Clothes For Winter Riding

Mountain biking in cold weather has always been a

challenge. The problem is that you'll start out

cold then warm up and break a sweat, making yourself

wet. Then, when you travel downhill, the combination

of wet skin and windchill will be quite chilling.

Below, you'll find a list of the cold weather clothing

that will make winter riding less of a bone chilling



In cold temperatures, your feet are the most vulnerable

part of your anatomy. Pressure from pedaling will

tend to cut off the circulation to your toes, which

can put you at a risk of frostbite. In cold conditions,

neoprene booties are a must have. They will zip over

your shoes and even have a pattern in the sole where

you can cut out a piece for cleats.


There are several manufacturers that make "lobster

gloves", a hybrid glove that separates your index

finger and thumb from the rest of your hand. These

gloves are warmer than regular gloves, and the distinct

index finger will allow you to operate your shifting

and brake levers.

In case your hands get cold, you should carry a pair

of lightweight glove liners will you as well. If you

have to stop to take care of a problem, the liners will

protect your hands from the cold.


Glasses that wraparound and provide maximum protection

from the wind are best to wear in the winter. You can

protect yourself from debris, as well as the cold.


You should wear heavy socks although not to heavy. A

sock that is overly heavy will make your shoes tight,

cut off circulation, even make your feet cold. You

should try lightweight socks, as they will keep your

feet warm without bulk. If you need an extra layer,

try silk ski socks as they are very warm and also

extra lightweight.


Polypropylene is the best material here, as it is

lightweight and best for colder temperatures.

Wind protection

Moving air is the biggest cause for losing body

heat. By having good wind protection you'll be able

to vent perspiration while also protecting yourself

from windchill. You should choose pants and a jacket

based on durability, breathing, and price as these

types of clothing can get very experience.

Helmet and liners

Your head is very important, as you lose 50% of your

body heat through your head. A helmet is designed to

keep you cool in the summer, not warm in the winter. A

fleece liner inside your helmet will keep your head

and ears warm during winter riding.


Setting Your Tire Pressure

Riding your mountain bike with the appropriate

amount of tire pressure can make a huge difference

in how much control you have over your bike.

Setting your tire pressure too high will make for

poor contact with the ground and also make your

bike less controllable. Setting your tire pressure

too low will make your tires unpredictable and also

make them susceptible to pinch flats.

The appropriate amount of tire pressure in a

mountain bike will vary between rider to rider and

tire setup to tire setup. The conditions of your

trail and the type of terrain your riding will also

greatly impact what tire pressure you should be using

in your tires.

The trick here is to find out exactly what mountain

bike tire pressure works for you and your setup during

normal conditions. After doing this, you can learn

to adjust your pressure for different trails and types

of terrain as needed.

You should start by finding a reliable pressure gauge

or a pump with a pressure gauge. Then, use this same

gauge or pump anytime you are making adjustments. A

gauge can be very inaccurate, so if you switch around

it you can make things much more difficult.

You should start with a higher pressure of around 40 -

50 psi. If you have a tubeless system, you should

start lower, 30 - 40 psi. The more you weigh, the

higher pressure you should start with. Try this

pressure for a while and get a feel for how the tires

take corners and loose dirt.

Drop the pressure by 5 psi in each tire and get a feel

for how this new setup rides and how it compares to your

previous setting. You should notice some improvement

in stability, and if you don't, drop the pressure by

another 5 psi.

You want to find the lowest pressure you can ride with

without sacrificing pinch flat resistance. A pinch flat

occurs when your tire rolls over an object then compresses

to the point where the tire and the tube get pinched

between the object and the rim on the wheel.

With tubeless tire systems, you can run much lower air

pressure, as you don't have to worry about getting pinch

flats. If you start to dent your rims, burp air out

along the bead, or feel the tire roll under the rim

during hard cornering, you've taken the pressure much

too low.

Once you've found a comfortable setting for your tire

pressure, learn what your tire feels like when you

squeeze it with your hands. Once you know what your

tires feel like you can always get the right air

pressure - with any pump.


Mountain Biking Safety Tips

There are numerous ways that you can improve your

mountain bike safety. Many riders will tell you

that wearing a helmet is the most important step to

staying safe. The second most important step is

that you should always ride in control of your

mountain bike.

By riding in control you'll not only prevent crashes,

but keep others on the trail safe as well. When

riding out of control you loose the ability to

adjust to the terrain as you ride over it. This can

and usually does result in serious injury to yourself

and others.

Follow these helpful guidelines and you'll remain

safe when riding your mountain bike.


Always make sure that you wear a helmet and other

necessary safety gear for the conditions that you

plan to ride in.

Never ride beyond your control

There is never any shame in walking the areas of

the trail that you don't feel comfortable in riding

and you should never let anyone else tell you that

there is.

Keep your speed under control

Always make sure you keep your speed at a level

where you can quickly adjust to any obstacles or

change in the trail.

Knowing your trail

You should never push the limits on trails that you

aren't familiar with. You should take trails you

aren't familiar with at slow speeds until you learn

them better.

Slow down around blind corners

If you can't see past a corner you should always

slow down, as you never know who or what is around it.

Start small then go big

Work your way up to stunts or obstacles. Practice in

less difficult or dangerous situations before you

move up to something more dangerous.

Playing it smart

If you start to question what your doing, you probably

shouldn't be doing. Always think about what you are

doing and go with your instincts.


