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MTB Jargon buster

The Jargon buster

Bail

v. Leaping off the bike to avoid a more serious crash. Best done into a soft pile of leaves at the side of a trail.

“Thank God I bailed before I hit that tree.”

Berm

“I went so fast around that berm.”n. A banked corner that can be ridden faster than a flat corner. A very common trail feature.

Booter

n. A large jump that requires a lot of commitment.

“Wow, he went so far off that booter.”

BSO

abbrev. Bike Shaped Object. A cheap bike designed to look like a mountain bike that would have no real off-road use. Often bought from a supermarket.

“I would never take that BSO off-road.”

Clean

v. To complete a section of trail without crashing, stopping or taking your feet off the pedals.

“I cleaned that rock garden so easily.”

Dab

v. Quickly taking a foot off your pedal to stop yourself from crashing.

“Lucky I dabbed over those roots otherwise I would have gone down.”

Dialled

adj. When your set up is perfect allowing you to ride to the top of your ability.

“My bike feels absolutely dialled on this trail.”

adj. Good.

“That trail was dope.”

Downside

n. A downwards-facing slope that allows you to gain extra speed, it will normally be after a jump.

“I went so much faster when I landed on that downside.”

Edit

n. A short film showcasing the talents of a rider or riders

“I love watching the latest edits from Remy Metailler.”

Flow

n. The trail nirvana. A feeling all mountain bikers seek where one obstacle melds into another just perfectly. You know it when you’ve found it.

“That trail had perfect flow.”

Gap

n. A jump with a hole in the middle, this increases the risk for the rider.

“I’m so glad he cleared that gap.”

Gnarly

adj. An especially difficult feature.

“The rock garden on the trail was so gnarly.”

Huck

v. Performing a large jump without any real thought for the consequences.

“I can’t believe she hucked that 20 foot drop.”

Kicker

n. A steep jump that gives you a lot of airtime.

“I just flew off that kicker.”

LBS

abbrev. Local Bike Shop. Your go-to place for any repairs, upgrades or just a nice chat about bikes.

“I love my LBS so much.”

Loam

“The loam here is amazing.”n. A specific type of loose, dry dirt. Desireable for it’s grippy characteristics and the ability to create roost.

Loose

adj. To ride on the edge of control.

“Did you see how loose they were riding?”

Northshore

The Dune’s Geometry perfectly suited the Alpine trail

n. Raised wooden board walks, named after the North Shore area of Vancouver that popularised this style of riding.

adj. Extremely nice bikes or components.

“Her anodised hubs looked pimp.”

Pinned

v. To ride fast

“I was so pinned on that trail”

Pump

1. v. A technique that allows you to gain speed without pedalling.

“You can get so fast by pumping on that track.”

2. n. A tool for inflating tyres

“Can I borrow your pump?”

Rad

adj. Good.

“That trail was rad.”

Rail

v. To ride a corner so well it is as if you are “on rails”.

“You totally railed that turn.”

Roost

n. Dirt that is kicked up behind a rider as they ride sideways into a corner.

“You kicked up so much roost on that turn.”

Scrub

v. A motocross technique used to keep low and fast over a jump.

“I scrubbed that jump so hard.”

Session

v. To repeatedly ride a section until you have perfected it.

“I need to session those turns to get quicker”

Shralp

v. To ride in an aggressive manner.

“Me and my friends are going to shralp the Surrey Hills this weekend.”

Shred

v. To ride in an aggressive manner.

“My friends and I are going to shred the Surrey Hills this weekend.”

Sick

adj. Good

“That trail was sick.”

Snake Bite

n. A puncture gained by hitting a square edge. It leaves two parallel holes similar to a snake’s fangs

“Oh no, another sanke bite!”

Step-down

n. A jump where the landing is lower than the take off.

“That step-down was really scary.”

Step-up

n. A jump where the landing is higher than the take off.

“That step-up was really scary.”

Stoked

adj. Excited.

“I’m so stoked to ride tomorrow.”

Stoppie

A nose wheelie.

“I can’t wait for the next stoppie Sunday.”

Tabletop

1n. A jump with a flat layer of dirt across the top, this is thought to be more safe than a double or gap jump.

“I much prefer riding tabletops over doubles.”

2n. A trick where the bike is laid flat underneath the rider in the air.

“Darren Berrecloth does the best tabletops.”

Taco

v. When a wheel has been bent by an impact to the extent that it looks like a taco.

“He just taco’d his wheel on that jump.”

Whip

v. When the bike is pushed sideways in the air. A whip is seen as a stylish manoeuvre.

“I wish I could whip like Danny Hart.”

Yew

spoken. A general expression of excitement.

“YYYEEEEWWWWWW!”

 

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MTB Bike Styles

Mountain biking is great fun because of the huge variety of riding and terrain most mountain bikes can tackle.

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That means there’s a whole range of exciting but potentially confusing types of MTB to choose between. Don’t worry though, this guide should help you through all the options to choose the perfect mountain bike for your riding.

Cross-country

Cross-country (XC) bikes make up the majority of the more affordable MTB’s, with prices up to £1,200 for a top

quality machine but also include specialist gold medal winners that are up to £5,600 for a fully carbon monster. They’re designed to be efficient and easy to pedal so expect fast rolling tyres and relatively lightweight frames and components. You’ll often find 29in wheels on more expensive XC bikes for a smoother, more speed sustaining ride too.

They’ll have around 80 to 120mm of front and/or rear suspension movement to absorb occasional rocks and roots on your local trails. It also increases grip and improves comfort so you can go faster, for longer with more control. That makes XC bikes great whether you want to get places fast, fancy doing a race or challenge event or if your fitness levels just need a boost from your bike.

