If you have never heard of freeride mountain biking, you may be curious as to what distinguishes it from other kinds of biking. Freeriding is a term that was created originally for the snowboarding world to refer to boarding on a natural terrain. Freeride mountain bikers took this idea and ran (or rather, biked) with it. Freeriding mountain biking is a form of extreme mountain biking. Because it involves technical moves such as drops and stunts, a certain skill level is required. Initially, traditional downhill mountain bikes were used, but now, freeride bikes have been designed to take the beating that comes with this extreme sport, and adapt to the varied terrain. For example, a freeride bike features more gears than downhill mountain bikes to allow the rider to go both up and downhill. Additionally, freeride bikes are made of lighter materials so they can be more easily ridden uphill. While downhill mountain bikes are designed for speed, freeride bikes are designed for stability during stunts.

Freeride mountain biking also differs from downhill mountain biking because of their respective goals. When downhill mountain biking, the aim is to get down the slope at the fastest speed. In contrast, the object of freeride mountain biking is the skillfully overcome obstacles, such as large jumps. During freeride mountain biking competitions, judges assign points to participants in response to their deftness in the face of these obstacles.

For a dramatic and engaging view into the insane world of freeride mountain biking, watch documentary film “Reach for the Sky,” an inside look into the life of Cam Zink, champion freeride mountain biker.