Essential MTB Skills
The seated riding position is great for leisurely riding on smooth prepared trails whilst getting to grips with the basics of cycling, planning well ahead, braking, cornering and pedalling efficiently. It is by far the most efficient riding position over smoother terrain but by staying in the saddle a rider is limiting their ability to move around on the bike.
By changing their riding position to a standing one it allows a rider to freely move in all three directional dimensions forward/backward, left/right and even up/down on the bike. These movements and how the bike reacts to them are what allows the rider to perform and control all the riding techniques featured on this website.
The Fundamentals section is dedicated to learning and understanding the effect these movements have on your riding and how to use them to your benefit whilst riding off-road.
Each of these skills and builds on techniques learnt in previous skills. Skills lower down the list require at least one, and usually several, of the previous skills so ensure you practise and understand a topic before moving on to the next.
As in the beginners section, try to learn just one skill at a time, preferably somewhere quiet allowing multiple runs of the same section so you can see how change made feels. Trying to do too many new things all at once just gets confusing.
Take a copy of the skill or technique you want to practise with you so you can make sure you haven’t missed something if you are finding the topic difficult.
This out of the saddle riding position is where it all starts. On it's own the attack position gives much greater control of the bike. It is also the basis of all further techniques.
Learn basic braking techniques and how to use your brakes efficiently in a variety of different situations.
Approach both fast and slow corners with confidence and control.
Techniques and skills to climb the steepest of trails.
Stay in control when the trail points down.
Improve your slow speed balance and gain thinking time.
Use your body’s natural suspension to glide over rougher sections.
Unweight the bike over rougher sections.
Safely ride down a single step or drop in the trail.
Once you have mastered the above skills you will enjoy riding most red grade XC trails including UK trail centres. There may be a few short sections you decide to walk but these will not detract from your enjoyment or sense of achievment at completing these routes.
Natural trails will also be more enjoyable but bear in mind that due to their nature there may be unrideable sections. Be prepared for these by manageing your speed and always being able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.