You can taste the bittersweet sting of metal in your mouth, sweat is running down your face and your heart is pounding louder than your motivational playlist on Spotify – you love this feeling. You’re a speed freak who wants to push their limits on a mountain bike.
The steeper the better! You love it when your pulse goes through the roof where others would have long since given up. You do this on relentless gravel road climbs and, of course, hiking trails and singletrack. In less mountainous terrain, you still go out looking for the next blast of lactic acid, covering long distances to eke out every metre of climbing you can. You’ll even sprint across asphalt with the suspension locked out, though you prefer forest paths. As a true mountain biker, you muster your last remaining strength for flowy descents and singletrack.
On your bike, it’s all about you. As soon as your GPS tells you “go”, all you concentrate on is your personal effort. Whether you’re competing against professionals for a KOM or conquering your very own Everest for the first time is entirely up to you: first and foremost, you want to experience and push your physical limits. That includes your fitness and your riding technique, since trail fun and fast descents shouldn’t fall by the wayside. Otherwise, you might as well be riding a road bike.
Nothing goes to waste. Your bike is super efficient and converts your pedalling input into propulsion with close to zero losses. You only have one credo: the faster the better. Your bike’s rear end plays a decisive role in this as your pedalling input should be converted into propulsion as efficiently as possible when you sprint, while the suspension remains active enough to allow your rear tire to stick to the ground and always generate grip. That these two properties are somewhat in conflict is demonstrated by professionals who, despite having the latest equipment at their disposal, still rely on a lockout to transform their bike into a hardtail at the push of a button on hard-packed surfaces. The riding position on your bike is very aggressive, putting a lot of weight on the front wheel and encouraging you to pedal even harder. However, you shouldn’t take it so far that you have to visit the chiropractor after every ride. For maximum performance, it’s not just the riding position that has to be right. Details like the contact points and gear range should also suit your body and the terrain you ride. Sure, weight reduction plays a big role on your bike. Nevertheless, rather than looking to save a few grams here or there, slightly more robust components will lead to significantly fewer breakdowns and more riding fun! A dropper post adds some weight but it also makes you feel more confident and faster on the descents and over obstacles. And let’s be honest, the additional fun you’ll have is worth every extra gram!
Our recommendations for speed freaks
Have you recently watched a Cross Country World Cup? A few years ago, dropper posts were dismissed as unnecessary and heavy gimmicks, but today they’re an integral part of the pro scene. In our big dropper post group test, you’ll find out how you can be faster on the descents and have more fun on your weight-optimised carbon racing machine.
Winter: the forest is covered in a deep blanket of snow and there are no trails to be seen, your mountain bike collects cobwebs in the basement and your fitness decreases with every cup of mulled wine on the sofa. It doesn’t have to be that way. First of all, you can have a lot of fun on a mountain bike in the snow and, secondly, you can stay fit indoors over the winter break thanks to Zwift.
How do the pros manage to slam their cockpits so low without having to visit the chiropractor on a regular basis? The answer is, they don’t. Of course, their bikes are set up perfectly for them but even the pros can’t do without special training and help from the doc. That said, we’ve gathered some of the best exercises and tips on how to stop back pain when mountain biking.