If you’ve ever seen a bike that’s seemingly all suspension and huge knobby tires, you’ve probably seen a downhill mountain bike. The riders of such bikes are generally geared up like someone who would feel right at home in Mad Max. The whole sight can be very intimidating, but fear not! Here’s why YOU should go downhill mountain biking.
They can be ridden for free! If you live in a mountain bike friendly area, there is a good chance that bike companies will be demoing bikes near you. A bike demo is an event put on by either a bike shop or a bike manufacturer that lets the general public try out high end bikes for free. Of course while you are out on the bike you will need to leave some sort of collateral with the people loaning you the bike. You know, in case you love the bike so much you decide to keep it!
Demos are generally setup near trail heads, and unless its at a ski resort with lifts, they will have a shuttle to bring you as close to the trail as possible to get the maximum enjoyment out of your demo.
Downhill mountain bikes are extremely forgiving. Unlike their ‘all mountain’ and cross country counterparts, Downhill bikes absorb your mistakes. Pick a bad line through a rock garden right into a small boulder? No problem! Those eight inches of travel just rolled over that boulder like it was a pebble. Hit a jump slightly crooked? Don’t worry about it, those giant knobby tires will keep traction as you land, and the suspension will absorb the impact flawlessly, keeping you on your bike where you should be.
Lastly, and most importantly, downhill biking is THE most fun part of biking. As you make more trips down the trails and become more comfortable on the bike, you will slowly enter the “zone.” That place where all you see is the spot 20 feet in front of you. everything in your peripheral vision is blurred shades of green, brown, and blue. You become so focused, the only thought in your mind is of the line you”re picking through the rock gardens, banked turns, and jumps. After the final descent out of the trees to the base of the trail, your head is clear. Your body is light. And the smile on your face can’t get any wider.