A Complete Dictionary Of Mountain Biking Terms

When you are new to mountain biking there are quite a few mountain bike terms that you need to become familiar with and understand what they are. It can get to a point where they can confusing or even overwhelming to understand the terminology.

There is always a challenge when learning something new and it can even make you feel vulnerable. There are terms and slang used by mountain bikers on and off the trail. To help you understand what the other mountain bikers are saying, we have created a commonly used list of terms.

In this post, we will go through the main mountain biking terms. Let’s get started!

Read more on common questions asked

Mountain Biking Terms

This is a compiled list of commonly used mountain biking terms any beginner may encounter when biking with other mountain bikers.

Here are the popular mountain bike terms used on and off the trail.


This refers to the bike’s wheel size which is 27.5-inch wheels.


This refers to the bike’s wheel size which is 29-inch wheels.

Attack Position

This refers to the body position of a rider to be in a well-balanced position when riding as you approach or ride on a rough or technical trail. . It is characterized by bent knees, rear above the saddle, elbows slightly bent, and a raised head.


An embankment on a trail. That can be formed out of rocks.


To be getting tired on the trail. Simply running out of energy.

Bunny Hop

A bunny hop is used as a riding technique so you can clear obstacles such as logs without stopping. This normally involves first lifting the front wheel off the ground. Then the back wheel while the front wheel is still in the air.

Chain Suck

This is when the chain is dragging and jamming of your chain occurs commonly in sloppy conditions, or when the chain comes off the big ring or the small ring into the spokes.


This is when it is a perfect ride through a tough section.

Clipless Pedal

This is a pedal that has spring-loaded cleats that clip to the rider’s shoe.


This is a style of biking. This is where there you can bike in many types of riding conditions and terrains that can include big climbs.


This means ‘impressive’. When everything on your bike is running as should, you are said to be “dialed”.


This is when two trails run parallel to each other for example a trail that may have once been an old road.


This is a type of biking that involves biking down particularly steep, and technical trails.

Downhill Mountain Bike


Changing to a lower gear.


A bike that has both front and rear suspension.


A crash involves going over the handlebars of your bike.


This style involves a mix of both cross-country trails and downhill descents.

Fire Road

Backcountry dirt or gravel road wide enough for emergency vehicles to use.


The part of the bike that attaches the front wheel to the frame.

Granny Gear

This is the lowest gear available on a bike, which only a grandmother would need to use. The lowest gear is designed for steep uphill climbing but is easy to pedal on the flat ground.


A long uphill climb.


Is a very difficult climb, requiring the use of granny gear.


A mountain bike that has no rear suspension but only has front fork suspension.

Hardtail Mountain Bike


Stands for International Mountain Biking Association. An organization for trial advocacy.

Involuntary Dismount

A crash where you come off the bike.

Knooddy Tires

These are all-terrain tires that are used on mountain bikes.


Refers to the helmet.


Short for a mountain bike.

Mud Diving

This occurs when a bike slows abruptly in mud, throwing the rider into the mud.


Refers to a feature of a trail where the sloped ground makes handling difficult.

Pinch Flat

A flat tire is caused when the tube is pinched against the rim internally.

Presta Valve

The narrow valve is found on most mountain bike inner tubes. A metal cap must be unscrewed before air can enter or exit.

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It’s the tire inflation measurement. It stands for pounds per square inch.


Is a riding technique in which you pedal in partial half strokes in order to clear obstacles.

Rock Garden

This refers to a section of trail covered with rocks.


Negotiating trails with a higher-than-usual level of expertise and to fast descent.

Schrader Valve

A type of valve is used on most cars and trucks. They are found on less expensive bicycle tubes and are spring-loaded to release air or let it in.


Refers to a narrow mountain bike trail that must be ridden in single file.


Same as a pinch flat, but has two holes.

Standover Clearance

The distance between the top tube and the rider’s crotch.


A turn on a hill that is too steep to be climbed without zig-zagging.

The Zone

A state of mind experienced while riding. You don’t think, you just do. A truly mystical experience that can’t be fully explained, but when you get there you’ll know it and strive to reach it again.


A riding technique that involves the rider stopping completely without putting a foot down or without pedaling.


The distance a suspension fork or a shock can compress.


To shift into a higher gear.


To have the front tire lose traction, especially while going around a corner.


Small, regular movement of the soil surface makes it a very rough ride.

Weight Weenie

An MTB is more concerned with how many milligrams a certain component saves off the bike’s total weight than with how to be a better rider.


Lifting the front wheel off the ground, usually with some combination of pulling on the handlebars, pedaling harder, and balance.


To crash that completely destroys the bike or can not continue biking.


Not working properly on your bike.

Yard Sale

A crash that leaves all your various belongs flying such as water bottles, pumps, tool bags, etc. been scattered as if on display for sale.

Wrapping Up

Finally, when you are new to mountain biking there is the challenge of becoming familiar with mountain biking terms and understanding what they all stand for. The list above should help you understand what the other mountain bikers are saying.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on a complete dictionary of mountain biking terms was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Mountain Biking Terms