So I just recently passed my 10th year of mountainbike riding, and you know what, I learned A thing or two in the process. From the bitter, to the optimistic, let me take you through what I've learned, perhaps I can pass on some knowledge. Some of it has been very expensive for me to learn, some of it has taken a lot of time to see a pattern, and some of it is just plain obvious. Take a look:
Today, cheap parts, are as good as expensive parts
With the exception of wheels and suspension parts, choosing the cheaper alternative in gear/parts, will not set you back performance wise. Yes there I said it, and I fucking stand by it.
(Yes there are a few exceptions to this, but they are rare, so shut up.)
For 56€ on CRC you can get this Shimano Zee derailleur. You can take a huge dump on it, and it will still shift crisply.
For 286€ you can get the SRAM XX1 derailleur on CRC.
A difference of 230€ (!!)
I dare you to look me into my eyes and say that those extra 230€ are justified against a Zee shifter..
A dropper post is a must
I don't care if you are on a hardtail, fully, on an allmountain rig, or a fatbike. A dropper post will be your friend. It adds so much to the enjoyment, at a small weight penalty. Nuff said.
When I started mountainbiking, there was no such thing as a dropper post, alot has happened in that regard over 10 years..
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What you drink, matters.
I started out by just drinking water when I was out riding. Today I drink a combination of :
And after 10 years of combining things, I really think I nailed it. My mix of ingredients listed above improves my concentration and increases alertness, it also reduces tiredness and fatigue, and it helps maintain hydration during our rides, and lastly, it builds up power and muscle. And I truly feel a difference. Don't just drink, drink smart.
From left to right: Tabs(magnesium, caffeine), BCAA, Creatine. Put all of it into your Camelbak, or water-bottle, and go ride!
(my gawd this picture resembles last new years eve .. )
Carbon is overrated
Oh sure carbon is sexy; those curves and weight savings can mesmerize anyone. Ive had my share of Carbon AND alu frames, and the carbon was never defining the ride. A great alu frame can outperform a carbon frame, and vice versa. What I'm saying is this; frame material does not matter; what matters is good design and engineering.
Sure a carbon frame is sexy, but is it functionally superior to an extend, where there is an actual gain?
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Heavy chunk of alu, yes. But a truly great design, superior to the S-Works(s) Ive had.
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26inch wheels are best.
29inch wheels are best.
27.5inch wheels are best.
27.5inch+tires are best
10 speed is best
11 speed is best
12 speed is best *facealm*
Boost 110 is best
Boost 148 is best
Metric shocks are best.
Wide rims are best.
and so on..
Oh the industry knows whats best for you right? No they are driving sales! Its actually very obvious, but I'm still shocked as to how many people just eat it raw, without really asking a simple question: "is this new change/standard really be something that will impact my riding experience"
..or are you just buying into the hype and marketing machine?
Commercial reviews suck
Be it on Pinkbike, or some German bike magazine. In the end, these sites and magazines need to run a business. Salary comes from advertising. Advertisers need to sell products, good reviews sell more products. Do you see where I am going?
This is not witchcraft, its pretty simple actually. Commercial reviews have a huge bias towards the advertisers that put money into the website or magazine.
When the German magazine BIKE tests tires in a Schwalbe factory, the Schwalbe tire always wins...Hmmm that's odd.. *obvious sarcasm*...
Suck it down and love it!!
Ride with people that are technically better than you
If you have the chance or opportunity, then strive to ride with people that are more skilled than you. Observe what they do, at what speed they do it, and try to copy it! Be it tricks, small technical details, body positions - its all contagious. Watch and copy!
Be aware, that if you ride with less skilled people than yourself, you are being dragged in the same direction. You spend less time experimenting, you automatically copy "poor line choices" and in general, don't push anything forward.
Skills are contagious.
If you know (or find) a ripper, then watch and copy!
And a few bonus-"wisdom" points;
-Crash zones by drops or jumps can save your ass, or even your life.
-Riding improves mental being as well.
-Crashes; you always hit two things; knees and wrists.
-Explore the woods, there are gems everywhere.
-If you ever get the chance to ride on frozen dunes..then do it! Its amazing.
-You are more skilled than you think.
-Be polite and greet other riders. Its contagious.
Sure some of my points can be a bit controversial, but after 10 years I guess its aligned into these points. Don't agree? Fine! Put a comment in below : )