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Ability & Fitness Grading

  /  Ability & Fitness Grading


We grade our rides and courses so that you can get the most out of them. To do this we use two scales, one that matches them to your skill at mountain biking (Technical Rating), the other to your overall fitness and stamina (Fitness Rating).

We want you to enjoy yourself and come back again, so let us know where you fit on these two scales and we’ll help you choose something that will be fun and challenging, but not leave you so utterly trashed that you vow never to ride again.

This is your first introduction to mountain biking. You’ve ridden you bike on the road and can pedal, steer, brake and change gear, but you’ve never ridden off a smooth surface.

You’ve ridden off-road a few times before and are OK with riding on prepared vehicle tracks (forest/ estate tracks) that are firm, stable and have only shallow gradients. You are happy to ride over small obstacles like roots and rocks up to 2 or 3″ high.

You’re competent at basic bike handling. You can select and change gear according the the gradient and brake on loose surfaces without skidding. You’ve been riding a mountain bike off-road for a while and have no problem riding wider trail centre single-track and Landrover tracks and on uneven, loose surfaces with some steep gradients. As long as the surface is mostly stable, you’re mostly comfortable riding over roots, rocks and logs up to 8 – 10 high. You’re just fine with the average trail centre blue run and the odd, easier red.

You’re a competent at more advanced bike handling. You’ve ridden technical terrain, including trail centre single-track and walkers’ paths. You’ll happily attack rough Landrover tracks or narrow trails with uneven, loose surfaces, frequent steep gradients and continuous sections of logs, roots, rocks and drop offs up to 12 – 15″. You’re confident riding trail centre red runs and you’d like to move up to black.

You’re an expert mountain biker and regularly ride trail centre black runs. You’ve mastered advanced handling and are confident at riding trails of any width that are unpredictable and unstable, including loose rock, slabs and drains. You can handle steep, technical climbs (with some carrying). You’ve the skill to handle continuous, steep technical descents with rocks, logs, tangled roots and drop offs over 15″ high.


Mountain biking is an endurance activity. It’s a long distance run, not a sprint, that needs both strength and stamina. Use this scale to assess your fitness. It may seem odd that we include things like the weather, but even if you’re used to it being cold and wet will rapid affect your performance.

Don’t worry if you’re not a fit as you think you should be. Riding a bike is great cardiovascular (heart) exercise and our coaches can set up a programme for you to get fit again!

You’ve ridden a bike a few times, but biking is not something you do regularly. You’re not regularly active outdoors, you don’t participate in any other forms of exercise. The prospect of riding in the rain makes you shudder!

You ride a bike occasionally for distances from 5 to 10 km, mostly on the flat and at a gentle pace. You take other exercise or half an hour or so, but you like to stop riding when you get tired to catch your breath.

You ride a bike regularly for 10 – 20 km, which will take you 1 – 2 hours. You manage a steady pace, stopping on steeper climbs. You don’t start a ride in bad weather and will take the quickest way back if the weather turns (generally a wise decision). You take other exercise and consider yourself to be of average fitness for your age, but you don’t usually ride two or more days in succession.

You ride three or four times a week for 20 – 40 km at a moderately fast pace, which will take you 3 – 4 hours. You try to ride most days, in all but the worst weather. You may slow down, but you don’t have to stop to recover after a steep climb. You participate in other exercise, consider yourself to be above average fitness for your age and you’ll happily ride two or more days in a row without feeling sore.

You ride daily and like nothing more than riding 40 – 50 km at a brisk to fast pace. Four to six hour in the saddle, day after day is just fine. You ride in all weather conditions. Long, steep climbs are great (if only because of the fun that flows on the way down), but you know how much climbing you can manage in a day and stick to that limit to avoid injuring yourself.

Mountain biking is your passion, your a endurance superhuman. Plus Eight hours and over 60km in the saddle for days on end is not a problem. You train when you’re not riding and you ride in all weather conditions, any distance and as much climbing as there is.

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