14 Things Every Beginner Mountain Biker Should Know

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Types of Mountain Bikes

Different mountain bikes cover specific kinds of terrain or riding styles, so the learners should consider versatility and user-friendliness as the key features.

Trail Bikes: The bikes are widely known for their admirable adaptation. They can handle various trail terrains, starting from cross-country trails to more technical descents. Generally, these have suspension travel either between 120 - 140 millimeters (mm) and are equipped with suspension systems both at the front and at the back for increased performance.

Downhill (DH) Bikes: Tailored for high-speed descents and tackling extreme terrain found in downhill racing and bike parks, DH bikes feature extensive suspension travel, often exceeding 200mm, prioritizing stability and durability at fast speeds.

Single Speed and Rigid Bikes: Embracing simplicity and robustness, these bikes forego suspension systems. Single-speed mountain bikes operate with only one gear, while rigid bikes lack both front and rear suspension, appealing to riders seeking a traditional experience or aiming to hone technical skills.

Electric Mountain Bikes: Represented by models such as the Vetanya All-terrain Long Range Electric Fat Bike Kodiak and Kodiak ST, electric mountain bikes offer a blend of efficiency and affordability. Equipped with pedal assistance, they facilitate hill climbing and long-distance rides. Their wider tires ensure superior traction and stability on loose terrains, complemented by the 1000W Upgraded Brushless Geared Hub Motor, rendering them ideal for beginners eager to explore challenging trails.

Benefits of Electric Fat Tire Bikes for Beginners

Stability: The broad tires on fat tire bikes add a lot of stability that can be useful to beginner riders who are still learning to balance themselves on the bike. Besides, the sizable surface of the tires enables you to distribute your weight in as much uniformity as possible to help you to prevent from tipping over or even falling off.

Comfort: This is because wider tires smooth the road better. The thicker rubber in these types of tires provides a greater ability to absorb bumps and shocks than do thinner tires which can certainly add up to reduced fatigue during long rides.

Versatility: Electrically assisted bicycles with fat tires can be ridden on many different grounds, like pavement, gravel, sand, and snow. Because of this, they play an important role in exploring the places we do not know.

Ease of Use: Electric motors take all the efforts off cycling that is why e bikes are good choice regardless of age, fitness level and health state. The motor can make scaling and conquering the uphill a walkover, and cheating the wind becomes the order of the day allowing you to enjoy the ride.

Lower Maintenance: Electric cycling needs less maintenance than work from a normal bike. All you need to do is sit and enjoy the scenery as the e-bike uses its powerful motor to provide the forward momentum you need. It won't burn out the drivetrain because you don't have to pedal hard or shift gears.

Riding a mountain bike doesn't necessarily require mountains. Just give yourself a stretch of unpaved road, and it's enough to fill your lungs with fresh air and get your body moving. Besides, if you find yourself amidst forests, enjoying the scenery during a long downhill ride can also be a rewarding experience.

But let's be clear, mountain biking is quite different from road cycling. Here, we'll briefly outline the basic techniques of mountain biking.

Body Position

Maybe the most vital thing for comfortable downhill riding is to not only master but also control your body position. Mountain biking generally encompasses the riding of these terrains including dirt roads and rocky boulders, tree roots, ruts and run-outs, sand, and mud. While ongoing bumps and probably obstacles are what makes mountain biking entertaining, for a beginner, however, these things could only incite fear. Learning to keep your body in the right position can help you navigate through tricky conditions.

Generally, we have two body positions: the neutral position and the ready position.
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Neutral Position

When riding on non-technical sections, you'll want to ride in a neutral position on the bike. This helps you move efficiently and comfortably while ensuring you can quickly transition to the ready position for technical sections. Key points of the neutral position include:

Balancing weight evenly on both pedals

Slightly bent knees and elbows

Keeping your index fingers ready on the brakes (for disc brakes, usually two fingers are kept ready)

Looking about 4-6 meters ahead - focus on where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.

