1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    Mountain Bike Learing Curve

    I have been riding road bikes seriously for over 15 years. I probably crash once a year but not every time I ride. How can I lessen the steep learning curve and save my knees and elbows. I had my bike fitted and adjusted by local guru, watched videos and ridden with better riders. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Hit everything with your mountain bike you avoided with your road bike.(maybe not the cars)


    In all seriousness, I've practiced riding around my yard bunny hopping on and off the curb learning how to do a front wheel stand in the grass and riding manuals in the soft grass as well.

    Ive only been riding a few times on the trails, but i go out in the yard 30-45 minutes every night and just mess around and I fell liked Ive improved a lot.

  3. #3
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    What kind of situations are causing you problems?
    Here's a vid on cornering. Running down a grassy hill for practice all day imprints the moves and developes balance without the hard falls.
    Cornering with Fabien Barel - YouTube

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DG73 View Post
    Hit everything with your mountain bike you avoided with your road bike.(maybe not the cars)
    lol awesome advice, you cracked me up with this ;p

  5. #5
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    Crashing on dirt tends to hurt a LOT less than a road crash.

    Just dont ride beyond your skill level and you'll be fine. Just remember to take it easy, and walk your bike if you're not comfortable riding something.

  6. #6
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    Falling is okay. No matter how good you are, it's going to happen. And if you never fall, you might not be challenging yourself enough.

    I'm by no means a pro, but I consider myself more than a beginner. I went out on a longish ride today and fell 3 times. All low speed falls, I just tried some technical obstacles that I couldn't quite clear No biggie.

    But yeah, there are TONS of great videos on youtube. I like mtbtips.com, I think his videos are informative while being short and decent quality. You can go to the site or just search mtb tips on youtube. It's the ones with the Australian guy.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Crashing on dirt tends to hurt a LOT less than a road crash.
    I dunno, whenever I fall it always seems to be onto the nearest rock or into the nearest thorn bush! At least they're all low speed falls anyway, lol.

  8. #8
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    Re: Mountain Bike Learing Curve

    Ride trails that her progressively more technical, west pads when you need it. Conquering and improving technically is where the fun is at.

  9. #9
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    Adopt. Last ride I "walked" out off the bike a few times. It would be an awkward movement where you try to land on a safe position. Also, do not get distracted by things while on the bike. The same last ride I tried to adjust the fork and a rock stopped the bike and I landed my leg on a another rock, which in turn got me off the bike for two weeks and several stitches. Of course, that ride was outside my skills' level, and hence the multiple crashes. And yes, get some protective gear, I got mine afterward.
    2009 Stumpjumper Comp HT.
    An old Trek 820 ST.

  10. #10
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    Do you really crash your road bike that often?

    Mountain biking should help with that. What sorts of things give you trouble on the road?

    I think people tend to fall more on their mountain bikes when they go too fast or when they try to do things beyond their ability, either because of overconfidence or masochism or because of peer pressure. Start with easy trails and work up. At least, to the extent you can get usable information about the trails in your area.

    I fell a lot when I was in college. In retrospect, there were three things I was doing to cause that - I was going too fast - basically substituting speed for technique, I didn't have a good sense of the limits of the traction my tires had (and wasn't relaxed enough on the bike to recover well when the skidded) and I was insisting on using pretty narrow tires - 2.1" in front and 1.8" in the back, so difficult even to buy off-road tires that narrow anymore - and with too much pressure. It added up to a pretty unforgiving bike, and I wasn't riding it like a person who wanted to keep his skin pretty.

    Since you're most likely going to fall sometimes to begin with whatever you do, you might consider forearm guards and knee/shin guards. Get the lightest you can find unless you ride someplace rocky.

    What else... in my more crash-prone period, I think it saved me some pain to be relatively good at a shoulder roll. If you come off your bike relaxed and know how to do a shoulder roll, your body will do that when appropriate. Or at least, that was my experience. Even if you don't do some kind of fancy roll, though, being relaxed when you fall, rather than trying to stop yourself or catch yourself, is less likely to get you hurt, I think.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    I got tired of bloody knees, so I wear a pair of leg warmers, doubled over my knees.

    But like Andrw says, proper falling technique is important. I had some judo training, and I think that helps me a lot in minimizing damage when I go down.

