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  • Writer's pictureHBA

A guide to HBA's five levels

Can't decide which ride to book on? You're not the only one! Have a read of the guide below, and if you're still unsure just get in touch.

Level 1 (Beginner)

Covering the core skills of pedalling, using brakes and riding in a group it's aimed at younger kids or those transitioning from balance bike to pedal bike. Terrain: Wide, smooth and mostly flat paths. Bike: Most bikes the correct size for the rider, it may only have 1 gear - that's fine!


Level 2 (Beginner)

For Level 2 riders will be confident riding with others and on a variety of surfaces. The focus on Level 2 is getting them riding in the attack position of pedals level & standing up. This allows them to move their body weight around to stay stable on rough terrain. We also cover effective braking and using gears. If riders are confident riding in urban areas and have some experience riding off road, this is where to start. Terrain: Woodland trails with some small lumps and bumps. Bike: A decent kids mountain bike with wide, grippy tyres is what you're after. It may only have 1 gear, Suspension isn't required.


Level 3 (Intermediate)

Spot on for riders that have already mastered the attack position and have experience riding natural singletrack trails or green and blue graded trails. We'll start to ease in mountain bike specific skills such as manual front wheel lifts and wheelies. Terrain: Blue and red graded trails as well as natural singletrack with roots, rocks and medium steep gradients. Bike: Lightweight bikes with wide, grippy tyres. Bikes with disk brakes and a suspension fork are ideal.

Level 4 (Intermediate)

Level 4 takes riders on more challenging trails, requiring greater skills and confidence. By the end of Level 4 riders will be confident on larger drops and jumps, riding natural singletrack and red graded trail centre routes. Terrain: Blue and red graded trails as well as natural singletrack with roots, rocks, steeper sections and mandatory drop offs. Bike: You'll need a quality bike with good suspension, hydraulic disk brakes and decent tyres. A modern hardtail designed for trail riding is fine.

Level 5 (Advanced)

Riders looking to join at Levels 5 will be able to demonstrate front and rear wheel lifts, rolling bunnyhops and have a broad range of trail riding experience. They'll be confident with both wheels leaving the ground and are used to continually riding at a similar pace and ability to the instructor.

Terrain: Black graded trails as well as fast technical natural singletrack with mandatory drops, jumps, roots and steep sections. Bike: You'll need a quality bike with good suspension, hydraulic disk brakes and decent tyres. A full suspension isn't necessary, a modern hardtail designed for trail riding is fine.

Do consider how your child rides a trail, not just the type/grade of trail they ride. And remember that not all trails graded the same colour are in fact of equal challenge.

Rides are categorised by ability, not age and it's quite normal to have a range of ages on a ride.

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