5 Ways to Revolutionise Your Mountain Biking Without Breaking the Bank
Still trying to think up a New Year's resolution? Why not start here...
New year, new you? Well, that sounds expensive. Especially when it comes to the often pricey world of mountain biking.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d need a winning lottery to get all the gear you need to get going if you logged onto your laptop and opened up the wrong page.
Don’t panic yet though. We come bearing joyous news; you don’t have to break the bank to transform your time on the trails. So take a deep breath, avert your horrified gaze from that inflammatory price tag and take a step back for a second.
Your routines and mindset make as much difference to your everyday experience as the rig you’re riding, and when it does come to gear, these days you can get a bike worth bragging about for a more than affordable price.
So let’s start there…
1) Get a New Bike (on a Budget!)
Mountain bikes have been becoming a lot more affordable for the past few years. You can now get yourself a quality full-suspension rig for under £1200; something that might have seemed unthinkable in the past.
German manufacturer Canyon have become renowned for offering high performance bikes that boast impressive value for money.
Canyon’s Neuron AL 6.0 comes in at just £1199. The full-suspension mountain bike has 120mm of travel at either end. It’s fast, responsive and makes for a great affordable cross-country or trail option.
If it’s a hardtail that you’re after, the Grand Canyon AL SLX 9.9 is a super speedy option on the market for £1349, and if that’s a bit out of budget, you can still get a piece of the Grand Canyon range for less than half that price.
The entry point for a Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon AL 3.9 on sale at £599, and there are numerous price points well worth checking out in between.
2) Go It Alone Occasionally
When we say go it alone we don’t mean that you should ditch your riding buddies indefinitely, delete them on Facebook and tell the neighbours to call the police if they see them come within a twenty metre perimeter of your flat.
That would be a bit much. Even if Dave does get on your nerves every now and then.
All we mean is that if you do ride with a regular group all of the time, there’s a good chance that when you do so you stick to similar routes each time, or go at a similar pace.
This might mean that you push your riding to levels you wouldn’t have reached otherwise, which is great, but getting out on the trails by yourself offers a whole nother experience.
It means you’re on nobodies time but your own, you can ride exactly where and how you want, take as many or few breaks as desired and really get to grips with your local trails.
Just be sure to tell someone where you’re off to before you go and remember to bring all the emergency essentials! And if you do always ride alone, then reverse this advice and why not try out a local riding club or introduce some mates? It’s a great way to progress your riding.
3) Get Your Spade Out
If you’re new to mountain biking or you don’t know too many people in your local scene, it’s likely that even if you’ve been slamming the trails you’ve probably not been getting dirty making sure they stay firm.
Now, we can understand why getting your face and most other parts of your body covered in mud may not be the most attractive proposition on surface level, but once you get into it, it’s actually damn good fun.
Not only will you be doing your part for the local mountain bike community, you’ll probably meet a few folk while you’re at it, and building and repairing trails is sure to give you a better understanding of how to ride them.
If you’ve never dug before, best to get someone who has to show you the ropes first. Bike parks have official ‘dig days’ sometimes to maintain trails or dig new ones. This is a great place to get involved!
4) Eat Healthier!
We’re not going to go all crazy dietitian on you here, but the logic of eating a bit healthier is pretty simple. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel, and the better you feel, the longer you’ll be able to ride your mountain bike and the more you’ll enjoy doing so.
Eating healthy is one of those things that sounds terrible until you actually try it, and realise that the food actually tastes better a lot of the time and you don’t need as much coffee to de-zombify yourself come Monday morning.
You’re also a whole lot more likely to be able to make it to the top of that climb you hate without vomiting on your mate’s new jersey.
5) Give Bikepacking a Shot
Bikepacking is set to be one of the trends of 2017 by the looks of things. And the cool thing is you can set about doing it with pretty much any mountain bike.
All you’ll need is the bare-minimum camping gear and bikepacking bags to strap onto your ride, and away you go. Clear a weekend, head out onto the trails and don’t worry about getting back to the carpark at the end of the session.
This is an amazing way to really make the most of your time on the bike and see the local hills like you never have before.