Mountain biking and mountain bikes have significantly advanced over the following few decades. Today, there are flow trails that have been expertly constructed, modern mountain bikes with geometry that makes climbing and descending much more enjoyable, lift-served bike parks, and even e-bikes! Mountain biking has taken off, and now is a great time to learn how to get started.
Here are some basic guidelines to help you understand mountain biking more and better prepare you for the trail:
Knowing the trail types
Many single-track trails are open to one-way travel and wind their way through the best terrain that the landscape has to offer. Single-track trails are typically just a little wider than your shoulders, up to a track that’s just wide enough for two bikes to pass.
Double track trails are typically twice the width (or more) of a typical single-track trail, with enough room for two bikes to ride side-by-side. Double track trails frequently follow deserted logging roads, fire roads, or power-line roads where two single tracks were made by the tires of passing vehicles. Compared to single-track, double track trails typically have a softer grade and fewer technical features.
Meanwhile, terrain parks are also becoming more prominent for mountain bikers. From lift-serviced trails at ski resorts to jump-and-pump tracks under urban overpasses, mountain bike terrain parks are springing up everywhere. Elevated bridges, halfpipes, various-sized jumps, berms, banked corners, and hairy downhill switchbacks are among the features to be expected.
Choose a beginner trail
An overly ambitious attempt on challenging, technical trails with steep climbs and even steeper drop-offs with little room for error has humbled many a roadie. Hence, it’s best to start out on a mountain bike trail that is genuinely simple and suitable for beginners, then increase the difficulty as your handling and climbing abilities advance. This is one of the best tips that could save you from potential dangers or injuries and help you build up on your biking skills gradually and safely.
Corner with ease
On a trail, tight switchbacks are the norm rather than the exception, so road riders will need to learn a new set of cornering techniques. A mountain biker enters a corner standing up with level pedals, as opposed to road riders, who sit with one leg down to leverage weight in steering. This allows for more traction as well as what we call bike-body separation. To corner with more ease, use your rear brake to keep your front wheel rolling through the corner if you enter a corner at a faster speed than you intended.
Slowly move over hurdles
On a road bike, the mentality is to avoid all obstacles whenever possible, but on a mountain bike, the obstacles are the point. A beginner-friendly trail is crucial because the obstacles are frequently small and can help you gain confidence by keeping the pedals moving over and through any obstacles you see. You’ll quickly come to trust your bike and its capacity to withstand rough roads.
Knowing the Biking Styles
The following mountain biking styles are used by many bike manufacturers to classify their models, which can assist you in choosing the right bike for your needs.
- Trail: Since the category isn’t based on any particular kind of racing, trail biking is probably the most popular type of mountain biking. This is the riding style for you if you like to meet up with friends at the neighborhood trailhead and ride a variety of climbs and descents. This group of bikes prioritizes enjoyment, effectiveness, and a manageable overall weight.
- Cross-country: This kind of riding usually entails moving quickly and placing a premium on climbing ability. Bikes typically focus on light weight and efficiency, and distances range from a few miles to 25 or more. If you’re thinking about joining a team or want a faster ride for your local trails, these bikes can be great.
- All-mountain/Enduro: Enduro riding has longer, more treacherous descents, more technical features—both man-made and natural—and more challenging climbs and descents than trail riding. Think of it as trail riding on steroids. All-mountain and endurance bikes are made to be fast and agile enough to pedal uphill while also performing well on steep descents. Enduro riding has grown to be very popular, and the term is now frequently used interchangeably with all-mountain, whether you’re racing or not. Enduro is a term from the racing world that describes a competition with timed downhill stages and untimed uphill stages, with the winner being whoever has the fastest combined time on the downhills.
- Downhill/park: The majority of this kind of riding takes place in lift-serviced bike parks, frequently in the warmer months at a ski resort. You ride large, durable bikes and dress in full-face and body armor. The bikes have fewer gears and more durable parts, and the suspension has more travel. Thanks to all of this, you can conquer jumps, berms, rock gardens, and wooden ladders. You don’t have to pedal much because you’re constantly responding to the rapidly approaching terrain because you’re on a continuous descent the entire time, but you still get a good workout.
- Fat-tire: Imagine riding a bike with enormous tires that can easily roll through any obstacle. That’s the kind of bike you always wanted as a child. Bikes with tires at least 3.7 inches wide are known as fat-tire bikes. wide (and may be as wide as 5 in. or more). They provide exceptional traction in both sand and snow. The popularity of fat-tire biking, which has proven to be a fast-growing addition to all-season trail riding, is not restricted to these conditions. Because they are so forgiving on rough terrain, fat-tire bikes can be a fantastic option for beginning mountain bikers.
Choosing the Right Wheel Sizes
- 26 inches: Not too long ago, all mountain bikes had 26-inch wheels. Despite the fact that it is still a preferred wheel size for mountain bikes because of its responsiveness and maneuverability, you are now more likely to be asked, “26 in., 27.5 in., or 29 in.? “
- 27.5 inches: This size is offering a compromise between standard 26 in. These bikes combine wheels and 29ers to achieve the “best of both worlds,” rolling over terrain more easily than 26s but being more maneuverable than 29ers. This wheel size, like 29ers, is common on both full-suspension and hardtail rigs.
- 29ers: Bikes with 29-inch wheels when compared to a bike with standard 26-inch wheels, the terrain you can traverse is much easier with heavier, typically slower-accelerating wheels. They typically have a higher “attack angle,” which makes the wheel roll over trail obstacles more easily. They also typically provide excellent grip. For the cross-country crowd, these bikes have grown incredibly popular. Hardtail and full-suspension rigs are both common for 29ers.
- 24 inches: Mountain bikes for children typically have 24 in. wheels to accommodate children’s shorter legs. The majority are more affordable, simpler versions of adult bikes. These are suitable for children between the ages of 10 and 13, but size is more important than age in this case. Children who are younger or smaller can begin biking with 20-inch wheels.
Mountain biking is an excellent sport, but you need to be in good physical shape to participate. Before setting out on a mountain bike adventure, it is a good idea to have a thorough physical examination. We don’t mean that you should be a certain weight or height to be in good physical condition. However, you must be physically fit and free from conditions like asthma.
Mountain bike excursions are available in many locations across the United States and Canada. Using the clever internet search engines, you can look for mountain biking adventures in your own neighborhood or in unique destinations where you can travel. On your mountain bike, it’s simple to find your favorite spot for adventure and fun when you want to take in the great outdoors.