3 Easy Mountain Bike Tricks For Beginners
By: Amanda Wilks |
If you’re new to mountain biking, you’re probably wishing you could already do advanced MTB tricks to impress your friends and onlookers. While getting proficient at advanced skills takes a lot of practice and a lot of trial and error, there are still a few skills that you can start working on immediately.
Of course, before you start working on the following tricks, you’ll need to make sure you have a mountain bike that handles well and that you’re comfortable riding. Even if you’re working with a tight budget, you can still get a quality mountain bike for under $500. Finding the best mountain bikes for women may be slightly harder, as there are fewer women’s bikes made. However, the only major difference between women’s bikes and men’s bikes is that women’s bikes tend to be shorter and more ergonomic on average.
Once you have a bike and are accustomed to riding it, you’ll be ready to start mastering tricks. Below, we’ll look at three easy tricks that even those new to the MTB scene will be excited to start working on.
1. Endo & Endo Turn
An endo involves rolling on the front wheel of your bike with the rear wheel in the air. This is a trick that, like many MTB tricks, involves a good bit of trial and error. To do an endo, you’ll need to apply slight pressure to your front brake, stand in the pedals, and move your weight forward in order to get the back end of the bike off the ground. Finding the exact balance of shifting weight and braking may take some time, and it’s wise to start by practicing on grass in case you go over the bars.
Seth of Seth’s Bike Hacks explains that, once you’ve mastered the endo, you can move on to an endo turn, which can be a great way to get around sharp curves on the trail. When you’re doing an endo, you can move into a turn by using your weight to swing the back end of the bike as it’s in the air. Doing this while the front wheel is on the ground can be difficult at first, but it’s a good way to get around a corner or other tight turn.
2. Side Hop
Being able to hop to the side on a mountain bike looks cool, but it also can be useful when you’re out on the trail and need to clear an obstacle, get out of a rut in the trail, or otherwise move sideways. The Global Mountain Bike Network explains that a side hop is much like a bunny hop with an added twist.
To side hop, first sink your weight into the pedals. You’ll then need to pop up, using your weight and a pull on the handlebars to get the front wheel to clear. As the front wheel leaves the ground, be sure to twist it in the direction you’re trying to go. As the front wheel leaves the ground, you’ll need to use your weight again to get the rear wheel to clear, and then use your legs to swing the rear wheel over the obstacle. Because this trick can be a bit tough to learn, it may be helpful to practice jumping a line on the ground so you won’t need to worry about falling if you hit it by mistake.
3. Wall or Bank Ride
If you ride at bike parks or are near trails with walls or other steep banks, this trick looks impressive and lets you demonstrate balance and control. Chris Smith, a UK-based cyclist, advises riders to break this trick up into a few steps: the approach, the preparation, the angle, the ride along the wall, and the landing.
Just like you do with a bunny hop or endo, you’ll need to experiment a bit to center your weight appropriately for this trick. You’ll want to start with a less steep bank for your first wall ride, and as you get more proficient, you can move up to even 90-degree embankments. As you approach, set your pedals level and keep your weight central but slightly toward the rear of the bike. To get the bike up on the embankment, you’ll need to pull the bars slightly to lift the front wheel.
Then, as you have the wheels on the wall, you’ll need to focus on keeping them at at least a 45-degree angle. If you think about riding along the wall and pressing the wheel into it, you’ll be less likely to slip or fall. When coming off the wall or embankment, you’ll need to shift your weight slightly forward.
All of the above MTB tricks are extremely useful for beginners, but they also will be useful as you begin to attempt more difficult tricks. When practicing new tricks, remember to be cautious and to have patience – mastering each new trick will involve trying different things and experimenting with braking and shifting your weight. If you’re determined and keep practicing, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to learn these simple tricks and many other skills. Having the right bike also helps – whether you’re a man or woman, make sure you get a bike that fits your height, weight and overall build. And above all, have fun! There’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying the trails with your newly mastered skills!