Top 20 Common Mountain Biking Myths For 2023 Revealed

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Today we are going to burst some of the common mountain biking myths.

Have you ever thought mountain biking was just a sport? You’re completely wrong! It’s a passion for many.

Mountain biking, like any other sport, has several beliefs that are considered to be true, most of which are passed down like treasured scripture from experienced riders. The only issue is that most of them aren’t accurate.

In reality, some advice can stifle or even derail a rider’s long-term growth. As we know, mountain biking is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Not everyone dares to take dirt on their back and conquer adventurous trails. One must feel the bliss of adrenaline that mountain biking offers before taking account of the common mountain biking myths that are stopping them from experience the sport.

Even experienced road riders hesitate to step into mountain biking and mostly come up with a quick list of reasons why mountain biking isn’t an option. Whether it’s money or time, the barriers always seem too high to overcome.

Now, without further talks let’s dig into some of the common mountain biking myths.

Mountain Biking Myth #1: Mountain Biking is Dangerous

Dangerous Mountain Biking
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Is mountain biking dangerous? With a mortality rate of just about 0.0002%, which is around 2 in 1 million people, mountain biking is not at all a dangerous sport as portrayed by many.

It is a common mountain biking myth that it’s risky. It’s not nearly as dangerous as you would believe.

Most non-cyclists believe that mountain riding is done by crazy adrenaline addicts who ride downhills as quickly as they can, blasting past trees and risking their lives to get there.

Downhill mountain bike racing, for example, may provide that adrenaline; the sport also incorporates other activities like a complete cardio workout that can keep your body healthy and efficient.

Mountain Biking Myth #2: Mountain Bikes Are Extremely Expensive.

common mountain biking myths about expenses
Image Source: Shutterstock

Around the 1890s, before recreational mountain biking originated, basic bikes with a single-speed drivetrain, rim brakes, hardtail, etc. were used as a mode of transportation through the mountain terrains.

Many consider cost as a barrier for stepping into mountain biking. It is a common mountain biking myth that they are extremely expensive to own.

However, with proper research and understanding of your requirements, you can own yourself a mountain bike that meets your purposes without burning a hole in your wallet.

There is a wide range of decent mountain bikes available in the market for as low as below $500. If you are still hesitant, we strongly suggest you rent or borrow one to experience the joy of the sport.

Mountain Biking Myth #3: You Need To Buy Expensive Safety Gear For Mountain Biking.

Mountain Biking Gear
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Another common myth is that you need to buy a lot of riding gear that is expensive. However, this statement is not completely true.

It’s obvious that if you are planning to ride, you will need more than just a bike. Safety has to be your topmost priority before riding a bike.

The helmet is a must for riding as they are vital in keeping your head safe in case of any unforeseen accidents. Apart from helmets, a spare tube and a tire inflator is the most useful item a rider must purchase.

All other cycling gear like riding dress, shoes, safety elbow and knee pads, etc. can be purchased according to personal choice and condition of the track you intend to ride on.

Once you’ve determined that mountain biking is your sport, you’ll need to invest in particular equipment. It is a frequent fallacy that you must purchase everything at the same time.

There’s no need to hurry! We strongly recommend not to compromise on safety equipment and be a responsible rider.

Mountain Biking Myth #4: Mountain Biking Is Hard To Learn?

Common Mountain Biking Myth About Difficulty
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It’s a common mountain biking myth that mastering the sport is a tiresome time-consuming process that requires professional assistance.

The simple answer for this is Ride!

The more you ride, the greater your skill level and fitness will be, as well as the more you will start loving it. You’ll progress rapidly and naturally gain trail sense. You’ll be an expert in no time if you stick with it.

Like any other sport, mountain biking also requires skills that are done either in the wrong way or correct way. The only way to master it is with regular practice and observations.

Professional assistance can make huge improvements in riding skills by receiving proper instructions. Mountain bike coaching has become a well-acclaimed profession.

You may be a phenom or may get lucky but chances are, you’ll do most of it wrong initially or take three times longer to learn.

Thus, getting instruction either through group lessons, individual coaching, through a friend or even instructional videos and books can make a big difference especially if you are seriously passionate about the sport.

Mountain Biking Myth #5: You Can’t Feel Your Back After Long Rides!

Common Mountain Biking Myths About Posture
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Another common myth about mountain biking is that your back will be left in agony after prolonged rides. However, this is not completely true.

Cycling certainly demands vigorous body activity and there will be some strain on your backside if you are a rookie.

