Essential Knowledge Guide

The hardest part of getting started in mountain biking is buying that first mountain bike.  What do you buy?  It's sort of like buying a first computer.  There are so many brands, so many different types, and each one with a dozen different options.  Where do you start? At the bike shop, the salesperson is going to ask you questions you probably won't know the answers to such as, "Do you want full suspension? Clipless pedals? Grip shift or rapid fire shifters? Steel, aluminum or carbon fiber frame? Hard pack or sand tires? Risers bars? Bar ends?" And on and on and on.

You probably won't have any answers for these questions. And why should you? That's why you went to the store in the first place. They may or may not make a serious effort to help you decide.  The process is difficult.  Likely they will probably ask you what your spending range is and pick something out that will probably be their best seller in that price range, which won't be too bad.   But it might not be what you want either.  You may not know it then, but you'll find out when you hit the trails or later on down the path when your skills improve.

GETTING STARTED aims to resolve this problem. First we'll try to figure out what kind of biking you want to do by setting up arbitrary Skill Levels, each with a list of technical abilities one might expect from a rider at that level.   Thereby showing you what exactly can be done with a mountain bike.  If you are really new to mountain biking, I am sure you'll be amazed at the higher levels of ability.  You'll get lots of pictures to help you identify just what Skill Level you want to reach. Then we'll continue on and take a brief look at the different types of bikes, materials they are made of and different components. Finally, we'll bring all this information together and help you pick out an appropriate bike.  Then you can go buy a bike with more peace of mind.

SETTING UP is a serious look at how to make your new (or old) MTB fit you as best as possible for maximum comfort and performance. This step is absolutely vital. Not going through this process is responsible for a large percentage of people quitting mountain biking, because it's too hard or too painful. PLEASE go through this section carefully.

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Opening Remarks About Your First MTB
What Mountain Bikes Can DO!
Anatomy of an MTB
Getting Your First MTB

Setting Up Your MTB
Adjusting Seat Post Height
Adjusting Cockpit Length
Handlebar Adjustments
Seat Tilt
Numbness and Impotency