I got a cheap mountain bike from a local sporting goods store a few months ago. Was lucky to find it because COVID depleted all bikes in this area. Been hitting the trails 2-3 times a week since, and they’re brutal. Going down hill is my weakness. I don’t trust my cheap bike or myself with all the roots and rocks around here. Trying to keep heels down, center of gravity, look ahead…but it’s slow going for me. My question is actually two questions. How can I build up confidence and go faster down hill? And, I’m upgrading to a Giant fathom 2 29” (won’t get here for a couple months though). Will a better bike help, or is it all in my head?
It’s not in your head! The Fathom 29 is going to be a much better descender than the crappy bike you are currently riding. Given the price, the Fathom 29 is an excellent bike. It has excellent geometry and aggressive tires. Both should improve your descending ability immensely. Happy riding!
A Fathom is going to be a huge upgrade and you will definitely start to feel more confident after a few rides. I have owned a few decent full suspension bikes from the early 2000’s and I must say the Fathom is very trust worthy (my current ride:2019 Fathom 1 27.5). The modern geometry makes a big difference. The lack of rear suspension is the only limit I have on it…but it’s an amazing bike at that price point. And it’s a blast to ride even in the rough stuff.
The new bike will make the difference. Another good way to get comfortable is stairs. Find some not-too-steep stairs somewhere in your world and start riding down them (occasionally, over a span of time where you’re also getting out and riding trails). Progress to steeper stairs until you find that your comfort level on the trails gets to where you want it.