Common Mountainbike Acronyms & Terms

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Common Mountainbike Acronyms & Terms


This topic contains 88 replies, has 49 voices, and was last updated by  Jeff Barber 1 year, 3 months ago.

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    A new user requested help with acronyms often used in mountainbiking. This is by no means a complete listing, and can be added to by other users here.






    Cross-Country- May refer to a mountainbike or race. XC bikes tend to have less than 4″ of suspension travel and may be hardtail or full-suspension.












    Full-Suspension; also may be referred to as “Full-Susser”, which is often used by UK riders. “Squishies”, “Dual-Bounce”, & “Double-Squish” may also be used in referrence to a full-suspension mountainbike.



    Mountainbike with no rear suspension, but may have a suspension fork.



    Mountainbike with a flexible rear triangle, most often offering less than 2″ of travel.



    A mountainbike with no suspension.



    Single-speed; a mountainbike with only one available gear.



    A mountainbike with 29″ wheels. Frequently found as single-speed and rigid variations.



    A mountainbike with one 26″ rear wheel, and one 29″ front wheel. Also a name for a mountainbike with these features by Trek.



    A new mountainbike wheel that is 27.5″. More often found on touring or city bicycles in Europe.



    Bottom-Bracket; or the cups, bearings, & axle/spindle that the cranks attach to and rotate on.


    Front Triangle:

    The shape of a bicycle frame section described by the junctions of the head-tube, down-tube, seat-tube, and top-tube.


    Rear Triangle:

    The shape of a bicycle frame section described by the junctions of the seat-tube, chain-stays, drop-outs, and seat-stays.



    The section of frame that runs from the seat-tube down to the rear dropouts.



    The section of frame that runs from the Bottom-Bracket to the rear dropouts.



    The section of frame into which the wheel axles slide into. Bicycle forks also have dropouts, into which the front-wheel axle is fitted. May be horizontal or verticle, depending on the type of bicycle. Horizontal dropouts are most commonly found on SS mountainbikes, BMX bikes, and city/touring bicycles. Verticle dropouts are found most commonly on any bicycle with gears.


    Hanger; Derailleur Hanger:

    A small part that is threaded to accept a rear derailleur, and is fitted to the rear triangle.



    A short section of tubing through which the fork steer-tube runs.


    Head-Tube Angle:

    The angle at which the headtube is situated. This angle is also described as part of a bicycle’s “Geometry”.


    Seat-Tube Angle:

    The angle at which the seat-tube is situated. May be anywhere from 58 degrees to 74 degrees. This angle is also described as part of a bicycle’s “Geometry”.



    The angles at which a bicycle’s frame tubes are set. These angles affect the handling of the bicycle. Smaller angles are described as being “slack”, and are often used on DH or FR mountainbikes. Larger angles are described as being “steep”, and are often used on XC mountainbikes.


    Endo – You’re on your back, and the wheels are between you and the sky. Or something like that. Discovered that one on one my first trail rides – and the importance of a helmet as the bike crashed solidly into my helmet. Just got a scratch on my hand and that was it. 😮 Of course, that wasn’t the last one.


    Superman – Results are the same as Endo described above but in this case it’s the actual act of coming free of the bike (in most cases) and flying over the handlebars.


    FacePlant Well….. uh ….. you get the point. 😃


    BUNNY HOP-To jump manually,to not use a jump to jump.Imagine jumping in the air from your feet,now do that while on your bike.

    Good for jumping over obstacles where there isnt a jump and the obstacle is too big or too challenging to get over without crashing.Also will save your wheels from abuse,so you dont have to true your wheels as often.

    True-A mechanical process of readjusting(tightening or loosening spokes that are connected to the area of rim that is bent or out of true).nice skill to know not to just save money going to a mechanic,also is good to know to keep you on the trail and your wheels rolling smooth as silk.

    Nose stand-To be able to navigate while rolling on the front wheel alone.This skill will become more apparently valuable the more you challinge yourself with technicle trails and skills.Especially on switch backs and turns with tight and minimal area to maneuver your bike.Same goes for the rear wheel as well.

    Track Stand-To be completly stopped on your bike and still have your feet on the pedals and hands on the handle bar grips.To balance one self while still on your bike without falling over or putting a foot down to hold and keep yourself upright on the bike,and also not leaning on anything to hold you and your bike upright.

    Trials riding-Trials riding is a particular sport that requirers the afformentioned skills to an extreme level.these guys can track stand like a horse stands in the pasture all day long,everyday of there lives.

    Rock Garden-A Rock Garden is an area of trail,usually somwhere between 15 feet to 30 feet long,that requires mad skills to navigate most of the time.These Rock Gardens will be packed full of rock of varying sizes,random placment,and absolutely no familiar feel of the beaten path.And if you crash on these,or even put a foot down in them,you had better know that an injury is only a breath away if your not in the right frame of mind to crash with apparent ability to deffend yourself from getting hurt while crashing.A Rock Garden is like riding on a huge pile of car parts,if that makes sense.let me know if it does,im curious.hahahahaha.

    Half pedal stroke-I gave this one my own term on the account I cant remember if I’ve ever heard this being called anything at all.This comes in handy when either the rocks are too high to your pedals or the slope of the trail has too much grade to make a full revolution of the pedals without them hitting and being stopped from going around and doing there job of keeping you supplied with power to move forward.

