Bike riding against gravity, also known as “Gravity Biking”, is a sport where specially adapted bicycles are ridden down steep hills at a very high speed. It is one of the many forms of mountain biking and is dangerous. As riveting as this sport sounds, it involves many risks and potential injuries.
For most people, the sport of gravity biking is more about the thrill and experience than winning a game. In this sport, the bikers depend primarily on the law of gravity to have a good experience. So, the steeper the mountain, the better for bikers. These bikers mostly enjoy the adrenaline rush while going down the hill.
If you are searching for a place to learn about gravity biking, you have come to the right place. This article will acknowledge you a lot about bike riding against gravity and everything related to this sport.
What is Gravity Biking Exactly?
The name is self-explanatory as in this sport, participants get to the top of the hill and prove the meaning of ‘gravity’ by riding a bike.
The bikers use robust and specially adapted bikes to descend from the top of the hills. And, gravity helps the riders achieve high speeds through terrains that are difficult to navigate and filled with various obstacles. More importantly, Gravity biking is one of the extreme sports, and even some trained bikers are scared to participate in it.
But bikers don’t necessarily have to ride the bike against gravity to get to the top of the hill, but some do it, while others take an uplift. Although, not all downhill trails have an uplift due to the unavailability of vehicles on rugged/uphill terrains.
And, what makes this experience remarkable is the speed at which the bikers ride down the hill and the obstacles they overcome. As the bikers have to jump over fallen trees, large rocks, or blunders that get in their way. All while, the biker uses skills to avoid a crash; if he does not manage to avoid the blunders, then he might lose balance and fall.
- YES, This sport is not for beginners and takes a lot of training to get confidence.
The thrilling and high-speed experience can only be achieved by safely utilizing the stored potential energy as many dangers are involved in this activity. And, if you are being careless and not wearing safety gear, you are exposed to many potential injuries and scratches.
Not All Bikes Can Be Used for this Sport
Regarding gravity mountain biking, you cannot just use any bike to participate in this sport. A downhill MTB is the safest choice of mountain bikes as these bikes are mostly known for their durability and balance over other aspects.
Moreover, these bikes are also heavier than standard bikes, weighing around 30 to 35 pounds. And, their front tube design is slack at an angle of fewer than 65 degrees, almost at all times.
Important Features of A Gravity Bike
When purchasing a good mountain bike, some specific factors of the bike should be taken into consideration, notice the tyres, braking system, suspension, and drivetrain.
- The tires have to be a standard of a diameter of 27.5 inches and up to a width of 3 inches for improved stability and should have rugged tread.
- These bikes should contain an entire suspension system for shocking absorbing, where the front forks would be 7 to 8 inches in travel and the rear 7 to 10 inches.
- As for the brake, there should be hydraulic disk brakes of size 200m or more.
And, yes, all of these mountain bike features help the rider ensure that he has a good experience and that it does not end in any causality.
Everything A Rider Needs To Know To Do In Gravity Biking
Many riders want to know what exactly they need to do to participate in gravity biking. If you are also such an avid rider, follow the 5 steps below.
Step 1: Choose The Correct Gravity Bike
As I discussed earlier, not all bikes will allow you to take part in gravity biking. For this, you need a particular type of gravity bike. I have already indicated the features of these bikes above. All you need to do is choose a gravity bike carefully and for your convenience, n the next part of my writing, I will describe some popular gravity bikes. So that you can choose the bike from there if you want.
Step 2: Collect Safety Gears Carefully
Since gravity riding is always dangerous, you must use the necessary safety equipment. One of these accessories is the full-face mountain bike helmet.
Also, the list of other essential equipment you need to use includes back protectors, knee pads, elbow pads, and even neck braces. In the bike shop, you will find some other safety equipment that can work for your safety like goggles or gloves.
Step 3: Practice
Taking part in a gravity biking competition requires a lot of practice, for which there is no substitute. For this, you can use small hilly paths, sloping/gravel trails, or similar paths in your area. The main goal of your practice will be to maintain complete control of the bike in any situation and become proficient in cornering.
Step 4: Select Gravity Park
As the trails differ at different gravity parks, so do the amenities. So, you decide which gravity park will be best for you according to your abilities.
Some popular gravity parks in the United States include-
- Angle Fire Bike Park,
- Northstar California Resort,
- Snowmass Bike Park,
- and Killington Resort.
