Guides

How to Start Mountain Biking

mountain bike grass field

Ever wondered how to start mountain biking?

How to start mountain biking? How to get into mountain biking? The best way is for you to buy yourself all the necessary clothing, mountain biking shoes and also protective gear. So, you have bought your beginner mountain bike and planning to go off on your first adventure!

Before you chart out a route and start off, you will first need to buy some necessary beginner mountain bike gear. It is also a good idea to learn about techniques, beginner mountain bike skills and gather some information before you set off. Especially if you are new to the world of mountain biking!

You can consider this as the ultimate mountain bike buyers guide for beginners. After all this, what do you need to start mountain biking? A fair enough question. We have covered some of the most important equipment in this article. Take a look!

mountain biking history

Mountain Biking Gear for Beginners:

Shimano Men’s Mountain/ Sports SPD Cycling Shoes

Mountain biking shoes are an especially important component of your cycling gear. These shoes generally have quite stiff soles which help to control the strain to your muscles while you cycle. This way, you will not be tempted to leave your hobby after your first long (and no doubt, hectic) trip!

These are clipless shoes, which confusingly enough, let you clip your shoes to your pedals. These can be quickly removed and re-attached. Previously, cyclists had to use toe clips. Imagine navigating your way on steep mountain paths with toes clips! That’s quite dangerous, to say the least!

This specific brand, Shimano, is Japanese and concentrates on all things sport. Shimano Men’s Mountain/Sport SPD Cycling Shoes have high traction rubber soles along with a rigid midsole. It is available in many foot shapes.

It comes with a hook-and-loop strap, with a dimension of 11 x 8 x 5 inches, weighs about 2.79 pounds, and it is available in various sizes ranging from 38 EU to 48 EU.

The midsoles are made of polyamide and are fiberglass-reinforced. Stretchable synthetic leather with mesh gives it a comfortable feel. The extra toe box helps accommodate all kinds of foot shapes without affecting the regular fit. The uniform cushioning is a boon!

With a rating of 4.2 out of 5 with 213 reviews, these shoes do not seem to be bad at all. Though most of the users are happy with the quality of the product, they seem to be having issues with the size.

As Steve pointed out “Size chart is way off!” According to Tigered22, “they have been comfortable for my shorter rides and I don’t see them becoming uncomfortable at longer distances to this point.”

Topeak Alien II 31-Function Bicycle Tool

Mountain biking is great fun! As long as you don’t end up with a puncture or some other mishap! To take of this, it is always better to have a fully functional bicycle tool kit. These can take care of most of the basic maintenance and repair issues.

If you have one of these, you can just jump on your bike and ride away without having to depend on a friend who actually owns the kit you want to borrow! This toolkit by Topeak contains 31 tools, each made from high-quality materials. It comes in a nylon bag. It is a mountain bike essential kit and it will for sure help you in your quest in how to start mountain biking.

The product has a dimension of 3.4 x 1.7 x 1.6 inches. It weighs 9.4 ounces. You will find 14g and 15g spoke wrenches, a T25 Torx wrench, two integrated tire levers, a mini pedal wrench for field repairs, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, six box wrenches (two 8, 9, and 10mm sizes), eight sizes of Allen wrenches (2 through 10mm), a stainless-steel knife, a steel wire chain hook, compartments for two chain pins, and a cast Cromoly steel chain tool in the toolkit.

This toolkit by Topeak has 4.6 rating with 1,191 reviews. Emily says “The knife is indeed VERY sharp and seems highly durable, and requires considerable manual effort to unfold.” Another customer was not very happy because “the metal piece shattered from low torque from one hand the first time.” Matt seems to be quite happy with his purchase, “I have used this tool to fix all kinds of trail-side problems with my (and my buddies’) bike.”

TETON Sports Trailrunner 2 Liter Hydration Backpack

Buying a hydration pack is not as easy as you think. The best mountain bike hydration packs are hard to find. From quantity, storage, and packing it in, you will have to consider a number of factors (phew!).

For those who are very new to this hobby, hydration system or pack is basically a bottle or body of water with a pipe through which you can get access to the water. Some of the water packs come with extra space so that you can stash your odds and ends too. Before selecting one at random, think about the quantity you are looking to take with you. There are different mechanisms in each bag.

Choose the one you like the best or the one which suits your needs the best. The fit is a very important factor because while riding, you cannot be bothered to keep an eye on your pack and also pay attention to the path. Make sure the one you buy fits snugly and does not bounce around.

Teton is a popular brand because of their practice of replacing parts along with providing tutorials. This hydration system is very light and durable. It even has some space left over for other essentials. The fit is adjustable so you can heave a sigh of relief! You can store some snacks and even your wallet or purse! You will get a choice of color.

