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Mountain Bike Disciplines Explained

Mountain Biking is a fairly diverse and complex sport. It might be based on riding up and down off road trails but there is much more to it – depending on your bike, the terrain you are riding and the actual purpose of your riding. Mountain biking can be defined into a number of different disciplines; Cross Country, Trail riding, All Mountain and Enduro. All these terms can seem a bit complicated at first, so we’ve come up with a helpful guide to explain the above disciplines and discuss the key factors that differ between each one.


Cross Country (XC)

This is a type of off road riding favours long climbs and descents. XC riding and racing requires a high level of endurance fitness and bike handling skills. In a non-competitive world Cross Country can also mean riding less technically demanding trails and fire roads. Long distances and long hours in the saddle are common. In terms of bike setup, XC strongly favours short-travel hardtails and full suspension bikes, usually with up to 120 mm of travel. It is important to have a lightweight bike, which makes climbing easier. The bike does not need to be the best at descending as XC descents are usually fairly easy and flowing in comparison to other disciplines. Exceptions obviously do occur, especially when it comes to racing. When it comes to equipment we recommend considering a well-vented and lightweight helmet. A pair of padded bib shorts will also be an important part of your kit, long hours in the saddle can cause saddle sores and injuries. A comfortable and good-quality set of bib shorts will minimize the risk of any in the saddle pain. A perfect example of a XC hardtail is the On-One Lurcher.

Trail riding (TR)

This type of mountain biking is a more aggressive type of XC riding. It generally means riding less fire roads and easy tracks and replacing them with more technical single tracks both up and down. It also means riding modern trail centres, which have a good mix of technical and flowing features. Trail riding favours descending a bit more than climbing, but it is essential that you’re prepared to ride uphill as it allows you to explore further and ride more interesting trails. We recommend either a full suspension or a hardtail bike with around 120 – 130 mm of travel. A full suspension bike will obviously give you more comfort and confidence on technically demanding trails. On the other hand, a full suspension bike will not be as efficient at climbing as a hardtail. We recommend choosing a strong set of wheels and tyres, as these parts take more of a beating from rough terrain than other parts on the bike. Also making sure your brakes are set up to be responsive at short notice and choosing wider handlebars will give you more control and confidence to ride faster and harder. Long-finger gloves and lightweight knee pads are also essential items to protect yourself against falls.

Our Titus Rockstar is the ultimate trail bike! It might have a bit less travel than recommended above but thanks to its bigger, 29’’ wheels it can tackle some seriously challenging terrain.

All Mountain (AM)

This is a riding style that basically means riding in the mountains. We all know how challenging and unpredictable this type of riding can be. Every mountain adventure tests the bikes and riders to their limits and this is why you need a bike you can rely on. Even though we recommend a hardtail for this type of riding, having at least 140 mm of travel is recommended. Your bike has to be light to allow you to ride whatever trail or weather conditions you encounter. Strong wheels and puncture-proof tyres are recommended, to withstand big rock gardens, natural jumps, drops and any other unexpected terrain riding in the mountains might throw at you. Apart from breathable clothing you will need a more protective helmet, knee pads, perhaps elbow pads if you ride in really challenging terrain. A set of durable glasses or googles is also practical if you expect to be riding down the hill at high speeds.

The Codeine is our perfect All Mountain bike. Due to its travel and wheel size it suits both All Mountain and Enduro but, thanks to its low weight, it climbs uphill surprisingly quickly and efficiently. As soon as you point it down a track it will absolutely fly, leaving you with confidence to sit back and enjoy the ride with a great smile on your face. All Mountain is about having fun!

Enduro (EN)

This kind of off road riding is a lot of fun and often means riding very fast. Modern enduro bikes are basically downhill bikes with an ability to climb back uphill once the descent is finished. Enduro bikes can be ridden in the most challenging terrain – natural downhill trails, epic loops, alpine bike parks – you can do all these during one day in the saddle. Enduro bikes usually have between 150 and 170 mm of travel and are full suspension, allowing you to make the most of demanding trails. Enduro is often orientated around racing – and it's getting more popular each year, it’s no surprise since enduro is based on what the majority of mountain bikers already do, riding uphill and then racing against friends back downhill.  Considering a full face helmet, especially if you are planning to ride Alpine descents or race will provide you with way more protection during descents of crazy, high-speed trails. A good pair of goggles would also be practical and useful.

An Enduro bike has to be strong, fun to ride and leave you with nothing but a smile on your face after every descent or race run you do. We could recommend some longer travel, heavier bikes here but, in fact, the Codeine is exactly what you need! Thanks to its strong, stiff and big 29’’ wheels it will roll down some technically challenging terrain with ease and speed. What is more, it’ll take you back up the hill effortlessly leaving you fresh and full of energy for another long and exciting descent. 29ers are not Enduro enough? See what the Codeine is capable of and think again!

Now, once you know the differences between different riding styles it is time to take your bike out and ride it as you want. Remember, it is all about what gives you fun and makes you happy!

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