Unfamiliar with any MTB lingo? No problem, read up below and you’ll be in-the-know in no time at all.
Green trails are typically denoted by a green circle. These trails are mostly suited for beginners or those who are not at all interested in a technical trail. There are usually few features on these trails, and the elevation changes on green trails are fairly minimal.
Blue trails are represented by a blue square. These trails are meant for intermediate riders who have some experience riding and are comfortable with a trail that can be relatively demanding to ride. Blue trails can have quite a few features, drops, and substantial elevation changes. However, these trails are usually not overly difficult in terms of technical ability.
Black trails are marked by a black diamond mark. These trails are only meant for advanced riders who have the experience and fitness required to tackle them. These trails are filled with features that are demanding both physically and technically. Elevation changes are usually very significant.
Double Black (Expert)
Much like black trails, double black trails are marked by two black diamonds. These trails are not for the faint of heart. Double black diamonds are only meant for expert riders who are seasoned with experience and have been riding for a while. Besides being physically demanding, they are also very technically demanding as well. Expect drastic elevation changes on these trails.
Attack Position / Ready Position
This is the active stance you take when the trail is steep or technical. You’re lifted off of your seat, in a crouched position with your chest down and your head up. Your pedals are level, and your index fingers are still hovering over your brakes. This enables you to more actively distribute your weight as needed on the trail.
Refers to mountain bike trails that are accessible to riders who use recumbent or hand-cranked bicycles. These trails typically feature wider features to accommodate adaptive riders.
The act of hopping off your mountain bike to avoid a potentially dangerous crash. Remember, a bike can be replaced or repaired — but serious injuries can be painful, expensive, or life-changing. Safety first!
A banked corner formed from either wood or natural soil, that allows riders to ride faster than a normal corner without losing any speed. Berms are a very common trail feature, but require some experience to ride correctly.
Boardwalk / Bridge
A man-made wooden feature which bridges a gap that might be unsafe or unrideable otherwise for most riders.
A mountain bike trail that has two lanes. These usually are two-way traffic. They aren’t very common, aside from fire trails.
Also known as a fire road. It’s essentially any road that’s wide enough for emergency vehicles to use to get to remote areas. Sometimes these are multi-use trails for bikers, hikers and horse riders, for example.
A section of a trail that includes an obstacle or object to ride on or through. For example, a berm, a boardwalk, or a gap.
When everything about a trail works perfectly together and the rider feels like they’re flying through at high speeds. For example, “The flow of that trail was perfect. I felt like I nailed it!”.
Gap / Gap Jump
A ramped jump feature that has an empty space between the takeoff and landing. Get ready to fly! Also known as a double.
A steep jump that will send you to higher elevation on the trail.
The path you choose while riding through a trail. For example, “I chose the wrong line on that downhill and almost crashed”.
The acronym for “Mountain Biking”, or “Mountain Bike”. Something you get Stoked about. 😉
This is the relaxed stance you take when the trail is non-technical. You’re seated comfortably on your saddle with a slight bend in your knees. Your index fingers are gently hovering your brakes, and your weight is distributed evenly so you can quickly switch to the Attack Position when needed.
A dirt track that’s designed to be ridden by pumping rather than pedalling.
A riding move that allows you to gain speed without pedalling by pushing your bike down at the right moment.
A section of a trail that’s covered by rocks.
A narrow, man-made wooden feature that isn’t much wider than the average tire. It’s designed to test rider’s balance and handling skills.
This is the act of repeating certain parts or features of a trail to practice. For example, “I sessioned that feature until I had it down.”
A feature on a trail where the rider has to jump down from a higher section to a lower elevation.
A mountain bike trail with a single lane that must be ridden single file. For the most part, these are the majority of trails out there.
Flying over a jump and getting some serious air.
Wheels that are 26 inches in diameter. These used to be the standard for mountain bikes, but are now fairly rare to see.
Wheels that are 27.5 inches in diameter. These are essentially the new standard size for modern mountain bikes.
Wheels that are 29 inches in diameter. Nowadays they are one of the most popular mountain bike wheel sizes. Bikes that use these are typically referred to as “29ers”.
A bike that has wheels that do not have an inner tube running through them.
A type of seat on mountain bikes that allows the rider to bring up or drop the height of their saddle while on the move.
Tires that are essentially the widest on the market (about 4-5in wide).
This is the forked part on the front of your bike that holds your front wheel up. Hardtails and Full Suspension bikes also have shock absorbers here.
Bikes that have no shock absorption whatsoever — they’re fully rigid, which means you feel every little bump on the trail.
Bikes that have shock absorption for both wheels, which allows for a smoother ride.
Unlike a full suspension bike, these bikes only have shock absorption on the front fork of the bike. The back of the bike is still rigid, hence the term “hardtail”.
These are tires that are wider than the standard issue (about 2.8in to 3.25in wide). Typically, they are denoted by a plus sign next to the size of the tire. For example, “29+”.
The type of air valve found on cars and bikes.