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The Encyclopedia of Mountain Biking

A beginners guide to common words and terms used in mountain biking


Mountain biking can be very esoteric and be a confusing when you're first starting out. Here is a guide to common words and terms that you are likely to come across within the world of mountain biking.


A mountain biker jumping a gap jump


29er - Refers to a mountain bike with 29inch wheels.


650b - Same as 27.5 which is a wheel size. Actual wheel size is closer to 27inchs.


Bail - The art of deliberately jumping off your bike to avoid crashing.


Berm - A banked corner used for support whilst riding around turns.


Bonk - The feeling of loosing all your energy and struggling to carry on riding. Usually caused by insufficient food and/or hydration


Case - When you come up short on a jump and land front half on the landing and rear half in the middle section of the jump. Usually followed by a comment about needing a lawyer.


Clipless - Refers to pedals where you are attached to them using cleats. Called clipless due to the lack of toe clips that go over the shoe.


Dab - The act of taking your foot off your pedal and using it to aid balance and control.


Drop - A step feature in a trail. Sometimes to high to roll over thus needing the rider to be able to perform a drop.


Double - A jump between two rollers (see roller).


Downhill - Mountain biking that specifically focuses on riding down steep technical terrain with numerous features such as rock gardens, jumps, roots, and drops.


Enduro - A race discipline where participants ride around a loop with multiple timed sections (usually downhill). Times from all sections are added together and the rider with the lowest time wins.


Flats - Refers to flat pedals where you are not attached to them.


Full Sus / Full Suspension - A mountain bike with suspension at the front and rear.


Gap Jump - A jump that has a clear gap between the take off and landing. These require full commitment and can not be ridden without jumping.


Gnarly - Usually used to refer to something risky or a risky move. Taken from surfing.


Hardtail - A mountain bike with only suspension at the front.


LBS - Simply an abbreviation for Local Bike Shop.


Loam - Soil composed of clay, sand and other organic matter. It is usually sort and loose, sat on the trail surface.


Pumping - The act of pushing the bike into the trail to generate forward momentum. Can be done on rollers (see rollers) berms (see berms) or undulations in the trail.


Roost - Dirt and loam kicking up behind the rider as they go through a corner.


Roller - A mound in the trail used to pump (see pump) over to gain speed.


Scrub - The act of keeping the bike low whilst whipping a jump. Usually done to look cool.


Singletrack - a trail that is wide enough form a single bike to ride down.


Squash - When you have to much speed for a jump so you use your body to absorb any upwards motion. This helps maintain speed without overshooting the jump. Usually seen in racing.


Stantions - the upper tubes of a suspension fork that slide through the seals into the lower part of the fork.


Steezy - The act of looking effortlessly stylish whilst riding.


Step Down - A jump where the landing is lower than the take off.


Step Up - A jump where the landing is higher than the take off.


Table - A mountain bike jump where the middle is filled and level with the top of the take off and landing.


Train - Multiple riders riding a trail at the same time, one behind the other.


Travel - How many millimetres of travel your suspension fork or shock has.


Whip - The act of getting the bike sideways in the air in one smooth arching movement. Not to be confused with the trick Tail Whip.




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