Types of Mountain Biking

Redding is known for its world-class trails and diverse terrain. Our area is an excellent destination for any type of mountain biking enthusiast: cross-country lovers, all mountain fanatics, downhill junkies, and freeride chasers. However, not many beginner mountain bikers know the distinction between terrain and the types of bikes that best fit these separate styles. As an intro to style or a brief refresher for veteran riders, we’ve detailed the five types of mountain biking below.


Cross-Country—This is the most common form of mountain biking. Cross-country involves riding for extended periods of time through trails. It doesn’t often involve extreme obstacles (as other forms of mountain biking might), but still requires significant control in order to maneuver through the trail. Most cross-country trails involve long periods of climbing and descending, incorporating winding paths and banked turns for efficiency. Though Redding has terrain for all forms of mountain biking, this is the most abundant and popular.


All Mountain—This is an action-packed, variable adventure involves more varied terrain than cross-country biking. It involves riding through the mountain’s natural terrain. The trails are not easy to maneuver, and this form of biking often includes drops and jumps. It requires a great deal of skill, control, and confidence, and the trails are incredibly unpredictable and adventurous.


Downhill—Downhill riding has one goal: speed. Unlike cross-country trails that involve curves and snaking paths, downhill trails are often straight down through the mountain terrain. Most riders don’t even use a specific trail; they use their focus and control to get down as fast as possible. In this case, bikers don’t ride up the mountain; they either walk up or take a lift.


Dirt Jump—This type of riding is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than riding through trails on a mountain with different types of terrain, the sport is done in a dirt park consisting of jumps. Dirt jumping is about tricks and air. This is the least common form of mountain biking in the Redding area, but riders can still find or make their own jumps using the available terrain.


Freeride—Freeride is closely related to downhill mountain biking and dirt jumping, but it emphasizes tricks rather than speed. Riders use their creativity to use the natural terrain and special features built into the trail. This can include anything from ladders and ramps to beams and jumps. This is the most versatile mountain biking discipline; depending on your personal riding style, you may go for speed, jumps, or creativity.