New to hit MTB trails? Don’t let it get on your nerves. Following a few simple mountain biking tips and tricks can save you from many hassles.
Mountain biking seems easy and fun until you get onto a trail with sturdy rocks, high jumps, and deep digs. It turns to be a nerve-wrenching and terrifying experience for beginners sometimes.
But, being an enthusiast mountain biker, I know only a good mountain bike is not enough for an adventurous MTB experience, but some different skills and practice may help.
I have compiled a list of the most useful mountain biking tips to help you start your journey with great care and learn from my experience to tackle off-road obstacles.
Best Mountain Biking Tips (Before Riding)
These little gold tips have been collected after 15 years of hard-trail mountain biking experience. I am sure you won’t go wrong with any of these mountain biking tips and techniques.
1. Get a Basic Level of Fitness
First thing first! A regular fitness and endurance routine is essential for you to be successful in starting it.
It is better if you change your target if you are just starting it off of couch-sitting. Eventually, it will help you reap every health benefit from mtb.
Spend at least four to six weeks building your base; keep the effort mode on until you can catch up to the speed.
A consistent, frequent, and low-intensity effort will definitely lead you to your desired speed.
Yes, you can begin with 3-4 rides a week for 1-2 hours and then increase the time gradually.
2. Food for Eat and not Only for Thought
Prepare plenty of fresh food, including a lot of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and dry fruits, depending on how long you will be traveling.
Don’t consume processed food as it will affect your endurance level. Keep yourself hydrated with electrolyte drinks and plenty of healthy food during the ride.
3. Identify your Destination
Where do you intend to go? Were you able to catch up on that? The rock won’t help you reach your goals if you start directly on it without setting up your goals.
Keep your eyes fixed on the target. Rather than staring down the passing road, look as far along the trail as you can. It will keep your eyes sharp and your mind prepared for any obstacle that comes your way.
4. Choose your Mountain Bike
What I think this is the job we need to do at the very beginning.
However, it depends on a number of factors; budget, season, type of trail, your experience level, etc.
With the right MTB for the right trail, you will overcome half of your obstacles.
What’s the best part? It is not recommended to buy such expensive products that exceed your needs.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a fat tire mountain bike to drive in snow or a regular MTB (maybe these under 1000 or these 500 dollars); if it’s not right for the trail, you may have some unpleasant experiences.
Choose it wisely; I repeat, choose it wisely!
5. Carry All the Necessary Gears
Have you packed all the essentials during the ride? At MTB trails, you won’t see many convenience stores to serve you, and the ride can be longer than expected as you have to tackle all the obstacles on the rugged trails.
Do not just focus on the credit card check, but also wear protective gear, such as helmets, gloves, glasses, knee guards, and other things to wear while mountain biking.
Mobile phone coverage is generally poor in forests and deserts, so you may not be able to call for help if something goes wrong. Therefore, carry a multi-tool mini box in your backpack.
6. Never Miss Basic Repairs
To prepare for mountain climbing, a basic inspection and any necessary repairs are essential. We are not going on a city tour or catching up on familiar terrain. Spaces like these are covered in bumps, corners, and other obstacles that are beyond the usual.
Learn how to change gears, repair a broken chain, and replace a bent or cracked derailleur hanger.
7. Don’t Get Outpace by a Turtle Speed
It’s something I’ve been through myself when I was a beginner.
However, going slow is not always a good thing, sometimes a little speed is good. There is no need to touch the height of wind speed, but setting up a little more pace can be enjoyable.
Furthermore, you get better on speed by time, as just I got. 😀
Other MTB Tips to Ride Like a Pro
Here come some BONUS tips from my years of experience.
1. Correct Body Positions
Sitting incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced mountain bikers.
There are rocks, ruts, and mud on trails, so the correct body position is more important in such situations.
Here are some primary positions to opt for while cycling!
a. Neutral Position
When riding a bike on a trail with no technical sections, you should adopt a neutral position. You will be more stable and your bike will roll more efficiently.
Additionally, you can quickly shift into the ready position if you are in the correct neutral position.
- Level pedals are evenly weighted.
- Bend in the knee and elbow slightly.
- Index finger on breaks.
- Eye position should be forward at a track around 20 feet far.
b. Ready-go Position
In the rocky and steeper part of the trail, you must switch to a ready position. To succeed, you must be mentally and physically prepared.
- The pedal should be evenly weighted.
- deep Bend knee and elbow.
- Shit hips toward the back at the rear end of the seat.
- Index fingers on break all the time.
- The eye should be at the track around 20 feet away.
When your weight is equally distributed between the rear end and the front end of the bike, you are in a stable position. Cycling will be more stable if you lower your center of gravity and get more comprehensive.
