What does it mean?
The "Tech Rating" for a trail gives an idea how 'technical' the trail is, i.e. how much bike handling skill you need to ride the trail.
Unlike Grunt rating where the expenditure of energy riding over difficult trail may effect the ratingGrunt Rating, Technical Rating is not influenced by how fit you need to be to do a trail. That being said it would be a disservice to not suggest examining the Grunt Rating of a trail you're interested in riding. For the main reason that if you're tired, you will lose strength, and your technical skills will diminish.
When giving a Tech Rating, we'll focus on the stuff on the trail that requires bike handling skills to ride without dabbing or walking around it. That's stuff like rocks, roots, chutes, drops, jumps, sharp switchbacks, very narrow passages, freeride structures, etc. Assume you have awesome muscle power and endurance, assume some reasonable speed, assume a reasonable bike, and just measure technical content.
And finally know that you may sometimes have a trail system differ from one rating to another. As is common with a diverse trail network it could be possible to rate a trail with all levels... Give the overall rating based on average of rating of trails within the network.
What does each level mean?
These are preliminary category descriptions. I'm totally open to different divisions, like making 1Star be both non-technical and beginner trails, so that 2Star can be "Moving On" level and 3Star "Intermediate".
|Trails suitable for beginning mountain bikers ranging from easy to moderately difficult. This ride may consist of wide and/or paved trail or gravel or paved roads. Trail conditions are usually favorable. There may be challenges, but they're of moderate difficulty and mostly easy to spot. Small log piles, tight corners, short steep climbs, etc. If intermediate technical features exist they likely have a go around. It is likely that you will not have to dismount your bike much if at all to hike over difficult sections.||Trail:Forest Park|
|Trails for ambitious beginner to intermediate mountain bikers. Trail conditions are mostly good rideable hard pack singletrack. Obstacles may not be visible well ahead of time, and either man-made or natural trail features such as rocks, tree roots, or bridges may be common. Beginners looking for technical challenge be advised that there are difficult sections with consequence, beginners looking for less of that challenge will likely find the trail to have some sections too daunting to ride. If advanced technical features exist they likely have a go around.||?|
|Trails for intermediate to advanced riders. Trail conditions that may be loose and/or choppy. Possible that you will occasionally encounter steep terrain and man-made or natural trail features such as rockgardens, large logs and tree roots, 1' to 2' drops. Man made trail features or (freeride stunts) may be common yet likely have go arounds or roll outs. Also trail likely will have moderate to serious exposure and/or tight switchback corners where consequence is high. Beginner riders looking for a technical challenge be advised that there are difficult sections with consequence and prepare accordingly. There's nothing that can't be walked around, but if you don't have some solid bike handling skills, you may find the trail discouraging. Added safety equipment such as knee shin armor, elbow forearm pads is encouraged. While man-made stunts have go-arounds, it is likely that difficult natural terrain may not.||?|
|Trails for ambitious intermediate to advanced riders. Trail conditions will be mostly unrideable for beginners. Commonplace to encounter extended and/or extremely steep terrain, man-made and/or natural trail features such as long scree rockgardens, rocky/rooty drops of 2' to 4' or chutes, skinny bridges. Some features whether natural or man-made may not have go-arounds, or the go arounds themselves may take a high level of technical skill to navigate. Trail will likely have serious exposure, tight switchbacks with high consequence. Intermediate riders looking for a technical challenge be advised that there are difficult sections with consequence and prepare accordingly. Solid bike handling skills are required to ride these trails. Added safety equipment such as knee/shin armor, elbow forearm pads is highly encouraged.||?|
|Trails for advanced riders and above. Trail conditions likely will be unridable for all but the most skilled technical riders. Extremely likely that you will encounter steep possibly off-camber terrain and man-made and/or natural trail features such as skinnies, rock chutes, jumps with gaps of varying width, 4'+ drops, and elevated structures. Some features may or may not have go arounds, or the go arounds will take a high level of skill to navigate. All riders with advanced skill level and above be advised that there are extreme sections with high consequence and prepare accordingly. Advanced bike handling skills are required to ride these trails. Proper equipment such as armor, full face helmet, and long travel bike are highly encouraged.||?|