If you look at what the locals are riding, those in the know ride bikes with tubeless tyres with lots of sealant. A mid-level tread tyre with good sidewall protection gives you a good balance of easy rolling, traction and protection from the rocks. A modern full suspension cross country/trail bike is perfect for these trails, and while a dropper seat post is always nice, it isn’t really needed unless you're tackling some of the more advanced trails in the networks. The ability to carry more water than you normally ride with is a great idea in warmer weather.
Alice Springs is the hub of mountain biking in Central Australia. There are a range of trails for all skill levels in and around the city centre. You can also access the MacDonnell Ranges and venture further afield to Uluru from here. The Alice Springs Telegraph Station, just a short ride from the city centre, has a number of trails throughout the national park area, and also marks the start point of the Larapinta Trail.
Perhaps one of the best ways to appreciate the enormous monolith of Uluru is on a bike, as you use the same trail used by walkers to get up close to the rock. It’s pancake flat so you can leave your climbing gears at home and cruise around the base at your own pace, enjoying the many vistas and the rich cultural heritage explained on interpretive signs around the dirt path. You don’t even need to bring your own bike, Outback Cycling has bikes for hire from the Cultural Centre.
Kicking into gear
For those wanting more thrills, mountain biking is the way to go. The Alice Springs Trail network includes kilometres of dedicated single track set amongst the ranges. The region’s challenging arid terrain makes it perfect for high energy pedalling.