Electric Mountain Biking Tips for Beginners


Staff member
Hi guys! While visiting Mammoth Mountain resort in California with my friend Brandy, we got some new rider tips from Ross Rushin of Trek Bicycle Company. It was the first time that Brandy had ever ridden an electric mountain bike, and we thought it would be fun to share all of the great learning. Below the video is a written list of some of the things that we learned. As always, I welcome your own tips and advice here! The idea is to help make eMTB riding accessible and less intimidating for people who may have never tried mountain biking or are out of practice. Big thanks to Trek who paid for us to visit Mammoth to review their new Electric Powerfly models.

Here are some of the tips that Ross explained and demonstrated with Brandy:
  • Heavy feet, light hands (support most of your body weight with your feet, control the bike with your arms but don't put a lot of weight on them)
  • Drop your heel on the descents, this keeps your center of gravity low and stable
  • Look where you want your bike to go, don't stare at trees, cast your gaze down the trail and look around corners... your bike follows your eyes
  • Leave some space ahead, don't follow your friends too closely because you need room to stop in time (Ross recommended one or two bike lengths of space)
  • Always have one finger on each brake lever (usually your pointer finger), hydraulic brakes are powerful enough that you can actually stop using one finger, by using one finger to brake, you can use the rest of your fingers to hold on and steer
  • Most of your power comes from the front brake, weight tends to shift forward as you slow down and the front won't skid and slide as easily as the rear brake... so you want to use both brakes together smoothly
  • Support your body weight with your legs when stopping vs. leaning forward and supporting with your arms, stay relaxed up top... not tense
  • Higher quality bikes with nice suspension, good brakes, and wider tires can help you to feel more stable and safe, many resorts rent good ebikes like this for you to try
  • When stopping, put your foot on the uphill side of the trail so it's easier to reach
  • Usually, it's a good idea not to lay your bike down on the drivetrain side (the side with the derailleur, the right side) but that's okay to do gently if you're on a sloped trail and the right side is the uphill side
  • Move your bike to the edge of the trail and avoid standing in the middle of a trail if you decide to stop, this leaves it clear for other riders to pass by, try not to stop just around a blind corner or you could get rammed
  • When descending, keep your knees out a bit, waist bent, head up and looking forward, and your arms and elbows out and bent a bit so you can respond... the bike can move around but your body will be stable and somewhat constant above
  • Any time that you're turning, descending, or going over bumps, it's a good idea to be standing up in the "attack" position, keep your pedals flat too, so they don't come into contact with low obstacles
  • When cornering, it's good to put some weight on your outside pedal and possibly drop it... but definitely keep the inside pedal up or flat so it won't clip the ground or obstacles


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