However, the trail is not always stable; sometimes you have to go uphill or downhill.
c. Downhill Position (Mountain Biking Downhill Tips)
Below are some downhill mountain biking tips for beginners to keep the body posture accurate.
- To maintain your body’s stability, your feet need to be braced against the pedals.
- Maintain the bend in your elbows and knees by treating your arms and legs as the suspensions for your body.
- To increase your range of motion, shift your hips back a bit.
- While going downhill, adjust yourself a little wider, lower your chest and hips, and keep your chin over the stem.
- Controlling your brakes is one of the most important things you need to do. You may skid when you have too much grip on the brakes.
d. Uphill Position (Mountain Biking Uphill Tips)
- It is essential to conduct trail scanning so that you do not get stuck in mud or digs.
- As you try to maintain traction, move your chest over the bars.
- If you move your hips forward on the seat, it has a significant impact on your motion.
- If you lean too far forward, you could lose control over the back wheel.
- Maintain momentum by keeping your body steady, and stoke your panels if you want to increase or decrease your speed.
2. Adjust your Seat
It would be right to describe it as one of the best tips for intermediate mountain bikers regarding seat adjustment and body positioning. This makes climbing and descending easier.
- To maximize your pedaling efficiency, adjust your seat while climbing.
- Do not keep your legs straight; otherwise, it will consume a lot of energy.
- You should keep your feet at the bottom of the pedal. By doing so, you will build power while accelerating.
Climbing mountains requires energy, but descending them requires control. As you get closer to gravity, it becomes easier for you to maintain your grip. Lower your seat 3″ below the height you set while climbing.
3. Lane Selection
Choosing a path is challenging due to the fact you must consider your skillset.
Beginners tend to focus on hazards and how to avoid them, losing confidence and never crossing technical and challenging lanes.
I suggest scanning your destinations, keeping your eyes on the road from 20 feet away, looking for hazards, thinking of how you will overcome them, and how will you move your bike?
Each rider is in a different situation; for some, a hazard may be a challenge, but for others, it may seem trivial. Rules do not apply to all riders!
4. Include Intervals
Although mountain biking has a lot of physical and mental benefits, your body also needs rest. If you cycle regularly, including some intervals can help you start with fresh enthusiasm.
It is okay to do it twice a week. Breaks will allow your body to recompose and perform better the next time.
Take a 30-40 second break after cycling for 4-5 minutes or whenever you feel comfortable.
Beginners tend to take breaks more often than experienced ones. Get used to it over time.
5. Improve Turns
Among the mounting tips mentioned above, this one is especially important. It takes time to polish turning or cornering skills; experience is the only way to become an expert in these fields. Expert riders never stop improving this skill.
Keep momentum during turns, sit wide, balance your feet on the pedals, and open your knees to lean the bike. Be careful not to lean too far forward.
Finally, brake before the turn; otherwise, you might skid.
6. Weight Shift
If you are riding on rough terrain, shift your weight according to the bike’s movement and terrain.
While climbing a mountain, try to shift your weight forward on the stem, leaning forward so that your center of gravity is maintained and the back wheel is not weighed down.
Maintain your speed on rocky terrain and corners. As you go down, you will be less likely to fall off if you put more weight on the back tire.
7. Float Over Rocks and Roots
If you master how to position your arms and knees, you will be able to traverse even the most challenging terrain.
If you pedal with your elbows and knees bent, you will easily pass this type of rugged track if you maintain a steady speed.
8. Master Front-Wheel Lift
Front-wheel management is crucial to overcoming obstacles. There are three stages in this process:
Load the handlebars with your upper body to compress your front shock and bend your elbows. Do push-ups with your elbows straight as if you were clapping.
It’s time to lift the front wheel. When your wheel leaves the ground, bend the arms and raise the handlebars to jump higher. Speed and timing are most important in the front-wheel lift.
9. Braking (How to & When to)
Our first thought when we are asked to break is that it is a simple process; you just stroke the lever.
For your journey to be safe, you have to learn how and where to apply the brakes. Otherwise, you could cause a lot of damage.
Usually, braking comes from the front brake, but if you hit it hard enough, it will shift you over the bars and you’ll be on the ground within moments.
Try to apply the brake evenly and manage the front and back brake correspondingly to get control of your bike.
👉 Remember, the sudden and fast squeeze can cause skidding.
If you are squeezing just from the brake, place your hips at the back of the seat and bend your elbows and knees.
Tip: For disc brake, always put your index finger on the brake. If you have a rim brake, use two fingers on the brake; it will give you much-needed control.