  12. #12
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    Buy this book: Mastering Mountain Bike Skills - 2nd Edition: Brian Lopes, Lee McCormack: 9780736083713: Amazon.com: Books

    Guaranteed to help lesson your learning curve. I've been riding off road since the 80's and still found several useful tips to improve my riding and clean up some bad habits...and now it's making the rounds among all my friends I've brought into the sport so they'll be able to hang with me on future rides.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Crashing on dirt tends to hurt a LOT less than a road crash.

    Just dont ride beyond your skill level and you'll be fine. Just remember to take it easy, and walk your bike if you're not comfortable riding something.
    For me (also a long time roadie who's dabbled off and on with MTB over the years but never progressed beyond beginner), the psychological aspect is just as important as, if not more important than, the physical aspect. I tried some trails this weekend that were, to be honest, a bit beyond my skill level, and I walked around a LOT of the obstacles. It became apparent quite quickly that this particular trail wasn't really something for which I was wholly ready, and it's taken a few falls for me just to accept the simple truth that fewer injuries == more time on the bike == more fun. I've sadly got a bit of aging jock syndrome, which leads me to try things I have no business attempting, and working past that and accepting limitations has actually helped me become a better rider.

    So as a result, one thing I'll often do is go to my local trail system and just do laps of the "bunny trail," trying to ride it as cleanly and smoothly as I can - I figure I'll improve a lot more by working on doing the simple things well than by throwing myself into stuff that I have perhaps a 10% chance of completing successfully right now.

    YMMV.

  14. #14
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    Firstly. Don't fear the falling. Best to ride with flats right now so you can you can put a foot out and catch a fall before it happens. I probably put a foot down 100-200 times for every time I fall. And crash? That is rare.

    The key is balance and a little speed. The bike will roll over stuff you had not idea you could and since you are rider you can probably tackle a lot more than your brain will let you. Is there are certain skill that your are lacking or a certain type of trail feature that is the challenge?
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I think people tend to fall more on their mountain bikes when they go too fast or when they try to do things beyond their ability, either because of overconfidence or masochism or because of peer pressure. Start with easy trails and work up. At least, to the extent you can get usable information about the trails in your area.
    I keep crashing my bike to teach it a lesson.. I'm a sadist :S

  16. #16
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    For whatever it's worth, I've been mountain biking for over 20 years, and I believe That I crash more now than I did as a beginner! Perhaps as experience and confidence grow, I take more risks, (and have more fun!), or it's the fact that since I got a Gopro, I try to turn my rides up to "11", to get that awesome vid! Keep at it, and don't sweat the crashes; they will happen, and they "usually" do not hurt. Been over the bars in the high double digits myself, with no issues.

  17. #17
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    You've simply got to increase your confidence, and you do that with improving your skills. Every rider has a "bag of tricks" that they've learned to employ while riding. Sometimes these tricks (skills) help them to go faster, sometimes, they save their ass.

    We could create a 20-page thread with tips and suggestions, but ultimately, its got to become intuitive to you. If you want to do something at home to help your riding, practice riding as slow as you can. Work on balance. I remember reading Ned Overend's book "Mountain Bike Like a Champion" back in the 90's, and he said that he and his son used to have "slow-races". He'd set up a small course with cones and see who could go the slowest around it.

    I've gotten out in my garage on rainy days and done this with two cones doing figure-8's. As boring as it sounds, it's really pretty fun. IMHO, your slow-speed skills, make you as a mountain biker. I promise you that the skills you develop while riding at a snail's pace will come in handy when you stall-out at the top of a steep rise, or when you're trying to negotiate that nasty switchback, or that downed tree in the trail.

    Hang in there. My friends and I have been riding for 15-20 years and we all still crash every once-in-awhile.

    Good luck!

  18. #18
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    Stop sitting on your seat and everything gets easier

  19. #19
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    Aside from being on a bike there's not a lot in common between MTB and road skills. Try a flat land turn off-road using road technique and you are going down fast. That's just one example of many.

    I highly recommend a MTB skills class. It's an excellent way to build the foundation.

    If not a live class, definitely invest in some instructional books & videos. MTB like a champion by Ned Overend is a good one for beginners. The book actually packs in a lot more good info but it helps to see the skills and drills in action as well.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten." - Benjamin Franklin

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