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Mountain bike skills: everything you need to know in one place

Mountain bike skills
(Image credit: Boris Beyer / Red Bull Content Poo)

At Bike Perfect we strive to bring you the best advice so you can level up your mountain bike skills. Whether you are new to the sport or have been riding for a long time, we have guides and features to help you brush up on your riding technique, tune-up your mechanical skills or assist your trail-building dreams. This hub will serve as Bike Perfect's fountain of knowledge for all the most important mountain bike skills.

Before we give you a rundown of all Bike Perfect's mountain bike skills content, if you are planning to go mountain biking for the first time be sure to read our guide on how to start mountain biking. It gives a run-down of things to consider to make your entry into mountain biking as enjoyable as possible. While you are at it, you should definitely check out our tips for beginner mountain bikers which covers some key points around bike setup, riding techniques and nutrition. 

We specialize in tech at Bike Perfect so, of course, have a wide selection of tech advice from the best mountain bikes money can buy to the best MIPS mountain bike helmets to keep you safe

Choosing where to ride is also important and we have a very in-depth guide to all the different types of mountain bike trails. Finally, if you are wondering what everyone is talking about, we even have a dictionary of mountain bike slang so you will know the difference between a schralp and a rail.

Norco Range 2022

(Image credit: Norco / Robin O’Neill)

If you are a beginner or more experienced rider, there are always new things to learn. Whether you want to ride faster, more controlled or in different conditions, brushing up on your skills will help make you a better rider. Just dedicating a little time on every ride to practice a skill like cornering or jumping will make a huge difference but only if you know the difference between good technique and bad technique.  The last thing you want to do is learn bad habits so it's important to read up on what you should be doing before going out and practicing it out on the trail.

At Bike Perfect we will be continually producing more mountain bike skills content so stay tuned, or check back here where we'll list a full index of our mountain bike skills features, tech and more. 

Cannondale Jekyll Enduro

(Image credit: Cannondale )

Riding skills

Whether you are new to mountain biking or an experienced rider there is always something new to learn about mountain biking. For many riders, the constant learning and development process of tackling new terrain and conditions is what keeps us grabbing our bikes and hitting the trails every weekend.

Everyone's skill level is different and each individual rider will have personal strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you find jumps intimidating or want to learn to corner faster, breaking down skills and practicing these techniques is key to becoming a well-rounded and confident rider. 

Gear Adjust

(Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Mechanical skills

While learning new riding techniques will serve you well on the trail we mustn't forget that there are other important skills to have in mountain biking. Knowledge of bike mechanic skills is invaluable and will not only help you fix your bike at the side of the trail but also save you money and time. 

It might seem intimidating working on your own bike however start by tackling small jobs and you might be surprised at how easy it is to work on your own bike. You will need to invest in a few tools but luckily 90 per cent of everyday bike mechanics require little more than the absolute basic selection of tools, most of which are found on a run-of-the-mill multi-tool.

Trail building

Probably the most ignored mountain bike skill set is trail building. With so many riders choosing to ride in bike parks, trail centres or other sanctioned trail areas, trail building is no longer the necessity that it once. These increasing predominant riding locations are managed by trail associations and governing bodies that handle much of the heavy lifting.

However, trails require constant maintenance and the majority of trail work is dependant on volunteer help, having some trail-building knowledge will equip you to give back to help keep your local trails running great and give back to the riding community.

Graham Cottingham

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro and, most recently, gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotlands wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect and the muckier side of Cyclingnews 


Rides: Canyon Strive, Surly Karate Monkey, Surly Steamroller, Dolan Seta