22 Best Mountain Biking Tips For Intermediate Bikers in 2021

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Are you looking to upgrade your mountain biking skills? Our mountain biking tips for intermediate riders will certainly help you out.

Consider yourself a mountain bike rider, but deep within your heart, you know there’s a long way to go to conquer any trail with grace? I feel you.

You will leave this page with a bunch of tips that will make your way to becoming an expert bike rider much easier. In addition, the compilation of tips from us will boost your efforts in achieving your mountain biking goals.

Before we go into details, let me tell you why mountain biking is a great hobby.

According to a study demonstrated by Shred Trail, 98.6 % of mountain bikers who participated in a study in the U.S agreed that mountain biking helped them de-stress.

This could be one reason why the sport has gained much popularity over the past decade.

You are probably here, reading this article due to the positive attitude you have toward mastering mountain biking, which is an extremely important factor in becoming an expert rider.

Let us find out the many things you need to consider when transitioning from intermediate to expert rider.


Tip 1: Ride in a group

Image of Mountain Biking Tips For Intermediate Group Riding
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“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

-African proverb

The proverb is figuratively true in the case of mountain biking. To ride far and to hone your skills, it’s important to ride with others.

Riding with less skilled riders will give you a chance to guide them, thereby improving your confidence and knowledge.

MTB riding with more skilled people will help you understand how to ride on difficult trails. Both experiences will contribute significantly to enhancing your mountain biking skills.

However, you must not pull yourself back and stop experimenting in the company of others.

You must understand that everyone began their riding journey as fresher and must make the most of the time you ride with advanced riders in learning things you didn’t know earlier.

Tip 2: Reach Out For Guidance

Image of Mountain Biking Tips For Intermediate Guidance
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“Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn.”

-Greek proverb

How do you progress in mountain biking? The best way is to take proper training and guidance.

Just like any other technical sport, learning the nuances, tricks, and tips from experts will help you graduate easily from an intermediate to an advanced rider.

An experienced instructor will guide you through to strengthen your weak areas.

Certain fundamentals are best learned through a teacher to avoid mistakes and make the most of your mountain biking skills.

Tip 3: Upskill!

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“Practice not your art and it will soon depart.”

-German proverb

One of the most important mountain biking tips for intermediate riders is to practice and improve skills.

By now, you must be knowing about your strengths and weaknesses as a mountain bike rider, so utilize the practice time to improve on the skills that need more attention.

As exemplified by Enduro Bites, if you have not mastered the art of cornering, you could set up cones to resemble a corner I’ve practiced “leaning the bike and rotating your hips.”

To be perfect at wheel lifts, you could consider “lifting your wheel over a crack in the sidewalk or a 2×4.”

Tip 4: Take Care of Your Bike

Mountain Biking Care
Image Source: Pixabay

“A bad workman always blames his tools.”

– U.K saying

Do not be that rider who blames his bike for its inferior performance. Instead, take good care of your mountain bike for maximum performance on the trails.

As a rider, you must not just acquire riding skills but also how to maintain your ride.

This includes ensuring that the tires have the required pressure to suit your ride, making sure that the handlebars, stem, thru-axles, and quick releases are tight, seeing that the chain is shifting and the brakes work perfectly.

Often the bolts loosen up while riding trails. Hence you must consider checking your crank bolt and pivot bolt frequently.

Make it a routine to inspect your mountain bike after every ride and make necessary fixes and cleaning.

Tip 5: Flat Pedals Are The Best

Mountain Bike Pedals
Image Source: Pexels

“Like a city whose walls are broken through, is a person who lacks self-control.”

-Proverbs 25:28

Control is essential in every aspect of life; mountain biking is no exception. And flat pedals are the best to give you that control while riding on trails.

The absence of the need to clip in and out will give you good control when something goes wrong, and you need to keep your foot down.

Practice with flat pedals to understand the “importance of riding with heavy feet and balanced weight.” Flats also make it easier for you to learn certain techniques, such as raising the rear wheel.

However, remember that the pins on the flats can be uncomfortable on your shins, and it’s best to wear shin pads or long socks to avoid accidental pedal strikes.

Tip 6: Learn To Read The Trail

Image of Biking Trails
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“The past doesn’t equal the future.”

-Anthony Robbins

While Anthony Robbins may have said this about one’s personal life, it is relevant in the case of mountain biking as well.

When you are riding, the trails you have crossed may be different from the upcoming trials, so it’s important to learn to read the trails.

As they say, it’s always recommended to “keep your eyes on the exit” while turning and look as far as possible while riding.

Acquiring to read the trail with unwavering observation will help you foresee obstacles and changes in the track, enabling you to become a faster, more confident rider.

Tip 7: Master Front Wheel Lift

Person Doing Wheely
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“When one is prepared, difficulties do not come.”

– Ethiopian proverb

Mastering the skill to ride over the forever obstacles in trails is indeed what makes a rider exceptional.

Front-wheel lifts are a savior when you have to roll onto or over some difficult surfaces.

Leigh Donovan has an in-depth video on how to roll over obstacles. Do check it out. Learning this skill will help you shift to wheelies and manuals when you are facing an obstacle.

Tip 8: Deal With Technical Climbs

Master Pumping For Hardtail Mountain Bikes
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“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

-Sr. Edmund Hillary

More so when it comes to mastering technical climbing. It is like conquering yourself, as it requires dedication and passion for learning the skill.

