14. April 2021
The vocabulary in the mountain bike world is sometimes complex, even for experienced bikers. The deeper you dive into the subject matter, the more "nerdy" it becomes. Here we explain the most important terms of mountain bike tourism in a nutshell.
26", 27,5", 29" Mountain Bike

The numerical value indicates the diameter of the wheel in inches. A few years ago, the majority of mountain bikes had 26" wheels. Today, the newer 27.5" and 29" mountain bikes dominate the market.

All Mountain (AM)

is a mountain bike discipline. AM mountain bikers have a high affinity for single trails. Enjoying the ride is a high priority and there are no competitive thoughts. AM mountain bikes are up to almost any trail condition.


refers to the common group of all-mountain and enduro mountain bikers. Significant for this target group are adventure, play, fun, endurance, nature experience, riding technique, speed and adrenaline. The requirements for the respective destinations are signposted trails, trail parks, technical trails and combined trails.

Bike Park

provides mountain bikers with lift facilities or shuttle services, as well as various downhill options for a fee. It serves mainly as a sports facility for the downhill mountain bike discipline. Enduro and all-mountain bikers also enjoy bike parks.

4Cross (4X)

is a form of competition in which four mountain bikers race over typical BMX obstacles on a course that tends to be downhill.

Cross Country (CC/XC)

is currently the only Olympic mountain bike discipline. Endurance and fast riding technique are especially important. Participants start in a mass start and ride through a marked course several times. The type of surface varies along the course: Forest paths, meadow paths or even a few asphalted roads are possible. The course can be both uphill and downhill. The dominant mountain bike category of this discipline is a light-weight 29-series carbon-fully. It is quite similar to a mountain bike marathon.


is a sports facility used for practicing the fun sport of dirt jumping. It consists mainly of differently shaped hills. The goal is to complete tricks while jumping with the dirt bike (26" hardtail), BMX bike or slopestyle bike. The associated mountain bike discipline is slopestyle.

Downhill (DH)

is a mountain bike competition discipline. The aim is to master a specified, downhill course as quickly as possible. The track is usually very uneven and has various obstacles such as root carpets, stone fields or jumps. Downhill mountain bikers favor bike parks and self-built trails. The dominant mountain bike category in this discipline are heavyweight fullys with long suspension travel.


In the narrower sense, e-bikes are two-wheelers that are powered exclusively by an electric motor. Pedaling is not absolutely necessary for locomotion. In a broader sense, they are bicycles with electronic drive assistance (see pedelec).

E-Mountain Bike

means a mountain bike with electronic drive support (actual name: pedelec mountain bike). It is available, for example, as an e-downhill mountain bike, e-touring mountain bike or e-enduro mountain bike.

Enduro (EN)

is a mountain bike discipline that emphasizes good riding technique as well as the idea of competition. Enduro routes are often downhill and only sometimes uphill. The design is mostly rough and technically demanding. In enduro races, several marked out sections of the course (stages) have to be ridden through in as short a time as possible. Enduro mountain bikes are downhill-oriented due to their pronounced suspension travel, but are also suitable for riding uphill due to their lower weight in contrast to downhill mountain bikes.

Fat Bike

The distinguishing feature from the conventional mountain bike are the tires, which are significantly wider. Fat bikes prove themselves when riding in sand, gravel and snow.  The rider has high levels of  comfort and control due to wider tires and low tire pressure.


Experiencing flow means being completely absorbed in an activity, merging action and consciousness.  The flow theory goes back to the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.

Flow Trail

means a mostly purpose built trail that can be ridden through very smoothly on a mountain bike. If the difficulty of the flow trail corresponds to the level of the mountain biker, they can enjoy a flow experience. Flow trails can be both uphill and downhill.

Freeride (FR)

is a mountain bike discipline. Freeriders bike uniquely, interdisciplinary and free of specifications, rules or pressure. Their overriding goal is freedom, fun and play. FR mountain bikers often single-handedly build North Shore elements, trails and big jumps in the forest. Slopestyle events in cities and biking in bike parks are today, contrary to the original meaning, often titled freeride.


refers to the group of freeride and downhill bikers. For them, mountain biking is an action sport. They are looking for adrenaline-packed downhill experiences with high speed and pronounced airtime. FRoDHo mountain bikers are out and about in bike parks, on single and flow trails. Shuttle and lift services are used.


is the abbreviation for the mountain bike genre of full suspension bikes. It means a full-suspension mountain bike. Fullys have rear supsension in addition to the suspension fork in the front. The suspension fork and shock absorber on the fully absorb any shocks that occur, similar to the shock absorbers on a car. They are used in rough disciplines with a high proportion of obstacles (downhill, enduro, cross country, etc.).

