Downhill Mountain Biking

Downhill Mountain Biking

About Downhill Mountain Biking

  • Invented: 1970s
  • Founded By: Velo Club of California
  • Highest Governing Body: UCI, Union Cycliste Internationale

Downhill mountain biking is a gravity style of racing where athletes ride their mountain bikes downhill through rough terrain, with the goal of completing the course in the shortest amount of time. These downhill mountain biking courses often contain rocky paths, jumps, and sudden drop-offs. This type of racing has led to the development of many important technologies in regards to mountain biking, such as advanced suspension technology that makes a choppy ride feel smooth. 

While it has not had an incredibly long history, downhill mountain biking has rapidly gained momentum and popularity over the years, and discussions and debates about adding it as an Olympic sport have even begun. The top downhill mountain bike races in the United States are run as a series called the National Downhill Series. This series acts as a way to track the standings of all the elite downhill riders in the country, and riders are separated into four groups by gender and age.


What is downhill mountain biking?

Downhill mountain biking is a downhill bike racing sport that usually takes place on the rough terrain of mountains. The biker that makes it down the mountain to the finish line in the shortest amount of time is declared the winner of these races. Downhill mountain bikers must deal with rocky trails, drop-offs, and large jumps while traveling downhill at high speeds. Downhill mountain biking can be dangerous, which is why these bikers wear significant padding and protection while riding. Their bikes are the most technologically advanced of any cycling sport to provide the safest ride possible.

Where are the best places to go downhill mountain biking?

There are many different types of downhill mountain bike trails. From beginners to expert courses, many ski resorts use their trails for mountain biking during the summer season. Some of the most popular downhill mountain biking trails are located at Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Bike Snowmass, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Angel Fire Bike Park, and Killington Resort. These resorts host many incredible events, from freeride festivals to World Championships that bring large masses of people to their mountains.

What equipment do I need to go downhill mountain biking safely?

Downhill mountain bikers need a lot of equipment to ensure their safety during their rides. As the sport has grown in popularity and evolved, the amount and quality of the gear that downhill mountain bikers wear has also improved. Downhill mountain bikers wear full-face helmets, body armor, gloves, and protective arm and leg pads when they race due to the dangerous courses and high likelihood of crashing or falling off the bike. While this equipment may seem similar to other cycling sports, this equipment is far more durable than that of the average road cyclist.