How To Lube Your Mountain Bike

A mountain bike is a lot of fun although it does

require some maintenance. You should always lube

your bike 15 hours or so before riding, as quick

jobs right before you take off normally doesn't

get everything lubed. Some lube jobs will last

for more rides, although if things get loud or

shifting gets sticky, it's time to lube.

Here is how to lube your bike:

1. The chain

Apply a generous amount of mountain bike lube to

your chain as you move the pedals around backwards.

It also helps to find a spot to steady your hand

such as the frame while you move the pedals around

and around. Make sure you watch out for the cranks

and chain rings as they move around.

2. Front Deraileur

On the front defaileur, lube the pivots. Use a

spot of lube everywhere you can see movement when

you move the shift lever.

3. Rear deraileur

Just like the front deraileur, lube the pivots.

4. Pedals

There are some types of clipless pedals that will

need to have the release mechanism lubed. You

should only lube this mechanism if you have this

type of pedal.

5. Everything into motion

Pedal around, shift your gears, and bounce your

bike around. If you hear anything squeak, there's

a moving part there are it should be lubed


6. Wipe it all clean

Once you've lubed everything and wiped it all

around, simply wipe it all back off. Use a rag

to wipe away all the lube you used, including all

the lube off the chain. Wiping it away will leave

the lube in between the parts but clean it away

from everywhere it isn't needed. This will keep

your bike from collecting dirt while you ride.


How To Use A Chain Tool

Once your mountain bike chain becomes damaged, you

should immediately replace it with a new one. It

is possible however, to repair a broken chain using

a chain tool. For this very reason, most mountain

bikers travel with a chain tool.

Your chain has three basic components - the metal

side plates, the rollers between the side plates,

and the rivets, or pins which go through the rollers

and help to hold the plates together. These pins

allow the rollers to freely turn as the chain

moves around the cogs.

If your chain happens to break, you'll need to remove

the broken link and replace it with a spare link.

To do this, simply reattach the two ends of the

broken chain and ride on a shorter chain until you

can get it replaced.

To remove a broken link of chain, place it in the

chain tool. Now, turn the tool counter clockwise

until the rivet pin of the chain tool touches

the chain rivet. Continue to turn the tool until

the pin pushes out of the roller. Be very careful,

as you want to stop turning when the pin is right

at the edge of the roller, before it moves through

the outer side plate.

Now, turn the tool in the other direction, and back

it out of the roller. Set the tool to the side,

then work the chain very gently from side to side

and extract the inner side plates and roller.

Now is the time to re-route the chain through the

bike. You may want to have a chain retaining tool

or some to help you hold the chain in the right

spot as you route and repair it.

Now that the broken link has been removed and

you've re-routed the chain, you're ready to insert

a new link or simply connect the links that were

beside the broken one. The process here is the

same - align the two ends so that the link with

the inner side plates will fit inside the link

with the pin and outer side plates. Now, use the

chain tool to push the pin inward until it's

positioned evenly between the side plates.

The easiest way to learn how to do this or feel

comfortable doing it is to have someone show you,

then actually practice with a chain and a chain

tool. You'll have no trouble at all making a

temporary repair in a mountain bike chain once

you've seen it done by a professional and practiced

it yourself a few times.


Disc Brakes Or Rim Brakes

This can be a very important decision when you

are buying a mountain bike. There are actually

two answers to the question of disc brakes or

rim brakes.

If you want better, more consistent brake performance

in all conditions, disc brakes are what you should

be choosing. On the other hand, if you want the

lightest set up you can have and you are willing to

accept small variances in brake performance, or you

want the lowest price possible, rim brakes are

what you should be choosing.

Over the years, mountain bikes have gone through

many design changes. They started out with the

original cantilever brakes, then went through the U

Brake years, and are now with V Brakes. In most

conditions, the V Brakes seem to work well.

In wet or muddy conditions, rim brakes will perform

poorly. Over time, they can wear right through the

side of your rim, causing the side of the rim to

blow right off.

Disc brakes on the other hand have been around for

a long time in cars but weren't used on bikes much

until the late 1990's. There were some issues in

the earlier models, although the cable actuated or

hydraulic brakes of today seem to work quite well.

In terms of performance, disc brakes seem to work

better than rim brakes, especially in wet or muddy

areas. Disc brakes normally require less force

to apply and aren't effected by the rim or wheel


Cost is an issue, as disk brake systems tend to be

more expensive than rim brakes. Mechanical or cable

actuated brakes are a closer match, although they

will still cost more. Hydraulic brakes on the other

hand cost a lot more.

When you make that final choice, weight out the above

options then make your decision. Some riders prefer

disc brakes, while others prefer rim brakes - making it

a matter of opinion.


Mountain Bike Anatomy

A mountain bike is the one thing you need before you

go mountain biking. A mountain bike contains many

parts, which will be covered below:

1. Bottom bracket - This attaches the crankset to

the body of a bike.

2. Brake cable - This is the cable that connects the

brake lever to the brake mechanism.

3. Brake lever - The lever on the handlebar to

activate the brakes. The left side is the front brake

and the right side is the rear brake.

4. Chain - The circular set of links that transfer

power from the chain ring to the cogs.

5. Chain ring - The toothed rings that attach to

the crank to hold the chain.

6. Crank - The lever that extends from the bottom

bracket to the pedal, transferring the power to the

chain rings.

7. Derailleur - The mechanism for moving the chain

from one cog to another.

8. Down tube - The section of frame that extends

downward from the stem to the bottom bracket.

9. Front shock - The shock absorber on the front


10. Handlebar - The horizontal bar attached to the

stem with handgrips on the end.

