As we all know, the correct number of bikes to own is N+1, where N is the number you own. But what if your next +1 was a mountain bike?
Many of the pros use mountain biking to keep up their fitness levels, especially in the off season. Tom Piddcock, the British all-rounder is multi-disciplined and is aiming to add more mountain biking titles to his growing road and cyclo-cross collection, (see more on that here), and the one and only P.Sagan can often be seen tearing up the trails on his mountain steed.
But for some roadies mountain biking sends shivers down the spine, but heres why it shouldn’t and you should look to embrace the other side of cycling.
Build your skills
When you ride on a trail on a mountain bike (MTB), you’ll find bike control and core stability are key. The bike often slips and slides, and you must counteract that with balancing technique and bike handling skills. If you’ve ever ridden on a gravel trail on your bike, you’ll know that in a heavy turn you’ll slide and lose control of the bike as you lose traction. By distributing your body weight correctly, you can stay upright and corner faster. Doing this on loose surfaces gives you a feel of how to distribute your body weight, which is transferable to your road bike, it will help you stay upright in those times of need. Your braking skills will get an upgrade. With loose surfaces there is a clear lack of grip, making the bike more sensitive. You learn to feather the brakes more effectively. Using the trails to get this right means you’ll be able to brake much later into bends on any road, helping you to carry your speed and thus improving your Strava segment times out on the road.
MTB also helps you to achieve smoother pedalling. Recent studies have shown that those who mountain bike have a smoother pedalling stroke, because they don’t always have the traction to just stand and push out the watts. Having to adopt a regular flow of effort, means mountain bikers often have a more rounded and more ‘even’ pedal stroke compared to anyone else..
With all these newfound, upgraded or improved skills will all pay dividends when translated back to your 25 or 28mm skinny tyres.
Engaging your core
You would rather be on a bike in the fresh air than in a gym, right? Of course you would! Well, MTB is excellent for core stability. The core is a term everyone’s becoming more familiar with, referring to the muscles around the spine and pelvis in place. Everyone can benefit from core stability training. As a roadie or triathlete, biking on roads uses many muscles of your body, but mountain biking uses even more! Roadies and triathletes are all about stability of movement, hunched over, looking to be as areo as possible, with the ambition of only moving one part of our body. The legs. Biking off-road and on trails requires constant body movements and readjustments, as you have to keep your balance over obstacles and across varying gradients. Just by doing this, you’ll strengthen your core stability. Meaning less time in the gym doing stomach crunches.
These continual adjustments and movement engages your core continuously as you try to stay upright whilst navigating the uneven terrain which when transferred to your road or tri-bike gives you more watts.
HIIT - It's a High Intensity Interval Training session
If you analyse the intensity of cross-country mountain biking, you’ll notice the power output regularly fluctuates between a full on effort and freewheeling. This is akin to a high-intensity interval session. HIIT is a cardio session arranged as short bursts of very hard work. The whole point of high-intensity training is to kick up the intensity of your cardio. It's where you push yourself to the max during a set. Mountain biking or off-roading does this in abundance. Hard steep climbs, rolling berms, paved sections etc. the variance has it all, and these variants all require a difference in your output and efforts. HIIT is the opposite of going for a long ride where you ration your energy to sustain the activity for longer, such as we do in road cycling. The more HIIT you do, the better your energy reserves will be for those longer road riding sessions, as the more your cardio improves, the longer you can sustain effort.
Yes, you can do HIIT sessions on your turbo trainer and on the road, but there’s a bonus to doing it on a MTB. When you freewheel on an MTB, it gives you an upper body workout too, because you still have to move around to absorb bumps, turn corners and so on. This ramps up the overall performance gains and you’ll soon notice, when it comes to going all out on the road, you'll have more reserves in the tank.
Let's be honest, part of the love of cycling is our love the latest tech, and if you like road tech, then you’re going to have a field day with mountain biking. There are enough tech options to keep you amused for weeks!.
Disc brakes, suspension travel, electronic shock lockout, dropper seat posts, tubeless, XT and SLX group sets… you get the idea! There’s a myriad of tech for you to get stuck into and to fall in love with! who doesn't love buying new stuff!
Most of all it’s fun
Road cycling is exciting. From the speed that’s generated to the miles that are racked up, or the Strava segments and PR's you chase and smash, but damp roads and grey skies and the same circuits can get a little monotonous, especially in the coming winter months. - read our recent post about getting the most from road winter cycling here But getting away from traffic and taking in some stunning scenery at the same time allows for this different discipline to be thrilling and just as exciting! Yes, It’s a slower pace, but it's pace that allows you to enjoy a fresh way of being on two wheels...You're unlikely to even get to a half a century distance per ride (most trails are between 10-20 miles), but it’s not about distance! It's about building new skills to get the most out of you and your road bike, it’s about finding unknown places, new off the road tracks….It’s about riding and there's nothing better than that is there!
Here at Langdale, we specialise in road bikes, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t got MTBs. WE HAVE! We have MTBs from Orbea and Ideal, availble now. Right now, we have both brand in stock, and our the latest Ideal Traxer 22 speed Mountain 22.5’’ is even on sale!
Fully specced with a Fox fork, and full Shimano Deore XT, Mach 1 Rims, Kenda tyres, and Sella Italia saddle, it’s a lot of bike for the money, with a 33% saving off the RRP, but this offer can't last forever. So why not pop in or call us? Secure yours now at this discounted rate and make this your N+1 We have limited stock at this especially reduced price and when they’ve gone, they’ve gone! Pop in and see us at 455-457 Westdale Ln W, Nottingham NG3 6DH Call us on 0115 953 7100 Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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