Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB beginners

How do I get started?

Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Posts: 21
edited May 2016 in MTB beginners
Well, I'm assuming to get started I just peddle, but I think there's more to it than that.

I'm hoping for some help. After seeing some kids riding around on mountain bikes over the weekend and riders on trails when I'm out and about climbing I'm thinking it may be something I enjoy.

I'm no stranger to being on a bike, my commute is about 10 miles each way and is tackled most days on a flat bar road bike, an Eastway FB 4.0. I tried a cyclocross for a while but couldn't get used to the drops, my tiny hands struggled to pull the brakes even after adjusting them! Whilst I enjoy the open air and the exercise it's not really fun battling my way through busy cities, stopping at countless lights and dodging homicidal drivers.

That's why I like the idea of mountain biking; it looks fun. As a kid living in the lakes I used to love darting through forests and over tree roots.

As it is though I'm completely naive and green on the subject. I don't have any friends who mountain bike and I don't REALLY know where I can do it. When it comes to climbing there's a handy website that's got a list of crags and routes, and I can buy guidebooks that give me their grades and more details. How does it work with mountain biking? How do I know where to go? A big factor in me pulling the trigger on the bike is having somewhere near-ish to me (I'm in Castleford, south of Leeds).

What kind of bike do I get? I've been looking at a hardtail, probably this one: ... -16-49992/

I've already got a hydration pack, repair kits, current bike I've fitted SPD pedals too so would probably grab a pair for the mountain bike (if advisable for a newbie). Is there anything extra specific to mountain biking I'd need to pick up save the bike itself?

I'm prodding about on this site a lot at the moment trying to educate myself from the various FAQs but any help you guys can provide is very welcome! Thanks in advance.


  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    The Incline is a decent starter bike, even though it has a couple of silly flaws, also look at Decathlon's and Go-outdoors offerings.

    SPD's are a must for me, others swear by flat pedals and the right shoes/

    Have a look round your local area for clubs, Facebook can be a good way to find them (even if via selling websites which proliferate).

    Our own Supersonic is from your neck of the woods and I'm sure will chip in soon.
  • darren636darren636 Posts: 102

    I've been mountain biking since I was a kid in the 80's

    I never learned tricks or jumps- we. Just went faster and faster til someone got hurt :-)

    If you're wanting fun and comfort - get a full suspension, I didn't with my last purchase- but I really wish I did !
    m-trax ti 1000- back when i was rubbish.
    evo 8 - i am continuing to be rubbish.
  • Buy a bike, find a trail centre close and go ride! It's a good start. Gives you flexibility to ride when you can without having to arrange with others. Once you're happy with being on a bike again, facebook/forums and talk to anyone who is at the trail centre and not moving!
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Posts: 21
    Rather naively I didn't even know what trail centres were until a quick google :D Dalby Forest is probably the closest about 2 hours away. Will have to try and get a full day away from the wife and daughter to head over there.

    Thanks for the advice up to now guys, any more is appreciated :)
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    Mr_Grinch wrote:
    Will have to try and get a full day away from the wife and daughter to head over there.


    This , fitness and the open air is what mountain biking is about. Good luck and enjoy. Also get an OS map of where you live, there will be tracks and trails there which can make for some local fun too.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • JGTRJGTR Posts: 1,404
    Hell you don't need trail centres, just get out and explore. I ride my local footpaths, takes a bit of time/trial and error to get to know your routes but you'd be surprised what you have right on your door step. I used to do a weekend group ride round Southend, best part of 2 hours linking up different sections/housing estates/golf courses/foot paths etc. I live in South Essex but an ride XC from my house for a good 25+ miles.

    Saying that trail centres are awesome fun.
  • That's true JGTR but the Advantage of a trail centre though is its easy. Other than the fact you can 'just' stick to walking trails/fire roads to help get a simple start, you have easy to find trails with many levels of difficulty. Should make starting out easy as pie
  • i remember being this new - and its still a learning curve! its such a fun time.

    What I did to start (I used to MTB then stopped and now I've started again) Is find a local trail, and just cycle at your pace, you will notice a difference in how you start to approach the trail as you grow in confidence, and ability.

    I have Cathkin Braes next to me, Carron Valley and I'm an hour away from Glentress so im very lucky.

    Look for a club in your local area, google, Meetup app (I used this at the start of the year and ended up on a 3 day bike maintenance course that has been invaluable to me), other forums and this one also.

