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5 basic mountain bike riding tips

Now that you’ve nailed cycling, you’re keen to expand your horizons and check out mountain bike riding. After all, it is super fun, you get to go up big hills and whiz down them at fast speeds. However, to avoid stacking it on the mountain, we’ve put together some tips which will mean you’ll be a pro in no time.


When flying downhill, braking is clearly important.

Your front wheel is carrying most of the weight. Using the front brake will help you keep in control, but don’t overdo it or else you’ll end up over the handlebars. You’ll need to shift your weight back to the rear wheel, which will increase the rear braking power. This will then balance out the brakes more and avoid you stacking.


Remain seated: this may seem like a weird tip if you’re used to cycling on road. But when you’re mountain biking, this will help when climbing steep hills. Staying seated will give you the maximum traction, keeps your heart rate lower and keeps you balanced.

Have the right position: to avoid the front wheel suddenly coming up, make sure to lean forward over the handlebars. This will add weight to the front wheel.


Don’t lose control: in mountain bike riding you’re constantly changing direction. Make sure to keep your knees and feet pointing in the direction you want to go, and the bike will follow. It’s all about direction rather than steering.

Stand up: you’ll be going over bumpy rugged terrain, so it’s best to stand up on your pedals. This will mean your knees and legs will absorb the rocky trail. You’ll also be making the front of the bike lighter.

Pick the right trail: Especially for a beginner, picking the right part of the trail to ride on is vital. Notice where the rocks are and try and ride on the smoothest part of the trail.


Ok, so you don’t aim to fall off your mountain bike. But chances are it will happen at some point. When it does, it’s best to know how to fall off to avoid injury.

Make sure to try and keep your hands and arms in if possible. When we fall, often we instinctively put our hands out to block that fall.  This could cause a broken wrist in some situations. Try to keep your body tucked into the bike instead while going down We realise there are all types of situations and this isn’t perfect for every situation, but often it will help you.

After a fall, and you make sure you’re not injured, also check your bike. Something might have twisted out of place or brakes and gears might have changed. Readjust them if needed before you ride on.


It sounds obvious, but make sure you look at where you want to go. If you focus on that rock you’re wanting to avoid, you’ll probably end up there.

Counter steer. This involves leaning into the corner and bringing the bike to the outside of the turn. This will allow to you have more speed and have a smoother ride.
Do NOT brake during the turn. Control your speed and brake before coming to the corner.
Now you’ve made it into the corner, it’s all about your position. Make sure your weight is toward the front of the bike, with elbows bent and chest towards the handlebars. Keep your body low. This way you’ll be able to turn sharper.

Got some other mountain bike tips you think we should know about? Head to our Facebook page and let us know.


Last updated: 12th January 2017

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