Mountain Biking: What To Keep In Mind

mountain biking tips and techniques

Learning how to bike is the first step and knowing how to control the bike is another, but when it comes to riding on terrains, that’s a whole different thing to master.

Your bike can become unstable and you will eventually fall of. That is the last thing you want to happen especially when you are outdoors.

In this post, you will find the best tips and tricks on how you can conquer terrains and become the best bike rider you can be.

Is Your Bike Full Suspension or Hardtail?

When the bike you have is in full suspension, it means that there is front and rear suspension that will easily absorb lumps, bumps and other obstacles on the trail for a very smooth ride. If the bike has no suspension on the rear, it is a hardtail bike.

It is possible to add suspension forks at the front, but the rear post will continue to be rigid. There are a lot of bikes available that fall under both categories, but there are considerations you need to make before proceeding with the purchase.

  • Think about the budget you have. If your budget is under 1000 dollars, check out our list here.
  • What kind of riding are you going to use the bike for.
  • The type of terrain and the angle of decent you are going to ride.

Conclusively, hardtail bikes don’t need as much maintenance and they are better for riding uphill and sprinting towards the finish line. While full suspension bikes will give you more comfort and control on rugged paths. Full suspension also tends to be more expensive compared to hardtail bikes.

Choosing between a full suspension or hardtail bike can take a lot of thought, but those who are only starting to ride might go for the hardtail bike with a front lockable suspension and slowly progress so that they already know what they prefer.

  • A full suspension gives you more choices for adjustment when you are riding on terrains because riding uphill involves more energy.
  • Weight also matters with suspension. You might also have to repair more moving parts in case something goes wrong.
  • Another good point is that you can also have a full suspension lock out so you get the same feeling as if you were riding a hardtail bike.
  • Making a hardtail bike feel like a full suspension bike can be very difficult, but it is possible.

How To Conquer Uphill With Your Mountain Bike

In order to successfully bike uphill, traction is the most important thing which can be difficult to do on loose rocks, mud and other things that can be found in mountain bike trails. What you must really master is when the wheels are spinning and slipping while you move uphill or when the front end starts to lift.

In order to do it correctly, remember that you have to distribute your weight evenly, but at the same time giving power to the necessary areas of the bike. It means you have to pedal and stay in the right gear while doing this.

mountain biking tips and techniques
  • You first have to slightly move your weight to the back of the seat and your upper body leaning forward. Knowing how far back you can move your weight and how much of your upper body should be leaning forward takes a bit of practice because you need to conquer steep hills this way as well.
  • Your elbows should be dropped close to the sides of your body and as you become better at this, you can shift your weight slightly forward that will also you lift the front wheel.
  • Keep your head up to see what’s coming ahead and decide what you are going to do. Sometimes changing the direction of your bike can cause more imbalance rather than riding over an obstacle. If you think that you will not be able to ride over it, you need to plan on how you will be able to ride around it.
  • The right gear when nearing an uphill is not the lowest one because you should choose a gear that is enough for you to be able to climb uphill. The motion of your pedal should be in the right rhythm and stay in constant motion.

How To Ride Downhill With Your Mountain Bike

Riding downhill is one of the most exciting, refreshing, and exhilarating things you can experience with your mountain bike. At the same time, it is also dangerous and accidents do happen if you fail to properly do the necessary steps.

Before you go on this adventure, know the proper way to do it so you won’t be one of the unlucky people who fell down from their bike. Make sure that you have helmet, torso protection, knee pads, and elbow pads on. You should also check your brakes and make sure they are in full working condition.

  • Your weight should be placed on the bikes rear and stay as far back as you can, but do not forget about the front end because you need to stay in control of it.
  • You must stay low and your front body should be really close to the bike. When encountering steep sections of the trail, your body needs to be touching the saddle and your elbows should be a little bent.
  • Your arms and legs should remain flexible and relaxed, unless you are coming to a sharp tight corner, keep your feet’s position should be in a platform position. This is because it would be easier for you to jump off from the bike in case something is about to wrong when your feet are in this position.
  • If you need to press the brakes, make sure that you do it evenly. Some people only use the back brakes to avoid being thrown over by the bike, but if you do it evenly, there is nothing to worry about. Overusing one of the brakes could also lead to overheating and failing.
  • Once you have chosen a line that is 15 to 20 feet ahead, do not change it. The direction you have chosen and the control you have on the brakes helps while you are descending as well.

How To Ride Switchbacks Using Your Mountain Bike

Even the best riders find doing this really tricky and trails that are steep, and tight that take you up and down the mountain indicates that you will encounter switchbacks along the way. You cannot skid around them because there is a tendency that you are going to lose control and eventually fall off. If you do not know how to do it the right way, then you must learn and slow down first.

  • Keep in mind that you should stay on the trail’s uphill side as you approach a switchback so that you will have more room to avoid anything dangerous that will come your way.
  • Your weight needs to be at the rear of the wheel and the outside pedal should be in a forward position because this will let you move around more and be flexible.
  • Once you have picked a line and you need to approach a corner, make sure that you have placed your weight on the outside pedal and little bit back on the saddle. The wheel should be placed outside the corner and the lean your upper body on the opposite direction until you are already deep into the middle. Release the brakes a bit and allow the bike to roll under you. Keep sight of the direction towards where you wish to go and do not look at the drop off. Once you are already pass the tightest point of the corner inside and coming to the outside point of the corner, completely let go of the brakes and continue riding.
  • There a riders who prefer to do it with one foot on top of another and find switchbacks that are located on the right side and left foot needs to be forward. This is easier than finding switchbacks that are on the left side and right foot needs to be forward.

Follow the tips that have been mentioned and make sure that before you ride outdoors, you have understood everything that’s written here to avoid accidents. First time riders are prone to falling off the bike when they don’t do it correctly or neglect to remember the important points.

About the author


Hey there, I'm Lisa, founder and editor in chief here at Recreation Space. We found fitness through recreational activities. And we want to share it with you. We believe in empowering people with knowledge to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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