(XC) Cross Country Biking

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UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2015 in Switzerland. This is how competition level XC looks like, but for most of the people, cross country biking is simply biking in the nature. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

In competition Cross-Country (XC) biking means riding bike point-to-point or in a loop. Riding including climbs and descents on a variety of terrain. Is the most common discipline of mountain biking. While less publicized than downhill as it is more difficult to watch it on television, it garners the highest levels of participation both recreationally and competitively. Cross-country biking became an Olympic sport in 1996 and is the only form of mountain biking practiced at the Olympic.

Cross-country cycling is defined by the terrain on which it is performed. Courses (XC) and trails consist of a mix of rough forest paths and single track (also referred to as double track depending on width), smooth fire roads, and even paved paths connecting other trails. Riding or racing is also only deemed cross-country if the technical complexity of the trails is easy or moderate. Trails nearly impossible even to experienced riders are more often dubbed “all-mountain”, “freeride”, or “downhill”.

If we forget competition then most of the mountain bike trail riding is XC riding. As soon as you ride of the paved or unpaved roads into the nature you are riding cross country. The main features of xc that sets it apart from enduro and downhill is that the emphasis is not on the descent. XC trails usually go up and down along the whole length of the trail and the descents are not very steep and technically challenging. This is why xc bikes are built for efficient pedaling. A typical (XC) bike weighs around 9-13 kilos (20-30 lbs), and has 0-125 millimeters (0-5 inches) of suspension travel front and sometimes rear.

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