Downhill mountain biking is different from typical cross-country mountain biking, and the trail design requires a different set of equipment. For riding the gravity-fed trails in the Steamboat Bike Park, we recommend using a dedicated downhill bike; cross-country mountain bikes are not appropriate for the downhill trails.
Downhill bikes include the following necessary features:
- Slack geometry, which allows the bike to roll comfortably through berms and rock gardens as well as over jumps, drops and wooden features.
- Hydraulic disc brakes, which have a lot more stopping power than rim brakes. Downhill bikes also have 200mm rotors for increased stopping power, rather than the 160mm rotors that are on cross-country bikes with hydraulic disc brakes.
- Full suspension, with a minimum of 6 inches of travel front and rear. This suspension allows the bike to do the work of absorbing rock gardens, jump landings and varying terrain.
- A short cockpit and a low seat that is out of the way so you can move the bike freely underneath you while you ride. Unlike cross-country riding, there is not much sitting or pedaling when riding in a downhill bike park. The stretched-out position of cross-country bikes that is ideal for pedaling efficiency is not appropriate for downhill trails.
The Steamboat Bike Shop, which is at the base of the mountain in Gondola Square, rents these downhill-specific bikes as well as protective gear for adults and children. Full-face helmets, goggles and gloves as well as elbow, torso and knee pads protect your body against crashes. This protective gear is for everyone from novice riders to experienced downhill bikers.
If you are new to gravity riding or to the Steamboat Bike Park, we recommend taking a lesson. Our bike school offers lessons for all levels from new to riding the park to advanced riders looking to improve.
If downhill biking isn’t your thing, the Steamboat Bike Shop also rents cross-country bikes that can be used on cross-country trails in the area. The resort has more than 50 miles of singletrack trails and roads with breathtaking views. If you’re feeling brave, the climb to the top of Storm Peak either by gravel roads or singletrack is a local favorite — just get your lungs and legs ready for 4,000 feet of elevation gain!
If you have any questions about biking at Steamboat Resort, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-922-2722. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to help.
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