Mastering the art of riding posture along with comfortable seat post height adjustment, you will feel extremely comfortable and hassle-free.

A pro tip experienced riders share is that while riding downhill, one must stand up on the pedals, and while riding uphill, one must plant yourself firmly on the seats for an effortless and efficient riding experience.

Mountain Biking Myth #6: All Mountain Bikes Are The Same! It Doesn’t Matter

Different Mountain Biking Types
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The most common legendary mountain biking myth is that bike doesn’t matter, it’s all on the rider’s skill. This statement is completely irrelevant.

All bikes are different and have their characteristics. Everyone differs from one another in terms of usability, performance, comfort, quality, etc. A good bike is much more joyful to the rider than a basic bike.

Bikes must be chosen carefully with proper research, taking into account the factors like your riding style, riding terrain, component performance, usability, etc.

Mountain Biking Myth #7: Short Bikes Are Ideal For Beginners

Common Mountain Biking Myth About Short Bikes
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Short bikes are fun and easy to ride’ is a common mountain biking myth especially among rookie riders who are fairly new into the mountain biking scene.

However comparing the entry-level short and steep models with some high-end performance mountain bikes, it’s evident that they are pretty much the same shape and size except for a few components.

Beginners are always advised to go for trial bikes rather than cross-country models.

Mountain Biking Myth #8: You Should Upgrade To Clipless Pedals As Soon As Possible

Clipless Pedals For Mountain Biking
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Clipless pedals are a common myth among mountain bikers.

You must not rush into upgrading into clipless pedals unless you are an experienced rider. They are fun to use but for novice and intermediate riders, they may be a significant liability.

New riders should start on flat pedals and progress once they’ve developed enough expertise and confidence. Clipless pedals are always much more efficient than regular pedals that usually come pre-equipped on most bikes.

Mountain Biking Myth #9: Never Use The Front Brake Until it’s Extremely Necessary.

Mountain Biking Myths About Front Brakes
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Never using the front brakes are a common mountain biking myth especially among novice riders. They endanger themselves by trying to control the bike just by using the rear brakes.

Front brakes offer a lot of stopping power and control to slow down to safety.

Aggressive sudden rear braking can lead to complete traction loss and tire skidding which can be extremely dangerous in a sudden unforeseen situation.

First, a rider must master using both the brake levers effectively and positioning their upper body while braking.

Mountain Biking Myth #10: You Are Not A Real Mountain Biker Unless You Ride On Adventurous Mountain Trails.

Mountain Biking Trails
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Mountain biking originally started by riding downhill.

Most believe the common mountain biking myth that it’s mandatory to conquer tricky trails irrespective of their experience to be a real hardcore mountain biker. This is dangerous and can cause you some serious damages.

Aspirations are good but not at the stake of safety.

A rider must never jump into such immature acts without proper expertise unless you want to end up with a bloody nose or broken bones.

If you intend to experience the joy of such trials, hit the specially made trails for novice and intermediate riders.

Mountain Biking Myth #11: An Expensive Bike Will Last Forever!

Common Mountain Biking Myths About Expensive Bikes
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Even diamonds, which are the hardest and among the most expensive materials in the world break!

Equipped with a lifetime warranty and frame being made out of corrosion-resistant materials does not mean that it will last forever. The lifetime guarantee is just a last-ditch marketing strategy to sell more products!

You are not going to use the bike for a lifetime until you start caring for it.

The advancement in technology over time will make your bike outdated which in turn will urge you to grab a more advanced and comfortable ride.

Mountain Biking Myth #12: Am I too old to start mountain biking?

Image of Seniors Mountain Biking
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Age is a common mountain biking myth among most riders.

Fred Schmid, who is presently in his 80s is a competitive mountain bike rider. Surprisingly, he started mountain biking in his 60s. Age truly is nothing but just a number.

When you reach the age of 30, most sports believe you to be finished.

Mountain riding, on the other hand, is a very different story! You can participate if you can hop on a bike and peddle.

Mountain Biking Myth #13: Stiffer Suspension Or Hardtails Are Best For Mountain Biking

Common Mountain Biking Myths About Hardtail MTBs
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Among other myths, it is also said that harder suspension or hardtails are the ideal types of mountain bikes. However, the truth is that if you make your suspension so stiff that it barely moves, it’s dead weight.

To function correctly, any quality suspension system requires a specific amount of suspension travel. Reduce the air pressure or use a lesser spring if your suspension is too stiff.