11. Headset - The mechanism in front of the frame

that connects the front fork to the stem and


12. Hub - The center part of the wheel that the

spokes are attached to.

13. Idler pulley - The bottom pulley of the rear

derailleur that provides spring tension to keep

the chain tight.

14. Nipple - A threaded receptacle that holds

the end of the spoke to the rim.

15. Pedal - The platform to pedal on; attaches to

the crank.

16. Rear shock - The shock absorber for the rear

tire on dual suspension type bikes.

17. Rim - The metal ring that holds the spokes

on the inside and the tire to the outside.

18. Saddle - The seat.

19. Seat post - Offers support for the seat.

20. Skewer - The metal rod that goes through the

hub, attaching the wheel to the dropouts of the


21. Spindle - The free rotating axle that the

crank arms attach to; also a part of the bottom


22. Spokes - The thick wires that join the hub to

the rim.

23. Stem - A piece that attaches the handlebar

to the steering tube.

24. Wheel hub - The center of the wheel that the

spokes are attached to.


Framing Materials

The cost of a mountain bike frame is proportionate to

its material, as well as the treatment that material

has received. Currently, there are five types of

material used in mountain bikes - high tensile steel,

chromoly steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon

fiber. Oversized diameters, heat treating, and butting are

tubing material treatments that will increase the

cost of a frame as well.

High tensile steel

This is a very durable alloy that's found in lower

priced mountain bikes. It offers a high carbon content

which makes it less stiff than chromoly steel, so

more materials are needed to make it stiff enough for

bicycle frames, which will in turn make it that much


Relatively inexpensive to produce, you'll find this

material in trail bikes, city bikes, and even entry

level mountain bikes. There are some bikes that come

with a chromoly seat tube, while the rest is high

tensile steel.

Chromoly steel

Short for steel alloy, chromoly is best described by

its major additives - chromium and molybdenum. This

is probably the most refined framing material, giving

over 100 years of dependable service.

Depending on the type of heat treating and butting,

you can find this material in bikes as low as 400

dollars all the way up to 1,500 and beyond. The

chromoly steel material offers very good durability

and a compliant ride characteristic.


For the past 15 years, aluminum has been refined in

pretty much the same way as chromoly. There have

been various alloys developed, as well as heat

treatment, oversizing, and butting. With dual

suspension bikes, aluminum is the preferred material

as it's the stiffest and most cost effective.

Aluminum is stiffer than chromoly, and therefore it

will crack before chromoly. Of course, this depends

on how you ride and how much abuse you give the frame.

The advantages of aluminum is that the frame is very

light and very stiff through oversizing or butting.


Even thought it's somewhat exotic, the prices for

this material have come down over the last few years.

Frames made of titanium remain expensive because it

takes longer to weld the tubes to the frame.

Titanium is considered an alloy, normally mixed with

small amounts of vanadium and aluminum to give it

better weldability and ride characteristics. More

compliant than chromoly, it offers better fatigue

and corrosion properties.

The material you choose for your bike, all depends

on where you ride and what style you use. Almost

all materials will last you for years, as long as

you take care of your bike and treat the frame with

some respect.


Beginner Mountain Bike Skills

Mountain biking is an exciting sport that can be

enjoyed by anyone who knows how to ride a bike.

Compared to the average bike ride, it does present

some danger. Therefore, you should master these

basic skills before you hit the trails or the


You can practice these beginning skills at a local

park, school, bike path, or simply around your

house. If you can, try to find a location with

a steep hill.

Get a feel for your pedals

Practice moving your foot away from the pedal,

first while sitting on your bike with one foot on

the ground. Next, move on to releasing and

replacing your foot while pedaling around for a

bit. Those with toe clip and clipless type foot

pedals will want to spend a bit more time


Sit and spin for position

Simply sit on your bike and pedal around. You

should keep your arms slightly bent. You should

also adjust your seat height so your leg is 70 to

90 percent extended at the bottom of every stroke

on the pedal. Keep your body relaxed, as there

will never be a position where you should have

either your knees or your elbows locked.

Shifting gears

Get a feel for shifting gears with your bike. The

higher gears are harder to pedal and will go

faster while the lower gears are easier to pedal

and will help you ascend hills. As you get to

steeper hills, its best to shift before you get

to the hill rather than while your on it.


You should spend a bit of time coasting while

standing on your pedals, without actually sitting

on the seat. Keep your arms bent but don't lock

your knees. Now, try experimenting with shifting

your body towards the rear end of the bike.

Pedal while standing

You should get as comfortable as you can with

pedaling while standing on your bike. Try lifting

yourself off the seat while standing on the pedals,

then crank them around. You should try this in

higher gears on flat ground then again in lower

gears while on a hill.

Dropping down a curb

Try finding a curb where you can easily get to the

upper portion of it. Practice at a moderate speed,

standing and coasting right off the curb from the

upper level to the lower level. Try this at

different speeds until it becomes second nature.

Once you practice these techniques and get the

hang of them, you'll be able to hit the trails feeling

comfortable on your mountain bike. Even though it

may take some getting used to, it'll become second

nature before you know it.


Sizing Mountain bikes

Along with giving you a better selection and expert

advice, bike shop personnel can you help you get

fitted to the right size bike. You can get the bike

either too big or too small, which will cause your

enjoyment to suffer. Follow the tips below, and

you'll have the perfect fit for your mountain bike.

