Cycling is a unique and diverse sport, of which, mountain biking is the most adventurous and popular cycling sport. It is an off-road discipline of cycling where the bikers ride from dense forests to rough terrains and high mountains. Mountain biking requires the bikers to be fit and agile. A skilled biker should be high on energy and must be ready to take on intense hours of riding. There are different categories of mountain biking each having its significant differences. Some are more challenging than others while some are just for pleasure. Let us take a look at some of the popular types of mountain biking.
Like any other racing events, mountain biking also has different disciplines. The most popular ones are cross country, downhill, enduro, four-cross, and slopestyle. Cross country and downhill come under the international governing body, UCI, who run international events like the World Championship. Other disciplines have independent bodies that conduct events like the Enduro World Series.
Cross country is one of the most popular disciplines in mountain biking. It has several categories. It involves steep climbs and descents and the race is all about stamina and fitness. It is not as technical as other disciplines but the riders will have to put in maximum effort throughout the race. Downhill is a discipline where you start right at the top of the mountain and you race to the bottom. The person who completes the race in the shortest time will be the winner. You don’t have to bike uphill. The event is mostly conducted in mountain resorts and riders can use chair lifts to go uphill.
Slopestyle is all about performing aerial tricks with your bike on specially designed ramps, jumps, berms, and drops. The event is focused on the technical skill of the biker and the number of performances he can demonstrate while sloping down the ramp. The smooth execution and great technical ability will be analyzed to determine the winner. Enduro has its roots dated back to the initial days of mountain biking. It is a leisure mountain biking where bikers ride all day long or days. You ride around mountain locations, riding uphill, racing downhill, and technical descents. Four Cross or 4X is a racing discipline where the race is conducted on tracks that are similar to BMX tracks. It is a short and intense race that requires a lot of stamina and power. The racing takes place in several rounds, with winners of each round qualifying for the next round until the final round.
Freeride is similar to slopestyle. Freeride is an incredible event to watch. The riders perform tricks, flips, and jumps while biking in natural terrain. The route is either carved by nature or will be designed by the event organizers in such a way that it will give them more space to perform amazing feats. A pump track is where the bikers ride without pedalling. The bikers pump through a looping track using their legs and arms. Its short track will consist of rollers, whoops, and bermed corners.
A mix of slopestyle and freeride gave birth to a new discipline called speed and style. It is an event where there is head-on racing as well as performing tricks. Two riders will compete against each other in several elimination rounds until the final round. Tricks executed and the speed of the biker is the basis of determining the winner.