The above tips guarantee a smoother ride, improved cornering control, and improved braking.

Mountain Biking Myth #14: Wheel Size 29” Is Better Than 26”

Mountain Bike Wheel Size
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This is among the most unscientific myths among the riders.

The fact is that one size does not trump the other. Both wheel sizes have advantages and disadvantages.

Regardless of the buzz, both wheel types will continue to ride side by side on the trail for years to come. It’s just a matter of personal preferences.

Mountain Biking Myth #15: Sitting Is More Efficient And Provides More Traction.

Person Mountain biking Through A Valley
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This is a common mountain biking myth that might seem to be true theoretically but is completely wrong scientifically.

There’s no proof that ridding by sitting on the seats of a mountain bike is more efficient and provides more traction than standing.

Not only does weight on the back tire generate traction, but so does pressure. Even while sitting, the weight transferred to the seat post does not go into the back wheel unless it is on level ground.

Riders must instead utilize pressure to maintain that wheel on the ground.

As a result, cyclists may be just as productive when standing. For beginners, sitting pedaling weakens the core and impairs core function.

The core is disengaged when you sit down, and leaning forward puts extra strain on your low back. Standing up, on the other hand, engages the core and allows the spine to move into a more natural position.

Sitting makes it more difficult to use technical abilities on the path. All bike abilities revolve around the capacity to shift hips and weight.

Riders who are serious about their riding should learn how to use standing pedaling rather than how to avoid it. It takes preparation, practice, and patience to perfect it, just like any other talent.

Mountain Biking Myth #16: Lighter Rims Are The Ones To Look Out For When Mountain Biking

Image of Cycle Rims
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The first mountain bikes that were mass-produced during the 80s weighed more than 40 pounds, which is about twice the weight of the bikes produced today.

A frequent misconception among cyclists is that reducing even the tiniest amount of weight from the rims equals dropping considerable weight from the frame.

While this appears to be true during acceleration, it is not true in any other scenario, therefore the practical benefit to the majority of riders is minimal.

Mountain Biking Myth #17: Mountain Biking Is Less Social

This is a myth that holds back many people from stepping into mountain biking and experience its fun.

Because you can’t ride side by side on the trails as you can on the road, it isn’t less social. There is plenty of opportunity for socializing.

Riding the trails with your friends will necessitate frequent regrouping as everyone remembers the incredible lifts, jumps, and nasty turns they just experienced.

Mountain biking’s companionship is unrivaled.

Mountain Biking Myth #18: Punctures And Damages Are Part of Your Day-to-Day Life.

Image of cycle puncher
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This is a common mountain biking myth that brings nightmares to those planning to give mountain biking a shot.

Mountain riding requires you to fling yourself and your bike over a variety of terrain, including mud, rocks, and roots.

Naturally, you’d expect your bike, and especially its tires, to take a hammering. Mountain bike tires and frames are made of harder materials than any road bike.

Many seasoned mountain bike riders will certainly claim that they receive more punctures while riding on-road than off-road.

Mountain Biking Myth #19: Places To Ride Are Limited

Biking Trails
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It’s a common mountain biking myth that cannot be busted off completely but certainly not completely true.

With the availability of a vast network of asphalt to ride on, road cyclists indeed have it simple when it comes to locating places to ride.

However, as more trail-riding centers emerge throughout the world each year, the situation improves. You’ll never be too far from sufficient bridleways or specialized trail centers, no matter which country you are in.

Mountain Biking Myth #20: Wider Rims And Lower Tire Pressure Are The Next Big Thing

Image of Bicycle Tire
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The industry’s move to larger rims appears to corroborate this common mountain biking myth.

Wider rims offer greater support for the wider tires that are now popular features on most bikes. A wider rim gives the tires a more supported profile rather than a bubble form.

This improves lateral tire support and lowers pressures, reducing the danger of pinch flatting or burping depending on the riding conditions and terrains.

In recent years, the concept of lower tire pressures has gained traction.

Regardless of the increase in grip, the lower you go, the more likely you are to get a puncture. There’s also a higher chance of tire roll and burping.

P.S. If you found this post to be helpful, consider reviewing our resource on mountain biking vs. running.




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Rohan runs Biking KnowHow along with his team. Rohan has been a mountain biker since 2005. His mission is to simplify mountain biking for everyone. All Biking KnowHow content piece is thoroughly fact-checked. Our content is backed up with leading research and inputs from expert cyclists.