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  1. #1
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    Riding Types / Categories

    Can somebody please define the essential differences between trail, x-country, all mountain, freeride, and downhill for me.

    I have a general idea about it, but what are the essential differences that delineate one from another?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twister
    Can somebody please define the essential differences between trail, x-country, all mountain, freeride, and downhill for me.

    I have a general idea about it, but what are the essential differences that delineate one from another?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_biking

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_bikes

    Google anything you want to know and a list of goodies will come up for you to browse through and read.

  3. #3
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    Okay...

    In recent years "defining" your riding style has become important I guess. For the most part the styles of riding have come to define how agressively you ride and the bikes that are used for a given style of riding.

    XC/Trail: This is the basic core of mountain biking and is where the majority of riders "fit in". It's pretty much riding in the dirt, not terribly agressive and is usually done on about any trail from buff single track to technical terrain. The bikes consist of lightweight hardtails and 3 to 4 inch travel FS bikes. They can either be set up with with XC race type geometry and components like say the Specialized Epic or Stumpjumper hardtail, or can be more trail oriented like the FSRxc or Rockhopper hardtail. Most XC/Trail bikes will run under 30lbs. Now in the last 3 to 4 years there has been an inceasing trend towards a bit longer legged bikes that manufacturers are labling "trail" bikes. These consist of bikes like the Trek Fuel EX, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Turner 5 Spot (but the Spot's been around alot longer than the "trail bike" lable) and the like. 5 inch travel bikes that are basically built on XC frames, a little heavier duty but not much. They do take to dorps better than an XC bike, 3 to 4 footers don't hurt a thing, and they are more versitile. So they can be ridden a bit more agressively. But the idea is to have a great all around bike that can do a little of everything. They climb well, descend well, are quite comfortable and are just plain fun to ride. The niche that they fill is starting to become known as "trail".

    All Mountain is a very agressive type of XC riding. Usually the trails are quite rough, ruts, roots, rocks, drops, jumps, etc., and usually pretty technical. AM bikes are heavier duty than XC bikes, usually full suspension in the 5 to 6 inch travel range, and run in the 29 to 35 lb weight range. Good examples are the Specialized Enduro, Turner RFX, Giant Reign, and others. Geometries are more relaxed than XC bikes to promote handling under almost any conditions. To an AM rider the rougher the trail the better, jumps and drops are the norm, as well as shin and elbow pads! An AM bike can be ridden about anywhere, and they usually are designed to climb as well as descend. Pretty much a long legged, but quite a bit heavier duty XC bike. The bikes can be ridden as an XC rig, but they tame down an XC trail so much that it just isn't that much fun. It'd be like taking a rock crawler up a regular jeep trail, kinda ho-hum, was that a bump?

    Freeride originally got it's start on the North Shore of British Columbia in Canada. The riding style had more to do with the trails than the bikes. The Shore gets quite a bit of rain during the year and trails can be fragile. Plank and log bridges and such were built over areas that were constantly moist and muddy to protect them. The style started to grow as these bridges were expanded to include drops, jumps, and stunts that were challenging and fun. The bikes evolved from heavy duty hardtails to long travel heavy duty FS bikes with 7 to 8 inches (some times more) travel, 35 to 40lb+ bikes etc. The riding style expanded to include shuttle runs at places like Whistler Mountain and other like bike parks. The bikes themselves are almost like down hill bikes, built to take a beating and come back for more, not very uphill freindly but still ridable uphill, big drops (8ft+), jumps, gap jumps, wall rides, and the like are what it's all about. Full face helmets, shin and elbow pads are also pretty common. But it does dpend on the rider. Good examples of FR bikes are the Giant Glory and Specialized Big Hit.

    Down Hill is just what the name implies. There's no riding up on a DH bike. They are designed to do one thing well, descend like a bullet over anything that happens to be in the way! They are heavy running to 45lbs or more. Huge travel from 8 to 12 inches and are built to take a pounding. You better be suited up like a Motor Cross rider for down hill, the idea is to get down the mountain as fast as you can no matter the terrain. It's fun, fast, and a real rush. But it's not something that is recommended for multi use trails!

    This is a pretty simplified explanation, and I'm sure I've missed some facets of each riding style. It's just to give you an idea of what each is about. XC and Trail are hard to seperate it's kinda like spliting hairs so I left them in a lump. But the other styles are pretty well defined, and a seperated by the bikes used and the agressiveness of the rider.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  4. #4
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    Wow Squash, that is a great answer!

    Thank you very much for taking the time to share your knowlege with me.

    I fit in to the XC/Trail category, which is the only type of terrain there is around here, but I think I'll have to make a road trip and try some rougher stuff one of these days!

  5. #5
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    Your welcome...

    and I know what you mean about a road trip. About the best we can do around here is some light All Mountain. Even then there isn't much of the "mountain" in it. But we do what we can with what we've got. Anyway, have fun! There are plenty of great places to ride if you want to do a road trip. Half the fun is planning where you want to go first and getting there.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

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