How to choose your Downhill Bike
Downhill mountain biking: guaranteed sensations
As its name suggests, downhill mountain biking, also known as DH (Downhill), is a discipline whose goal is to descend mountain roads specially designed for this purpose as quickly as possible. The rider descends for a short period of time (never more than 5 minutes) and has to make jumps and manage the obstacles on their path along the course (roots, stones, slopes, bumps...). Participants are ranked based on their time of arrival. It's a sport that requires excellent driving technique and good physical condition.
The downhill bike: a light, solid and full-suspension bike
Downhill racing is a demanding sport, so you will need a suitable and reliable bike that will contribute to your comfort, performance and safety.
The main criteria to consider when choosing your downhill bike are strength, lightness and suspensions. The downhill MTB must be resistant and have an effective suspension, ideally at the front and rear with a displacement of 200 mm to absorb the terrain's irregularities of and the vibrations.
The frame should be light and sturdy, in carbon or aluminum, with a low center of gravity for ease of handling and stability. For beginners, a rigid frame is advised. Although it will be less easy to handle, it will limit the downhill speed.
In all cases, a lightweight bike with hydraulic disc brakes is required for efficient and progressive braking. The brakes are enormously put to use in descents, so the diameter of the discs is very wide to avoid overheating.
Essential equipment for downhill moutain biking
Downhill mountain biking is a risky sport. In the event of a fall, the consequences can be serious, so it's essential to be well equipped and use the protections adapted for each body part: a full helmet, a mask, a back protector, kneepads, elbow pads, shin pads, long gloves and protections for the forearms, shoulders, and neck.
There is an ongoing debate about the use of automatic pedals or flat pedals in downhill moutain biking. It's up to you to choose the ones that will suit you best because each one has its arguments: automatic pedals for a good impulse and pedaling efficiency, flat pedals for ease of use and maintenance.