Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
21 - 40 of 65 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
The number 1 skill is clearly how to push that dropper lever with your left thumb.
Because without a dropper, you can't ride a mountain bike. At all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,560 Posts
The #1 skill set is trail etiquette.
#2 is drinking beer or something or other.

Below that I might agree on the ability to pick lines but I'm not so sure I would describe that as a skill set or innate ability.

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
32,576 Posts
Below that I might agree on the ability to pick lines but I'm not so sure I would describe that as a skill set or innate ability.
It very much is a skill. A very important one that develops with your other skills. It's a mental skill, however, not a physical one.

It goes along with scanning the trail as others have mentioned, and processing all of the inputs from your bike and what you see farther down the trail. You can help your decision-making by looking farther down the trail and giving yourself more time/distance to process, but the more you do it, the faster you'll be able to process given inputs and make more rapid decisions. Sometimes if you can't process the trail fast enough while riding, you need to stop and scope it out on foot to plan your line as well as how you plan to ride it.

That said, I agree with others who are saying that there's no single most important skill. There's a handful that all rank highly and it's really difficult to tease out any single one as being more important than the others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Which is it?

Learning to drop? Jumping? Riding with a high seatpost? (Ha!) Shifting? Bunny hopping? Cornering? Braking? Weight transfer? Bike maintenance?

While any / all of these skills may be important, there's one skill not mentioned above that exceeds the rest.

The subject of which mountain biking skill is #1 came up a year or two ago here on MTBR. In that thread I bullied my opinion to the front by insisting (frequently and loudly -- sorry about that) that mountain biking's #1 skill is line picking. I've always felt strongly about line picking and I still do. It's fundamental. Skill basics are what the best riders always return to -- understanding & implementing basics is the foundation of skill development & confidence.

Obviously line execution follows line picking but we can't execute what we don't see. First, perceive. Then commit. Then execute.

If you've got 20 minutes, Ben Cathro explains line picking (and execution) really well in this vid, which I was exposed to this morning via Pinkbike.


=sParty
learning lines. which is why a lot of people suggest starting on a hardtail as it makes you pick your lines better to avoid bumps before moving to dual suspension.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
With our NICA kids, the beginners tend to do this: look down and worry about the trail right in front of their tire. The other thing they do is not shift often enough, spinning out on flats and the start of downs, then being unprepared for the climbs until they've lost all momentum. Lastly they won't get out of the saddle often enough for climbs, chunky stuff, etc. They'll stand when they see it's a good bit of downhill coming up, but won't intermittently pop in and out of the saddle.
As someone who rides with young kids fairly often, I can confirm.

The other skills issue is letting the bike move beneath you separate from the rider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
I thought the number #1 skill was having that sweet dentist money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Since I ride for fun, line choice isn’t important to me at all. When possible, I would try to ride all of the lines. They are all fun, just different kind of fun even if the line is slow, awkward and more difficult. For many riders, especially new riders with very limited skills, there really is not much of a choice.

looking all of the recent posts on the forum, I‘d say “bike choices” seem to be highly important for many people.
 

·
Registered
Obsessively progressing
Joined
·
261 Posts
Since I ride for fun, line choice isn’t important to me at all. When possible, I would try to ride all of the lines. They are all fun, just different kind of fun even if the line is slow, awkward and more difficult. For many riders, especially new riders with very limited skills, there really is not much of a choice.

looking all of the recent posts on the forum, I‘d say “bike choices” seem to be highly important for many people.
I like riding alternate lines, as in a trail around the trail, etc. However here for me I think "line choice" is referring to "don't ride right over that giant root when you can go 6" to the left and be on smooth track"...In other words, constantly bashing the obstacles robs power, beats you up a little more, etc.
 

·
Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
Joined
·
13,413 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
I like riding alternate lines, as in a trail around the trail, etc. However here I think "line choice" is referring to "don't ride right over that giant root when you can go 6" to the left and be on smooth track"...In other words, constantly bashing the obstacles robs power, beats you up a little more, etc.
Actually, no. I mean if you're saying that my OP was implying "line choice" is referring to "don't ride right over that giant root when you can go 6" to the left and be on smooth track" -- no it wasn't.

