A Beginners’ Guide to Purchase and Handle a Mountain Bike

Mountain biking is a fantastic way to get some exercise and feel more connected to nature. As mountain bikes have different characteristics than road bikes, their riding style and techniques are also unique. The surfaces of mountain bike trails may be made of roots, ruts, rocks, sand, or mud.

Although the unpredictable landscape and potential obstacles add to the pleasure, you might find them unnerving as a beginner. It might become easier for you if you know the basics described below.

Purchase a Suitable Mountain Bike

Before you ride, you must buy a suitable mountain bike for you. The more suitable bike you can purchase, the more comfortable and satisfying ride you can experience. So, while buying your first mountain bike, make sure to go through the following steps:

  • Hardtail or Full-Suss: Getting one with full suspension can cost more money as it has a complex rear shock, linkage, bearings, and manufacturing process. A hardtail will have better parts than a full-suss at the same price—less upkeep and problems.

It’s a misconception that you must ‘learn’ on a hardtail before obtaining a “large bike.” but, as full-suss bikes are more developed than ever, their benefits may outweigh their drawbacks. It’s a matter of preference.

  • Frame Size: Choosing the appropriate frame size is the first thing on the list. But remember not to rely on the claimed size as the large size of one brand can match the medium of another. Make sure to purchase the bike that is suitable for you.
  • Wheel Size: There are now only two diameter options: 27.5 inches (650b, tough trail, and downhill) and 29 inches (XC and trail). Plus sizes with wide rims and the emerging preference for 29-inch downhill wheels complicate matters.
  • Checking Feedback: Check out the feedback that other riders have given the forks and shocks (if the bike has complete suspension) on it, and utilize the manufacturer’s website to find the specific models.

Don’t forget to carefully check the existing and standard axle sizes and spacing, as well as the diameters of the bottom bracket, headset, and even the seat post, to have a futureproof design.

Once you have your mountain bike, it’s time to know its handling basics. Go through the writing below to ensure you have a good start.

1.               Adjust Seat Position

By putting your seat in the right place, you can place your entire body in the proper position for climbing and descending.

For climbing, adjust your seat so you can pedal as efficiently as possible. When your foot is at the bottom of the pedal, your leg should be slightly bent, about 80–90% of the way to its entire length.

When it’s time to go downhill, drop your seat approximately 2 to 3 inches from where you set it for ascending hills. When you lower your seat, your center of gravity moves down, giving you greater control and thus more confidence on steep descents.

2.               Maintain Right Body Position

The two main body positions you will have to cope with are:

Neutral Position

You might like to be in a neutral posture on the cycle when riding less challenging parts of the route. This allows you to obtain the ready position on rugged terrain easily and keeps you moving swiftly and comfortably.

When in neutral position, you need to maintain a little bend in the elbows and knees. Your index fingers will be on the brake levers for the whole time. If it is a rim brake, you might need two fingers.

Ready Position

It’s time to adopt the ready position when the terrain becomes more rocky or steep. Adopting the ready position will make you physically and emotionally ready to tackle tough trail sections.

Level pedals will be evenly weighted. You will have a deep bend in elbows and knees, ensuring the rear end of your seat with hips shifted back. Keep your back flat, almost parallel to the surface. Your index fingers will be on the brake levers.

3.               Know the Trails

The paths designed specifically for mountain cycling are frequently maintained and labeled according to skill level (beginning, intermediate, advanced, and double professional).

The most popular trail type, singletrack, ranges in width from barely wider compared to your shoulders to barely broad enough so that two bikes may pass. Doubletrack trails typically have two times (or more) the width of a conventional singletrack route, allowing for side-by-side riding for two bikes. In contrast to singletrack, doubletrack trails often have a softer grade and fewer complex characteristics.

You will notice mountain bike terrain parks everywhere, from lift-serviced trails at ski resorts to jump-and-pump routes under urban overpasses.

4.               Pick a Line

Beginners often mistake looking at places they need to avoid instead of where they should go. Choose a route and stay on it to get around and over hard parts of the trail.

What should you watch out for? That will depend on how good you are. Search for loose rocks, water, logs, deep sand, wet roots, and animals. A log that stops one cyclist might be fun for another to hop over.

5.               Hike the Bike

You will eventually encounter a tight situation while riding the terrain. Avoid “fighting the bike” if you get stuck in a rut on the route. Try your best to endure it. If it seems impossible, remember that stopping and walking away is not a sin. Walking is unquestionably acceptable when mountain riding. Many paths include required hike-a-bike segments that are too challenging to navigate on a bike, either up or down.

Final Words

Mountain biking is a physical activity that you may enjoy in a variety of settings. You need not even be near mountains to participate. Some trails range from easy rides on wide, sweeping logging tracks to high-adrenaline adventures on technical singletrack. Following the basics mentioned above, you can start your bike riding journey most smoothly. Go steady and begin with the primary methods of mountain biking and enjoy your new experience.


Best of luck!