Getting into dirt jumping

A young reader needs advice on picking a dirt jump bike and becoming confident enough to enjoy it.


I started mountain biking last summer (04) and fell in love with it. My parents have agreed to by me a bike for my christmas/graduation present. they said it can’t be more than around $700. I am looking for a hardtail freeride/dirt jump bike (like a Kona Shred). Any suggestions?

And now an even harder question. I have always been a timid person when it comes to sports like this. I do feel like i improve biking every time i go on the trail though, but they (my parents) don’t think i will be able to do this kind of riding. i was wondering if you knew a way to help me become less timid and more daring. I want to do this but will need some help getting over my fears. Thanks for your help.

Hey Andrew.

Welcome to the sport!

Bike: For $700 or less, the Kona Shred, Specialized P.1 Cro-Mo and Haro Zero One look good. Out of the three, the Shred is the only one with gears, so if you plan to ride on hills you might want that one. The P.1 seems to have the best fork of the three, which makes a big difference when you’re jumping and such. Looking at the specs, the Zero One is the least of the three bikes. But all three are nice. See what you can find at a local shop you trust, then go for it.

Parents: They shouldn’t be telling you what you can’t do. When I brought home my first mountain bike at age 19, my parents told me I’d wasted my money. I weighed over 200 pounds, and they told me I’d always be inactive and overweight. WELL SCREW THAT!!! Do this: Stop thinking about what you can’t do or what you’re afraid to do — think about what you want to do and what’s required to do it.

Confidence: Learn the essential skills and take it slowly. Never try something you’re not ready for. Take it one step at a time, and soon you’ll be rocking. (I heard about a great book … ) I’ve always been timid myself. Over the years I’ve raised my fear ceiling, and now I can rip like a champ as long as I’m within my limits. Some things still scare me, but that’s the nature of the sport (and life). You gotta set goals and keep growing.

I hope that helps,

— Lee

Go ahead: Ask me something.

Read the bible: Mastering Mountain Bike Skills

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