Mountain biking or MTBing is traveling off-road, typically on rough or hilly terrain. Utilizing your own endurance, balance, core and back strength, handling skills, and self-confidence. There are multiple sub-disciplines for different riding styles. Most notably cross-country, trail, enduro, downhill and freeride. Here’s a breakdown so you know what to try.

Cross-Country (XC)

This is the most common form of mountain biking. It involves long-distance riding on a variety of terrain. Like rough forests, snaking singletracks, open fields, and paved paths. Filled with long climbs, big drops, and technical sections. XC bikes are incredibly light and nimble to accommodate these conditions. They can be hardtail with only a front shock, or full suspension with front and rear shocks.


Trail riding is similar to XC, but more aggressive. It still involves climbs and descents. But on more technical and challenging paths, like rugged singletracks. Often with bigger obstacles. Trail bikes boast strong wheels and tires. Ones that can take extra punishment. Along with wider handlebars and more responsive brakes. A hardtail is for more efficient climbing, while a full suspension is more comfortable.

Norco Trail Mountain Bike


Downhill is plummeting down steep, technical, and usually gravity-fed trails. You’ll have to walk or drive up to the top. Then make your way down as fast as possible. Navigating massive drops, gaps and jumps along the way. Downhill bikes are made to handle extreme punishment. Even more than enduro. They’re always full suspension with chunkier tires for added grip and control.


Freeride is riding with no set course and no rules on more natural terrain. It’s all about jumps, flips and tricks. Being creative is popular to build your confidence and skillset. Freeride bikes are like downhill with lighter and slightly less suspension, shorter wheelbases, and tweaked geometry. Giving you more stability on technical sections. And the maneuverability needed for stunts.

Enduro/All Mountain

Enduro or all mountain is a mix of XC and downhill. First you have to ride uphill. Then you have to trek down similar but less steep trails. This is mostly a racing discipline, like the Enduro World Series. It requires the burliest bikes. Mostly full suspension with long travel. So they can handle big drops and hits, and massive air.

Norco All-Mountain Bike

Mountain Bikes For Sale in Scottsdale, AZ

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