Standover height

When you check the fitting yourself, the first thing

you want to check is the inseam clearance, or the

standover height. You want to have plenty of room

between yourself and the top tube when you come to

a stop. There should be around four to six inches

of clearance from the top of your inseam to the top

of the top tube.

Leg and feet position

There's a nifty formula for determining the leg

position for riding a mountain bike. When riding

a mountain bike, the terrain constantly changes,

raising you off the seat constantly, sometimes just

slightly, other times completely off.

Therefore, you'll need to sit your saddle slightly

lower than you would on any other type of bike.

Be sure you take this slightly lower seat height

position into effect when you factor the size of

the frame.

Riding compartment

The next thing you'll want to check is the rider

compartment layout (the distance between the saddle

and the handlebars). Once the proper leg extension

has been determined, be sure the handlebar is one

to two inches below the height of the saddle. You

should never have the handlebars higher than the

seat, unless there is some type of upper body


Dual suspension bikes

With suspension being at both ends, you'll want

your weight more in the middle of the bike so that

your weight is distributed evenly between the front

and rear suspension units, thus allowing the front

and rear suspension to work as a unit.

This can be done quite easily by using either a

higher or shorter stem to raise the hand height,

which will in turn move the upper body up and the

weight towards the rear. The increase in rise

shouldn't be no more than two inches, then the

decrease in reach shouldn't be any more than two


Test ride

Once you have taken all of these steps into account,

go out and test drive the bike. Make sure you

wear a helmet, even if you are going to be testing

for a brief period of time. Be sure that the tires

are set to the right pressure, and the shop has

adjusted the bike for you properly.

You should have a shop employee observe your body

position and ride height while riding, to determine

is any further adjustments need to be made. Ride

the bike around for a bit to get used to its

handling and new equipment. Start off slowly, then

give the bike a bit of time to present its personality.

After a few minutes, you might notice that something

isn't working correctly or just doesn't feel right

in general. If this happens, go back to the shop

and have the problem corrected before you rule out

the bike.

The more you ride bikes, the easier it will be to

tell the difference in the ride types. Keep in mind,

it may take months and even years to appreciate the

way a bike handles. Talk to those who ride, and

ask them if they ride the bikes they sell. This

way, you'll learn more about the mountain bikes you

love so much!


Things To Take With You

When you decide to go mountain biking on a long days

ride, there are several things that you should take

with you. Below, you'll find the essentials that

you should have with you.

1. Back pack - a camelback or mule is a good idea here.

2. Waterproof - the type that packs down very small is

the best to have.

3. Water - you need at least 2 liters for a long ride.

4. Food - sandwiches and energy bars are the best to

have with you to eat.

5. Pump - take a good one with you, as the small mini

pumps are a waste of time and money.

6. Tire levers if you need them.

7. Two small inner tubes.

8. A piece of medium emery paper about 3 inches long

and an inch wide.

9. A cut up tube of Crest for pinch punctures or to use

as a tire boot.

10. A carpet needle.

11. A card of linen thread to repair torn tires.

12. A good chain splitter

13. At least two black pins. You should tape these

to the inside lid of your puncture repair kit.

14. A set of allen wrenches. The penknife style is

the best to get.

15. A small screwdriver.

16. A first aid kit that includes an elastic bandage.

17. A Spokey spoke key.

18. A felt tip pen that will show on inner tubes.

19. Some lunch and phone money.

If you take the above with you, you should have no

problems with long mountain bike rides. Everything on

the above list will serve a purpose, all you have to do

is give them a chance. If you've ever been mountain

biking and ran into problems in the past, you should

know first hand just how important the proper supplies

can actually be.


Mountain Bike Designs

The designs for mountain bikes can be classified in

three categories based on suspension:

1. Hardtail - A frame with no rear suspension,

often containing a front suspension fork.

2. Fully rigid - This is a sub type of hardtail,

with a rigid fork.

3. Dual or full suspension - These bikes offer a

front suspension fork and a rear suspension that

are integrated into the frame.

4. Soft tail - Offers a frame with a small amount

of rear suspension, normally less than a full

suspension frame.

The different designs of bikes in mountain biking

will offer you what you need for your unique style

of riding. You'll want a different bike for

different terrain, such as cross country or

downhill. As the terrain changes, you'll want to

make sure you have the right bike for the job.

Mountain biking is different than any other sport,

offering you plenty of excitement and thrills.

If you are new to mountain biking, you'll find the

different designs to be very enticing yet very

challenging at the same time. Each design serves

a purpose with mountain biking, even some that

excel on the trails.

There are also several other designs which reflect

on the manny challenging disciplines in the sport

of mountain biking. No matter what type of

mountain biking you like to do, there are bikes

for that specific discipline.

If you are new to mountain biking, you'll want

to check out the many designs and types of biking

before you purchase a bike. Mountain biking can

be a lot of fun and excitement, although it can

also be very dangerous if you don't have the

right bike for the terrain. Before you decide to

buy a bike and hit the trails, make sure you

have the right design of mountain bike for the

riding you are planning on doing.


Spring Tune Up Tips

If you don't ride in the winter, you've probably

spent the winter months on the couch eating chips

and watching television. Before you know it, spring

will be here and a new season of mountain biking

will begin. Even though your body may not be in

shape, these tips will ensure that your bike is.

Before you take your bike out, check the wear and

tear on your components and adjust them if its

necessary. Start off with your chain. If you

haven't replaced it in a year or more, it's time

to do so. Over time, the individual parts in the

chain will get worn out, increasing its effective


As this happens, the chain is no longer able to

conform to the cog and the teeth of the chain ring,

so it wears those teeth out to fit the profile of

the chain. If you can replace the chain before it

stretches too much you'll save yourself from having

to replace high priced cogs and chain rings.

