As known as MTB, Mountain Biking´s different disciplines are made up of Cross Country (also known as XC), Downhill, Trail Riding, Freeride,and Trial biking to name the most popular categories. Outside of these subcategories Mountain Biking can be used combined with other activities to create a new and interesting spin on an activity while allowing MTB lovers to branch out while still being loyal to their beloved sport. The following is a breakdown of some of the most popular categories and spin offs of the sport.
- Cross Country Mountain Biking
This is the subcategory that is the most demanding on the cyclist both physically and skill-wise. It is the most popular form of mountain biking and since 1996 it has been an Olympic Sport (the only form of Mountain Biking to be part of the competition). The cross country cyclist´s strength is in his or her endurance and not as focused on technical performance as in other categories. The terrain is what defines this category and it must be of easy or moderate complexity or else it becomes a different category. Trails ridden by XC cyclists can be single or double track, forest trails, or fireroads (usually unnatural breaks in vegetation to avoid fires spreading), generally which are flat and not too complicated.
These are the lightest bike, weighing in at between 7 and 16 kilos and they normally have front suspension forks and occasionally suspension in the back. The tyre width nowadays is 26 inches; however there are other 29" and 650b around although it is a disputed subject. The helmet worn is normally a normal bike helmet
- Trial Riding
These bikes when used for competition usually have wide handlebars, powerful breaks, are single-speed low geared, no seat, a particular frame structure, and have a wide back tire with low pressure in both.
- Downhill Mountain Biking
Our champion from the UK was Danny Hart in 2011 who won the the 2011 Downhill World Champion.
The bikes used are heavier than XC bikes with weights from 14 to 19kg. Their frames are designed for a more leaned back posture for the rider. They normally have 8 inch suspension, wide hydraulic disk brakes. Riders wear a full helmet and sport full amour and occasionally wear a neck brace for extra protection for the neck and back.
- Freeride Mountain Biking
Freeriding is often done in downhill skiing venues and more and more we are seeing ski centres offer lifts and areas for the bikes.
- Mountain Biking with a twist
Nighttime Mountain Biking. Riding at night is a great way to improve your skills and there are also multiple competitions that feature riding at night (which are sometimes 24 hour ordeals). It´s also a way that cyclists deal with the winter months as day light time diminishes as the cold month come around.
The is essential equipment that you will need to take like torches and warm clothes, but biking at nighttime makes one concentrate on the immediate path ahead and teaches bikers how to deal with surprises that pop up along the way. It´s great in the summer as the temperature is lower at night and there are usually less people out and if you are bored with a trail, you may not even recognize it at night!
One must be careful with cycling at night however as some major dangers can be hidden by the dark and a mobile should always be packed in case of getting lost.
- Mountain Biking Orienteering
This Orienteering done on a bike, and the bike you chose depends on the terrain (tracks and trails) where the navigation challenge takes place. The different between mountain bike orienteering is that bikers must not go off the designated track so much of the challenge is focused on choosing the right route while navigation, not to mention that the cyclist has to read a map as well and peddling! This requires multiple cyclists to work together while using their map and compass skills.
- Winter Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking in the UK has an infinite number of options and locations. The more serious categories can be left to the professionals, but cyclists of all ages can enjoy mountain biking, learning along the way!