What MTB Skills Should You Learn First?

If you’ve just purchased your first mountain bike and are starting to explore the sport, you might be wondering what skills you should learn first. The truth is there are many different skills to learn, and each is best learned at a different pace. However, the basics of riding a mountain bike and MTB skill training are the same. These include bunny hops, rowing and anti-rowing, gear shifts, handling drops, and more.

Shifting gears

Shifting gears is a key element of riding a mountain bike. Whether you are riding a road bike or an XC racer, you will benefit from knowing how to shift your bike’s gears.

A good shift isn’t just about clicking your levers; it involves a bit of anticipation and a good dose of forethought. You’ll want to keep your eyes and ears open while riding, so you won’t miss something dangerous.

While a shiftable lever is an obvious choice, consider an indexing system. These devices work by using an indicator to display the gear you are in. Some require a little extra wrist twist, but the result is a smooth ride-up.

When shifting gears, it’s wise to go for the essential gear, ideally in front of you. This will keep you from fumbling around with the shifter as you ride up a hill.

Bunny hops

Bunny hops are an instrumental skill for mountain bikers. They can be used to clear large obstacles and to keep riders moving at a fast pace. In addition, bunny hops are also fun to do.

To get started, pick a spot safe from any obstacles. Pick a grassy area for a soft landing. If possible, try to fall uphill.

Bunny hops are relatively easy to do but require plenty of practice. Start with small objects, and work your way up to more significant obstacles. Be sure to practice on trails or do some pieces of training, as it will help you to develop your skills.

A bunny hop involves pushing your handlebars forward while lifting your rear wheel off the ground. Lift the front wheel off the ground first, and then use your body weight to lift the back wheel off the ground. This will give you the momentum you need to get over the obstacle.

Rowing and Anti-Rowing

If you are new to the sport, you may have overlooked two MTB skills: Rowing and anti-rowing. Both are critical for success and can improve speed, control, and braking. They are also fun and challenging but do not require any particular physical condition. You can also look for help from trainers like those at Train to Ride to help you develop those skills.

Rowing is a great way to get fit while having fun at the same time. There are several techniques, but the most important is pushing your handlebar forward while maintaining momentum. This can be done by adjusting your hip hinge.

In addition, the most significant aid to traction is increased weight. A knobby tire helps. You also need a solid support base to keep your bike in place.

While rowing and anti-rowing are two MTB skills you’ll want to master, there are dozens more you can improve on. The best way to do it is to have a supportive coaching staff that helps you set goals and tackle challenges at your skill level.

Handling drops

The ability to ride off drops is a critical skill. This is because the majority of crashes happen after the drop. In addition, the penalties for failure are massive. It’s important to keep your head clear and to look where you want to go.

The first step to developing your skills is to practice them. Practicing on a level surface will give you a better idea of how to handle them. Once you feel comfortable, it’s time to hit the trails. You can start by taking your bike out on a curb or a street curb.

When approaching a drop, it’s a good idea to bend your knees to absorb impact. This will allow you to get the front wheel off the ground without getting your legs too close to the ground. After the front wheel is off the ground, you’ll need to pull back on the handlebars to unweight the front end.



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