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Route grading - mountainbiker 001

Route grading

IMBA Guidelines for UK Trail Grades
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Difficulty Easy Moderate Difficult Severe
Suitable for Novice cyclists and families. Children 4+yrs riding solo. Bikes with childseats or trailers. Touring bikes. Bikes for those with disabilities. Occasional cyclists with some experience of road use or easy trails. Reasonably fit families. Children 10+ yrs riding solo. Suitable for mountain bikes, hybrids or robust touring bikes. Regular cyclists with experience of moderate trails. Suitable for offroad quality mountain bikes. Expert mountain bikers who will expect and relish technical challenges. Suitable for offroad quality mountain bikes.
Trail types Railtrails, towpaths, reservoir trails, estate or forestry tracks. Traffic quietened roads, and those regulated by bylaws or other restrictions. As "Green" plus bridleways, byways and unsurfaced unclassified roads. Lightly trafficked lanes. Any usable trail with pushing or portage unlikely to exceed 2% of total distance. Any, but with the expectation of technical riding which could include unforgiving terrain, severe climbs and descents, or considerable distances. Unlikely to be appropriate on PRoW.
Gradient Shallow climbs and descents capable of being ridden by children and less active adults. Shallow / moderate climbs +/- short sections of steeper climbs which may have to be walked. A wide range of climbs and descents of a challenging nature. Any ridable or usable gradient. May include "drop offs".
Surface / Width Blacktop or compacted limestone or gravel. Essentially smooth with a minimum content of loose surfaces. Normal width 2 to 3m. Mostly stoned surfaces. < 10% earth based single track of width <2m. Widths from 1m, and any usable surface. Likely to include singletrack and other technical sections. Mostly offroad. Expected to include a significant proportion of singletrack, with challenging surfaces.
Acceptable Hazards These trails should carry a very low risk... Any unavoidable hazards should be identified in promotional literature and through notices at trail headand site of hazard. Some loose surfaces, ruts, potholes and / or tree roots may be expected. The route should be judged on the basis that a reasonably experienced rider riding within his/her level of skill and prevailing ground conditions, would not be expected to fall. Hazards are expected, as assessed and agreed by an expert user. Falling off will be expected!
Approx. Length 5 - 20 km 10 - 20km 10 - 50km <1 to 100km including "skills" courses
Maximum Climb <50m <100m <500m <1000m


  • UK Mountainbiker have graded the routes in accordance with the IMBA route guidelines as outlined above and should be used to provide a rough guide to the difficulty of each route.