Mountain biking is a exciting sport that takes riders through a wide variety of terrain and challenges. Along the way, riders encounter a unique vocabulary of jargon and slang that helps them communicate about the trails, features and experiences. In this article, we'll explore some of the most popular terms in the mountain bike lexicon, from jumps and drops to switchbacks and rock gardens. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, these words will help you better understand and appreciate the unique culture of mountain biking.
Bail: A term used to describe when a rider has to abandon a line or feature mid-ride, often due to a loss of balance or control.
Berm: A banked turn that allows riders to maintain speed and control through the corner by leaning into the slope.
Dialed: A term used to describe a bike that is perfectly tuned and adjusted for a specific rider and their preferences
Drop: A feature that requires riders to drop off a height, often onto a steep landing or transition.
Flat corner: A corner on a trail without any banking, requiring riders to use technique and body position to navigate the turn.
Flow: A term used to describe when a rider is able to maintain speed and control through a section of trail or a series of features, creating a smooth and effortless feeling.
Gnarly: A term used to describe a trail or feature that is particularly challenging, steep, technical, or rough.
Huck: A term used to describe when a rider launches themselves off a jump or drop with a sense of risk and excitement.
Jump: A feature that allows riders to launch themselves off a ramp or lip and fly through the air before landing on the other side.
Lit: A term used to describe a trail or feature that is particularly fun, exciting, or well-designed.
Loam: A term used to describe a trail or section of trail that has a soft, spongy layer of organic material on top of the dirt, creating a unique and enjoyable riding experience.
North shore: A type of feature that involves a narrow, elevated bridge or trail section that requires balance and focus to navigate.
Rock garden: A section of trail that is covered in rocks of various sizes and shapes, requiring riders to choose a smooth line and maintain balance and control.
Rolldown: A descending feature that allows riders to roll down a steep slope or drop-off with control and stability.
Shred: A term used to describe riding a trail or feature with speed, skill, and confidence.
Step up: A type of jump that requires riders to climb a short uphill section before launching off a ramp or lip.
Session: A term used to describe when a rider spends an extended period of time practicing or riding a specific feature or section of trail.
Stoked: A term used to describe a feeling of excitement, joy, or accomplishment after a particularly fun or challenging ride or feature.
Switchbacks: A type of turn on a trail that zig-zags back and forth, often used on steep or technical terrain.
Tabletop: A type of jump that has a flat top surface, allowing riders to either jump over it or roll over it if they're not comfortable jumping.
Mountain biking is not just a sport, but a culture with a rich vocabulary of jargon and slang that allows riders to communicate about the experiences and challenges they encounter on the trails. From switchbacks and rolldowns to jumps and drops, these words are an essential part of the mountain biking community and help to create a shared language that connects riders from all around the world.
Mountain biking offers an exhilarating and challenging way to explore the outdoors and push your limits. So get out there, hit the trails, and discover the joys of this amazing sport and culture for yourself. And always remember to ride with respect for the environment, fellow riders, and the communities that host us. Happy trails!