Now, check the bearing surfaces. These include your

bottom bracket, hubs, and the headset. Each of these

should turn without a problem with no play in the

system. Before checking the bottom bracket, make

sure each cranking arm is snugged tight. Next, hold

on to the crank arm (not the pedal) and wobble it

back and forth. If you hear any clicking or if the

crank arm binds, the bottom bracket needs to be


Do the exact same thing with your hubs. Take the

wheels off the bike, spin the hub axles, then feel

for any free play or binding. If you feel play or

binding, you need to make an adjustment. To check

the headset, start off by putting the newly adjusted

wheels back on the bike.

Now, grab the front brake and pull and push the

handle bars back and forth. There shouldn't be any

play. If you lift the front end off the ground,

the fork should turn very smoothly. If it feels rough,

it needs to be either adjusted or replaced.

While your looking, check the condition of your cables

and housing. The cables should be rust free and the

housing shouldn't be cracked or kinked. If you see any

of this you should replace the offending device, as if

you don't your shifting and braking will be sluggish.

Last, you should inspect your brake pads. Most pads

will have ridges or indicator marks that will let you

know when they need to be replaced. Brake pads that

are worn out will comprimise both safety and braking


Once you've got the tune ups out of the way, it's time

to go for a ride. With your mountain bike running

better than ever, all you have to do now is have fun!


Mountain Biking Accessories

When you first start out with mountain biking, it

can be a bit overwhelming when you walk into a bike

store to buy your first mountain bike and see all

of the available accessories you'll need when you

first start riding.

There are several mountain biking accessories and

related products that you can purchase. Although

the sales staff will try to sell you anything they

can, the real question for those on a budget isn't

what's cool, but what accessories you need to make

your rides more safe and enjoyable. By starting

with these accessories, you'll be just fine when you

hit the trails.

Bike helmet

The bike helmet is the most important mountain biking

accessory that you can buy. No one should ever be

on a bike without a helmet. There have been many

people who have experienced serious head injury, when

it could have prevented by wearing a helmet. All

mountain bike helmets are comfortable and stylish and

everyone who rides on the trails wears one.

Mountain bike gloves

No matter what season you ride in, your hands can

take a beating. Beginners will normally keep a death

grip on the handle bars, which can be very brutal for

their hands. When you crash, your hands will be the

first thing to hit the ground - and everyone crashes

at some point. Mountain bike gloves are a must have

accessory, as they will take the beating for you.

Mountain bike shorts

After the first few mountain bike rides you take, you'll

notice that your rear end will be quite uncomfortable.

Even though your body will adjust, bike shorts are

great to have as they will help keep it at a bare

minimum. You can get shorts that are very comfortable,

making them a great addition to your mountain bike


Mountain bike shoes

Depending on the type of pedals you have and the type

of riding you do, you'll want to pick your mountain bike

shoes accordingly. If your bike has clipless type

pedals, you'll want to get shoes to accept the special

cleat for your pedals. Good mountain bike shoes are

durable, comfortable, and also a stiff sole for better

efficiency when pedaling. Also, you should make sure

to get the right shoe for the terrain you'll be riding

in as well.

Eye protection

If you get something in your eye, you can run off the

trail in a matter of seconds. Sunglasses or clear lensed

glasses can help keep your eyes safe from debris, as well

as protect them from the wind. When you buy your glasses,

make sure they are non-breakable.

Hydration system

Bringing a water bottle or hydration backpack with you is

always a great idea. It's very easy to get dehydrated so

you should always bring water with you and drink it on

the trail to ensure that your body stays properly hydrated

at all times.

Trail repair kit

It's easy to get stuck in the woods or on the trail if you

don't bring the proper repair kit for your bike. To be

on the safe side, bring a multi-tool designed for bike

repair, tire levers, and a patch kit for fixing flat



Different Types of Mountain Bikes

With mountain biking being a very popular sport,

there are many bikes to choose from. Depending

on what type of riding you like, the style of

bikes you can choose from will vary. Below, you'll

find tips on the different types of bikes available.

1. Cross country

Almost all mountain bikes will fit into this category.

Cross country mountain bikes are light weight, making

them easy to ride over most terrains, even up and

down hills. This is the most common mountain bike

and it can be used with ease for riding on the path

or even commuting.

2. Downhill

These types of bikes are for serious bikers who

crave the ultimate adventure. Downhill bikes have

front and rear suspension, strong parts, and disc

brakes. Rarely available off the shelf, most riders

like to custom build their own.

3. Trials

Trail mountain biking involves a great degree of

skill and is classified as the precision riding of

the sport. Similiar to downhill bikes, trial riders

will often build their own bikes rather than purchase

one off a shelf. Generally very light and very

strong, these bikes require a lot of discipline.

4. Jump and slalom

Slalom and jump bikes are very strong and designed

for jumping, street racing, and slalom. They offer

a front suspension and use very strong components

dedicated to what they do. These bikes are very

popular with the sport of mountain biking.

Even if you are new to mountain biking, the sport can

be a lot of fun. There are several bikes to choose

from, all of which depend on your style. If you are

still looking for the best style for you, all you

have to do is try out several bikes and see which one

suites you the best.


