Everything you need to know about Mountain biking...
“The awesome new sport you never knew was there”
Escape from your stressful working week with the perfect getaway activity. If you give mountain biking a go, you will seriously never look back and wonder why you never tried it earlier.
Try something new, see how far you can push yourself, get out in the beautiful natural environment and to get your fitness booming! So, buy yourself a second hand mountain bike and get going!
What is mountain biking?
Mountain biking or MTB to those who do it, is the perfect mix of fitness, fun and nature.
Mountain biking is simply going over all sorts of terrain of varying difficulty and skill level.
You are in for a surprise if you think it is just going to be a “bike ride” in the normal sense though. You can expect jumps, burns, pumping and plenty more. Don’t be put off with the jumping bit, every official MTB trail is colour coded in line with the difficulty and skill level required for that route. You will find jumps on most trails but these are ‘rollable’ and gives you an option to just ride smoothly over them or around them.
How do I get into mountain biking?
You can buy a second hand bike from Ebay or gumtree. Do yourself justice and invest a little, nothing extravagant but you need a good solid bike that you can learn and progress on. I spent £600 on a Lapierre Zesty which lasted me years whilst I learnt the bare basics.
Just get out there and practice in your local trail centre or bike park. Watch others and ride the green and blue trails and before long you will progress.
I found that watching YouTube channels really helped me as well. I have listed some of the best channels further on in this post…
Types of mountain biking
There are a number of different types of mountain biking. The bike you ride will be different for each one.
Get yourself started with your first mountain bike.
What bike should I get?...
If you are a beginner, before you decide which type of MTB you will end up riding it is best to get an all-round mountain bike that you can learn the basics on. Preferably a hard tail. This is to aid your progression and not let the quality of the bike hide your early mistakes. If you are a beginner-Intermediate / Intermediate, it may be a good time to think which way you want to go before you get your next bike. Do you want to ride more downhill? Ride XC? Enduro..?
These mountain bikes have been personally ridden by our team so we van vouch for these. Of course there are a lot of contributing factors that make up the right bike for you.
Beginner - mid term
Lapierre Zesty (hard tail).
Norco (hard tail).
Trek Remedy 8
Where can I ride?
The fantastic thing about Mountain biking is that you have devoted centres where you can ride without a worry in a world. At these mountain bike centres you have colour coded trails and all the facilities you need.
Recommended trails & bike parks...
There are some serious trail centres, bike parks and trails dotted all over the UK. From humble beginnings of the very first dedicated mountain bike trail in Wales in 1995 to literally thousands now, you have a lot to choose from.
Scotland and Wales are seen as the Mecca of bike trails with Englands trails almost a full colour code looser (e.g. a Scotland red is an England black).
Coed y brenin
Coed Llandegla Forest
Bike Park Wales
Windhill Bike Park
Forest of Dean
Trails colour code
The trails are rated in difficulty so you know where you stand when riding. This doesn’t just help you out but also other riders. Ride at your ability level so you and others are safe as possible.
Green – Easy
Beginner cyclists and families, riding bikes with child seats or trailers, touring bikes, bikes for those with disabilities.
Blue – Moderate
Cyclists with some experience of on-or off-road cycling and reasonably fit families, riding mountain bikes, hybrids or robust touring bikes.
Red – Difficult
Experienced mountain bikers riding mountain bikes.
Black – Severe
Expert mountain bikers.
Orange – Severe Technical
Riders aspiring to an elite level of technical ability, incorporates everything from full-on downhill riding to big-air jumps.
It is important that you maintain your bike for a number of reasons. The checks and maintenance you carry out will ensure your bike is safe, clean, rides as spec and reduces ware and tare, in turn saving you money on repair, parts or even a new bike!
If you regularly check, maintain & clean your bike it will also give you confidence that your bike is ready to ride with no worries or qualms.
Keep it simple. Check your tyres and brakes every time you are about to ride. Get a feel for the general ride of the bike, ride it around a little before you properly start to see if the chain is working and there are no issues.
Lube up your chain and mess but make sure you don’t get any on your brakes.
Periodically check that your components are tightly fitted and that nothing has come loose.
Cleaning your bike
A good rule of thumb is to wash down your bike EVERY time you are out in the wet. When you are out in the dry it is a good rule of thumb to wash down the bike every 2/3 rides or so.
Here are the essential things you need to maintain your bike. It pays to invest in the best stuff as yo will repay it back in bucket loads with the amount of fun you will have.
Tools & toolbox - TBC
The tool box that we use is currently out of stock but there are so many others out there. Check out Amazon to find your tool box…
Pump - TBC
Best Mountain Biking YouTube Channels...
To get a good taster of all things mountain biking these channels give you everything you need. There of course many others that we like too, but these four are no doubt the best.
The holy grail of MTB channels. Global Mountain Bike Network is the best MTB YouTube channel, with videos for everyone who loves dirt: from the full-faced helmet downhill mountain biker to the lycra-clad cross country rider along with everyone and anyone in between.
With the help of a great bunch of pro and ex pro riding team they are super helpful and equally entertaining.
A professional Freeride Mountain biker and former FMB world champion(2013).
Huge variety of videos, from downhill biking to slower paced trials riding to ‘how to’ videos to bike trails riding.
Sam’s variety, character and clear instructions give you everything you need. With well over 1M subscribers Sams channel is booming!
The world’s most famous MTB siblings share their experiences on the trails.
Gee, Dan and Rachel Atherton are all Pro riders. Gee and Rachel have been riding competitively at world champ level for a number of years and are seen as the best in their field. Rachel is NO.1 in the world. As for Dan he has raced worlds too, an awesome rider who after having a nasty accident a few years back has taken a back seat a tad and is focusing more on building trails. With Dyfi trails opening up last year which is near their racing HQ in Wales.
Red Bull Bike
What you get with Red Bull is a flavour for everything extreme. Red Bull are the sponsors and modern day broadcaster of all things MTB.
Weekly updates from the world of UCI MTB World Cup, Downhill and Cross Country, get your dose of BMX videos, cyclocross, bike hacks, tips, news and more! Connect with elite riders from MTB Downhill, MTB Slopestyle, BMX, trials and everything in between. Check out our weekly series every Friday and LIVE streams in the weekends, from Red Bull Rampage to Crankworx and more
Who are the best UK Mountain bikers?
A two-time downhill world champion, multiple World Cup winner, a Red Bull Rampage podium finisher and one of the greatest MTB riders of his generation.
After his incredible performance at the wet and wild 2011 World Championships in Champery, Danny Hart had already cemented his name in downhill history but the British rider has continued to secure top results.
With a record number of overall World Cup crowns, multiple World Champs titles and the only perfect season in MTB history to her name, Rachel Atherton is, quite simply, the queen of downhill racing.
Tahnée Seagrave became one of downhill’s most exciting talents back in 2013. Not only did she win the Junior World Champs, but she also started making waves in the elite category, finishing the season in the top 10 at just 18 years old.
Go out there and ride! The main thing is you are riding your bike. Don’t feel conscious that you may be a beginner. The beauty of mountain biking is that the MTB community all look after one another and respect all capabilities. Besides we all have been a beginner at some stage so appreciate where you are coming from. There is no judgement like other sports.
Look after yourself and others and have lots of fun! Safe riding!