Mountain Biking Starter Kit Tips

What got you interested in mountain biking? Over the past three years, numerous cycling trends have arisen, including fat bikes, bike packing, and a surge in the popularity of 29er bikes, which has led to elevated interest in the sport. No matter where you’re beginning from, we can guide you through the opening steps of mountain biking.

The benefits are extensive. Spending time in nature can invigorate one’s mental health and enhance physical strength, making it an ideal excursion for groups. However, it can be difficult to get started. Bicycling has a special set of customs, and a particular language, and necessitates specific gear.

Buying a bike

The simplest answer is Invest in the most expensive bicycle you can afford. Think about which way you would like to go and who you want to accompany you. This creates difficulty because mountain biking is so specialized, it is quite common for riders to have multiple bikes for various types of riding.

One can find amazing bargains when purchasing a pre-owned bicycle, and it’s likely to score a solid bike at an affordable rate.

You need to be watchful of the state of the bike and its components. Doing business with unknown individuals can be dangerous, and the bicycle and its components will not be protected by the original manufacturer’s guarantee.

The alternative would be to get a new bicycle. If you need assistance in the process, a bike shop can give you personalized advice.

Besides places where you can purchase bicycles in person, there are plenty of internet stores and companies that specialize in selling directly to customers. The advantages and disadvantages of both options must be taken into account, yet nothing beats the expertise and expert customer service that a bicycle store can provide.

If you’re unsure which beginner mountain bike is the most suitable, our guide to where to purchase a mountain bike may be of help, since it provides more specific information on all the buying selections and top places to purchase from.

It is advised that newcomers to the sport begin with a hardtail mountain bike. One advantage of choosing less expensive bikes is that you can use them for several years to refine your skills and passion for the sport before buying a fancier bike in the future. Hardtails are also simpler, making them easier to maintain.

Finally, a hardtail bike can be beneficial when trying to perfect the basics of riding, since there isn’t a rear suspension to hide any incorrect technique. So, it is an excellent choice to help you become an expert before getting a more advanced, full-suspension bike.

If you have the financial resources and the desire, it would be equally acceptable to buy a full-suspension bike. And, surprisingly, some of the more affordable full-suspension bikes offer good value these days.

For further information concerning the various MTB classes, please have a look at our guide discussing the various sorts of mountain bikes.

Clipless pedals

It is an absolute necessity for serious road cyclists to use clipless pedals, which are often referred to as clip-ins. When using a mountain bike, using gears is not always the preferable choice.

Long-distance enduro and cyclocross riders will probably prefer clipless. Mountain bikers who focus on downhill, fat tyre and general trail riding might feel more comfortable with regular tennis shoes and flat pedals.

When travelling across unfamiliar ground, even experienced cyclists may choose to use flat pedals because of the options and freedom of movement they provide. An earlier article, Mountain Bike Pedals 101, detailed the disparities and supplied a buyer’s manual for pedals.

The right clothes

You don’t need to wear skin-tight shorts. In contrast to road cycling, there is a vast selection of bike shorts and clothing for mountain biking.

Mountain bike shorts usually appear more understated than the road, equipped with relaxed styles, pockets, and other components that transform them into ordinary leisure clothes. The Clymb emphasizes the importance of fit, even if the fabric of the clothing item is stretchy, like spandex.

In our article, Mountain Bike Shorts 101, we have gone over 10 of the top mountain bike shorts to support you in making your acquisition.

In addition to shorts, ANSI-approved helmets, impact-resistant sunglasses and fingerless gloves are all items that should be part of a baseline clothing ensemble. These are essential safety items for all MTB riders. Keep comfort in mind, too. The safest gear is the gear you’ll actually wear.

Weather and specialization will influence your clothing needs. Mpora, a site for outdoor recreation, provides a useful organization of information divided by categories, temperature levels, and weather conditions.

Gear to buy

You’ll need more than the clothes on your back. REI, a retail store, offers a detailed list of virtually everything a cyclist would require, including emergency kits and adhesive tape.

You don’t need to worry about getting all of the specialized tools on this list for the first few trips that you take. Focus on core gear, clothing and personal items. After that, evaluate the remaining items considering your risk tolerance and level of comfort.

The most important safety item is a helmet. Wearing a helmet does not take too much money, and the advantages far surpass the financial price.

Many of the top-rated mountain bike helmets come with rotational safety features similar to MIPS, which are engineered to safeguard your mind from rotational forces rather than merely impacts.

The next significant piece of equipment to possess is a set of mountain bike shorts with padding. This will make your rides much more comfortable.

You have the option to purchase mountain bike shorts with a built-in ‘chamois’ padded inner or you may buy a baggy pair of shorts and bib shorts individually. It is not advisable to make the classic beginner’s mistake of putting on cycling shorts without foregoing underwear.

A top made from performance fabric is essential. Cotton T-shirts do not provide much warmth and protection when temperatures drop and precipitation is present. Bike jerseys designed specifically for mountain biking can effectively draw away sweat from the body and allow for a cool sensation.

Many riders find it surprising how much more effective mountain bike-specific footwear is compared to the traditional trainer. Rubber that grips well, soles that are more rigid and a more substantial foot cover combine to give a much more reassuring cycling experience.

Probably, you do not need to bring a fix-it kit if you are going mountain biking in a nearby recreation area. Be ready to take your bike back to the lot if any unforeseen problem occurs.

Where to buy

Anywhere it’s legal. The number of trails available is increasing rapidly, and most bicyclists can locate a route close to their residences.