    Get to meet people, and join some facebook sites - MTB enthusiasts, etc............ are all really good for a beginner.

    As far as bikes are concerned - stick with a budget, a lot of people will say get a Full suspension and if thats what you want why the hell not, me personally I have a hardtail - and I love it.

    Its not about the bike its about getting out and enjoying yourself, having fun and learning, falling off working out why you feel off and not doing it again! and in the process trying not to brake any bones!

    Decathalon do some decent starter bikes, both hardtails and they also do a decent full suspension - and the immortal words I got given to me by a good friend a while ago - "the frame is a canvas, upgrade, upgrade and then upgrade somemore" then sell it, get a new bike and start all over again, its half the fun, and to give you an example of what I mean, this week, I am fitting :-

    hydraulic brakes
    Changing the rotors
    changing my 3x front ring to a 1x Front narrow/wide ring
    Replacing a rear cassette from 8 to 10 rings
    Replacing the rear mech from an altus to a zee
    Replacing my shifter from an altus to a Zee
    Replacing my Grips for lock ons

    Ive not even got round to getting a dropper post and a new set of forks yet!

    I only got my bike in January! lol
  • bigmitch41bigmitch41 Posts: 684
    Have a look on youtube, the Global Mountain Bike Network have loads of short videos on Maintenance, bikes, riding and kit etc, lots of really useful advice from fixing a puncture to learning how to manual...
    2010 Specialized Tricross (commuter)
    2014 Whyte T129-S
    2016 Specialized Tarmac Ultegra Di2
    Big Mitch - YouTube
  • kickaxekickaxe Posts: 446
    bigmitch41 wrote:
    Have a look on youtube, the Global Mountain Bike Network have loads of short videos on Maintenance, bikes, riding and kit etc, lots of really useful advice from fixing a puncture to learning how to manual...

    GMBN is easily the best MTB channel out there!
    -Cube Acid 29" 2013
    -A new Giant Trance 3 2015!
  • I enjoy being in this forum very much, lots of knowledge here but as a newbie / amateur I think it's easy to read too much into things, I've found myself questioning many things and almost talking myself into gear that I don't need!

    By a bike, get out on it, enjoy it, buy / upgrade as you see fit!

    I'm going to use golf as an anallegy, I played for years and loved it...

    I've lost count of the number of times I've seen blokes with grands worth of kit including clubs, balls, trolleys, bags, shoes, gps and other gizmos. Absolutley no idea how to use it and hating every minute they spend on the course; tearing their hair out.

    Keep it simple and enjoy it for what it is.

    Seconded on GMBN too... Although they make me & my kit feel very inferior!
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Posts: 21
    Thanks guys, advice much appreciated, pretty much sold on picking one up now. Maintenance and stuff isn't too much of an issue given I do about 20 miles on a road bike each day so I'm pretty familiar with punctures and looking after stuff (though obviously no suspension on my road).

    Now to decide between the Incline and the 560
  • StibbsStibbs Posts: 10
    What did u get?
  • RichardSmartRichardSmart Posts: 387
    If you can afford it, I'd definitely go for a bike with hydraulic disc brakes - the difference between them and rim brakes is quite substantial, particularly in the wet. Of course you could always go for a higher-spec bike with worse brakes, but I think that that would be a bit of a false economy. They really make a big difference, especially for the confidence they give you in the rain - of course you could just not go riding in the rain but either way, if it was my money, I wouldn't even look at a bike with rim brakes or even mechanical discs. Why not get yourself to somewhere like Glentress, where you will be able to test out a few bikes in an ideal environment?

    Happy shopping!
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    What 'higher spec' bikes come with rim brakes?

    It's the 21st century.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • buddy_clubbuddy_club Posts: 935
    Think RichardSmart has been not so smart and is talking about road bikes??
    Handbuilt Steel 29er
    Carbon Stumpjumper
    Ribble Gran Fondo
  • RichardSmartRichardSmart Posts: 387
    I would definitely recommend clipless pedals for mountain biking (unless you're going to try downhill racing or 4X) - they are much more efficient (because you can add energy to your pedals both up and down) and you soon get used to clipping in and out as you start and stop...
  • kickaxekickaxe Posts: 446
    I think RichSmart is lost.
    -Cube Acid 29" 2013
    -A new Giant Trance 3 2015!
Sign In or Register to comment.