3 Secret Tips for Mountain Biking in Mud

Mountain biking in mud or wet conditions?  Here are the Top 3 mountain biking tips that will boost your grip and control to stop you slipping and sliding all over the trail.  You’ll find some extra tips for wet and muddy conditions under the video tutorial below.

But Read This First:

The Golden Rule of Mountain Biking in Slippery Conditions is to approach all obstacles and surfaces as square on as possible.  This prevents, or at least minimizes your wheels from deflecting and sliding out from underneath you. 

1. Lower your suspension rebound settings by two to three clicks

(As a starting point) Reducing the speed at which your suspension rebounds – or extends back out – will slow the speed at which your bike bounces off or pushes back off the slippery log or obstacle.

  • Helps you and the bike absorb more of the impact energy so there’s less energy rebounding to produce a slip or bounce
  • The bike stays more planted, enhancing grip and control
  • Relax your arms and legs a little more than usual at the moment of impact, particularly if riding a hardtail

2. Lower your tire pressure two to three psi

This reduces tire bounce similar to lowering suspension rebound. 3 psi mightn’t sound much, but it makes a big difference!

  • With less air pressure resisting the impact, your tire will rebound slightly slower, boosting grip and control
  • Lower pressures increase the tire’s tread contact patch and their ability to conform to the shape of the obstacle – video below shows a great comparison.  All this gives you more grip and control.
  • Just don’t go too low that you risk rim damage, punctures or tire squirm!

3. Rise and Tilt

Rise off the saddle and tilt the bike vertically perpendicular to the obstacle or surface while you’re riding over it.

  • Even if the obstacle is on an angle itself, ride your bike perpendicular to it
  • Use the tire’s centre treads, so that your weight and pressure is applied square-on
  • The more you use your tire’s off-centre treads in the wet the more you’re asking to slip!

Check out the 6 Bonus Mud Tips below

6 Bonus Tips for Mountain Biking in Mud and Wet Conditions:

  • Use momentum to get over the slipperiest obstacles further before engaging smooth pedal strokes to finish the job.
  • Avoid stomping on the pedals and breaking traction.  Instead, pedal as smoothly as possible so that the delivery of power to the rear wheel is consistent and continuous. View the smooth pedal motion video here
  • Ride Mud or All-terrain tires if you know it’s going to be a muddy ride.  HERE are Chris’ favorite all-terrain tires.
  • Avoid the Mud as much as possible Mud kills bikes, so avoid as much of it as possible.  Mud reduces performance and accelerates wear of parts and components, bearings, your suspension and drivetrain.  And the more mud on your bike and tires, the more energy it takes to pedal.
  • Pick your lines well  Look for the more solid and grippier ground in every scenario.  Watch other riders ahead of you to see how they handled the terrain.  Did they slip?  Or did they choose a good line for you to follow?
  • Relax your shoulders and your grip on the bar  Keep low off the saddle where possible over obstacles and through deep mud, to let the bike move under you.  Similar to riding through a rock garden, allowing the bike to wiggle under you even as you pedal, is key to your success. View the rock garden video tutorial here

Where to next:

Cornering Technique for Loose and Slippery Exits
Smooth Pedaling Technique for slippery trail
Racing Tip 18 – Muddy Race Ready

Please Like or Share this page with a friend to help them mountain bike better!