Mountain Bikes: Downhill Racing

Downhill mountain bike racing is a time trial event that has many similarities to downhill skiing. Riders start their runs at intervals that can vary from 30 seconds to up to three minutes, depending on the level of the competition.

The rider who completes the course in the shortest time wins. As the name of this type of riding implies, downhill races are staged on steep, downhill terrain, resulting in higher speed than in cross country racing. The terrain is also often somewhat rougher than in cross country mountain bike racing.

The bikes used in downhill tend to be heavier and much stronger than cross country bikes, and almost always feature long travel dual-suspension (usually around 6-8 inches) whereas cross country bikes are generally hardtails (4-5 inches of travel at the front).

Downhill mountain bikes have powerful disc brakes, which is mainly to allow the rider to only use one finger for braking, so that the rest of the hand can be on the bar and the rider can have better control.

The bikes also tend to have a single ring, as opposed to triple ring, because a large range of gears simply isn’t necessary. The single ring will also have a chain device to prevent the chain from derailing.

Safety Factors For Downhill Mountain Bike Racing

Downhill riders almost always wear a full-face helmet and often wear full-body armour. This is because the speeds achieved on downhill tracks is high and you are riding in close proximity to trees and rocks etc.

Downhill is regarded to be the ‘Formula 1’ of the sport of mountain biking because the technology is more advanced than any other part of the sport and it is the riders skill that is tested rather than the riders fitness or endurance.