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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just to preface this - I thought it would be helpful to post some tidbits of what I have learned in my short 2 months or so of being a "beginner moutainbiker." Most of what I read here comes from seasoned riders and there is some GREAT info :thumbsup:, but sometimes hearing it from the meek may be helpful too? :cornut:

  • Buy the best bike you can afford (within reason of course). This does not mean get the MOST expensive bike, but if you're noodling over several hundred dollars to "jump" to the next level", do it. 99% of the time you won't regret it. The better "stuff" really does pay off and you'll enjoy so much more.
  • Make sure the bike "fits" you. I cannot stress how the cockpit feel is SO important. If possible, go on test rides as much as you can to see which bike "fits" best.
  • Wear gloves.....you need your hands when you're off the bike and doing normal human-things (I was going to add "helmet", but really??)
  • Take your first couple of rides on FLAT pedals. Get used to your bike and don't get too excited to clip in just yet. I made this mistake and, well...ouch :madman:
  • Don't let a crash deter you from this awesome sport. It's a part of it and yes....in most cases it will hurt and you will suffer :) But that's ok, cause it's mountain biking. And speaking of suffering....
  • Find your "suffer zone" and get comfortable in it. This is specific to climbs. When you do find it, it's an awesome feeling to know you are that in control of your body.
  • Climb, climb, climb.
  • Don't be afraid to let go of the brakes a little more ;). Pay attention to your lines and you'll find that at times it's MUCH safer to commit and let go of those brakes to get to the next waypoint of the descent.
  • If you're riding with a faster/more technical group, let them go ahead if you need to recover. Don't be a daredevil and waste all your steam keeping/catching up; then when time comes to descend, you can't focus properly cause you're too tired and recovering in overdrive. This is how accidents happen.
  • Check your tire pressure before every ride - it's totally worth not getting a pinch flat.
  • Check your gear before you leave the house - it sucks to leave your helmet at home, an hour away....I've done this and it SUCKS.
  • Bring some latex gloves in your pack - really helps when you have to make repairs in the field and not get your hands all greasy. No bueno.
  • If you haven't yet, try night riding with a group - It's AWESOME.
  • Sometimes going out on a day that you think you shouldn't produces surprises - I mean this in the physical sense. Fatigue sometimes is an indicator to go on that additional ride and push your limits. You might notice later on that it's not fatigue but your mind playing tricks on you ;)
  • Take a "skills class". Does not matter where you are coming from....bmx, road, the circus....It's really helpful and it does wonders for bike-handling. Also makes you a safer rider out there.

Hope this all helps and feel free to ADD to the list!!!! :)

*The only assumption here will be that since you are reading this, and signed up to be a member of this forum, there is a more serious interest to really get into mountain-biking - meaning more than just to buy one to ride around the neighborhood park with your 5 yr-olds :) Then all the above points will mean the most to you.
 

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Nice data dump from the mind :)
I am on month 14 and loveIT!
Brought my bike to work today, RIDE RIDE!!

One thing to add that has helped me with my mental issues trying to improve my overall balance for jumps and technical riding is watching U-Tube videos about "how to" from riding skils to bike repairs or mods! Research and Info!! MTBR is a big part of this too!!
THanks, now GO RIDE!!!!!!!
 

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Nice data dump from the mind :)
I am on month 14 and loveIT!
Brought my bike to work today, RIDE RIDE!!

One thing to add that has helped me with my mental issues trying to improve my overall balance for jumps and technical riding is watching U-Tube videos about "how to" from riding skils to bike repairs or mods! Research and Info!! MTBR is a big part of this too!!
THanks, now GO RIDE!!!!!!!
Some of the best skills videos I have watched are from Fabien Barel. Here is one on cornering. He has several other ones out there.

 

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Yup, I have watched him..I think he is from Italy?
Also the "Hey Groovers" guy from MTB tips has alot of videos.
One other dude from Euroupe somewere too...can't remember International Bike News or something like that....?

Ofcorse!! Be careful what you find on the internet..listen to it all and then "use" what works for you. I have learned that just cuz one fella does it one way doesn't mean there are not other viable ways to do the same thing!
 

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I agree with every points listed by the OP, except for the first item which needs to be clarified. I would only get the best bike I can afford when I'm already looking for my upgrade bike...not my very first bike.

The thing is, when you're new you don't know yet which price range is the best you can afford, unless you are starting with an unlimited budget.

When I was looking for my first real mountain bike last summer, I thought the best I could afford was $200. A few days later, it became $300...then $400, and so forth...

Maybe I'm just different, but if I bought a $1500 first bike, I would eventually realize it's still not the best bike I could afford. And it would only delay getting my upgrade bike, because I already spent big money on that first bike. Sell the bike to fund the upgrade? That's not as easy as selling a $500 bike, unless you price it really low and lose big money on it.

My advice to a fellow beginner would be to buy the cheapest but decent first bike. You could get a used one but make sure it's the right size for you. Just don't start with a v-brake...your upgrade bike would likely have a disc brake anyways...better familiarize yourself with one early on.

Here's the reality...No matter what level of bike you start with, you will eventually get an upgrade bike. You would appreciate your upgrade bike better if you start with a cheaper first bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree with every points listed by the OP, except for the first item which needs to be clarified. I would only get the best bike I can afford when I'm already looking for my upgrade bike...not my very first bike.

The thing is, when you're new you don't know yet which price range is the best you can afford, unless you are starting with an unlimited budget.

When I was looking for my first real mountain bike last summer, I thought the best I could afford was $200. A few days later, it became $300...then $400, and so forth...

