Skill Levels

What’s Your Skill Level?

Sometimes it’s tricky to self-select your skill level for group rides and events.  Below are some guidelines for gauging whether a ride or event is right for you.

Novice: 

  • You have virtually no experience with off-road mountain biking.
  • You may be comfortable on a road bike.
  • You may be a casual commuter.
Beginner:
  • You’ve been mountain biking for 1 year or so.
  • You enjoy it but still lack the skills to tackle terrain beyond beginner level
  • You know how to use your gears and brakes properly but when the terrain gets technical you have to get off your bike and walk
  • You can handle single-track as long as it is smooth and with few rocks or roots
  • You can ride for up to two hours at a time
Intermediate:
  • You’ve been mountain biking for at least 1 year or have decent general riding skills and good fitness
  • You’re capable of controlling bike speed and direction on moderate single-track
  • Two to three hour rides are just fine
Strong Intermediate:
  • You’ve been mountain biking for about 2-3 years, and have solid intermediate skills
  • You’ve pretty much stopped complaining about how hard the sport is, even though people keep telling you it gets easier. It doesn’t, but you’re OK with it and you kind of like the pain.
  • You can handle rugged terrain, have good control of your brakes and know how to shift gears appropriately so that you don’t get off your bike too often
  • You can handle terrain that is slightly technical, with smaller rocks and roots and can climb on single-track as long as it is not technical
  • Longer rides of three to four hours don’t faze you
Advanced:
  • You’ve been mountain biking for at least 3-4 years and are very confident in all aspects of mountain biking
  • You can handle most technical terrain, include rocky and root trails, along with features such as switchbacks, medium logs (6-8″ high), and low-level obstacles such as bridges
  • You’re comfortable with most advanced level trails (although you may walk a few sections)
  • You dig rides lasting between 2-5 hours

Expert:

  • You have been mountain biking for over 5 years and are confident riding all types of terrain and distances.
  • You ride as often as possible and can handle technical terrain and medium-level stunts, such as large log rollovers (over 1 ft high) and small bridges.
  • You can descend steeps, and climb technical single-track.
  • You may have done competition for either aggressive XC, Enduro, or DH.