Whether you are a complete beginner when it comes to bike riding or are a competent road cyclist, this guide will help explain to you the techniques which are required when it comes to mountain bike riding. Mountain biking does require some different skills than those used when cycling on the road, especially if you have just purchased a folding mountain bike.

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​Seat Position Adjustment

​When it comes to your seat position, it is important that it is correctly set, as this will allow you to have the correct body position when both climbing and descending a hill.

​Climbing

​When it comes to climbing a hill, your seat should be at the perfect height to allow you to pedal at the highest efficiency. The way in which you can check that you are at the correct height is by having your pedal at the bottom; your whole leg should be slightly bent. The ideal leg extension is around 80-90 percent, as this will allow you to have the most powerful and efficient pedal.

Descending

​When going down a hill, it is best to have your seat a few inches lower than the height you had it set at when climbing. With a lowered seat, it means that you have an overall better control of the bike and gives you a boost in confidence when you descend steep sections. Using trial and error will be the best way to find the best height which feels the best to you.

​Braking

​This may sound like one of the easiest of tips, but it is essential to know how and when to brake to ensure that you feel both comfortable and confident when riding.

​How You Should Brake

​When you brake, it should be done in a controlled and very consistent manner, this prevents any sudden stopping from occurring and throwing you from the bike. The main braking force comes from the front brake. However, too much of the front brake can cause you to flip over the front bars.

​Ensuring that you are ready for braking is essential, by having your heels pointing down and bending your knees and arms, this will help you stay in full control of your bike.

​When You Should Brake

​Whether you are approaching a hill or a turn, it is important to brake at the correct time to ensure that you don’t corner too hard. Braking in good time and allowing the momentum to take you through the turn, allows you to have full control on the turn and exit the corner with a faster speed.

​Falling Off

​Of course, there isn’t a single person that likes to fall off their bike, but there is never a single person who hasn’t fallen off their bike. But there are some important things to know when it comes to falling off to help protect yourself.

​Try to keep your arms tucked in; this will help to protect you from a broken arm as most people’s natural reaction is to put their arms out to break their fall. When you fall, it is best just to get up, ensure that you haven’t sustained an injury, check that your bike can still be ridden. Get back on and carry on your way.

Written by Peter (peter@foldingbikezone.com)