To put simply (and as the name suggests) Downhill Mountain Biking
(DH) is all about who is the fastest riding from top to bottom. It is defined
by many riders as the ‘Formula 1‘ of Mountain Biking. It certainly requires the best techniques, MTB knowledge and athletic strength. This makes DH a spectacular and distinctive MTB discipline compared to all others. In a typical DH race rider are required to ride in a course in between two tapes and go through rough terrains whilst gliding through rocks, roots, jumps, and drops. If they leave the course by breaking the tape they must return to the course and restart from the exit point. It can take anything between 3-5 minutes to finish a race and winning margins can be as small as 1 second. As a beginner you should not let these sorts of scenarios scare you.
You do not have to get involved in racing at this stage. Normally, its good practice to start with a simple course with not so many obstacles and build your skills and confidence over time. Nowadays, DH is becoming more accessible to cater for all skill levels. Bike parks are also adjusting
reflect this. If after a while you feel excited about the sport you can then
invest more time and get more serious about the whole business of racing. After all, we are talking about the ‘Formula 1’ of MTB.
What equipment do you need?
You should have either bike or skate shoes as both have flat soles. Most
bicycle Parks provide protective gear with MTB bicycle rentals. But if this is
not the case, be sure to bring both elbow and knee pads, a full helmet for head protection and googles to prevent any debris or dirt catching your eyes. The ideal bicycle should be a full suspension MTB bike with at least 6 inches of travel. This will make your ride a lot smoother. Adjust (or ask a technician to do it) your bicycle and tune your suspension for your body weight and skills. And finally, ride safe, enjoy it, and have fun!