Some may hear the term “extreme biking,” and think this means cycling in light rain or pedaling up a grueling hill. Others may picture daredevils launching off jagged cliffs with no concern about the bones that could be shattered upon landing. In all actuality, extreme biking falls somewhere in the middle. There is always going to be some level of risk involved in mountain biking. However, if broken bones and lacerations were inevitable, the sport wouldn’t be as popular as it is today.
What is Extreme Biking?
Extreme biking includes downhill, dirt jumping, cross country, trail riding, and freeriding, but at a level that’s just a bit more intense.
- Downhill Biking – The extreme variation generally involves races. Cyclists are typically staggered to start to decrease the risk of crashing. However, when you are traveling at high speeds with other riders, there is still a chance of crashing during downhill biking. Bikes used for this activity need heavy duty front and rear suspension.
- Dirt Jumping – BMX experts tend to favor this type of extreme cycling. Catching air and doing flips and other stunts off dirt mounts is exhilarating.
- Cross Country – To some, cross country biking is a 15-mile jaunt in the country, but to extremists, this type of ride would be at least 30 miles across a variety of terrain.
- Trail Riding – Most trails are going to have a few obstacles. You never know when you are going to encounter a fallen tree or a bunny crossing your path. However, those who participate in extreme biking seek out the trails with gnarly tree roots, boulders, and other obstacles.
- Freeriding – Freeride mountain biking is definitely not for beginners. This is all about achieving the wildest stunts. It demands a dedicated practitioner.
Recommended Bikes for Extreme Biking
Since extreme biking puts a great deal of wear on your bike, you need one that will hold its composure when intensity gets turned up a dial.Downhill mountain bikes are generally the recommended choice. Bikes used for extreme activity generally weigh more and feature a heavy-duty suspension. If your mission is to hit the bigger jumps, the Norco Team DH or a similar bike designed for downhill riding is ideal.
If your goal is to nail intricate aerial tricks, then you will want to purchase a hard-tail freeride bike. These are lighter and offer the highest level of maneuverability. Those looking to combine the best of both worlds will want to look at the Santa Cruz Nomad, or something similar. This variety lets you land decent drops but also gives you the freedom to get a little creative with your tricks.
Special Equipment to Consider
- Goggles – Rocks, branches, mud, bugs, sand, dirt, etc., are all things that can irritate and damage your eyes. Goggles are recommended to wear, especially for downhill riding. Smith and Oakley are two manufacturers you can trust your eyes to. They are both known for their high-quality eye protection.
- Knee/Shin Guard – The second your foot slips off the pedal and the pedal makes an impact with your skin you will understand the need for guards. Plus, branches, rocks, and tree stumps can do some real damage to your legs, too.
- Pressure Suit – A pressure suit is a fantastic investment if you are going to be doing a lot of extreme biking. These protect the elbows, shoulders, sternum, and back. They are typically made of a moisture-wicking material and may feature high-impact memory foam, articulating armor, and side zip panels for ventilation.
- Wrist Protectors – If you wear wrist protectors, you want to buy guards that are made specifically for biking. Random wristguards not designed for this purpose can degrade grip strength, steering, and performance.
This may seem like a lot to invest in, but extreme sports demand extreme protection. After all, this is your body and your life. You need to protect it, and you never get a chance to rewind time in the event of an accident. A few trusted names in the industry that make quality extreme biking gear include Evo, Race Face, and Six One Six.
Is this Sport for You?
Mountain biking is exciting and helps keep you fit, but there are many styles and intensity levels to this activity. You may be content exploring the trails at your nearest State Park. However, if you are a thrill-seeker and live for a good adrenaline rush then extreme biking may be for you.
Purchase a bike that allows you to grow into the sport. You may only be tackling small jumps and mild tricks now, but if you have a bike you know can take a higher level of intensity, then maybe you will take the route to the steep drop one day when you feel like you’re ready. If you have a bike you don’t trust to perform you will never step out of your comfort zone.
Books about Extreme Biking
For more information, there are some informative books about extreme biking. You can find them in several online bookstores. Take a look: