Any one have any tips for riding in mud, and lots of it? I am talking about mountain biking.

I am doing a race on Sunday, and it rained all week, and there's a chance of rain during the contest as well.

  • 9
    Don't. You'll tear up the trail. May 5, 2011 at 21:07
  • Have updated your title to better reflect your question. Best of luck at the race! May 6, 2011 at 6:33
  • 1
    I agree with Mike. Also, you'll tear up your bike. If it's bad you are going to put a lot of wear on your drivetrain (cassette, chain, cables) and it'll add up to more than the entry fee to the race.
    – JamesG
    Oct 29, 2015 at 21:33

1 Answer 1


Turn your head before your face hits it. There might be rocks and dental work is expensive.

Seriously, more than about 50mm of mud and it's both faster and easier to carry your bike. Other than that it's just a sticky version of riding on loose gravel. So:

  • stay loose on the bike - off the saddle or at least slightly unweight it. Be ready for the bike to move in its own direction.

  • try to keep traction. If you hit a solid bump, pour on the power to get max benefit.

  • learn to handle losing traction on the front wheel. Practice.

  • if you're floating and don't have traction, power on and try to either dig through it or power over it. The difference is how much weight you put on the back wheel.

But any of this is only good for short sections. Note the liberal use of "power". If you've got 20km of mud you just have to slog through it, probably on foot. Touring on a mud-over-gravel road is about as miserable as it gets.

  • 2
    I'd add that you want to select the correct tires. They can make a massive difference. May 6, 2011 at 18:22
  • I have flashbacks of that horrible sticky red clay-like mud found in the southern USA as well. May 7, 2011 at 9:47
  • There's mud and mud. The clay in low, arable lands is often so sticky, that pushing the bike is not an option. And if you try to ride, got mud all over, and try to carry, you might end with a 30kg bike.
    – Vorac
    Oct 21, 2014 at 8:16
  • @ColinNewell what are the correct tires? I'm using maxxis aspen 26*2.1 - will more knobby ones help a lot?
    – k102
    Aug 8, 2016 at 7:57
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    @k102 - have a look for reviews of mud tires. This MBR article explains the general properties you want. They generally have large blocks well spaced out. mbr.co.uk/news/product_news/…. The tires you have sound like XC tires so they probably aren't ideal. The will likely be too compact clogging up with mud and generally sliding over it rather than gripping into it. Aug 8, 2016 at 11:38

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