Mountain bikers come in all shapes and sizes. Some riders live for the backcountry terrain, some get their adrenaline kicks from fierce descents, and others just like to do the unexpected

That’s what makes this sport so special…

Mountain biking welcomes everyone with open arms. There’s an endless list of diverse trails out there, begging to be explored.

You just have to find your discipline.

From how you ride and what you ride, to where you ride and what you wear – your preferences in the saddle will define which tribe you belong to. So what kind of rider are you?

Cross-country Crusaders

Cross-country crusaders don’t shy away from pain, they relish in it – taking on extreme physical challenges from torturous climbs, to technical backcountry trails. XC demands mental and physical strength if riders want to withstand the crucifying pain and control their rhythm across all terrains.

Here’s some practical advice that will take you from cross-country zero to hero…

How to train: Your ultimate training tips

A generic training plan just won’t cut it for riders taking on cross-country trails. Regular training across different terrains will ensure you’re prepared for everything XC has to throw at you.

Spend time riding across unpredictable terrains to improve your reactions and skills over obstacles like rocks, mud and gravel. Dedicate the rest of your training to experimenting with long, strenuous climbs and challenging, technical descents.

What to wear: Your must-have equipment

Cross-country riding is all about being as lightweight and as streamlined as possible. So get used to wearing lycra.

Look for lightweight and energy efficient equipment, like carbon fibre frames, air-sprung shocks or even foam grips.

Where to ride: Your go-to destination

Home to some of the world’s greatest XC competitions, Val di Sole is what dreams are made of when it comes to cross-country mountain biking.

This Italian region is home to the type of challenging rock sections, huge drop-offs, and technical terrains that define cross-country riding.

Downhill Daredevils

Coined ‘daredevils’ for a reason, this particular tribe spends its time hunting down mind-blowing mountains sides and epic descents.

Fierce speeds, intimidating heights and uncertain terrain get downhill daredevils going. They want thrills, spills and everything in between.

Check out our top tips…

How to train: Your ultimate training tips

Downhill riders need to be able to transfer a relentless amount of power through the pedals.

Building strength will allow you to perform powerful bursts when needed, whilst spending time training on fast courses will improve your handling skills when travelling at speed.

What to wear: Your must-have equipment

Superior protection and enhanced foot support are an absolute must if you’re planning on going full throttle.

Arm yourself with a full-face helmet, goggles, and flat sole shoes.

Where to ride: Your go-to destination

A wonderland for anyone and everyone on two wheels, Whistler makes the perfect destination for riders with a soft spot for downhill trails.

Gravity-fuelled jump trails, mountain zones and double blacks – there’s no doubt about it, Canada pretty much has it all.

Enduro Enthusiasts

Enduro Enthusiasts enjoy the best of both worlds. They get their buzz from speedy descents, BIG climbs and hefty endurance challenges. They even go after brutal jumps and drops too.

Think you’re an Enduro Enthusiast? Give yourself the upper hand with this slice of advice…

How to train: Your ultimate training tips

It’s fair to say enduro riding is action-packed. But it demands as much grit and guts as it does stamina and skill, and your training should reflect this.

To help you transition to and from each riding style and terrain, spend time mastering all kinds of trails and climbs that push you out of your comfort zone.

It won’t be easy, but it definitely won’t get tiresome.

What to wear: Your must-have equipment

This is where MTB gets a little bit specialist. Enduro Enthusiasts need to consider everything, from their suspension and the material of their bike, to their shoes and their protective layers.

Although you need lightweight equipment that offers enhanced mobility, you also need to ensure you’re going to be protected all ride long.

Your wardrobe must-haves should include goggles, gloves, durable shoes and a bike with full-suspension and remote lock out.

Where to ride: Your go-to destination

Built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, Rotorua is a godsend for riders looking for their next adventure. Considered a hidden treasure for enduro riders especially, you’ll find a range of routes suitable for all capabilities…

From rocks, steep slopes and narrow tracks, to drop-offs, sharp corners and man made jumps – New Zealand is rich with trails and obstacles.

Trials Tricksters

Trials tricksters aren’t bound by the restrictions of a trail. They make the most of the environment available to them. And if that means terrifying drops and risky tricks, so be it.

Tricksters share the ambition to break boundaries and let loose whilst in the saddle. Forget rules and regulations – this is all about energy, freedom and adrenaline…

How to train: Your ultimate training tips

Although it looks like all fun and games, training to be a Trials Trickster requires weeks of focused, dedicated training.

Your training plan needs to incorporate exercises that build your style, speed, strength and balance before you can hone in and fine tune a particular trick.

What to wear: Your must-have equipment

While highly protective gear will keep bruises at bay, your number one priority is finding equipment that allows improved mobility and movement.

To be able to react quickly and ensure your bike works with the natural movement of your body, opt for a rigid stead and smaller frame — something easier to throw around.

Where to ride: Your go-to destination

There’s nothing tame about Scotland’s Isle of Skye — after all, it’s where one of world’s biggest trials superstars was made.

The naturally rocky terrain provides for some beautiful scenery — a stunning backdrop to performing bold drops and gap-hops.


What’s your MTB alter ego?

If you’re still unsure about your mountain bike alter ego, check out this fun 9 question quiz from Sole Power.

Sole Power is an online blog from Michelin that aims to empower and inspire the adventurers and achievers whose home from home is off the beaten track.