With steadfast practice and training, you can master mountain climbing.

Here are some references for you to master the various aspects of technical climbing:

Tip 9: Drop Off Lessons

MTB Drop Offs
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“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

-African proverb

The same applies to mountain bikers too. Drop-offs are important challenges that intermediate riders face, and by mastering them, you take an important step toward becoming an expert rider.

It will be challenging to go down the stairs and drop-offs; the basic tip is looking at the landing before sending it.

Here are some references for your guidance:

Tip 10: Master Cornering

Cornering An MTB
Cornering MTB

“Danger Begets Caution.”

-American proverb

Cornering is a mountain biking skill that requires great caution. Most crashes happen while cornering, and hence one must pay much attention to developing the skills.

If you are riding your bike faster, “carrying more speed through turns is one of the best ways to shave seconds off your overall time,” says Brian Gerow from Singletracks.

Gerow further explains the first experience of such turns to be an extremely joyous one.

Master the art of cornering from an experienced rider before you set out on your next ride.

Tip 11: Be Flexible Yet Strong

Guy Riding A Bike
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“Tough situations build strong people”

-Anonymous

We know that being strong is essential for a mountain biker. But that isn’t sufficient. You must be flexible to ride on technical trails with ease.

While you have to be strong when riding on smooth trails, descending trails, on the other hand, require you to be flexible.

Standing on your bike pedals with a slight bend in your body gives a flexible, athletic stance, which helps absorb the bumps.

Check out the video on why flexibility is important while riding a mountain bike.

Tip 12: Focus on Bike Fitting

Image of MTB Fitting
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“Cyclists often experience overuse injuries such as cyclist’s palsy, cyclist back, and Anterior Knee Pain. and this is often due to an incorrectly set upcycle”.

physio-pedia.com

Among other mountain biking tips for intermediate riders, this tip is perhaps the most important.

In addition to preventing injuries, bike fitting helps greatly in jumping safely. So if you have inferred that bike fitting is only for professionals and advanced riders, you have been mistaken.

Bike fitting is for anyone who cycles, and more so when you have to do more jumps on trails.

Check out the video we found, which will give you comprehensive information about fitting a mountain bike.

Also, check the video we found, which is exclusively about setting the saddle height. It will be handy while fitting your bike.

Tip 13: Better Rock Garden Riding

MTB on Rocks
Image Source: Pixabay

“Geologists have a saying- rocks remember”

-Neil Armstrong

Make their memory worthwhile by riding through them with grace.

Rock garden has a spiritual, romantic identity, and it could be a wonderful experience for the mountain bike rider to master rock garden riding like a pro.

Even though it may seem very complicated, it is, in fact, quite easy to master.

Check out the video, which shows six simple steps to ride rock gardens safely and fast.

Here’s another video that shows how to ride through rock gardens fast and safely in three steps.

Tip 14: Off-Camber riding

Image of Off-Chamber Riding
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Off-camber is a type of trail that is quite tricky as it is sloped away from the direction that a rider would normally take.

It is important to have more grip while riding off-camber, and you must learn to swing body positions while braking to have notable control.

Check out the detailed video on how to ride off-camber sections by Global Mountain Bike Network.

Tip 15: Work On Fore-Aft And Lateral Balance

Image of Balanced MTB
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Moving on your bike is a skill that is required when you are foraying into steep inclines, rock faces, and corners.

If you are wondering how to improve balance on a mountain bike, then understanding this is important: to keep the front wheel tracking, shift your weight forward while climbing, and while descending, shift your weight backward.

During tight switchbacks, you must switch your weight to the outside. MTB balance training is incomplete without mastering this.


Is the list getting too exhaustive? Here are some quick mountain biking tips for intermediate riders:

Tip 16: Load And Unload

Also known as weight and unweighting, it involves creating and managing pressure and compressing and releasing.

Tip 17: Both Brakes Are Required

You must know how to use the brake gently to efficiently control the speed and stop effortlessly.

Tip 18: Choose The Right Bike

It is important to know yourself before you buy your mountain bike. You must take into consideration your style and your terrain before making the purchase.

Tip 19: Take smaller steps

Success and confidence are both interrelated. So while it may be tempting to take a huge leap in one go, it is better to take one step at a time to better skills and avoid chances of injury.

Tip 20: Be Optimistic

Being optimistic is a great quality that a rider must possess.

You cannot ride with the feeling that you are going to fall. Instead, you must be positive about the trails and must ride with confidence to avoid crashes.

Tip 21: Look Ahead While Riding

One of the basic rules of biking is to look ahead of you while riding. The adage is “you go where you look.” Hence, “ride the trail with your eyes before you roll it.”

Not just your eyes, your head, torso, hips, and knees should all point to your forthcoming direction.

Tip 22: Reflect

Always reflect on your rides as it will help fine-tune your skills, reminiscing happy moments of your ride, and improving confidence.

A confident rider will be able to achieve their goals faster.

Do you find these MTB trail riding tips helpful? Leave your comments below.


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Team Biking KnowHow

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.

1 thought on “22 Best Mountain Biking Tips For Intermediate Bikers in 2021”

  1. These are super helpful tips! I especially love #20 because, so many times, our negative thinking is what keeps us from excelling in any sport.

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