Cycling is still alive and, over time, various modalities are added to this complete discipline. Downhill is one of the most modern variants and is characterized by speed. However, despite being very fun, it is an extreme activity in which attention must be paid to various aspects.
With the advancement of technology in different industries, many inventions have been left in the past, displaced by new things or newer versions that replace the previous product.
However, against all odds, this has not been the case with the bicycle, because, although it was replaced by the car as the “main means of transport”, the bicycle never ceased to be manufactured, nor did it cease to be used.
In fact, although there was a decline in its sales many years ago, more and more people buy a bicycle, either to take walks or to practice the different variants of cycling.
Downhill MTB, for example, is a practice that, although it is considered dangerous and risky, gains more and more followers every day, as there are many who want to practice a sport that, in addition to representing a good opportunity for exercise, manages to inject adrenaline. to all the people who dare to do this type of downhill cycling.
What exactly is the Downhill modality in cycling?
Thanks to its name, it is not so difficult to imagine what this sport is about. Down, in this case, means “down”, while Hill refers to mountains or hills. With this in mind, Downhill is basically a type of cycling that specializes solely in downhill mountain biking.
In fact, to be able to practice this modality it will not be necessary to face the strong and steep climbs that are required to be able to descend later, since the essence of this sport lies only in the descent. Cyclists usually ride their Downhill bikes in a car suitable for this or in gondolas, if it is a bike park.
The objective of this discipline is not simply to get down the hill without accidents, but to do it in the shortest possible time. Therefore, in order to be a professional, it is necessary to have a lot of practice time, a strong stomach so as not to feel afraid when descending, and great control of the bicycle and of all the senses.
However, as if the natural curves and drops of a mountain weren’t enough, the circuits of this type of downhill cycling also feature human-made obstacles. On the tracks it will be possible to find ramps, cambers, bridges and other obstacles that make the route a little difficult but that, without a doubt, provide a little more emotion to the cyclists and the spectators.
What is required to be able to cycle downhill?
You must always keep in mind how dangerous it is to go down a mountain at 50 km/h or more with different obstacles, therefore, having safety equipment is completely imperative, because if you do not have it, the consequences of the accidents that you could have could be quite serious.
Downhill clothing should consist of a uniform, if possible, or simply a set of clothing that has the following characteristics:
1) Elasticity: It is necessary that the chosen clothing is adapted to the type of body you have, since this “second skin” will allow you to move without problem or discomfort, unlike other clothing that could limit your mobility.
2) Fabric: The fabric used in the manufacture of the elements that you will use should be completely resistant to abrasion, avoiding strong scratches when you fall.
3) Size: The outfit used should cover all arms and legs, to keep you safer and prevent you from suffering more than you should when hit.
4) Colors: It is always recommended to use bright colors, as these will help everyone locate you in case of problems.
However, clothes are not everything. It is also necessary to always have descent protections.
Among this protective equipment, the integral helmet stands out, whose weight must be between 600 grams and 1 kg. In addition, you should always have knee pads, elbow pads and gloves with knuckle protection.
There are those who, for extra security measures, also use protection on the back, chest and neck. As well as sports goggles to improve your vision on the descent and prevent dirt from getting into your eyes.
When you have all this, then you can start checking different Downhill bikes until you find the best option, suitable for this activity.
What bike should you use for this discipline?
As could be expected, due to the demands of this sport, it is necessary to have a bicycle with all the necessary characteristics to be able to be safe when going down a mountain.
In this sense, it does not matter if you have another bicycle that you take great care of and that you even clean with a hand steamer to keep it in excellent condition, if it is not a specialized Downhill mountain bike, you should not use it. Avoid having accidents.
The first thing you should check on a Downhill bike is its suspension. This must be double, that is, it must be at the rear and front of the bike; this will allow for effective damping when lowering. These suspensions are usually 200 mm.
On the other hand, the wheels change depending on the taste of the person and their size. The most classic are the 26”, but it is possible to find suitable bikes with 28” or 29” rims. As for the wheels, they must be wide and with a large stud, to prevent mud and different types of dirt from accumulating between the studs, making cleaning difficult.
You have to remember that the brakes are also extremely important and must always be in good condition, as they can save you from a spectacular accident. The ones that are recommended are 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes.
Finally, when it comes to handlebars, they can be half or double height, but always long. This allows the rider to position himself in the best way for the descent. In the case of Downhill, the saddle must be kept down, as the cyclist will not sit on it to descend.
With this information, you already know what to acquire to start practicing downhill. Remember that your safety must always come before the adrenaline and the fun.