The Not So Obvious Tips that Every Beginner Mountain Biker Needs to Know
To be a successful mountain biker, it’s not enough to just have a fancy bike and a good set of Michelin mountain bike tyres. Carrying speed through technical sections, climbing steep hills, and navigating roots and rocks are part of almost every off-road ride. So to help you tackle the turns without ending up over the handlebars, you must also possess a certain degree of technical riding ability.
The below tips aim to help you to improve your mountain biking skills, whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned professional.
Brush up on basic repairs
Because of the rugged nature of most terrains, damage to your bike tends to happen more when you’re riding off road than they do on the road. Tubeless tyre technology (like our CushCore Tyre Suspension System) has helped minimise, but not eliminate flats, however other issues can arise.
So brush up on some basic repairs to be sure you can still carry on with your ride, even when something breaks. At a minimum, you should know how to fix a broken chain, replace a bent or cracked derailleur and repair a puncture – There are plenty of online tutorials that can help you get started!
Don’t forget about strength training
Mountain biking is a physical sport and requires the engagement of many more muscles than just your legs. A strong upper body and core are critical, especially as the trails become more challenging. Focus on a strong grip, arms, shoulders and trunk to make it safely through tough trails. If you want to be a serious rider, you may want to complete separate workouts targeting these areas off the bike too.
Keep a good riding form
One of the most important aspects of riding you can learn is how to keep a good form. This will not only stop you from falling off as much, but it’ll help you conquer the most challenging routes.
- Stay loose – Your bike’s job is to roll over technical terrain. Your job is to let your bike do its job. That means keeping your body loose, so it can move beneath you. Hover your butt off the saddle when riding over obstacles like roots and rocks. The more technical the terrain, the more room your bike needs to move.
Maintain momentum – Momentum is your best friend out there, maintain it whenever you can. So even if it feels quite scary, speeding up is often the best thing to do when the trail gets tricky.
- Shift your weight – You’re likely to hit some extreme terrain, including steep inclines and declines. When climbing a tough pitch, shift your weight forward to keep your centre of gravity over the rear wheel to maintain traction.
- Keep your fingers on your handlebars – If you keep your fingers over the brakes (and I know it’s easy to do because we all get nervous and want to be able to slow down immediately), you’ll go over a tiny drop and flinch. When you do, you’ll end up grabbing your front brake and fly right over your handlebars – and trust us, you don’t want that! Keep your hands lightly on your handlebars to keep your position more secure.
If you can’t ride a section of trail, keep trying!
Don’t be afraid to stop and redo technical sections of your ride. Maybe it’s a steep downhill, rocky climb, or tight corner that keeps throwing you off. Analyse the section and work on line choice and trying new positions on your bike until you clear it. The only way to get better is to ride outside of your comfort zone.
You’ll also need to learn to get comfortable in the air as there are off-road rides including rock drops, ledges, jumps and other features that can take your tyres off of the ground. Start small and work your way up. Work on pulling your front tyre off the ground and carrying your speed through the landing. It’s usually not as scary as it seems!
You’re only as good as your gear…
We may be biased, but Michelin mountain bike tyres and accessories are the best – no questions asked! There’s really no point in trying other brands, as Michelin offers the widest range, for the most reasonable prices. Below we’ve listed our 2 favourite ranges, but we stock a wider variety on our website:
- Michelin DH tyres – New in early 2020, the race-inspired downhill tyres from Michelin have proven to be a new favourite. Each tyre in the range is designed with the rider in mind, to suit a range of terrains and styles. Tyres in this range include; DH22, DH34, DH34 Bike Park and DH Mud. View the full range and buy online today.
- Michelin Wild – Our team riders have been winning with Michelin Wild tyres at national and international Enduro and Downhill competitions. The Michelin Wild Enduro range has been formulated with every rider in mind, meaning the tyres are very versatile, suitable for all terrains and riding abilities. View the full range and buy online today.
Got an idea of the Michelin mountain bike tyres you’ll be needing? Our guide ‘The mountain bike accessories you’ll be needing this Winter’ will help you find the perfect accessories to match!
Buy online with FREE next day delivery
All our Michelin mountain bike tyres and accessories come with free delivery as standard, and what’s more, if you order before 2pm Monday – Thursday you should receive your tyres the following day, ready to get on your bike for the weekend. Buy online today from the UK’s leading supplier of all things Michelin off-road.
What are you waiting for? Join #TeamMichelin today!