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Beginner at Mountain Biking?

Here is some information for beginners to improve your riding comfort.  Links to videos are below.

Tri-A-Bike Mountain Biking Tips (for new riders)

This information applies to e-bikes as well as “acoustic” bikes. An electric motor will not overcome poor riding techniques.

Carefully check your tire air pressure, shock adjustments, brakes, and steering before starting out.

Riding

Practice mounting and dismounting the bike from both sides. Place the pedals at the 3 and 9 positions (clock face) so that you will accelerate as you mount. It is easier if you are in a low gear.

When crossing a downslope, mount from the uphill side. Watch for cactus with sharp thorns.

Always look where you are going—not at your front tire. Try turning in tight figure 8’s by looking over your shoulder where you want to go. Easy. Now try watching your tire and see how hard it is to turn.

When coasting or descending, your pedals must be at the 3 and 9 positions (not 6 and 12) so that your pedal arm does not catch a rock or root.

Braking

Use ONE finger braking (assuming you have hydraulic disk brakes) and control your bike by keeping at least THREE fingers on the handlebar grip.

Come up and off the saddle while braking. Pedals at 3 and 9!

Shifting

Shift using your thumb – remember that the large shift lever downshifts to a lower gear. That is important to know when you face a sudden upgrade (because you were looking at your tire instead of the terrain ahead). Most bike derailleurs will downshift 2-3 gears if you hold in the large shifter handle (the big easy). If you have a front shifter familiarize yourself with its operation before starting your ride.

Ascending

Stay on your seat with your weight forward. If your front wheel lifts, rise forward from the seat with your chest over the stem and keep pedaling.

If you have to start on an uphill, put your bike in a lower gear, downhill pedal at 10 o’clock, (lower the seat a bit if you have a dropper post) mount from the uphill side while holding your brakes on, push the pedal down while releasing your brake. 

Descending (do not sit in the saddle)

Start in the neutral position (off the seat, pedals 3 and 9, finger on your brakes). If you are on an e-bike, the motor will not accelerate on the downhill, as you will not be pedaling. Make sure you prepared for bumps in the terrain by leaving your shifter in a low, hill climbing, gear.

If you have a seat dropper post, lower you saddle so it is out of the way. Move your hips back slightly and remain in the ready position with your chest forward. Drop heals for a stable position with your feet firmly against the backward sloping pedals.

Practice leaning bike to both sides while off the saddle in descend position. This is bike/body separation.

Control your descent with your brakes and pick your track looking forward about 10-15 feet. Apply the brakes gently—you do not want to skid. 

For switchbacks, move your chin forward over the stem, control your speed with your brakes, look ahead of the turn.

Common Sense Rules

Do not ride on trails marked closed.

On two way trails, uphill has the right of way. Downhill rider should stop off the trail on the upside (not necessarily the right side) so you do not get knocked down the hill by uphill riders or horses.

Talk to other riders to tell them your intention and pass on important information—for example “I am passing on your right” or “I saw a snake on the trail ahead of you.”

Ride in control and beware of blind corners. There may be hikers, pets, or photographers in the middle of the trail, and they are not aware of how fast cyclists may be moving.

Walkers and horses have right of way over bikes. Move off the trail if you meet horses and wait quietly for them to pass.

Motorized quads should give way to bikes but be cautious as they may not see or hear you.

For Safety

Ensure you carry in a backpack with adequate water (there aren’t streams in the desert), some tools, flat tire repair equipment, a mobile phone and snacks. Tell someone where you are planning to ride. If a trail becomes too difficult – turn around or push your bike. Wear a helmet, gloves, knee pads in case you fall.

More Information

These are excellent videos produced by Giant’s LIV brand showing riders in control.

Mountain Bike Skills 101 and

Mountain Bike Intermediate Skills


Recommended MTB Tire Pressures


Recommended Tire Pressure for Tubeless Tires F = Front Tire Pressure
 R = Rear Tire Pressure

Rider Weight (lbs)

27.5 x 2.0 - 2.2

27.5 x 2.2 - 2.4

29 x 2.0 - 2.2

29 x 2.2 - 2.4

More Aggressive Rider

100

23 F / 25 R

21 F / 23 R

21 F / 23 R

19 F / 21 R

(+) 2 psi F & R

110

24 F / 26 R

22 F / 24 R

22 F / 24 R

20 F / 22 R

(+) 2 psi F & R

120

25 F / 27 R

23 F / 25 R

23 F / 25 R

21 F / 23 R

(+) 2 psi F & R

130

26 F / 28 R

24 F / 26 R

24 F / 26 R

22 F / 24 R

(+) 2 psi F & R

140

27 F / 29 R

25 F / 27 R

25 F / 27 R

23 F / 25 R

(+) 2 psi F & R

150

28 F / 30 R

26 F / 28 R

26 F / 28 R

24 F / 26 R

(+) 2 psi F & R

160

29 F / 31 R

27 F / 29 R

27 F / 29 R

25 F / 27 R

(+) 3 psi F & R

170

30 F / 32 R

28 F / 30 R

28 F / 30 R

26 F / 28 R

(+) 3 psi F & R

180

31 F / 33 R

29 F / 31 R

29 F / 31 R

27 F / 29 R

(+) 3 psi F & R

190

33 F / 31 R

30 F / 32 R

30 F / 32 R

28 F / 30 R

(+) 3 psi F & R

200

34 F / 32 R

31 F / 33 R

31 F / 33 R

29 F / 31 R

(+) 3 psi F & R