There aren’t a whole lot of sports more thrilling than mountain biking.
Speeding down a windy trail with nature’s tapestry as your backdrop earns mountain biking a top slot among adult athletes everywhere.
How one learns to mountain bike is a whole different story, but most people generally fall into one of the buckets below.
A) I’d love to learn to mountain bike, but I’m scared/nervous and don’t know where to start.
B) I’ve done a little mountain biking here and there but never had any formal training besides friends teaching me.
C) I’ve been mountain biking for years and learned all I know through fellow MTBers, YouTube, or trial and error.
Regardless of which scenario you most identify with, you will undoubtedly benefit from a Ninja MTB skills clinic for adults. As we all know, knowledge is power. And when it comes to mountain biking, more knowledge will make you a more confident and technically adept rider who will shred any trail.
In this post, we’re going into detail on Ninja Mountain Bike Performance, a company that offers nationwide mountain bike skills clinics for riders of every level (we featured Ninja in our post on sports camps for adults).
Hannah Levine, Captain of Global Development at Ninja, shares what makes their clinics so special and how you can get in on the action.
What Is A Ninja MTB Skills Clinic?
Ninja is the preeminent resource for mountain bikers who are just starting their journey and for those who already have the foundational skills but want to take them further.
Ninja even attracts experienced riders who might not have had formal training but turn to Ninja coaches to make some technical tweaks and unlearn bad habits they’ve picked up over the years. It’s similar to how skilled golfers still train with a golf pro to tighten up their skills. There’s always room to improve.
“I get riders whose boyfriend signed them up and gave them a bike and said, ‘Go take a clinic,'” says Hannah. “And we also get people who started riding in the 80s before mountain biking became a thing but have never taken a skills clinic before.”
For myself, as someone who started mountain biking on a wing and prayer and often crashed because of it, I wish I had known about a skills clinic at the get-go. I definitely did not have the confidence I needed to make smarter decisions during my rides, and I relied too heavily on often conflicting advice from my mountain biking friends.
Ninja Mountain Bike Performance’s Street Cred
If you’re looking for a company with credibility in the mountain bike industry, Ninja has that in spades. Ninja was the brainchild of former professional mountain bike racer Richard La China. Richard started a side hustle teaching mountain biking clinics in San Diego, and they were so popular he couldn’t keep up on his own.
Richard’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked into overdrive, and he began recruiting and training his fellow MTB friends on how to teach skills clinics. 2010 marked the official launch of Ninja Mountain Bike Performance.
Ninja has since expanded its clinics nationwide and now holds more than 1000 clinics annually. They formalize their curriculum so it’s consistent anywhere you attend a clinic.
“We’ve got a team of over 200 certified instructors who deliver our curriculum,” Hannah explains. “It was designed by Ninja specifically for our programs and for helping people build one skill on top of another to reach more advanced skills, but doing it in a way that’s safe and sustainable and fun.”
And Ninja must be doing something right because their clinics often sell out.
What Kind of Mountain Bike Skills Clinics Does Ninja Offer?
Ninja offers a variety of clinics to suit any rider’s skill level and schedule. You can opt for a full day or a weekend of training. Or you can order a la carte and do your training in more bite-sized chunks. Either way, you’ll get a small 6 to 1 student-to-instructor ratio for optimal personal attention.
Ninja also offers women’s only clinics because, as badass as women might be, some feel more comfortable in a single-gender environment. Hannah does note the co-ed clinics are still a great choice if the women’s clinics are full.
“People are pleasantly surprised at how friendly the co-ed groups are,” she says. “There’s a lot less ego than I think people expect.”
Beginner Mountain Bike Clinics
At a beginner clinic, you learn the basics, like how to position your body on your bike, how to shift gears, and how to use your brakes properly. Once you feel comfortable, you’ll move on to navigating switchbacks and learn wheel lifts.
Intermediate and Advanced Mountain Bike Clinics
In the intermediate and advanced clinics, you’ll build further on the skills you learned as a beginner. You’ll master techniques like high-speed cornering, riding drops, technical ascent and descent, and tackling obstacles. Overall, the focus will be much more technical in advanced clinics.
Current Ninja Mountain Bike Clinic Offerings
The Ninja MTB clinics below are offered nationwide in nearly every state.
- Fundamentals Skills (Half Day) (Women’s Only Options)
- Intermediate/Advanced Skills (Full Day)
- Fundamentals Trail Application (Half Day) (Women’s Only Options)
- Fundamentals Full-Day Combo (Full Day Combines Fundamentals + Trail)
- Jumping Mini-Clinic (Half Day)
- Two-Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp (Weekend Camp)
Words Of Advice
If you’re hesitant about whether to join a clinic, Hannah offers something to consider.
“If you want to learn to play the piano, most of us don’t teach ourselves. You go to a piano teacher or a class, and somebody teaches you how to play,” says Hannah. “It’s the same kind of thing with mountain biking. If you learn how to use your equipment the right way through instruction, it makes you so much more capable, and it’s much more fun.”
What Else Does Ninja Mountain Bike Performance Offer?
As clinics grew, Ninja Mountain Bike Performance naturally evolved to offer ancillary products to its students and any other mountain bikers looking for quality gear.
The Oregon-based company designs and manufactures jump ramps and air bag landers to supplement what it teaches at clinics. Students can continue to practice jumps and tricks at home on Ninja ramps after their course is complete. Ninja proudly manufactures in the USA, and also offers other products like elbow and knee pads.
Still Not Convinced? Check Out A Couple Ninja MTB Testimonials
Ninja MTB clinics have a lot of repeat customers, which is a testimonial to what people gain from attending them. They have a ton of great testimonials, and the ones below are just a small sample. You can check out even more on their website.
“Wow! I had no idea what I didn’t know. Our coach was so supportive and encouraging. She showed us an obstacle in the morning, letting us know that was the goal for the end of the class. We all said there’s no way– but, by the end of the class, we all rode it like pros! The class was truly amazing. I’ve already signed up for another.”
I took the two day course this past weekend. Instructors (Ben and Tom) were detailed, patient and professional. What you get is an essential tool-kit. You can’t get this from YouTube. You’ll be a better rider after day one. I’ve already signed up to take the advanced course again in January and can’t wait to dig into the homework assignments.”
Are e-bikes welcome?
Standard mountain bikes and e-MTBs are both welcome at Ninja clinics if the venue is e-bike-friendly. Keep in mind the focus of the clinics is general mountain bike riding skills, so there won’t be specific instruction on the additional capabilities of an e-bike, like power boosts. If a rider isn’t sure if a clinic venue is e-bike-friendly, contact Ninja MTB’s customer service, and they can help you find an e-bike-friendly venue in your area.
Will I learn any repair or maintenance skills, like fixing a flat tire on my bike?
The main focus of Ninja MTB clinics is on the actual riding of a mountain bike, so bike maintenance and repair aren’t part of the curriculum. That said, if you have questions about maintenance, the instructors can give you general guidance. Ninja recommends contacting your local bike shop to see if they offer any maintenance/repairs clinics.
How early do I need to register for a Ninja MTB clinic?
The clinics sell out early, so if there is a clinic at a location you are interested in, it’s recommended to sign up as early as you can.
Are there any discounts for Ninja MTB clinics?
Yes! Ninja regularly offers discounts. Click here to see the latest special offers.
Do I need to bring my own mountain bike, or can I rent one?
Ninja doesn’t offer mountain bike rentals for its clinics, so you’ll have to bring your own. However, you can call their customer support, who might be able to recommend rental options from nearby bike shops.