Mountain Bikes 101: Racing Categories Explained

Woman’s Electric Mountain Bikes

If you’re new to mountain biking, or even if you’re an experienced rider, you may be confused by the different types of mountain biking styles. This can make it challenging to know what type of bicycle to purchase. Electric bikes are opening up this sport to a lot of people that may have been intimidated by the high-adventure of off-roading.

Manufacturers design electric mountain bikes using the same type of classifications, for the same purposes, as the traditional styles. But we’re seeing that the electric motor is opening a lot of interesting options for these long-established categories.

Know How You’re Going to Use Your Electric Mountain Bike

CLICK HERE to see an infographic on mountain bike race categories.

Finding the right e bike means understanding these different classifications of mountain bike and matching your bike choice with the use-type that you’re planning. Most mountain bikers aren’t interested in competitive racing, but it’s valuable to understand the type of races to know the type of recreational uses you’ll see in the mountains.

It should be said that many e bike brands don’t perfectly adhere to these categories. There’s some overlap in the different styles with the race categories. So, don’t take these categories with a grain of salt. The entire system of bike racing is in flux. There may be all new categories arise in the next few years, especially as electric bikes become more mainstream with competitive mountain bikers.

Read this informative article about why you should switch from a conventional mountain bike to one with an electric motor. CLICK to read.

Watch for Competitions in the Future with Electric Motors

Off-Road E Bikes in Salt Lake City

It used to be that you could only compete with traditional mountain bikes. But we’re starting to see electric bike racing in some categories. We assume that eventually there will be competitions that are exclusively for e bikes in each classification.

The Classifications of Mountain Bike Races

Cross-Country XC

These are the longest types of mountain bike races. An average cross-country race may be about 2 ½ hour rides. They’re less severe than the other categories. They require more endurance. Cross-country mountain biking is really common, so you have the most model options for electric bikes if you’re considering this style.

Competitive cross-country mountain bikers tend to be endurance athletes, often thin, and drawn to long-distance running as well.

E Bike Brands for Cross-Country Mountain Biking

You’ll notice that the e bikes designed for cross-country riding have a short rake on the front wheels. This means that the angle of the forks is shorter, where more rugged mountain bikes will have a longer angle.

  • Haibike HardSeven
  • Haibike FullSeven
  • Haibike FullNine
  • Haibike HardLife
  • Haibike FullLife
  • Haibike HardNine
  • Magnum MI5

LEARN MORE about Cross-Country Models of E Bikes

Trail Riding

Trail riding is very similar to cross-country races. But it’s often shorter in duration and a little more rugged. Often when people refer to “trail riding” they mean recreational mountain biking, whereas “cross-country” refers to races.

E Bike Brands for Trail Riding

  • Haibike FullSeven
  • Haibike FullNine
  • Haibike FullLife iZip Peak
  • Haibike HardFour (Kids Size)
  • iZip Peak Ds
  • Magnum MI5

Mountain Bikes are built for all-mountain races are more robust than trail bikes. They feature more suspension.

LEARN MORE about Electric Trail Riding Bikes

All-Mountain Bikes

These mountain bikes are high-performance bicycles, built to be more robust than trail bikes. They feature more suspension. They’re heavier and have a wider rake (angle of the fork to the wheel).

Electric Bikes for All Mountain Riding

  • Haibike All Mountain
  • iZip Peak +
  • iZip Peak Ds

LEARN MORE about Electric All-Mountain Models of Bikes

Enduro Mountain Bike Racing

Enduro is an interesting style of off-road racing. They are sort of like triathlons in that you have 4-5 stages of the race. Only the downhill sections of the races are timed. They can be multi-day races.

Enduro mountain bikes have more suspension than all-mountain bikes and are typically heavier than many of the other off-roaders. They also have a wider angle on the front fork than most of the other mountain bikes, to manage the downhill portions.

Electric Enduro Mountain Bikes

  • Haibike Nduro
  • HPC Enduro

LEARN MORE about Electric Enduro Mountain Bikes

Downhill Free Riding

Downhill racing on mountain bikes is probably the most rugged of all the off-road races. Riders only go downhill on very steep race trails. It’s very fast. Riders need to be really strong, able to ride fast in short races. They tend to have more muscle mass than the cross-country riders.

Downhill racers also tend to be more addicted to thrills and risks of off-road racing.

Downhill mountain bikes are heavy. And they have the widest rake, or angle of the fork, attached to the front wheel.

Electric Bikes Designed for Downhill Riding

We’re seeing a lot of excitement in the downhill mountain biking world over e bikes. Typically, a rider training for a downhill race needs to pay to ride a ski lift up a mountain to the starting point for their ride. But with an electric bike, you can simply increase the pedal assist and scale any difficult hill to get back to the top of the trail.

This fact is making electric bikes more and more popular for downhill lovers. The extra weight of the motor isn’t a concern on a downhill ride as most of these types of bikes are heavy anyway. And with the motor, the extra weight isn’t an issue when going back uphill to start the race.

We recommend the two following models of electric-motor downhill bikes, available for purchase at High Country E Bikes:

  • Haibike Downhill
  • HPC Revolution

LEARN MORE about Electric Downhill Mountain Bikes

Dirt Jumping

This BMX-type of biking, where the competitors do tricks, except that it’s done on mountain bikes.

CONTACT US today if you’re interested in buying a dirt jumping e bike

Fat Tire Mountain Biking

Fat Tire Electric Bikes in Salt Lake City

This is kind of a crossover between cross country and all mountain style bike. This is less about the type of track and more about the conditions. Trailer riders use fat tire mountain bikes when they are riding in snow and mud.

LEARN MORE about Fat Tire Electric bikes