At ZEP, our goal is to make sure you have the absolute best mountain biking experience possible! Part of this means making sure you are signed up for the appropriate ZEP program, or ability level within a program. The ability guideline below may help you decide which one is most suitable for you and your preferences, so you can relax and know you will be with like minded people, all looking to learn similar things on similar trails.
Please make sure to be humble, open and honest, so you can assess your or your child’s own strengths and weaknesses as fairly as possible. This will help us to place you into the best possible group, to maximize your progression and experience with ZEP.
For NOVICE Riders For INTERMEDIATED Riders
A novice rider is someone with little experience riding off-road before. They are typically comfortable on gravel paths and would like to explore “green” and “easy-blue” mountain bike trails. Would like to learn the fundamentals to build confidence, have fun and stay safe.
These riders tend to know their limits and stick within them, which is better for safety and but can sometimes slow progression.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT A NOVICE RIDER IS LEARNING
- Bike fit and set up
- Correct use of gears to make riding more efficient and fun
- How to brake smoothly, without skidding, with front and rear brakes
- How to climb and descend with a centred, strong and mobile position
- How to ride through corners with confidence and control
- How to start/stop on a hill
- How to apply these skills to feel more confident and safe on the bike
TRAILS & FITNESS
- Starting to keep momentum through uneven terrain.
- Has some stamina and can pedal uphill and not stop on small climbs. Loves to ride their bike. Needs more regular breaks.
- Typically comfortable riding for 1 - 4 hrs
For NOVICE Riders For INTERMEDIATE Riders For ADVANCED Riders
An intermediate rider is comfortable riding off-road on “blue” trails and can perform all of the listed novice skills above. Would like to take their riding to the 'next level' of skill and trail difficulty, while still consolidating fundamental skills. These riders may begin to explore some of the easier “light black” trails, as an introduction to advanced terrain.
These riders are starting to explore harder terrain, which can increase risk if the rider is unaware of their limits. Intermediate riders can be more cautious when challenged, compared to advanced riders.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT AN INTERMEDIATE RIDER IS LEARNING
- How to ride blue trails with more finesse and easy-black trails with more control and confidence
- Bike and suspension set-up
- How to use gears and brakes to gain more efficiency and control on more challenging terrain
- How to climb and descend steeper, more technical terrain, without skidding
- How to corner with more speed and consistency
- How to perform roll downs (rolling drops) and slow tight turns
- Introduced to small drop - offs and tabletop jumps
- Introduced to front and rear wheel lifts, bunnyhops or trackstands
TRAILS & FITNESS
- Okay brake control on rock slabs
- Can choose the right speed for the right feature
- Can choose a good line to avoid obstacles
- Can do small to medium jumps and drops with good technique
- Can do full climbs with minimal rests
- Can pedal hard on climbs sections of climbs or short climbs
- Can do two rides in a day
- Typically comfortable riding for 2 - 5 hours
For INTERMEDIATE Riders For ADVANCED Riders
An advanced rider is comfortable riding off-road on “blue” trails, some of the easier single-black diamond trails and can perform all of the listed intermediate skills above. They are still learning to refine and build their skills, timing and confidence, to ride all single-black trails confidently.
These riders can more easily get into terrain above their skill level as confidence and skills can be high, relative to their experience and risk assessment skills; which can be limited due to lack of mileage on advanced terrain.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT AN ADVANCED RIDER IS LEARNING
- How to ride all single-black diamond trails confidently
- How to ride green and blue trails with more style and speed.
- Refine body position and balance, for more control efficiency and speed on the descents
- Refine advanced skills such as position/rotation/pressure to develop cornering speed through greater bike body separation and line choice
- Confidently riding medium drop - offs and tabletop jumps
- Introduced to larger tabletop jumps, such as A-line
- Applying technical maneuvers such as wheel lifts, bunnyhop and nose pivots, on the trail
TRAILS & FITNESS
- Can climb technical ascents over rock and roots.
- Can handle steep sections of rock slab, roots and chutes, can link together technical sections
- Can ride at speed through intermediate terrain
- Can pick a variety of lines
- Can do larger jumps and drops
- Can ride all day and do two rides in a day
- Typically comfortable riding for 3 - 6 hours
For ADVANCED Riders For EXPERT Riders
An expert rider is someone who is confident and consistent in any terrain, and has more experience, stronger risk management and decision making skills, to better apply their skills. This makes for a smoother, more efficient and safer rider, more of the time, compared to an advanced rider. These riders would like to start learning more advanced techniques for speed, style and performance.
Expert riders may start to consider racing as a tool to continue their progression and fun on the bike.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT AN EXPERT RIDER IS REFINING
- Detailed bike and suspension set up
- Advanced gear and braking techniques for power, speed & creativity
- How to ride faster and control speed on a larger variety and higher difficult level of trails
- How to refine skills to apply in competition
- How to corner faster in berms, flat and off-camber corners
- Drop offs, rock rolls, jumps, step ups, step downs
- Applying more advanced maneuvers on the trails to be practical, but also creative and stylish - such as manuals, stoppies, bunnyhops, whips and nose-bonks
TRAILS & FITNESS
- Looking for speed on the trail and trying to pick optional lines
- Can do tricks off large jumps and drops
- Can do multiple big rides in one day and ride multiple days in a row
- Typically comfortable riding for 3 - 7 hours