Let's get ready to tumble
You can’t really call yourself a true mountain biker until you’ve had – or at least witnessed – all of the following twelve mountain bike crashes.
Featured video: ‘Mountain Bikers Examine Their Relationship with Crashing | The New Yorker Documentary‘
Warning: this page features folks getting injured and other folks swearing. Don’t watch if offended by either.
Let’s get the Greatest Hit out of the way first. Going over the bars. It’s arguably what we all fear most when riding down steep terrain. That’s because when it does happen – which it will at some point – you can get trebuchet-ed an awful long way into the undergrowth.
2. The face slide
A subtle variation on the OTB but usually involves holding on to the bars just that little bit too long – maybe trying to ride it out – and ending up using your face as a handbrake.
Casing essentially means coming up short and failing to get your rear wheel on the desired landing zone. Sometimes this can buck you off. Sometimes it can so extreme that you just stop on the lip and headbutt your stem, as above.
4. Clipped-in stall
If you think about it, mechanically attaching yourself to a mountain bikes seems like you’re asking for trouble. And everyone – and we mean everyone – who had attempted clipless pedals will have fallen sideways at some point. Some will have stalled just a set of traffic lights. Others will have fallen off a cliff never to be seen again.
5. Wash out
Watch the iconic video above from 1m 40s onwards – it should autocue to this point but sometimes it doesn’t work. THE classic Sam Hill moment. Most of us don’t have wash outs as dramatic and rad as this one but we’ve all had a front or wheel wheel slide out from under us, ditching us into the dirt.
6. Don’t look at the tree
Look where you want to go. Don’t look at the obstacle. Or this will happen.
7. Your mate makes you crash
Either it’s following them blindly down a trail (as in the video above) or your riding buddy decides to suddenly slam on the brakes and have a rest causing you to take evasive action and dive headlong into a drystone wall.
8. Showing off
These crashes are best when the hapless rider is pretending that they aren’t really showing off. They’re just going to ride this bit for their own benefit. Nothing to do with proving a point over their riding buddies. Oh no.
9. Pesky critters
A mad dog on a lead. A wasp in your helmet vent making you freak. A gormless sheep deciding to dash out. An antelope mugging you.
10. Component failure
This can be sometimes be as major as fork steerer snapping or a head tube being ripped off the bike. Or it can be a handlebar snapping or a pedal coming of its axle. Perhaps most common is a snapped chain causing a spill. Broken parts and broken bodies in perfect disharmony.
11. The uphill OTB
A third mention for the OTB as it’s such a classic MTB crash type that it needs to be covered in depth. Going over the bars when aggressively climbing is a beautiful thing. This crash type is usually caused by either a snapping chain or a sudden loss of traction and it’s very embarrassing as a bonus.
12. Revenge of the bike
This is where you’ve had your crash – usually a large OTB – and then your bike decides to follow up and wallop you with a pedal to the helmet or similar. The final indignity; being assaulted by your own bike.