Total: Women’s Cycling recommends that trails should be identified via the use of colour codes indicating the difficulty of the path. The trails are graded from easiest to hardest, with green being the least difficult, then blue, followed by red, and black being the most difficult.

Go in the opposite direction and do not bike in places where you are not permitted or where mountain biking is not encouraged. Think about good stewardship when you ride. The popularity of mountain biking is on the rise, so it’s essential for the long-term success of the sport that park officials are supportive and it remains sustainable.

When riding on official mountain bike trails, prioritize taking care of the environment, especially regarding single-track or other trails specifically crafted for mountain biking. Breaking an existing path into smaller paths is known as braiding, and it should be strongly dissuaded.

If you find a trail to be too difficult or hard for you to navigate with your bike, get off and walk it around any hurdles. Do not attempt to make a new path using your bicycle.

Be certain the path gives you the authorization to biking on it in your expected riding environment; many single trails are closed off when it rains and gets muddy to protect their proper functioning and prevent erosion.

Biking skills

You must possess the ability to ascend, steer clear of obstacles, and change direction.

Breathing is key. It’s the first of nine tips according to Singletracks. A few of their other strategies consist of concentrating on the psychological aspects, keeping yourself upright in the saddle and keeping up a good speed and rhythm.

If you have difficulty with uphill riding, the previous two statements could come across as offensive as you are attempting to accomplish the same objective.

No need to worry if you are struggling to continue pedalling, you can just hop off and push your bike for a short distance. As you take more rides, your strength will increase and the ascents will become less challenging.

Let’s start with pedalling. It is more advantageous to turn the pedals lightly rather than make an effort to drive a large gear at a slow speed. Focus on pedalling smoothly at a quick cadence. It may seem awkward since your muscles are not accustomed to this kind of activity, but you’ll become accustomed to it over time.

The transmission should be changed when the pedals are turning with minimal effort. Mashing the pedals too aggressively can lead to a broken chain or damage to the drivetrain components.

Train yourself to recognize places along your path where you can adjust your gears to become less challenging or more difficult based on the varying landscape.

When the path takes you downward, you’ll want to be in an aggressive posture. Keep your chin up, gazing ahead as far down the trail as you can see.

You should be in an upright posture, neither leaning too far ahead nor back. Your limbs should be relaxed to cushion any shocks.

Cornering is one of the hardest skills to master. It is essential to slow down before reaching the bend rather than in the middle of it. This could come off as alarming, however applying the brakes hard during a turn is a surefire method to skid out and have an accident.

Gaining proficiency at manoeuvring your bicycle and body through a bend is an essential skill to acquire. You want the tires to sink into the dirt and gain stability. Lean your bicycle sideways in the direction of the turn you are making.

Apply pressure with your body weight to the foot closest to the outside edge of the corner. Remember to tilt your bike, not your body. Your head, eyes, and hips should all be directed toward the end of the turn.


You should shift gears often before you need them. Change to using the small ring on the front of the bike for ascents, then switch to the larger ring with a lower gear on the back of the bike for going downhill. Before you shift, power stroke once. Then, ease off on the pressure as you move in preparation for another turn.

Try to keep the cadence fairly high. If your cadence is slow, it’s likely a sign that there is too much pressure placed on your chain to allow it to shift easily. You may require a fresh chain or deep cleaning and lubricating if you have the correct technique and your motorcycle still has trouble shifting.

In actuality, fewer gears have practical utility than one may presume. You don’t have a total of 20 separate gears if you have two rings in the front and a 10-speed cog in the back. You should try to steer away from significant discrepancies in changing, and there is a bit of overlap.

If you’re operating the lesser front chainrings, you should remain in the upper section of the back cog. When utilizing the larger chain rings in the front, it is ideal to be in a lower position on the rear cog.

Employing the largest ring along with the largest cogs or the smallest ring together with the littlest cogs can lead to cross-chaining, which may lead to the locking up of the wheel and bring your ride to an abrupt halt.

Maintaining a bike

Maintaining a bike correctly involves numerous steps. The first is cleaning. Global Cycling Network has a collection of instructional videos for road bikes which provide simple instructions and will help you sort out your cycling machine.

Mountain bikes have special components, including suspension and disc brakes, that will require different procedures. Consult the proprietor’s guidebook or inquire about your local bike shop to find out more.

Changing flat

It might look intimidating, yet it becomes easier with practice. Begin by viewing some YouTube clips demonstrating the process.

There are other types of tyres, tubes and systems. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from your bike seller if you own a unique system. Most shops offer some sort of puncture repair clinic. Search for advocacy or biking organizations in your vicinity if you cannot find what you are looking for.

Exploring new trails

Exploring unfamiliar paths while mountain biking is one of the most enjoyable features. TrailForks is considered one of the most thorough, and best, apps or websites to find trail maps.

The app indicates the complexity of the trails and uses GPS to show users their location in correlation to the trail. It is a straightforward method of ascertaining one’s location and preventing getting lost.

One more way to make learning easier and improve yourself is to go riding with other people, so you know where to ride and enhance your techniques.

Bicycle stores and nearby mountain biking associations may arrange rides or other activities – it is regularly conceivable to discover neighbourhood biking associations on social media platforms. These are fantastic methods to come across other mountain bike riders who could become your new cycling companions.

Now get out there and ride

Here are some tips for joining the field of mountain biking, but of course, the best approach is to just get out on the trails and start riding. Go for as many rides as you can and you will rapidly improve.

Never forget the exhilaration of making it to the peak of a climb without pausing, or when you first conquered a difficult descent. See you out on the trails!


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