Applying brake at the right time is also equally important. Let your momentum carry on if you use the brakes a little before cornering or turning.
10. Gear Shifting
Mountain biking presents many roadblocks, so shifting gears in between will benefit you.
If you are a beginner, change gears more often to determine where you feel most comfortable. Additionally, it helps you develop muscle memory to automatically change gear based on convenience once you know when to shift.
As one of the best mountain biking tips, start shifting gears as soon as possible and don’t wait for the terrain to get rugged. Your body power will be consumed less this way.
If you still can’t crack which gear would be good for you while mountain biking, I recommend going for easier gear rather than a hard one.
11. Falling off
The risk of falling during mountain biking is real; I recommend keeping your arms inside. If you try to save yourself by using your hands and legs, you could break your wrists and break your collarbone.
Before you begin again after recovering from the shock, make sure you check gear brakes, a chain, and seats.
12. Hike Yourself, Not Bike
What do you do when you are stuck in a trail with dead ends or rocks that can’t be jumped or wheeled? Do not push your bike to the limit if you can do it by yourself.
It is ok for you to carry your bike on your shoulders if the terrain is rough and a bicycle cannot overcome some rough track conditions.
13. Choose Better Riding Partners
You should choose a biking partner (preferably other than your gender 😆) to enjoy quality time and gain experience.
Regardless, choose experienced and better riding partners than yourself if you want to be a better rider. You can learn a lot from them and prevent unwanted experiences and injuries since you are in the beginning stages of mountain biking.
14. Terrain Etiquette
Ride on mountain trails designated for bikers if you can; if not, ride anywhere but be kind to others.
You should always give way to downhill riders when moving on a single trail, even if you have to unseat and hold your bike up.
Slow down and give hikers and horse riders a wide berth if they are coming.
Make sure you greet everyone like a good player if you want adventurous networking.
Common Mountain Biking Mistakes to Avoid
The following are a few mountain biking tips that must be avoided to ensure a safe journey. Such as:
a. Toes On the End of Pedals
The position of your feet on the pedals has a lot to do with how you ride. If you forcefully place your feet on the axle, you will pressurize your leg muscles.
I recommend you move your forefoot forward and set the foot’s position at the start of the pedal.
b. Pedaling through Technical Sections
You might have to pass through technical sessions like rocky paths and congested trails on occasion. Adjust your gears accordingly so that you can move smoothly on rough tracks.
On the rocky path, try a little harder gear to help you sustain shock and strengthen your landing grip. This will reduce your chances of slipping.
c. You are not Looking Far Enough
You might end up at a dead-end if you don’t pay attention to the path. Beginners often look at the front wheel and a little bit ahead of it. Your whole adventure can be ruined if you encounter an unusual path.
Look around 20 feet ahead the next time you hit a trail to avoid any mishaps.
d. Sitting too Much
In a non-patchy road, it is safe to sit on the seat, but if the trail becomes rocky, sitting in that position will not be the best choice.
Your knees and elbows are the best shock absorbers, but your kegel muscle was not designed for this, so sitting that way could damage it.
To stay safe, bend your elbows and knees to absorb the shock, and keep your hands steady and firm on the handlebars.
e. Being too Tense on the Bike
Sometimes, we push our muscles unnecessarily to reach our destination as quickly as possible. Just in excitement as if you are new to the game, you will hold grips more tightly if you are excited and tense.
Try to keep your muscles loose to absorb any hurdles and rocky shocks.
How challenging is mountain biking?
Mountain bike trails are the most brutal, rugged, and challenging terrains. Although roads can be flat or steep, mountain bike trails can also have quick turns and steep grades. It is undoubtedly more difficult to ride on a mountain road than mountain biking on a railroad-grade trail.
Does mountain biking get you fit?
Mountain biking is a great way to get fit and in shape with this cardio workout. Spend an hour here, and you’ll burn 400 calories.
Why is MTB so fun?
Health with fun is a better description of mountain biking. MTB bikers enjoy the total-body workout, along with adventure and enjoyment in any season, including winter.
What is harder, mountain biking or road biking?
Mountain biking seems more difficult than road biking because these bikes face tough terrains, are harder to pedal and are slower on the pavement. In contrast, road bikes are easy to pedal but can’t move on every type of terrain.
With some tips for mountain biking that I have gathered through years of experience, you will be confident enough to make a start. Remember, as the situation changes, the applicable rules of these techniques also change. So do not just depend on the advice anyone has given you, or you have read. I always recommend experiencing and finding things yourself first.
Find a way and technique that suits you the most, and then follow these mountain biking tips and tricks along.
Also, let me know which of these mountain biking tips helped you a lot.