Maybe I'm just different, but if I bought a $1500 first bike, I would eventually realize it's still not the best bike I could afford. And it would only delay getting my upgrade bike, because I already spent big money on that first bike. Sell the bike to fund the upgrade? That's not as easy as selling a $500 bike, unless you price it really low and lose big money on it.

My advice to a fellow beginner would be to buy the cheapest but decent first bike. You could get a used one but make sure it's the right size for you. Just don't start with a v-brake...your upgrade bike would likely have a disc brake anyways...better familiarize yourself with one early on.

Here's the reality...No matter what level of bike you start with, you will eventually get an upgrade bike. You would appreciate your upgrade bike better if you start with a cheaper first bike.
I completely agree and stand corrected. This is actually what I meant to convey. You are correct and I actually went that exact route. I bought my Trek 4300 first as a "hmm....low cost to entry" bike, then upgraded to the Trek Fuel EX 7. As you said - I really appreciated my "upgrade bike" so much more. Had I not gotten the 4300 first I would not have had the experience and better level of enjoyment as I do with my EX 7.
 

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WElllllll not allways should one start with a cheep bike.. Maybe true if you are brand new to the sport. But if your like me and spent the first 1/3 of my life on BMX thenMTB into my 20s..got married had kids bla bla bla 15 years gone....getting back into it I kinda allready know what I like..sure alot has changed..we never had Hydro brakes HA! disk brakes too LOL and anyone with a RockShock was the same guy that had one of thoes HUGE Cell phones with a portable battery pack LOL
Anyway, my point is some of us riders are garage bike builder/upgraders and have enough skill to build and upgrade as your mind and body starts to require MORE bike for MORE fun = MORE parts not a different bike....I'll keep my Hardtail for EVVERRR
 

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Don't underestimate how many calories you will need....as a beginner I didn't realize how many calories mountain biking burns and it took me a long time to figure out why I was always getting so hungry and weak on rides. :(

(And how much hydration/water you will need.)
 

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I'd like to add that you should bring a map or have the trail memorized! Right after I got my bike, I went out on a lonnnggg ride that started with around 700ft elevation drop. I blitzed past several forks in the path, and then about 90 minutes in, I realized I had no idea where I was. No cell phone reception to check Google Maps either. I ran out of water and temperature was in the mid 80s. I wasn't conditioned to do steep climbs yet, and I ended up going further in the wrong direction and getting even more tired. Finally ended up in some guy's back yard about 15 miles from where I parked my car. Made it out ok, but if it had taken much longer, I was almost ready to abandon the bike and walk out.
 

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I'd add-

Go to a grassy, soft area and do goofy stuff. Figure out how to bunny hop, what it truly means to preload a fork, and LEARN HOW TO FALL SAFELY! There are two types of riders, those that have crashed and those that are lying about it. Can't tell you how many people I saw in the AF ER with broken wrists/collarbones from not knowing how to fall properly. And the more you goof around doing stupid stuff in a safe area, the more comfortable you will be when it comes time to do something like that for real.

John
 

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I'd like to add that you should bring a map or have the trail memorized! Right after I got my bike, I went out on a lonnnggg ride that started with around 700ft elevation drop. I blitzed past several forks in the path, and then about 90 minutes in, I realized I had no idea where I was. No cell phone reception to check Google Maps either. I ran out of water and temperature was in the mid 80s. I wasn't conditioned to do steep climbs yet, and I ended up going further in the wrong direction and getting even more tired. Finally ended up in some guy's back yard about 15 miles from where I parked my car. Made it out ok, but if it had taken much longer, I was almost ready to abandon the bike and walk out.
:) This is what it used to be like all the time bitd - grab your bike, go to someplace that you heard had trails, or that seems likely to have some, and just start riding and see what happens. To this day I've never used a GPS or any sort of electronic map while riding; I don't carry any electronics besides a flip-phone just in case. I still like to learn trails the old fashioned way - either get a tour from somebody in the know, or just go and get lost a whole bunch of times 'til I figure it out. Had more great times than I can count doing it that way.

Seems to me, mountain biking has outgrown a lot of the exploration and adventure that used to be a big part of the experience. My advice to beginners is don't hesitate to just go ride and explore and get lost sometimes. There's nothing like stumbling onto some fun trails in unlikely places, or linking together a bunch of smaller trail sections around town, or even getting hopelessly lost and riding in circles miles from where you want to be as the light fades and the rain starts. Sometimes it's fun to just 'GO', even though you're not sure where you're headed or how exactly how you're going to get back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
:) This is what it used to be like all the time bitd - grab your bike, go to someplace that you heard had trails, or that seems likely to have some, and just start riding and see what happens. To this day I've never used a GPS or any sort of electronic map while riding; I don't carry any electronics besides a flip-phone just in case. I still like to learn trails the old fashioned way - either get a tour from somebody in the know, or just go and get lost a whole bunch of times 'til I figure it out. Had more great times than I can count doing it that way.

Seems to me, mountain biking has outgrown a lot of the exploration and adventure that used to be a big part of the experience. My advice to beginners is don't hesitate to just go ride and explore and get lost sometimes. There's nothing like stumbling onto some fun trails in unlikely places, or linking together a bunch of smaller trail sections around town, or even getting hopelessly lost and riding in circles miles from where you want to be as the light fades and the rain starts. Sometimes it's fun to just 'GO', even though you're not sure where you're headed or how exactly how you're going to get back.
I totally need to do more "getting lost" and just enjoying the journey :)
 
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