Gravel Bike

A new invention of the bicycle industry. It describes a kind of comfortable road bike, with which it is possible to ride through flat, unpaved roads. The Gravel Bike has similarities to Endurance and Cyclocross bikes.


is a type of mountain bike. Unlike the Fully, it only has a suspension fork in the front. As a rule, it is lighter than a fully. The stiffness of the rear end ensures optimal conversion of leg power into propulsion.


is a mountain bike competition discipline. It differs from Cross Country by its longer race distances (e.g. 80km, though this varies) and lack of a circuit track (races are from starting line to finish line instead of a series of laps), though the race surface is similar to Cross Country.


describes the group of marathon and cross country mountain bikers. They practice endurance sports for which good riding technique is essential. Important infrastructural features of this target group are race tracks, signposted trails, circular tours and route networks with linkable tours.

Bike Guide

is a person who offers and leads group tours by mountain bike. The mountain bike guide knows the region, generates added value (riding enjoyment, nature experience, cultural experience, etc.) for the participants and ensures safety as well as environmental and social compatibility on his/her tours. Sound training opportunities for professional mountain bike guides are, for example, offered by cycling associations, though the training to become a mountain bike guide has not yet been standardized.

Mountain Bike Monitor

is a series of studies by the Mountain Bike Tourism Forum of Germany and the most comprehensive survey on German mountain bike tourism. The responses of more than 11,800 respondents from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol regarding the values and desires of mountain bikers lay the foundation for targeted, demand-oriented destination development.


is the most common abbreviation for mountain bike.

Northshore Elements

are constructions and obstacles in the course of a mountain bike trail. They can be mastered with appropriate riding technique and skill and are part of many bike parks. They are mostly made of wood. Possible elements are bridges, curves, drops and waves.


Pedelec stands for Pedal Electric Cycle and means a bicycle with electric drive assistance. Riding S-pedelecs (over 250 watts continuous power and faster than 25 km/h) is generally only permitted on roads, not on forest and hiking trails. The term pedelec has been almost completely replaced by the term e-bike in the broader sense.

Pump Track

is a constructed course. It can be ridden without pedaling with the help of targeted arm and leg use ("pump technique") and trains basic mountain biking skills and abilities such as impulse, balance and feeling for speed. It offers opportunities for beginners and professionals. Elements can include waves, jumps and steep turns.

Altitude Range

indicates how many meters of altitude can be covered with a full battery charge of an e-mountain bike. It is strongly dependent on the respective riding style and the external conditions.

Single Trail

is generally the most popular type of trail among mountain bikers. It means a narrow forest trail. The condition and thus the degree of difficulty can be versatile. The bandwidth ranges from easy-flowing to stony-uneven to steep-rough trails with hairpin turns.

Slope Style

is a mountain bike competition discipline that originated from freeriding and BMX biking. The goal is to complete the most spectacular and stylish tricks possible on specially designed trails, ramps and mounds. The discipline is mostly done using a dirt bike or slopestyle bike.


is a neologism. It combines the terms test and festival. At a test festival, interested mountain bikers can examine and try out bike novelties. Manufacturers present products such as mountain bikes and make them available for test rides. Often, other program items such as riding technique courses, competitions, mountain bike guidings, rides with professionals or concerts are offered.

Tour Biker

are mountain bikers who, compared to other mountain bike disciplines such as enduro or cross country, are not looking for sporting challenges but above all for recreation. They have no competition in mind and their favorite type of trails are single trails and forest paths. They have an affinity for participating in mountain bike guiding offers.


describes a mountain bike target group that wants to relax on their mountain bike tour, enjoy nature and experience the community. They expect destinations to have route networks, good signposting, feeder roads, rest areas and information boards. In addition to the actual tour, accompanying offers (culture, wellness, gastronomy) are often enjoyed.

Trail Bike

aims at maximum riding fun and ease when biking on single trails. The design can be described as a mixture between enduro and all-mountain bike.

Trail Head

is the entrance or starting point of a mountain bike trail. Often, information regarding the trail in question can be found at the trail head.

Trail Park

offers mountain bikers the use of various trails (flow trails, single trails) of varying degrees of difficulty for a fee. The trails are often designed as a circuit. In contrast to the bike park, some trail sections in the trail park run uphill, which shifts the primary target group of mountain bikers from FRoDHo to AMEN. Shuttle or lift services can expand the offering. Bike parks and trail parks cannot always be clearly distinguished from each other.


is a mountain bike discipline. Skill and balance play a predominant role. Obstacle courses or self-selected obstacles must be overcome. Trial mountain bikes have few gears with small transmission, have a lower frame height and a rigid fork.

Two Meter Rule

means paragraph 37 (3) of the Baden-Württemberg State Forest Act. This prohibits cycling on forest paths with a path width of less than two meters.