MTB disciplines are varied and sometimes it’s quite easy to get confused, isn’t it?
In this article we want to tell you about the different types of cycling in which mountain bikes are used, but before starting, let’s see what are the characteristics that differentiate this bike from the others.
With the term Mountain bike (or with the acronym MTB) we refer to a type of bicycle that can move easily off the road, mainly on rough and unpaved paths of various kinds. Precisely for this reason, depending on the discipline, the bike will be equipped with one type of wheel and shock absorber rather than another.
Mountain biking bikes can be made of different materials such as steel, carbon and aluminum. The weight and therefore also the cost depend on the material, and each mountain bike discipline uses these materials in different ways.
Mountain biking: what are the categories?
As already mentioned, the mountain bike is used for different activities which we will summarize for you in this article. All the different categories have in common the fact that they take place off-road and very often on uneven terrain . Precisely for this reason, MTBs are equipped with suspensions with more or less “large” excursions.
NB – Before talking about the different categories, we remind you that to practice this sport you need to be prepared. You must be self-sufficient in case the unexpected happens and check that you have everything you need in your backpack before venturing out.
The main categories of activities that can be carried out with a mountain bike are: Cross Country , Trail , All Mountain , Enduro , Freeride , Downhill , Four-cross .
If you are curious to take a closer look at the type of MTB that is used for each of the disciplines we are talking about, we advise you to take a look at the MammothBikes Bicycles catalogue .
Cross Country (XC)
One of the best known mountain biking categories is Cross Country. This activity is also indicated with the acronym XC and is the only MTB discipline that is part of the Summer Olympics.
It is usually carried out on circular routes, which can have a length that varies between 4 and 10 kilometres.
The level of effort that characterizes these routes is quite high. It requires not only speed, but also knowing how to handle many technical steps.
When we talk about technical passages in the cycling world we are referring to blind turns, single track descents and things like that.
In summary, the goal of XC is to go at a high speed and be able to maintain the pace.
Trail biking is an activity that is halfway between Enduro, which we will see shortly, and the Cross Country world. In reality, there is no defined boundary, but we can say that Trail bikes are characterized by their generous travel and by the geometries more similar to enduro than to those of cross country bikes. Its routes should not be confused with single track or downhill ones.
The routes can also be circular and have moderate slopes, but important lengths to cover both uphill and downhill.
Those who practice it find themselves having to make small jumps and the routes practically always have the banks accompanied. It is usually practiced on routes outside wooded areas, on the plains, in areas where the track is quite wide.
It is that activity that is carried out in the mountains in the woods and in the middle of nature.
The routes are characterized by very challenging gradients and often made up of narrow and difficult paths.
The very interesting thing about this type of mountain bike activity is the fact that most of the paths dedicated to it are places frequented only by trekking lovers. Simply put, beautiful scenery is guaranteed!
Enduro is certainly one of the most popular disciplines for those who aspire to practice mountain biking in the mountains. The route is characterized by sections of pedaling and some descents. Very important in this activity is the time factor.
But be careful: the Enduro bike must be robust, make sure you practice it with a suitable model.
Let’s move on to Freeride. This category of activity that is practiced with the Mountain Bike takes place mainly inside the bike parks.
Here there are jumps of all kinds and parabolic curves, remember that it is difficult to pedal with a freeride bike because it is a vehicle designed primarily for descending.
Another activity that can be done with a mountain bike is Downhill. This is practiced by following a downhill route which, however, differs from the others due to its high technical rate.
Downhill riders embody the attitude of the mountain bike pioneers. In fact, these usually rushed at high speed along the slopes of Mount Tamalpais using dated postman bikes. This was in the mid 70’s.
The downhill bike is tuned to allow you to ride downhill fast, but with stability.
We finish with the Four-Cross, also commonly called mountain-cross. This style is relatively new and consists of four riders racing downhill on a groomed track that resembles that used with BMX bikes. You should simply try to get off first.
This discipline involves a high risk of falling and the maximum travel time is one minute.