Downhill thrills at Bukit Dinding

Remember those memes on the internet, where an activity or object is pictured as imagined by different point of views (“What I think I do”, “What my mum thinks I do”, “What the public thinks I do” etc.)?

Downhill mountain biking is one activity which deserves its own meme. Whilst the discipline of downhill MTB is a UCI recognised cycling discipline, it is a sport that can still confound not just the public but other cyclists as well. Downhilling involves pushing your bike up either a road or trail to the top of the descending trail, before riding down. Easy.

Where luxury permits, the trail will allow for shuttle access i.e. being driven in a vehicle to the top of the trail. No hard work (apologies to the shuttle driver), just pure descending fun. Whilst, chairlift access is the next level up for downhill MTB, having one in the region is still a dream to be discussed another time.

The Bukit Dinding downhill trail is the only remaining shuttle access mountain bike trail in the Klang Valley accessible to the public. Located in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Setiawangsa’s few remaining (but rapidly disappearing) green lungs, it is a pleasant respite from the rush of the city centre and the fumes from the DUKE highway. Access to the public is achieved via a gentleman’s agreement with landowners, so good etiquette and respect for others present in the area is critical.

Whilst shuttle access is Bukit Dinding’s biggest appeal to mountain bikers; ironically, it’s also one of the reasons it isn’t frequented by more riders. The 3km drive up to the top trail has some very steep sections; inaccessible by most 2WD vehicles. Whilst many riders attempt the climb with their own pedal power, the steepness and its length relative to the descent makes it a lot less appealing to most.

When we were given access to use a Ford Ranger 4x4 for the day, we jumped at the opportunity to use it as shuttles at Bukit Dinding. The two Ford Rangers were the perfect shuttle machines, ferrying eight bike riders and their bikes up the steep road to the top of Bukit Dinding with ease.

After unloading from the shuttles, we got ready and spent a few minutes inspecting the first few metres of the track. We had two Bukit Dinding regulars who told us what obstacles to look out for and the condition of the trails. Minutes later, with us first timers feeling a little nervous, we took off into the trail, doing our best to keep up with the local riders.

Bukit Dinding’s main downhill trail is only over 1km long but with enough variety of features to keep you on your toes for the entire ride. Although originally designed as a trail for downhill bikes, the trail is well suited for modern trail or all-mountain mountain bikes. The trail runs through secondary tropical forest, flanked by large older rubber trees.

Watch out if you’ve got wider handlebars in the first 100m. The trail has a natural flow and obstacles with lots of short steep sections to keep your heart rate up. The second half of the trail is a little dustier and rockier with a more man-made features like bermed corners, kickers and gap jumps (which you can opt out of with a bit of warning). This section is easily the fastest section on the entire trail.

Bukit Dinding saves its most exciting features until the very end. Manoeuvre your way through long rock garden sections and once you’ve had a chance to take a breather on a flowy section of trail, look out for two consecutive very steep and very long drops that sneak up on you. I heard squeals of both surprise and elation from two girlfriends who rode down the two drops right behind me. It’s a rewarding end to an exciting ride. It’s a very short ride to a gate that leads us back to the public road.

One of our party had cleverly parked his car, stocked with cold drinks, snacks and camping chairs at the exit, making it a comfortable wait before our shuttles joined us. Refreshed and ready for round two, no climbing required.

Bukit Dinding FAQ

The beginning of the road up to the trail is marked by a U-Turn Corner (Air Kelapa) Bukit Dinding on Google Maps. You can park near the food stalls here. However parking is very limited. A better alternative is to park at the shoplots down the road, not too far away.

Bukit Dinding trails are maintained by volunteers from the local mountain biking community. Get in touch with Scarfox Gravity Enduro on Facebook who organize trail maintenance days and events there. If you’re feeling competitive, the group have an annual race organised which is billed as Kuala Lumpur’s most technical descent.

If you don’t have a suitable shuttle vehicle or a group to ride with, there are local riders who provide shuttle services for mountain bikers at a reasonable price. You can enquire on the Scarfox Gravity Enduro Facebook page.

Do be mindful of where you park your cars and minimise your impact to the local community.

If you’re a shuttle driver, take care on the road up as it is frequented by many recreational joggers and walkers.

Eating on your trip to Bukit Dinding

While there are plenty of stalls and restaurants around the foothills, we opted for somewhere special for lunch. Restoran Ayam Cibiuk serves Sunda delicacies only a 10-minute drive away. The adrenaline of riding downhill gives you a good appetite. A family style meal with chicken, fish, ulam and lots of sambal was an excellent way to end our day.

Riders

Faizal “Tarek” Tarihhuddin

Jane Tan

Haiza Hamzah

Adrihazim “Jimbo” Rashid

Doowaroda/ IT manager

Women’s MTB Collective

Women’s MTB Collective

TRCRC

I crashed haha

Gonna buy a new bike after this

Can’t believe I rode those big drops

Ride here more often please!

Hajar A Bakar

Ratih Opan

Dzaeman Dzulkifli

 

Doowaroda/Women’s MTB Collective

Women’s MTB Collective

TRCRC

 

We’ll be back!

I’ve been telling people to come ride with me here

The man with all the drinks, snacks and camping chairs ready for us