What my OP was saying is learn to ride whichever line you want. Easy, hard, smooth, rocky, crazy, impossible, whatever -- any line you choose is the line you choose and that's line picking. Personally I often attempt the more challenging lines simply because that's the level I ride at. I typically find easy lines boring and more challenging lines entertaining.

Line picking can elevate other facets of a rider's ability because there are easy lines and there are hard lines. I'm not advocating either. I'm advocating each rider making his/her own choice about challenging themselves and thereby growing as a rider. Most riders start out looking for the easiest way through. Hopefully the time comes when they begin to find reward in considering other available lines -- the challenging ones.
=sParty

P.S. I'm not talking about trail braiding. Watch the vid and you'll see what I mean. It's one trail with practically infinite lines because of all the natural features imbedded into the tread. As Ben Cathro says in the vid, there's safe, fast or fun lines. And there are other challenging lines, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,422 Posts
#1 skill is knowing how to crash.

If you know how to crash, you're not (as) afraid to crash, and if you're not afraid to crash, you're not afraid to ride.
 

·
Registered
Status 140, NS Suburban
Joined
·
428 Posts
Number one - have fun, all other skills come after, in case u enjoy mtb - u will progress, otherwise will be fighting towards success with much joy

There multiple disciplines from trial to trail from bmx to downhill


Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Doing your own maintenance has been key for me. Especially coming back to the hobby at a bad time with all the bike shops backed up.

Picking lines depends on my mood. Somedays I want to hit every rock and root in my path, other times, I prefer to take the path of least resistance.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
37,060 Posts
Weight shift.

That's how you get over almost everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,959 Posts
Lastly they won't get out of the saddle often enough for climbs, chunky stuff, etc. They'll stand when they see it's a good bit of downhill coming up, but won't intermittently pop in and out of the saddle.
Having kids who are just learning to ride, I also wanted to mention this. It's pretty fundamental to doing tricks on a bike but it's not fundamental or intuitive for just getting down the road.
 

·
Registered
Obsessively progressing
Joined
·
261 Posts
Having kids who are just learning to ride, I also wanted to mention this. It's pretty fundamental to doing tricks on a bike but it's not fundamental or intuitive for just getting down the road.
Not sure, are you disagreeing with me, or adding to what I said?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Picking lines depends on my mood. Somedays I want to hit every rock and root in my path, other times, I prefer to take the path of least resistance.
this.

and the mood follows the condition of the bod and how many times I've been thru a section that day. Some days find a dude getting increasingly warmed up and feelin' chipper over the course of a day and others tiiiiiired a.f. and slugging around like a punch drunk fighter toward the end of the ride.
 

·
furker
Joined
·
520 Posts
My biggest thing for racing is visualizing and memorizing the lines. So I'm not as much looking far down the trail with my eyes, as looking far down the trail with my mind.

I break the whole trail down into distinct sections in my mind, and each section has a story I playback in my head. I'm replaying short movies of all the individual lines I'm approaching on multiple split-screens in my head, and splicing together all the lines with entry and exit points.

Then let go of your body and let the lizard brain control the bike. I know I'm in the zone when all I'm thinking is entry/line/exit, entry/line/exit, entry/line/exit. Then when the trail tosses the bike around I'll find myself thinking "how did I just ride through that?" after my body has already reacted before I had time to really think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
I'm going to thoroughly disagree. #1 is being able to balance on the bike without falling over.

All kidding aside one thing I noticed when looking at the worn in track on my local trails is that I think the novice riders don't see or understand how to use the structure in the trail for traction. Middle of the trail is obviously worn in from traffic while there are structures on the edges of the trail you can use to aid traction but they are obviously seldom used.
The local trails around here you slip off those edges into sand and crash. 🙃
 
21 - 40 of 65 Posts
Top