    Spinning-Spinning is a form of style of pedaling your bike.Spinning is the base form of pedaling,meaning when you pedal in this manor,it is non aggressive force.The idea is to make imaginary perfect circles with your energy force in your pedaling.This takes much conditioning and consistant persistance to achieve a masterful technique.whew,i thik i blew a seal explaining this one,I myself am trying to learn the better half of this skill.hahahaha.

    Tire Grazing-hahahahahaa,had to put somthin kinda funny in here,after all,having fun is the most important isnt it?It’ll even sharpen your balance skills a little.hahaha.anyway,when your riding partner is riding in front of you and toatally not expecting it,ride up on his rear tire with your front tire so that it makes a loud ominous buzzing noise when the knobbys rub togther.hahahaha,it’ll make em wonder what the hell is going on with there bike.have fun and always ride to live and live to ride.


    Here is a local term because we have many MTB’ers in CT:

    QM or QM’ing which is the act of walking or riding up to a stunt but not actually doing it, in order to check whether it’s within your ability, or you are just scared sh!tless by it and don’t want to appear like the chickensh!t that you really are, so you want to check it out first.


    What does "all mountain" racing consist of? I am wanting to get started in racing, but am not sure what to start out in. Any suggestions?


    I just looked real quick and found what is called super d racing.any bike will do,although all mountain bikes with 4,5,6 inches of travel work really well.The best part is that the races are not radical like real downhill or real cross country races where you have to be highly skilled or in great shape to race.A beginner can jump into super d race and be pretty comfortable because although there is some pedaling involved,and some down hill,it’s not hard core like sponsored rider’s races are.hope that help’s.


    An all mountain bike will(like my stumpjumper)cover pretty much a little of everything involved with mountain biking.My fork has a travel adjustment that switche’s from 100mm,120mm,140mm travel.At 100 mm of travel i can do some climbing or cross country riding.At 120mm travel,it is good to use for trail riding and tecnical rock sectionsl and just a general all around setting.At 140mm setting,it is good for doing some downhill.although not all out downhill runs like some of those 190mm travel beast’s.


    That helps a lot, thanks. I should be looking into Super D races. I have seen a couple coming up through th MBAA I believe. I have an Ironhorse Warrior hardtail, nothing special but it works for me.


    Awsom attitude dude.I am experiencing full suspension life these days,although it is still new to me cause i’ve rode hard tails my whole life.You just cant go wrong with hard tail or ridged bikes.Their cheaper,simpler,and way more maintenance free.I almost feel that even downhill could be done on a hard tail/ridged bike if someone could come out with wheels durable enough to handle a full on downhill course.course there wouldnt be anyone racing except tall people with long enough legs to do what a downhill suspension bike does to handle a downhill course.(my imagination runs wild somtimes,hahahaha.)


    YARD SALE- When you crash and all your stuff goes everywhere! 😮


    Pump Track – ?

    Read that recently in an article about a new biking area in NY, Im guessing it would be the eaquilivent of a practice track, is that right?

    "AK_Dan" wrote

    Pump Track – ?

    Read that recently in an article about a new biking area in NY, Im guessing it would be the eaquilivent of a practice track, is that right?

    Sort of, from what I understand it’s flat, with curves that are banked to get you up on them. Sounds fun.


    I think a pump is just like a bmx track but for mountain bike type rigs.


    just in case you havent read the may 2008 mountain bike action magezine,read the encyclopedia of modern monkey motion.there is a 16 page guide to suspension terminology.


    I will definatly check it out if it ever gets here in the mail. Seems like it always arrive during a business trip and not before so I wind up buying another magazine for the trip. Maybe I’ll get lucky today and it will arrive before I leave.


    Baby Heads – rocks the size of well…….kinda disturbing

    Rookie marks – chainring grease marks on the back of your calf


    "AK_Dan" wrote

    Pump Track – ?

    Read that recently in an article about a new biking area in NY, Im guessing it would be the eaquilivent of a practice track, is that right?

    To pump, most simply put, is to use body leverage to generate speed.
    A pump track is a track that is ridden by pumping.

    Video on how to pump … n-stay.htm
    Videos of some dudes riding pump track


    Chain Tattoo:
    The greasy chain marking on the inside of your leg when you are new to riding or brush your leg against the chain. (Also called a "[i:2nnux9cc]Tiger Stripe[/i:2nnux9cc]" in some regions)

    Bark Tattoo:
    The brown/green markings left on your skin when you graze a tree or plant at high velocity.

    A single lane path through nature, wide enough for one bike alone; almost always man-made.

    A double lane path through nature, wide enough for two bikes.

    Fire Roads:
    Dirt or gravel roads through the woods, found commonly in New England, and often overgrown with grass due to infrequent use. The actual use of these roads is for accessibility to the woods in the case of fire.

    Racing Stripe:
    The solid mud stripe that goes up your back from your rear tire during spring riding. (Also called "[i:2nnux9cc]Pinstripe[/i:2nnux9cc]")

    Swamp Ass:
    The wet marking all over the backside of one’s pants/shorts from excessive sweating seen once the rider has dismounted.

    Biking lingo for “seat.â€

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