The dimensions are 16 x 2 x 10 inches with the capacity being 2-3 liters, depending on the pack you choose. The weight can be 0.9 lbs., 2 lbs., or 2.45 lbs. depending on the size you are going to go for. The hydration system has a mesh chest and shoulder strap which provides shock protection. The back is also made of padded mesh.

The TETON Sports Trailrunner 2 Liter Hydration Backpack comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. With a rating of 3.9 out of 5 and 1,205 review, this hydration pack seems to be in demand. As Barajas rightly said, “It is nice and light, as well as sturdy.” Joe is happy that “This thing doubles as protective gear.”

Darrien says “At first, the water tasted like plastic because of the bladder. After a few uses and washes, the taste faded away”. All in all, quite good reviews.

mountain biking with backpack

Giro Revel Cycling Helmet Black Flowers Universal Adult (54-61 cm)

Do I even need to give an introduction about what is probably the finest piece of life-saving gear there is? Mountain biking is fun but does not come without its fair share of falls. A helmet is a safety gear you should, on no account, ever, ever forget or forego.

Giro, a sports gear brand, was established about 30 years ago. Since then, the company has worked hard to bring us a comfortable yet durable sports gear so that we can have a blast! Luckily, this helmet comes in many colors so you can color coordinate with your friends or with your bike! It is durable and comfortable, and also provides ventilation.

The product dimension is 14 x 11 x 6 inches. It weighs 2.4 pounds. It comes with a Roc Loc Sport fit system. There is reflective material at the rear too. There is also built-in visor which is with reinforced anchors.

This product has 556 reviews and 4.5 rating. Brandon “loves how the helmet can be easily adjusted by twisting the dial in the back to fit any almost any size head”. Spencer is a lucky guy! He says “This helmet just saved me from a big head injury!” Another user was having size issues, “Very loose, couldn’t get it to adjust right.”

How to start mountain biking?

First get yourself a mountain bike which is just right for you. If you are not comfortable with the bike or it’s not the right fit, you are going to have a miserable time. Buy yourself a helmet, some protective gear, and a toolkit. If it’s the first time, go along with friends. You can also consider joining a group or club of people who are regular biking enthusiasts.

Not only will you be able to learn a lot from their small (but important!) tips, you will also learn how to position yourself during every new turn. Be prepared to fall, get some bruises, and have loads of fun! If you are hoping to have a safe ride like the ones you go for in the city, you are wrong. Mountain biking is all about endurance, tackling new challenges, and having out of the world experiences!

Mountain biking skills:

Let us take a look at some of the mountain biking skills and techniques so that you know precisely how to start mountain biking. The first thing to do is to have a properly set up mountain bike.

Learn how each part of the bike works. If this is the first time you are going riding, then do not go alone. Get some friends or join a club of biking enthusiasts.

There are going to areas that you might not be able to master on your first try. It could a rocky region or a steep downhill path. Don’t give and keep trying. You will eventually get the hang of it. Always keep in mind that you MUST wear protective gear.

The position of the body and the proper gear can help you struggle less. Learn how to comfortably ride in all position, no matter if you are ascending or descending.

Not only this, mountain biking requires energy and stamina. Exercise regularly. These are some of the essential mountain biking skills.

Basics of mountain biking:

Let’s start with the most basic one. Wear comfortable clothes. There is no need to go out and buy expensive sports gear. Wear the ones you have that are the most comfortable and the ones in which you would not have any trouble riding a lot.

Carry some water and some energy bars along with some snacks. As a beginner, you might tire early. Do not forget your toolkit! I just cannot stress enough the importance of toolkits.

If you are just starting out, it might be a good idea to gradually build it up. Learn and get comfortable with different strategies.

Ascending, descending, going over a corner, taking a short leap, or over obstacles – learn how to navigate through them all. These are mountain biking 101 basics. There are different techniques to handle each situation. Practice them. Go slow!

A good breaking technique can save you a lot of grief. Learn when to use the back brakes and when the front brakes. Make sure you don’t lock them when going downhill. Using these tips, you can improve your skills and mountain biking can give you great experiences.

When you are just learning, always make sure you look ahead and never down. Obstacles can suddenly come which you might miss and cause you to take a toss if you are not keeping your eyes ahead.

What equipment do you need for mountain biking?

Mountain bike (need!), shoes, helmet, hydration backpack, toolkit, those are the essentials. Well, now that you have had a look at the most important things you need to buy/take for your trip, and how to start mountain biking, please get going!

Always remember, buy what fits your snugly – nothing that is too loose that it flows or so tight that it chafes! Biking will be an experience that you will never forget when you are prepared with all essentials, from protective gear to proper sportswear.

Do not forget your toolkit, or else you will have to call that annoying friend along! If you are not familiar with a product or you have any queries, ask a friend or partner before buying a product.

Learn at your pace and only go out on those trails and rides which you are comfortable with. Push yourself but make sure it is safe. Have fun and stay safe. Good luck!

forest mtb

 

Sources: Wikipedia, Boschendal, Patagonia