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XC, DH... MtnX... What tha..?

Was a time when bikes were bikes but as technology has improved and bikes become more specialised there are a whole bunch of different disciplines and styles of riding each utilising a different style of bike so what do they all mean?

The International Mountain Bike Association group riders into the following 6 styles.

* Beginner Cross Country: These riders prefer dirt roads, dedicated paths and wide smooth trails. Bikes tend to be basic hard tails with a price range of anything from $400- $1000

* Avid Cross Country (XC): These are more experienced cyclists and race orientated riders who are comfortable in back country, self sufficient and looking for trails between 10 and 100 km in length that offer solitude, nature, exercise and a challenge.

* All Mountain (AM): A catch all category including advanced riders and those new to the sport, these riders seek a variety of trails leaning more toward technically challenging routes.

* Down Hill (DH): Usually highly advanced riders who seek highly technical descending routes. These riders have highly specialised equipment and prefer trails with close access to roads for a vehicle shuttle back to the top.

* Freeride (FR): Free Riding is all about technical challenges and riding style. These riders look for challenging obstacles both natural, rocks, drops… and man made, ladders, elevated platforms… Skill parks offering challenging obstacles that progress in difficulty have become one of the more popular sections on many mountain bike parks.

* Dirt Jumpers (DJs) Dirt Jumpers seek dedicated jumping trails consisting of a series of linked jumps runs.

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