How Mountain Bike Gears Work

The gears in mountain bikes just keep getting more

and more intricate. The bikes of today have as many

as 27 gear ratios. A mountain bike will use a

combination of three different sized sprockets in

front and nine in the back to produce gear ratios.

The idea behind all these gears is to allow the

rider to crank the pedals at a constant pace no

matter what kind of slope the bike is on. You can

understand this better by picturing a bike with

just a single gear. Each time you rotate the pedals

one turn, the rear wheel would rotate one turn

as well (1:1 gear ratio).

If the rear wheel is 26 inches in diameter, then

with 1:1 gearing, one full twist on the pedals

would result in the wheel covering 81.6 inches of

ground. If you are pedaling at a speed of 50 RPM,

this means that the bike can cover over 340 feet of

ground per minute. This is only 3.8 MPH, which

is the equivalence of walking speed. This is ideal

for climbing a steep hill, although bad for ground

or going downhill.

To go faster you'll need a different ratio. To

ride downhill at 25 MPH with a 50 RPM cadence at the

pedals, you'll need a 5.6:1 gear ratio. A bike

with a lot of gears will give you a large number

of increments between a 1:1 gear ratio and a 6.5:1

gear ratio so that you can always pedal at 50 RPM,

no matter how fast you are actually going.

On a normal 27 speed mountain bike, six of the gear

ratios are so close to each other that you can't

notice any difference between them.

With actual use, bike riders tend to choose a front

sprocket suitable for the slope they are riding on

and stick with it, although the front sprocket can

be difficult to shift under heavy load. It's much

easier to shit between the gears on the rear.

If you are cranking up a hill, it's best to choose

the smallest sprocket on the front then shift

between the nine gears available on the rear. The

more speeds you have on the back sprocket, the

bigger advantage you'll have.

All in all, gears are very important to mountain

bikes as they dictate your overall speed. Without

gears you wouldn't be able to build speed nor would

you be able to pound pedals. The gears will move

the pedals and help you build up speed.

There are all types of gears available in mountain

bikes, all of which will help you build up a lot

of momentum if you use them the right way.


Wheel Truing

Wheel truing is actually something that is very easy

to do. Even if you have no experience with mountain

biking or truing a wheel, it doesn't take a rocket

scientist to accomplish it.

The first thing to do is make sure that none of your

spokes are loose. To check, grab each spoke in turn

and try to shake it back and forth. If the spoke

wobbles, or makes pinging and grating noises, it's

loose. If it's loose, add tension to the spoke by

turning the spokey anti-clockwise with your finger

and thumb pressure.

Keep turning and shaking until the noise is gone

and the spoke doesn't wobble or move. Move on to

the next spoke until you've gone all the way around

the wheel and checked them all.

Now, it's time to see just how true the wheel actually

is. Turn your bike upside down then spin the wheel

to see where it comes closest to rubbing on the


You may need to rotate the wheel backwards then

forwards to locate the middle of the bulge on the

wheel. Tighten the spokes which run on to the

other side of the rim. If those spokes are already

tight, you'll need to loosen a few of the spokes

which run to the bulge side of the hub.

Truing a wheel is easier than you may think, although

it can be a little tough with some wheels. If

you need to loosen spokes, be very careful that

you don't break them. They can be very tough

to loosen on older mountain bikes.


Cross Country Mountain Biking

Cross country mountain biking is cross country at

its finest. Where free riders and downhill bikers

use four wheel bikes and ski lifts to get them to

their destination, cross country bikers get to

the top of the mountain by the ride. Though free

riding is very popular, the life vein of the sport

has always been cross country biking.

Just as cross country riders are a different breed,

the bikes they ride are as well. The cross country

bike is completely different in many ways from other

types of mountain riding bikes. The premise for

cross country riders is speed. Everything about

their bikes revolve with the idea of making the

bikes faster and faster.

Bikes used in cross country mountain biking can

be fully rigid frame, hardtails, or even full

suspension frames. Through the years, the cross

over to full suspension has become very popular.

The weight difference between free ride bikes and

cross country bikes are considerable. You'll be

extremely hard pressed to find a bike that weighs

more than 24 pounds, and even that weight can be

heavy. Free ride bkes weigh close to 40 pounds,

which makes the difference in weight pretty close.

If you've never tried cross country mountain biking,

you'll probably find it to be a break from the

ordinary. Even though this type of biking involves

trails, it's normally the type of terrain that

beginners wouldn't want to ride. Involving hills

and rough terrain, cross country biking offers

quite the rush.

For mountain bikers everywhere, cross country is

the way to go. It offers you a new assortment of

bikes, new areas to bike, and a new twist to

mountain biking as you know it. If you've been

looking for a mountain biking rush, cross country

mountain biking is what you need to be experiencing.


Buying A Mountain Bike

It can be a bit frustrating as well as time consuming

when you buy a mountain bike. Below, you'll find

some tips and things to be aware of before you lay

down the cash and buy a mountain bike.

Determining your price

There is really no limit as to how much money you can

spend on a new mountain bike. To help you keep your

spending under control, you should figure out what

your price range is and how much your willing to pay

for a new bike. When you buy, you shouldn't buy from

mass merchant stores such as Wal-Mart. You should

instead support your local bike shop and get a much

better bike and much better service.

Finding your style

All mountain bikes are designed with several different

riding styles and terrain types in mind. You'll need

to figure out what type of riding you will be doing

the most. Smooth riding, cross country racing,

mountain cruising, or lift accessed downhill is

something you need to figure out. Make sure that

the bike you select fits your personal style and not

that of the sale's staff.

