Mountain Bike Grades

Mountain bike routes on this site are graded by their three key elements. They are, strenuousness, navigation and technicality. Each element has a level between 1 to 5, the easiest being 1 and the hardest being 5. The grades are allocated to routes under normal ground and weather conditions. However, as with all mountain activities, ground and weather conditions can deteriorate dramatically and make the routes considerably harder or in some cases impossible.

Strenuousness

How much time and effort will this route demand of me?

  1. Part day - a morning, afternoon or a summer evening
  2. Short day - will take most of the day but you will be able to start late in the morning or finish early in the afternoon.
  3. Full day - you will need to start promptly in the morning and will not be finished till tea-time.
  4. Very full day - an early start and it will be into evening by the time you have finished.
  5. An epic day route or a multi-dayer - routes that could straddle a couple of days.

Navigation

How difficult is the route to follow?

  1. Roads, unmade roads, forest and woodland roads, cycle tracks and way-marked single track. All easy to follow.
  2. Tracks, bridleways and single track through valleys or over low fells. Route alignment is clear but you might need to identify turns or junctions.
  3. Packhorse routes, bridleways and single track over passes and moorland. Generally the route is clear on the ground but there may be the odd vague section.
  4. Packhorse routes, bridleways and single track over high passes and visiting summits. A good understanding of the route relative to terrain features will be needed to follow it accurately.
  5. Rough and vague bridleway and single track along the highest ridges, summits and over featureless moorland. Long sections of the route will be vague on the ground and will require a high level of experience of mountain navigation to follow the route correctly.

Technicality

How tricky will I find it?

  1. Rideable all the way.
  2. Nearly all rideable but might have to dismount for the odd ford or rough bit.
  3. Experience of riding over rough terrain is beneficial. Mostly rideable but with more frequent dismounts for fords, rock steps, boulders, pitched path, bogs and might have the odd push or carry and with steep descents.
  4. Good balance technique required to ride some sections. Will have to dismount for fords, rock steps, boulders, pitched path, bogs, sections with exposure and will have then to push or carry and with very steep descents.
  5. Extremely good balance technique required to ride some sections. Frequent sections requiring bikes to be pushed or carried and numerous dismounts for fords, rock steps, boulders, pitched path, bogs, sections with exposure, and with very steep descents. Sustained difficulties over rough mountains.