Mountain biking trail grades
Is this trail for you? Find the right grade for your abilities
We are currently updating to a newer version of the nationwide grading system. For a time we will be using both the new system and the existing system as we change over signage at our sites. Check the website before visiting to stay up to date with the latest changes.
Existing mountain bike trail grade system
Suitable for: Beginners in good health with basic bike skills. Most types of bike.
Trail: Relatively flat & wide.
Suitable for: Riders in good health with basic off-road riding skills. Basic mountain bikes.
Trail: Some “single-track” sections & small obstacles of root & rock
Suitable for: Proficient mountain bikers with good off-road riding skills & fitness. Good mountain bikes.
Trail: Challenging. Climbs, tricky descents & technical features such as drop-offs & large rocks.
Suitable for: Expert mountain bikers with high level of fitness. Quality off-road mountain bikes.
Trail: Greater challenge & difficulty. Expect large & unavoidable features.
Suitable for: Extreme level riders with expert technical skills & good fitness. Technical bike skills important. Jumping ability obligatory.
Trail: Extreme levels of exposure & risk, large features.
Forest road & similar
Suitable for: Cyclists in good health. Map reading useful (routes not always marked). Most bikes.
Trail: Gradients can vary. Surfaces may be uneven or potholed in places. Look out for vehicles & other users.
New mountain bike trail grade system
Expect: Relatively flat, wide, and smooth trails. Gentle climbs, descents, rollers and berms, with easy to avoid features such as rocks and potholes. Surface might be loose, uneven or muddy at times.
Expect: A mixture of climbs and descents with moderate gradients, technical features like tree roots and rock steps; jumps and berms. Rollable features at controlled speed. Variable surfaces.
Expect: A mixture of steep climbs, descents and / or avoidable features. Larger jumps, berms and rollable features at controlled speed. Technical features such as tree roots, drop-offs and large rocks. Very variable surfaces.
Expect: Long and steep climbs, descents, and jumps. Numerous hazards including drop-offs and severe features. Rapid rate of surface change. Commitment required.
Expect: Very fast and steep descents. Large drop-offs, jumps and unavoidable obstacles that require high levels of skill and commitment. Extreme level of exposure or risk. Rapid rate of surface change.
Forest road and tracks
Expect: Gradients can be steep or variable. Surfaces may be uneven, loose or potholed. Navigation skills are useful (routes not always waymarked). Look out for other users, vehicles and forestry work.
Off-road cycling is a hazardous activity carrying some inherent risks. Please consider your skills, abilities and fitness carefully, and always make sure your bike and helmet are safe to use.
Follow all signage, cycle safely, enjoy yourself and come back soon.