When we hear the words mountain biking, most of us probably imagine a person with a helmet out in the nature riding on a narrow nature trail. But that is only a very small part of what goes into mountain biking! In fact, there some types you have probably never even heard of or at least didn’t expect to see under mountain biking category. So, let’s take a look at four versions among many included in what you can encounter when you hear someone talking about mountain biking.
In the most common sense of the word, this type of mountain biking involves riding downhill solely. For this, a certain type of terrain is obviously required and different kind of understand of the bike, the road, how to maintain balance and some other aspects are also necessary. Downhill mountain biking is usually practiced in designated courses that get checked for safety as it oftentimes includes steep and rough terrain, high jumps (sometimes as large as 12 meters), which can be truly dangerous. Interestingly enough, downhill bikers usually go up using different means than the bike, such as a car or even a lift, as their bikes are too heavy to allow for any uphill riding. As for the bikers themselves, those who practice downhill mountain biking must possess a certain kind of anaerobic and aerobic fitness due to the unique nature of the sport. It is one of the most dangerous, extreme and exciting mountain biking variations.
While somewhat similar to downhill, freeride adds the factor of unexpectedness to it. It literally implies doing anything that is possible on a bike and is usually practiced on tracks that face downhill and have a lot of edges, landing places, steep curves and large drops. While it might be difficult to point and one single bike and say that this is what the typical freeride bike looks like, they usually weigh anywhere between 13 and 18 kilograms, but possess more climbing ability than downhill ones. Freeride has gained so much popularity over time – people manage to do some pretty insane things on their bikes – that there is even a huge international competition dedicated to freeride mountain biking organized by no other than Red Bull – Red Bull Rampage.
This kind of mountain biking involves not only natural mountains but also those created in urban landscapes. Trials riding is based on jumping over obstacles of various nature without ever setting a foot on the ground. Some competitive events exist for this type of mountain biking, where technique is everything, but in more urban environments, trails riding is all about style and smoothness with which you overcome the obstacles.
This is what I referred to in the very first sentence of the article. It’s the most often practiced type of mountain biking, and that’s certainly understandable; it’s the safest out of all options, great for recreation and takes places on organized, maintained and marked trails. Thus, it attracts the attention of not only adrenaline seekers but also families with teenagers or groups of friends.