Ready Position

As the terrain becomes steeper or more challenging with rocks, you'll need to switch to the ready position (sometimes called the attack position). The ready position prepares you both physically and mentally for technical sections. Key points of the ready position include:


Balancing weight evenly on both pedals

Deeply bent knees and elbows (elbows bent at 90 degrees, imagine cosplaying as a chicken)

Hips off the saddle and shifted back

Keeping your back straight and almost parallel to the ground

Keeping index fingers ready on the brakes (for disc brakes, usually two fingers are kept ready)

Looking about 4-6 meters ahead - focus on where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.

Adjusting Your Saddle Position

Positioning the saddle properly can help you maintain proper body position while moving up and down.

Uphill: Adjust the saddle position to maximize pedaling efficiency. When your pedal reaches its lowest point, your knees should be slightly bent, maintaining an 80-90% extended position. This will help you efficiently utilize the power of your quadriceps muscles.

Downhill: When approaching a downhill, lower your seat post by 5-8cm. A lower saddle position helps you lower your center of gravity, providing better control and greater confidence on steep descents. You may need to experiment to find the most suitable saddle position for you.

Choosing Your Line

A common mistake for beginners is focusing on what they want to avoid rather than where they want to go. Choose a line and commit to it, to conquer challenging terrains.

So, what risks can you take? This mainly depends on your skill level. A large log that might trip up some riders might be a playground for others. In general, watch out for scattered rocks, deep sandy ruts, water crossings, wet roots, logs, as well as other riders, hikers, and small animals.

When choosing a line, pay attention: scan the obstacles 4-6 meters ahead of your path with your eyes. Then focus on your tires. This alternating focus between near and far can help you gather a lot of information about the road surface. Anticipating obstacles in advance can help you quickly adjust your body balance to choose a more suitable line.


Braking sounds easy: pulling the brake lever on the bike to stop. Basically, that’s all braking boils down to, but knowing more about the riding techniques can up your safety and provide more fun.

How to Brake

The braking should be gradual and smooth. Generally, your braking force should come from the front tire but getting too much up front can sling you over the handlebars. Besides, feather the brakes with the front and rear ones. Also, try not to brake hard and suddenly as skidding will be the result. When stopping, shift your hips back and push down on your heels while bending your knees and elbows slightly. This position will keep you stabilized as your body leans a little backward for shifting.
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When to Brake

When approaching a turn, brake before entering it, then let the remaining momentum and inertia help you through the turn. This allows you to focus on your handling skills during the turn and exit with some speed.

Inertia can sometimes be your friend when crossing obstacles. For beginners, it's common to slow down before encountering obstacles. Controllable inertia can help you easily roll over obstacles and overcome difficult mountain sections.

Shifting Gears

As mountain biking entails climbing up and then descending the trail, learn how to shift gears effectively. Assembly of this kind of habit will not only release the bike from the cycle of wear and tear (especially all components such as chains, chainrings, and cassette) but also empower you to do uphill and downhill easier.

Frequent Shifting: Beginners should practice increasing the frequency of gear changes. This helps build muscle memory, so you can shift gears without having to focus on the rationality of gear changes during your ride.

Early Shifting: Don't wait until you start climbing to shift gears! Always remember to shift gears before reaching a steep climb. This helps you maintain a steady cadence, maximizing power. Also, it prevents you from making awkward gear changes while applying force to the transmission system, which can cause your chain to drop or even break.

If you encounter some bottleneck in selecting the appropriate gear for the terrain you're riding, it's better to spin in a lower gear than to mash in a higher gear.

Another important rule is to prevent chain misalignment. This often happens when the chain is mounted on the small chainring and the small cog or the large chainring and the large cog. This is common in 2x or 3x systems. Chain misalignment can cause your chain to drop or overstress, significantly shortening its lifespan. Nowadays, pure mountain biking is basically dominated by single-chainring systems.

Finally, always remember to maintain pedaling while shifting gears; shifting without maintaining cadence can damage or even snap the chain.

Trail Etiquette

Mountain biking generally involves sharing trails and paths with others, such as pedestrians or riders. Always remember to be an ethical and responsible rider and take care of your bike. Ride only on trails open to mountain biking. Here are some important rules:

Always keep to the right to let uphill riders pass (on singletrack, it's best to stop and move your bike aside).

Slow down when approaching hikers or animals, giving them enough space. Remain calm when encountering animals on the trail, and listen to instructions from personnel.

Let other trail users know when you're about to encounter them - greet them warmly!