Important Mountain Biking Techniques

When mountain biking, there are certain techniques that can help you conserve energy, improve endurance and enhance safety.

Much like the basic rules of cycling, both street and mountain bikers should familiarize yourself with biking techniques that will keep you safe and healthy.

Here are some of the most helpful tips on the street or trail ahead:

Pacing

mountain bike technique; body position for mountain biking skills

Pacing yourself is crucial for long rides.

Start out slowly and gradually increase your speed as you warm up. Then, maintain a steady pace throughout the ride. This will help you avoid fatigue and maintain your energy levels.

Remember to take breaks as needed, especially if you start to feel tired. And be sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Cadence

Maintaining a high cadence (pedaling speed) is important for both efficiency and safety.

A higher cadence requires less effort and helps you avoid fatigue. It also makes it easier to control your bike, which is especially important on technical trails.

Aim for consistency and decent speed. If you find yourself pedaling slower, shift to a lower gear to make pedaling easier.

Brake Early

It takes more energy to stop and start again than it does to maintain a steady speed. So, unless you’re going downhill, try to avoid using your brakes too much.

If you do need to brake, apply pressure evenly to both brakes. This will help you slow down gradually and maintain control of your bike.

Keep Your Weight Back

mountain bike skills; mountain biker on steep descents and technical terrain

When going downhill, most of your weight should be shifted towards the rear wheel. This will help you maintain control and avoid going over the handlebars.

If you’re going uphill, shift your weight towards the front wheel for better traction.

Use Your Gears

Shifting gears can help you conserve energy. When going uphill, shift to a lower gear so you can pedal more slowly and maintain control. When going downhill, shift to a higher gear so you can go faster with less effort.

If you’re pedaling on level ground, find the gear that feels most comfortable. You shouldn’t have to strain to pedal or feel like you’re going too slow.

Use Your Brakes Wisely

If you’re going downhill, use your brakes to control your speed. If you’re going uphill, use them sparingly so you don’t overheat the pads and make them less effective.

In general, try to use your brakes as little as possible. When you do need to brake, apply them evenly so you slow down gradually.

Stand Up Occasionally

professional downhill racers bike handling skills; rear brake, front brake lever

Standing up on your pedals gives you a better view of the trail and lets you use more of your leg muscles, which can help you conserve energy.

When standing, keep your knees slightly bent and your weight balanced evenly between the bike’s pedals.

Stay Hydrated & Bring Snacks

It’s important to stay hydrated while riding, especially in hot or humid weather. Bring a water bottle or two with you, and take a drink every 15 minutes or so.

You’ll also want to have some snacks handy in case you start to feel tired or run out of energy. High-protein foods like nuts or peanut butter can help give you a boost.

Be cautious of dehydration and heat exhaustion, which can cause dizziness, nausea and fatigue. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, take a break in the shade and drink some water.