Orbea ALMA M-PRO
Orbea ALMA M-PRO

 

Trail

Trail bikes blend the easy speed of ‘cross-country’ bikes with the tackle anything technology of ‘enduro’ machines. Up to £1,700, you’re generally best sticking with a front suspension only ‘hardtail’, but from £1,700 upwards it’s worth thinking about front and rear ‘full suspension’ for the extra control and comfort it adds. If we’re talking numbers, suspension travel ranges from 120 to 160mm, head angles should be 69 degrees or less, stems 90mm or shorter and bar widths 700mm or wider.

Look for 650b or 29er wheels, held in place with 15mm front and 12mm rear axles for extra security and stiffness. More aggressive trail bikes will have some features of enduro rigs but they should still be light and pedal well enough to make climbing comfortable and cross-country riding fun. This makes them the greatest ‘have a go hero’ mountain bike that’ll let you tackle any trail or challenge.

Orbea OCCAM TR M20-PLUS
Orbea OCCAM TR M20-PLUS

Enduro/all-mountain

Enduro bikes are full suspension trail bikes with extra aggro attitude. Suspension travel is typically longer at 140 to 170mm, bars wider (750mm) and stems can be as short as 30mm. Slack 67 degree or less head angles give power assisted style steering and frames are lowered for high-speed cornering stability. Telescopic ‘dropper’ seatposts let you throw your weight around when things get wild and chainguides keep your power hooked up on the roughest trails. The latest 650b wheel size works really well for enduro but there are really good 26 and 29in wheel bikes too.

These features let you ride and race the maddest courses from trail centre black runs to off piste Alpine terrain in total confidence.‘Trail’ style air suspension and other tough but light kit means they’re responsive enough to be a riot on normal trails. They can still be pedaled back uphill if you’re patient too. This level of technology doesn’t come cheap though, so expect to spend £1,700-plus for even a basic enduro machine and don’t be shocked to see bikes priced at well over £6,900. It’s a cost well worth paying if you want to pack the most gravity assisted, go-anywhere fun into any ride.

Orbea RALLON
Orbea RALLON

Downhill

Downhill (DH) bikes are the most specialised mountain bikes of all. Their super slack steering (65 degree head angle or less), long and low stance and massive sticky compound tyres can tame the steepest, fastest courses. Huge amounts of suspension (180 to 220mm) via motorbike style, extended leg ‘triple crown’ forks and metal coil spring rear shocks can swallow the biggest drops and rocks at insane speeds.

Their bomber-strong frames and components make them seriously heavy though, and there are no climbing gears. That means you’ll need to push back to the top if there’s no ski lift or uplift truck to help. Specialist high performance components essential to extreme trail survival also means prices start around £3,000. That’s why only true freefall freaks need a full-on DH rig… but the only limit to what they can do on a downhill is you.

Mondraker Summum Carbon Pro Team 27.5"
Mondraker Summum Carbon Pro Team 27.5″
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MTB Buying Guide

Orbea Rallon

Mountain Bikes are tough and versatile machines which are designed to take challenging terrain in their stride. There’s a vast array of Mountain Bikes available from beginner-friendly builds to more specialised models that are equipped with cutting edge technology.

The type of Mountain Bike you choose will depend on the type of riding you do, the terrain you ride and the budget you have. Full Suspension bikes feature a shock at the back and fork up front with various amounts of travel in order to tackle the toughest of trails. Hardtail bikes exchange the rear shock for a rigid frame. They typically use front suspension for some comfort while some race focused hardtails have rigid forks.

Both Hardtail and Full Suspension Mountain Bikes are available in women-specific variants to reflect the different ergonomic needs of female cyclists.

 

There are many different types of front suspension bikes, some designed as all-rounders and others to cater for specific disciplines. Geometry, strength, suspension travel and components will vary according to what type of riding the bike is intended for, while different frame materials suit rider preferences or the particular demands of a certain branch of the sport. Most budget and mid-range hardtail MTBs will feature a lightweight aluminium frame. Top-end bikes typically use lightweight carbon fibre, while many bike makers also offer steel or titanium frames that appeal to a wide range of riders.

From superlight short-travel cross-country (XC) race rigs to rough, tough dirt and street machines, from beginner-friendly budget bikes to the latest generation of long-travel trail machines: there’s a hardtail to suit every riding style and every budget.

 

The full-suspension bike has some obvious advantages over the hardtail, with the best of modern suspension designs also virtually eliminating any disadvantages with regard to weight or pedalling efficiency. Because the extra suspension absorbs more of trail obstacles encountered when riding over typical off-road terrain, the bike can typically go faster, with the back end smoothly sucking up the hits rather than being kicked around. The extra cushioning of rear suspension can also offer increased comfort on long-cross country rides, especially helping to minimize lower back and knee pain.

Full suspension bikes towards the budget end of the range can be heavier than similarly-equipped hardtails, due to the shock, pivots and linkages that the frame must carry. This may be detrimental if much of your riding is done on smooth trails or even on tarmac, where the advantages of having rear bounce are outweighed by the smooth and energy-efficient power delivery of the hardtail.

While hardtails may usually be the lighter option, the advantages of an active rear end make it sometimes worth a weight penalty on more challenging trails. Rear suspension can offer more speed through the rougher downhill sections and more confidence when tackling ‘bigger’ terrain including the drops, jumps and rock gardens found on most trail centre black runs, but will also work hard to provide extra traction on technical climbs where many a hardtail would ‘spin out’, losing essential rear-wheel grip.