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Many years ago, when I first realized how difficult some mountain bike trails can be, I picked up a video called Ned Overend’s Performance Mountain Biking. (Yes, I got it on VHS. DVD’s weren’t so common back then!)

Anyway, this is a video hosted by mountain bike legend Ned Overend, to teach you how to ride a variety of terrain with control and confidence. It’s rather old (1996), but it helped me so much, I had to write about it. And think about it – basic riding skills don’t change, so this is a timeless classic to check out.

And yes, it now comes on DVD!

Before I review it, I’ll let you watch a preview:

To start with, and before I critique the video, I want to go over what all is covered in the video. Here’s what is listed as covered:

  • Braking and turning techniques for faster & safer downhills.
  • Smoothing out your ride and maintaining your momentum.
  • Maximizing traction in sand, mud, and loose terrain.
  • Unweighting, jumping, and ‘sucking up’ for additional control.
  • Riding switchbacks and steep drop-offs. How to avoid crashing.
  • Climbing secrets and efficient pedaling tips.
  • Proven drills that will increase your ability and enjoyment.

The list sounds comprehensive, and it is. Even better, the video delivers as promised. It starts out with the basics like body position and movement, developing a smooth pedal stroke, etc. Then it goes through many skills such as cornering, descending, climbing, etc.

Here are all the reasons I like the video:

Great production quality.

It doesn’t matter how good a video is if you can’t see/hear it very well. Fortunately, Performance Mountain Biking is very well put together from a production standpoint.

All the video is clear and taken at a good angle. My copy is VHS so obviously we’re not talking Blu-Ray picture quality or anything, but you can see it was recorded and produced professionally.

The audio (which is usually harder to master) was done very well, too. It’s especially cool how they got good sound quality, even while Ned is talking and riding at the same time. You hear him perfectly, and you can even hear his tires interacting with the ground, but there is no wind noise distorting things!

Full coverage of topics.

When this video takes on a topic (such as turning, jumping, etc.), it’s not just a quick tip and a single demonstration. It really covers each topic in full.

Typically this starts with Ned riding along the trail, giving you an overview of the topic. Then you’ll see Ned demonstrating the skill, and that will include a voiceover from Ned explaining what he’s doing.

Many topics also include videos of a small group of beginner riders doing drills to help them improve at the skill. This usually includes video clips of someone doing something wrong, explaining what not to do, and at least one video of it done well.

Certain skills include many close-ups of exactly where the action is happening, so you can better learn what’s going on. An example would be proper pedal stroke – you’ll see many close-ups of the foot and knee. There are even some in slow motion and with animated arrows on the screen to make things crystal clear!

Many of the other skills and techniques are shown in slow motion as well as full speed so you don’t miss out on the small but important nuances you could overlook otherwise.

You see the experts.

It’s always nice to see how the experts ride so you can imitate them.

There are multiple sections with Ned Overend and John Tomac riding very well with perfect form up hills, around turns, etc.

Plus, other riders are there showing great skill in their respective areas. Daryl Price, another great XC racer, is there to show you how to go fast over rough terrain. Greg Herbold, a downhill World Champion, shows skills like jumping technique and clearing obstacles. And Juli Furtado, a women’s XC and downhill champion, talks about momentum and finesse.

You see beginners.

Then there are sections where beginners are learning techniques, and in some cases, messing up or crashing. So you learn what not to do, and hear what advice Ned has for them (which would probably be good advice for you, too).

Drills you can practice.

Not only do you get to watch and learn from others doing the drills, but also, you can do those drills at home. Great practice will make for better trail riding since you’ll learn faster.

If I had to complain.

Overall, the video is very well-done and informative. I don’t like to give 100% positive reviews, but there isn’t anything for me to complain about here.

If I had to change something, the only thing I can think would be to vary the shooting locations a bit more. It has video from Moab, Utah and Durango, Colorado, but nothing from the East Coast. But since they do cover mud, rocks, and logs, there’s nothing for me to complain about.

My final verdict is…

This is an amazing video for beginning mountain bikers, whether you just want to have more fun on the local trails or you want to start XC racing. If you’re serious about mountain biking, this is required viewing. There’s no better way to spend 60 minutes.

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

P.S. While you’re at it, pick up Ned Overend’s book, “Mountain Bike Like a Champion.” It covers mountain biking skills but also contains neat little tips and helpful stories.

Product Review Details
Company: Ned Overend
Product: Ned Overend’s Performance Mountain Biking Video
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 5.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2010-06-21
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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