Beginners Guide to MTB

So you want to get into mountain biking, or just bought a mountain bike and are wondering where to start. The following is a few tips to make it easier for you to get out on the trails quicker.

Purchasing a bike:

It may seem easy to go to a shop and buy the $99.00 dual suspension mountain bike that you saw in the catalog because, really how bad could it be! The answer is not good at all, at least go to a bike shop and get some advice on what they recommend. But before you do that, you should have some idea about what sort of riding you want to do. Mountain biking can broadly be categoried by the following:

  • Rail Trails – Gravel paths with easy gradients.
  • Cross Country – Singletrack with some technical sections (climbs and descents).
  • Free Ride¬† – More extreme version of Cross Country with some jumps and obstacles.
  • Downhill – No climbing, but extreme descents and obstacles.


There are lots of other disciplines, such as 4 Cross, Trials, etc. But for a beginner these are probably a good place to start choosing a bike as they all require different types of bikes. The following are basic recommendations for what you might look at:

  • Rails Trails – Hardtail bike with 4 inches or less of fork suspension travel.
  • Cross Country – Hardtail or Dual Suspension bike with 4 inches or less of suspension travel.
  • Free Ride – Dual Suspension bike with 5 or 6 inches of suspension travel.
  • Downhill – Dual Suspension bike with 6 or more inches of suspension travel.


What to take with you:

When you are ready to go on your first ride, the following are some of the items that you should take with you.

  • Helmet
  • Gloves
  • Water: Either in a bottle or camelback.
  • Spare Tube.
  • Tools: Multitool with allen keys and chain breaker, or just a set of allen keys.
  • Spare deraileur hanger: Disposible part or the frame to break if the rear deraileur gets caught in something.
  • First aid kit.


Always ride with someone else, or make sure that someone knows where you are so that if something happens then help can find you as soon as possible!