Full suspension or hard tail

If you can afford it, a full suspension mountain

bike is always worth the purchase. A hard tail,

without rear suspension, is much lighter weight

and pedal more efficiently, although full suspensions

offer more comfort and overall better control. You'll

want to make that decision based on your price range,

riding style, and the type of terrain you'll be

riding on the most.

Finding your favorites

Comparing mountain bikes component to component is

nearly impossible, as there are far too many combinations

available. The best way to go about doing this is

finding a few components that are the most important

to you and making sure the rest or the minimums fall

within your price range. You can start with the fork

then look at the wheels and rear derailleur.

Sales and seasons

During the year, the prices of mountain bikes can

fluctuate quite a bit. Spring through summer is the

main buying season. If you can wait until the right

price pops up, normally in the fall and winter, you can

save a couple hundred dollars. Many bike shops will

also offer discounts or other accessories if you buy

from them.

Finding a good dealer

Finding a good bike dealer is more important than finding

the best price. You should always find a dealer that

cares more about selling you a great bike than selling you

a high priced one. A great dealer will have a clean repair

shop and give you the impression that you can really

trust them.

Test ride

You should test ride as many bikes as you can within

your price range and riding style. You'll find that

some bikes will feel right, while others won't. The more

bikes you can test drive, you better you'll understand

what works and what doesn't.

Doing the research

Product reviews and bike reviews are some of the best

ways to find out about a mountain bikes reliability and

overall performance. You should always look at what

other owners and reviews think about a bike before you

make that final purchase.


Technical Down Hill Mountain Biking

The key to down hilling is relaxing your upper body.

The steeper and rockier the hill is, the more tightly

the rider tends to put a death grip on the handle

bars. Most riders tend to slow down as they approach

obstacles such as rocks, then apply both brakes.

If you don't apply your brakes, the rock will stop

your wheel. This isn't good, as the rock can throw

you off balance and completely kill any type of

momentum you have.

Relaxed riders won't slow down as much. The

combination of extra momentum, no front braking at

crucial moments will allow the wheel to bump over

the rock and continue onward with little effort.

If you are going slow, it's essential to release

your brakes as much as possible when you approach

an obstacle. This may entail going a bit faster,

although the result is much less painful. On

steep hills, going really slow will always make

things much more difficult.

One exception to this is a very tight turn. If a

hop is out of the question, you'll need to slow

down to allow the smallest radius of turning circle.

This kind of thing takes practice, although track

standing isa great way to improve on your balance.

Although down hilling is one of the most extreme

methods of mountain biking, it can also be one of

the most dangerous. If you're new to mountain biking

you shouldn't start out with down hilling, as it

takes a lot of practice.

With a bit of practice and knowing the right

techniques, technical down hilling is something you'll

find fun. It can provide quite a rush and a lot

of excitement for those who seek adventure.


Types Of Mountain Biking

As a sport or a hobby, mountain biking can be split

into 9 different categories. These categories are

very versed in what they offer. They are:

1. BMX

BMX is a style where the bikes offer 20 inch wheels.

These bikes are commonly used at skate parks or

with dirt jumps. Because of their smaller wheels

and shorter wheel bases, BMX bikes are much easier

to perform tricks and stunts with.

2. Cross country

This type of mountain biking involves riding your

bike up and down hills. Although it's the least

extreme form of mountain biking, most cross country

riders are very fit and go on long rides.

3. Cyclo cross

This is a cross between road and mountain biking.

These riders have to go over obstacles, cross through

rivers, and race on and off the course.

4. Dirt jumping

Dirt jumping involves jumping the bike over large

man made dirt jumps then doing tricks while they

are in the air. These jumps are normally close

together so riders can go over six or more jumps

in one run, gaining a flow to give them more

speed for bigger jumps.

5. Downhill

Downhill mountain biking involves racing downhill

as fast as possible. This type of riding is very

intense and extreme, offering riders the chance

for ultimate thrills and excitement.

6. Freeride

Free riding involves finding the perfect line down

the mountain using all of the terrain to express

yourself. These competitions are very popular,

as riders can express themselves any way they see


7. Single speed

No to be confused with fixed gears, this is a form

of cross country biking that's done using a bike

with only one gear and fewer components. The idea

with single speed is simplicity. The straight

chain line will provide efficient pedaling, and

the lack of components mean less mechanical

problems and a lighter bike.

8. Street and urban

This type of riding involves riding in urban areas,

ledges, and other types of man made obstacles.

Riders of street and urban biking will do tricks

as well, such as stalls and grinds.

9. Trails

Trials are considered an aspect of mountain biking,

although the bikes used look nothing like mountain

bikes. They use 20 or 26 inch wheels and sport

small, low frames. Trail riders will hop and

jump their bikes over obstacles, which requires

an extreme amount of balance and concentration.


Mountain Biking Vacation

Taking a mountain biking vacation is an excellent

way to unwind and explore America. There are several

companies that offer mountain biking tours that go

through scenic routes, and they often arrange any

accomodations for travelers as well. For athletic

couples, these types of vacations offer the perfect

way to relax and enjoy some exercise together.

Each and every region in the United States has some

truly awesome mountain biking trails. It's not just

the major mountain ranges that offer these trails, as

any hilly, scenic, rough trail can provide riders with

the adventure they seek. Some of the best areas to

mountain bike ride in the United States are the Pacific

Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast states such as

North Carolina.

