We often get asked how to go faster on your mountain bike, check out our top 10 tips tips to get you smokin’ down the trail.
With practice, these tips will help you ride with more confidence, momentum, efficiency and control.
1. Keep your weight centered on the bike.
If the bicycle were removed from you while riding, you should fall flat on your feet (not your bum or face). Too far forward and you’ll be inclined to launch over the handle bars. Too far back and your front brake won’t be as effective as it should be.
2. Keep your body loose on the bike.
Arms and legs should be slightly bent and never fully extended. If you can’t wiggle your fingers, you’re holding on too tight – relax. One finger on the brakes – with today’s hydraulic disc brakes that’s really all you need. This allows you to keep a good handle on the grips.
3. Let your bike do the work, trust your bike.
Fighting your bike will make riding long, tiring and usually more bumpy that it needs to be. Let your bike flow, down the trail, into and around turns.
4. Speed and momentum are your friends.
If you come to a technical section, having some speed helps tremendously. If you are picking your way over and around every rock you are going to loose you momentum which will require more power to get your speed back up when the trail improves.
5. When in doubt, go straight.
Don’t waste a bunch of time and momentum trying to pick that perfect line every time. Focus on flow and keeping the bike moving.
6. Lower your tire pressure.
Keep your tire pressure around 25lbs, slightly more in your rear tire. Too much tire pressure is going to cause you to bounce all over the trail. Modern tires can handle the lower pressure (tubeless setup is recommend to eliminate the possibility of pinch flats).
7. Ride like a butterfly – float down the trail.
Push down into areas where you need traction (bermmed corners, etc.) and lift up in areas that are rough.
8. Keep your head up.
It’s OK to glance down at an obstacle or feature on the trail, but don’t fixate on it! Once you’ve identified your line, head back up and look down the trail.
9. Rail the corners.
As you turn, centrifugal force wants to throw you off your bike into the bushes (or cactus’s / poison oak) on the outside of the corner. So when you whip around a corner fast, you’ll want lean into it. But because your speed and the radius of the turn are rarely in sync, you need to lean your bike and your body at different angles. Generally, this means leaning your bike into the turn and keeping your body slightly more upright.
10. Brake before the turns.
Keep your momentum – brake BEFORE the turn, not in the turn. Already have your speed set prior to entering the turn and flow out the other side of it. If you brake in the turn, your bike will want to stand up, your traction will diminish and worst of all, you’ll have to power up again coming out of the turn.