A Need for Speed - a Mountain Bike Guide
Mountain Biking : A Guide to the 'bike'
In my previous article, we talked about why you should jump on the bandwagon and get yourself into Mountain Biking. I gave you the highlights as to why to give it a go and now it’s time to move onto what you would need to get into mountain biking.You might think it’s an expensive hobby with the cost of bikes but in reality you can pick up a pretty cheap bike which is more than capable of getting you out into the wilderness.
The Bike Game
The first thing your going to want to get is a bike you can hire these from trail centres or ride a demo day where brands showcase their latest offerings. Although the price you would pay for a two day hire is generally how much you would pay on Gumtree for an entry level bike! Buying a first bike is pretty critical a hard-tail that fits you is always a good start.
Tip - If your considering buying your first bike head to a large retailer and try a couple, look online see what you can find often a bike a year out of date is as little as half the price.
Before You Take The Plunge..
As i mentioned a demo day is a great way of testing out what bike to buy, but buying a bike is only half the battle. Heading to a coaching day or tester day is a great way to get a feel for biking with a bunch of like minded people. They hold these all over the place, most trail centres will have associated clubs or coaching centres which can provide these. If you want more of a personal touch you can get private coaches to teach the basics or a guide who can show you the routes available out of your doorstep.
Bikes for Everyone..
The more commonly used Mountain Bikes nowadays are the trail bikes. These tend to have slacker angles for confidence on the descents. This kind of bike generally has front and rear suspension and is more than capable of getting up the hills as down.
Cross Country Bikes
These are an extremely lightweight trail bike, generally with front suspension, big wheels and a focus on the climbs and flat sections. Features are targeted more towards climbing prowess and higher speeds on the flatter sections. If you want to cover a lot of ground and make fast ascents, then these bikes are what you are looking for.
All Mountain / Enduro Bikes
These bikes are used for more serious adventure mountain biking. The growth of these aggressive full suspension mountain bikes has given birth to the Enduro World Series and is currently the fastest growing discipline in mountain biking. Aside from their light weight and manoeuvrability, they also have stronger frames and more travel in their suspensions that can help you on difficult trails.
As the name would suggest, Downhill bikes are for descents only. They are designed for big jumps, rock gardens and mach 10 speeds. These bikes don’t climb but will survive a 15 foot drop. These are where the majority of trends and new tech is generated from as bikes must be built for toughness and durability against the roughest of descents.
You can tell the purpose of this bike just based on its name. These bikes are design for downhill riding. If you love doing high jumps and going downhill then I highly recommend these highly specialised mountain bikes. Although it’s a bit expensive, the materials of these bikes are the best and toughest materials for serious and a bit more dangerous type of mountain biking.
Basically, they’re the largely oversize bikes with low air pressure. Perfect for adventurous bikers because they give much more grip in sand, snow or other less solid ground. If you want to look a bit different from other bikers then you should get this! :)
E - Bikes
The electrical bicycle, also known as an e-bike or booster bike, has an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion. These bikes are already available all around the globe with different styles. The great thing about e-bikes is that if you’re tired of pedalling, you can just turn on its power and drive it like a normal motorcycle.
Safety First Kids...
Helmet - There are a vast amount of helmets available it’s always worth trying them on as no ones head is the same size! These can range from £20-250.
Gloves - Your hands are one of the first points of call to the floor if you take a tumble. They also aid grip to the bar in the wet and can protect your hands from long days in the saddle.
Body Armour - A set of knee pads and helmet is an accepted norm in the MTB world, knees are hard but as are rocks and roots! Again trying these on are key they can easily rub and cause serious discomfort always best to find a brand that fits your legs.
Hydration Pack - Water is essential in every MTB ride, if you don’t have a bottle cage a hydration pack is the answer. It’s a small rucksack which has a bladder and tube which means you can drink on the go.
Multi Tool - As much as protecting your body counts mechanical s can cause you a whole world of a pain! A small multi tool with a variety of bike related attachments can help keep your bike in good condition and help out if you get stranded on the trail.
The Modern Day Tech
There are a number of Apps that are always useful when going out on the bike. 'Strava' maps your ride and also has some handy features searching for ‘segments’ or trails. This is widely used as a training tool for the world’s best. 'Single Tracks' is similar to 'Strava' and specialises in finding trails which previous riders have mapped. An excellent tool if your starting out and wanting to find new places to ride. Take care as there are some crazy people out there who build some technical and crazy trails!