Even though the entire American West area is great for a

mountain biking vacation, the Southwest area is rapidly

becoming a popular area for the sport as well. In the

Southwest, some of the best trails include Pinery

Canyon Road in Arizona, South Boundary Trail in New

Mexico, and Flume Trail in Nevada.

Each and every trail deserves it's reputation as a

tough ride. Each one of these trails is over 20 miles

in length, with Pinery Canyon being the longest, at

over 50 miles! Keep in mind though, just because you

go to a trail it doesn't mean you have to ride the entire


The Pacific Northwest is also a great place for a

mountain biking vacation. The three best trails in

the entire region are Surveyor's Ridge in Oregon, Mount

Tamalpais in California, and the Methow Trial System in


A mountain biking vacation is perfect for athletic people

who have the desire to explore regions at their own

pace. These trips are much less expensive than other

trips, yet they can easily be the adventure of a



Introduction To Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a great way to explore the outdoors,

stay in shape, or just have fun. Racing down the side

of a mountain is a lot of fun indeed, although it can

also be quite dangerous. Even though it's dangerous,

if you ride with caution, it can be enjoyed by the

entire family.

Styles of mountain biking

Mountain biking can best be characterized into three

different styles - downhill, free riding, and cross

country. Even though the different styles are similar

in some ways, they still require different skills. The

style that you pick will determine the type of bike you


Locations for mountain biking

The sport can best be thought of as biking on an unpaved

surface. Many areas throughout North America have

specific locations designed for mountain biking. Before

you decide to go down a trail, you should always check

with your local park to get the routes, regulations, and

any rules that they may have.

You can also find groups that have mountain bike rides

and competitions. You can look on the internet or even

in a local paper and see exactly what's available in your

area. You may be able to find groups for the more

advanced riders as well as beginners.

Becoming a great biker

Endurance and stamina are a must for a great mountain

biker. It will also take ambition and practice to succeed

as well as conquer the course. Like all other sports,

it takes time and practice. Those just beginning will

have to get past the bumps and bruises from falling

off the bike.

Selecting your mountain bike

The bike you select is more of a personal choice, and

a big determining factor on the type of riding you will

be doing. Bikes come in all styles, shapes, and prices,

which will make selecting one for yourself very difficult


You should use the internet to help you shop for a bike,

even do some price comparisons online as well before you

make a purchase. Before you buy a bike, always ask to

try it out first. A great mountain biker will become

one with his or her own bike. When buying, make sure

you check for comfort, how it fits, even how it is geared.

Staying safe when riding

Mountain bike riding on unpaved roads can be very

dangerous, as mentioned earlier. Anytime you are riding,

you should wear a helmet, along with knee and elbow

pads. If you are following a group or riding in the

woods you should strongly consider a pair of goggles as

well. Safety should be your top priority and never

taken lightly anytime you are mountain biking.


The History Of Mountain Biking

There is a lot of history and information out there

in regards to the history and origins of mountain

biking, with some being recognized and some that

depends on who has the best firm of public relations.

Some say that mountain biking began with the Buffalo

Soldiers, which was a turn of the century infantry

who customized bikes to carry gear over the rough and

tough terrain. They began in August of 1896, over

the course of 800 miles. Their mission was simple -

to test bikes for military use in the toughest of


Others say it was the Velo Cross Club of France

that started mountain biking. The club was comprised

of 20 young bikers from Paris, who between 1951 and

1956 developed a sport that resembles present day

mountain biking.

It could have also been John Finley Scott, who was

the first mountain biker in the U. S. In 1953 he

constructed what he called a "Woodsie Bike", using

a diamond frame, balloon tires, flat handle bars,

and cantilever brakes. He was more than 20 years

ahead of his time. Even though he remained an off

road enthusiast, there were many at that time who

didn't share that same passion.

Today, we believe that the history of the mountain

bike is most apparent in Northern California. There

are a few areas that claim to be the first community

for mountain biking, although each and every history

book will tell you Marin County.

The sport of mountain biking has taken many twists

and turns over the last several hundred years. Even

though there are many that say different things about

the history and the beginning, we know one thing

for sure - one thing has led to another and the

sport of mountain biking was born.


The Bunny Hop

In mountain biking and even BMX riding, the bunny hop

is a bike trick that involved the rider lifting the

bike up and over an obstacle while remaining in

motion on the bike. Experienced bikers can lift

their bikes in excess of a meter or one and a half

feet. The world record for the bunny hop stands at

4 feet.

The bunny hop is executed by approaching an obstacle

with speed, lifting the front of the bike then

leveling the pedals. If the bike has full or front

suspension, pre-load the shocks by pressing down

on the bike just before you reach the obstacle.

Once the shocks have been pre-loaded, the rider

will spring upwards, pulling up with the hands and

feet at the same time. Toe straps or clipless

pedals help with this, although if plain platform

pedals are used, it's still possible. As the biker

lifts, the hands will roll through twisting the

throttle. After the object is cleared, push down

on the bike then absorb the impact with the arms

and the legs.

It's often times a misconception that a bunny hop

without toe clips is achieved by rotating forward

on the handlebars. Lifting up on a mountain bike

while standing next to it is quite difficult to

hold on to the handle bars.

The bunny hop is very popular with mountain biking,

as experienced riders can make it look a lot easier

than it actually is. New mountain bikers should

practice a lot before they actually attempt the

hop, as doing it on a bigger obstacle can easily

be quite dangerous.

With proper practice, the bunny hop can be achieved,

even for beginners. All you have to do is give it

some time and effort, and you'll be pulling off the

bunny hop just like the pro's do it.