It is not mandatory to attend to any of these, but find a suitable gravity park near you.
Step 5: Singing Up To The Race
After completing the above four steps, you are now ready to take part in gravity cycling. Most gravity parks offer online sign-up for contests. And, you can easily participate in the contest by signing up online at your chosen Gravity Park.
Then, Which Bikes Will Be The Best For Gravity Biking?
Sometimes choosing a gravity bike can be quite embarrassing for a rider. The features of these bikes often make them hesitant. Below, I would like to introduce you to some popular gravity bikes. I’m not saying these are the best, but many expert riders recommend them. But you can choose from these if you want.
1. Santa Cruz V10 Downhill Mountain Bike
- SRAM Descendant crankset
- Fox 40 Performance fork
- E*Thirteen chain guides
- 5″ max tyre size
- The rear end can crack easily
2. Intense Tracer Pro
- Truvativ Descendant Alloy 6k Eagle DUB cranks
- FOX 36 FLOAT Factory fork
- SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed shifters
- Shimano XT M8020, 180mm rear rotor and 203mm front rotor brakes
- VPP suspension may disappoint and cranky
3. Devinci A29
- Shimano MT510, 30T crankset
- RockShox 35 Silver TK SoloAir 140mm Travel fork
- Shimano Deore M4100/MT420 brakes
- Maxxie Minion DHF29.5 tyre
- Weight is a bit high
4. Norco Shore A1
- SRAM GX Eagle Boost 170mm cranks
- FOX Factory 38 FLOAT 44mm offset fork
- SRAM Code RSC 4-Piston metallic pad brakes
- 5″ x 2.6″ tyre size
- Jerking is felt more during riding
Are There Any Negative Sides of This Sport?
As mentioned earlier, beginners should not do gravity biking as there are certain aspects to consider that new bikers would not be aware of. The sport of going downhill on a bike requires immense balance and stability from the rider, or else the rider has a lot of possibilities of falling off the bike and getting badly injured.
- While going downhill, the bikers experience a massive adrenaline rush, so the bikers are very prone to mess up in controlling their balance. Due to this sudden excitement, the riders often gather a lot of speed and that is where they mess up.
- Moreover, this sport includes a lot of stress on the heart and the mind because you have to overcome many difficulties on a bike and going down a steep mountain.
- It is also physically straining as you need a lot of energy to control the bike’s speed to prevent crashing.
- In Gravity biking, it is easy to get bruised within the path and maybe break a limb or two if you fall. Thus many trained bikers do not get the courage to participate in this sport because of health issues.
Safety Precautions To Maintain While Biking Against Gravity
As mentioned, gravity biking includes many risks, and to avoid them, bikers should take some safety measures. Here is a list of things bikers must be aware of before participating.
👉 Train Before Participate.
Beginners should not engage in this activity without training. It is best to start working from what you can handle and slowly work towards the tricky parts.
👉 Maintaining Proper Balance.
Do not lose your balance and stability, no matter how much adrenaline flows or how fast you can descend. It will not end well if you don’t keep your calm.
👉 Protect Yourself.
Gravity biking is dangerous; you want to be equipped with protective gear for maximum safety- knee, elbow, arm pads, and protective headgear are necessary. If possible, cover your entire body with clothing materials to minimize injuries.
👉 Check Your Bike.
Ensure the tire pressures are at their best and the brakes are working alright. You have to check every part of the bike to ensure everything is working to avoid any troubles. Yes, maintenance of the bike is essential.
👉 Take A Partner.
With all the dangers included, this sport should not be done alone. You should have someone with you with experience so that they can help you if you crash. After all, biking with a partner or friend in gravity riding will help you in many ways.
👉 No Extra Baggage.
Carrying unnecessary things with you is not advisable as they will only weigh the bicycle down. Moreover, while descending, if any of the stuff falls out and gets in the way, you and your partner will get hurt.
Last Sayings Over Biking Against Gravity
It is always fun to dare yourself to do some activities filled with danger and thrill, but many aspects should be taken into contemplation.
Gravity biking or biking against gravity is an extreme sport where the biker rides down the hill on his bike. This sport has some opposing sides, but overall, it is an adrenaline-filled experience. Finally, if you can maintain the basic safety precautions, this sport will open many new experiences for you.