15 Terrible pieces of MTB advice: Ask the audience
One thing we can always count on in mountain biking is people offering their 2-cents. Whether they're wanting to share their opinion on that brand of helmet you've been eyeing up or giving you, sometimes unsolicited, tips on your riding technique. Most of the time, these tidbits of advice come from a genuine place with good intentions, but they're not always any good.
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Recently, we took to social media to find out what bad mountain bike advice and information you've heard. How many sound familiar to you? If you've got something to add, pop it in the comments below.
Lizzie-Emma: "One bike will be all you need."
This is a common misconception. One on hand, it'd be fantastic to have one bike that does it all. However, there's also that sense of excitement and pride as you steadily grow your bike fleet.
Anthony: "It's rollable."
Is it, though? We've all been out with a friend who agrees to tow you into a trail with reassuring support that it's all rollable until you see them hop off into the unknown.
Ross: "Run your bars 1.5º off to one side."
"I remember a Dirt Magazine interview with Mickael Pascal (I think), back in the day where he said he ran his bars 1.5º off to one side. Not sure how many folks took that seriously and decided to copy it, but we were all talking about it at the time!"
Emma: "Hang off the back and only use the rear brake."
Shifting your weight back as the trail morphs into features is natural, but that doesn't mean you should ride every trail with your bum on the back wheel. Doing this will only unweight the front wheel and reduce your handling control.
A. Jeffrey: "Hardtails are faster."
Ah yes, the never-ending hardtails vs full-suspension debate.
Will: "Lighter is better - it's just not true."
Riding a super heavy bike can feel more like a wrestling match than a bike ride, but there are some merits to having a weightier setup. Of course, it largely comes down to discipline and personal preference.
David: "Just ride, and you'll get fitter, and the technique will come from watching people."
Riding bikes does help with fitness; there's little to argue with there. However, if you want to improve on specific areas, then things like strength training and flexibility can help, in addition to riding, of course.
Rob: "It's cheap once you've got the bike."
Well, you have your bike maintenance, upgrades, kit, clothing and accessories to add on too!
Mark: "Speed is your friend."
What a classic. Speed is your friend in some instances, and when you know how to control that speed. Providing this advice to someone fairly new to mountain biking is probably not the best idea.
Gary: "Just send it! That's the worst advice ever."
Similar to the above - sending it and going fast applies to those who can control said speed and have the skill of sending it.
Stuart: "If you're not crashing, you're not trying."
Well, this is just not true. Coming off your bike can be from trying too hard and not trying hard enough; whether you're a beginner or a pro, it happens.
Cai: "Get less arm pump if you don't use your brakes."
Again, this comes down to speed control, experience and skill. However, there are some things you can do to reduce arm-pump.
Bryan: "It's only just round the corner."
Let's face it; it's never just around the corner. Not strictly advice, but it's certainly something that no one likes to hear when slogging it out on a gruelling climb.
Terry: "650b is just a fad."
29ers and e-bikes were once considered a fad too.
Henry: "You need a carbon bike."
No, you don't need one. Deciding to invest in a carbon frame bike is a choice and not a requirement for the sport. Many happy riders love steel, aluminium and even titanium built frames. Check out our guide on bike frame materials for more info.
We'll be doing more Ask the Audience features in the future, so if you want to join in, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The biggest surprise for me in my switch from road to MTB is that the technique isn't natural, to the point that at times it's downright counter-intuitive. It's taken a lot of watching others and reading articles to give me the confidence to ride more quickly - particularly with regard to leaning the bike and decoupling from the saddle. I just assumed after 50-odd years of riding on tarmac it would be easy to transition.