Mountain Biking Terms You Should Know

As with any sport, mountain biking comes with its own terminology and language. Learning the ropes out on the trail is nearly as important as understanding essential commands, equipment, and ways of communicating. In memorizing a handful of important terms, you’ll be able to better communicate with fellow bikers both on and off the trail. The Redding mountain biking scene is full of veteran riders who might tease you if you don’t know your stuff. Brush up on some of the most important words with our guide below.


Attack Position: This is the well-balanced position you ride in while you are approaching or riding on rough terrain. The knees are bent, the butt is above the saddle, the elbows are slightly bent, and the head is raised.

Berm: An embankment on the trail

Bunny Hop: A hop you incorporate to clear obstacles, such as logs, without stopping

Chain Suck: The dragging, jamming, and bunching of the chain that occurs in sloppy, muddy conditions

Clipless Pedal: A pedal that has spring-loaded cleats that clip to a rider’s shoe

Dialed In: When everything on your bike is running smoothly

Doubletrack: Two trails that run parallel to each other; this may also be called a tractor trail or Jeep trail.

Downshift: Shifting to a lower gear

Dropping In: When you proceed down a steep single track when other riders are around

Dualie: A bike with both front and rear suspension

Endo: A crash that involves going over the handlebars

Fire Road: a backcountry dirt or gravel trail wide enough for emergency vehicles to use

Gnarl: This is an extreme technical section of a trail often characterized by rough, rooted, slippery, and rocky sections.

Grider: A long, uphill climb

Hardtail: A bike with no rear suspension

Line: The desirable path or strategy to tackle a tricky section of the trail

Ratchet: A riding technique in which the rider pedals in partial strokes to clear difficult obstacles

Upshift: A shift into a higher gear

Wash Out: When the front tire loses traction, especially while going around a corner

Yard Sale: A crash so bad it scatters every piece of equipment