From BMX to MTB - 2 Level, 1 Bike
From 20 inches to 29 inches is truly an immense leap in terms of wheel size. For my brother Marc and me, the love for cycling started with the small wheels of BMX bikes 15 years ago. That was the only way for us, as teenagers at the time, to afford the sport of cycling. And so, we ventured through local skate parks and dirt tracks together, having heaps of fun.
Visiting my brother in Spain
My brother recently decided to move to Spain. My first visit to his new home near Alicante next to seeing him had a secondary purpose:
Throughout all these years, during which I switched to downhill and enduro riding, Marc remained faithful to his BMX. However, he often considered trying a full-suspension mountain bike.
It was a special day when I surprised him with the Ghost Riot Trail in full party setup, making it his first trail bike. We set out to find out how challenging or different the transition from BMX to mountain biking would be. The Alicante area provided us with the perfect playground for this. So we tested the Ghost Riot Trail on countless trails and at the Fenasosa Bike Park. You can see how Marc handled the transition and applied his existing skills in the video.
Transition from BMX to MTB
After an introduction to what was new for him, there were a few basic tips on body position and brake control (as they have significantly more bite than his BMX bike).
What's completely new for a BMX rider transitioning to an MTB:
Dropper post – the seat can be easily adjusted for uphill and downhill riding using a handlebar lever.
Suspension – a buttery-smooth ride thanks to the front fork and rear shock absorber. It's important to have these adjusted to his body weight and to slowly tune the rebound and compression. Both suspension components can be locked out for uphill riding to conserve energy.
Braking power – Transitioning to hydraulic disc brakes, like the Formula Cura 4, requires some finesse and getting used to.
Body position – On super-fit bikes like the Ghost Riot Trail, you stand in an upright position when going downhill and sit comfortably when climbing.
Tips on how to adjust to the new bike
After a short adjustment period, Marc felt right at home on his new bike. I even had to slow him down a bit and provide some tips. Jumps posed no challenge for him, thanks to his BMX experience. However, he had to get used to banked turns and rough trails.
These tips helped Marc the most during his first trail experience:
Brake control – Keep both fingers (only the index fingers) on the brakes at all times and use gentle pressure. We actually practiced this in a parking lot.
Line choice and braking – Marc struggled, especially in banked turns. The tip to reduce speed a bit earlier before the turns and to take the outer line helped him.
Body position – An upright body position with elbows in line with the front fork (when viewed from the side) helped conserve energy for long days at the bike park.
Line of sight – To have everything in perfect view, I tried to show my brother that on the trail, he can look further ahead than he initially did.
To sum it up...
Marc and I had another great time biking together. The trail bike opened up a whole new world of biking for him, and he found it easy to transfer his existing BMX skills to the MTB. Overall, Spain is a great destination to escape the cold seasons in Germany, with fantastic biking areas to explore. This was definitely not my last visit!