Downhill for beginners
Is this your first time trying downhill? Our staff is on hand to tell you what you need to know before you hit the trails. In essence, downhill is similar to riding a regular bike down a gravel road or trail, but at the same time a completely different experience all together. Lift accessed biking takes place on specially built trails which incorporate various types of terrain and obstacles such as jumps and drops. If you like trying new and exciting things and testing your limits, then downhill is definitely for you!
Downhill is, as its name implies, all about the ride down. The lifts take you up to the top of the mountain so you don’t need to worry about pedaling back to the top. Simply put, you can focus on ripping down the trails and having fun! As for the bikes, they are purpose built to handle whatever the trial may throw your way. Hydraulic disc brakes offer unparalleled stopping power, whilst the smooth suspension both front and back take the sting out of the rough stuff.
When starting out, there are some key things to remember: keep your eyes on the trail ahead; take it easy the first couple of runs; get to know the bike and the trails before you try going full speed and finally, don’t forget to smile!!
Downhill bikes are built with one thing in mind, going downhill. A low centre of gravity, slacker angles all round and powerful brakes are just some of the things that make these bikes what they are. The bikes are ‘full suspension bikes’ which means they have a suspension fork up front which allows the front wheel to move up and down independently, and a ‘shock’ at the rear which allows the rear wheel to travel independently to the rest of the bike. This in turn makes them stable and agile and above all…fun! Lastly, a low seat means it’s out of the way, so you’re not going to get any nasty surprises if you land just a little hard.
There are 3 main components to the protective gear:
Helmet and goggles:These are designed to offer maximum protection to both the head and the eyes. We recommend goggles with clear lenses if you have them.
The protective jacket: This offers optimal protection to the spine, shoulders, elbows and chest. It is worn like a regular jacket and zips up at the front, along with a belt around the waist; this ensures the armor sits comfortably on the rider.
knee and shin guards: These cover said areas and may be worn against the skin or alternatively on top of training tights or thin trousers.
One final piece of advice is to bring with you a suitable sturdy pair of trainers: flat low shoes with a stiff sole such as skate shoes are fine. If you don’t have any such shoes and are thinking about buying some when in Hafjell, we highly recommend FiveTen shoes, which are, in our opinion the best for this type of activity.
We recommend bringing with you clothes which you don’t mind getting dirty. It is common for people to ride with shorts, or thin trousers. You would be surprised at how warm it can get riding downhill!
Rental and workshop:
Here at Hafjell Bike Shop we have 140 Scott gambler Downhill bikes to suit all sizes and weights. All protective equipment is included with the bike rental but can also be rented separately as well. We do not however rent out goggles, gloves or shoes and this is due to hygiene regulations. We therefore recommend you to bring these items with you. Alternatively you can purchase these items from our range in store.
Our workshop is responsible for maintaining and servicing all our rental bikes as well as helping customers with any issues they may be having on their own bikes.
During the summer season we run both the gondola and the second chair lift to take you and your bike to the trail head. The Gondola has marked bike cabins where there is room for 2 people and 2 bikes. On the second chairlift customers will find racks for their bikes mounted on the sides of the chair. The lifties will assist you in getting you and your bike on and off the lifts.
Choice of trail:
Our trails are rated as some of the best in Europe and their difficulty levels are color coded: green, blue, red and black.
Green trails are the easiest and are predominantly gravel roads and flat trails.
Blue trails are the easiest true downhill trails and incorporate some smaller jumps and some berms.
Red trails are steeper and more technical with bigger jumps and other difficult obstacles to negotiate.
Black trails are extremely steep and technical, narrow with big jumps drops and other challenging obstacles.
The downhill trails here in Hafjell Bike Park vary from wide open machine built trails which ride more like a rollercoaster to more technical, steep and winding single track through the forests.
NB get to know the trails before you decide to increase you speed.
The majority of people can begin on the blue trails, the easiest downhill trials here in Hafjell. These have been designed to be wide open and flowing with some small drops berms and jumps built in to help you progress. It is important to note that all elements can simply be rolled over to start with.
Those with more experience will also enjoy these trails simply because they are so well built and tons of fun.
Downhill bikes have powerful disc brakes so you only really need one finger on each brake.
It is important to look ahead and see what is coming up next.
Stand with level pedals, this makes the bike easier to maneuver.
Shift your weight a little back on the bike, have your heels flat and your hips raised so that you are ‘standing’ comfortably on the bike.
Take regular breaks even though you don’t want to because of all the fun your having. Its easy to forget how tired you are becoming when your having a good time. These breaks are important to give your body a rest, especially your braking fingers!
About Hafjell Bike Park:
With a reputation as one of Europe’s leading Bike Parks we offer our guests 17 trails, with 29 km of rideable terrain and a constantly evolving bike park. The gondola and chairlift take you and your bike up to 800m above sea level in just a short space of time. We have a comprehensive trail network for beginners and all trails are marked by color according to their difficulty.