front wheel
    7. Lift chest and push but down if you are losing traction on back wheel
    8. Do not pull up with arms, use your legs to drive the bike

Cornering and Switchback

  1. Approach with level pedals in a neutral body position
  2. Mentally select your line
  3. Make the turn wider by steering towards the outside of the corner
  4. Drop your heels, chin over stem and arms bent
  5. Focus ahead on the exit of the turn
  6. Turn the wheel and lean the bike into the turn
  7. Point your knees and chest toward the way you are turning

Having the proper body positioning actually makes everything about mountain biking easier, and it has a compounding affect. The easier things feel the more you flow and the easier things actually become. So take some time to learn the optimum positioning and it will pay off in dividends!