Kickers, skinnies, dropper seat…whoa, what’s with the foreign language? Here’s an (ever-evolving), unscientific list of barely fact-checked, and possibly made-up definitions to help you shred the gnar when the trail’s tacky and you’re feeling epic. Or something like that.
Let me know what’s missing, what’s wrong, and what else you’d like defined.
Official Mountain Biking Glossary (we’re just getting started…)
berms: Picture a nice banked corner made of packed dirt. It’s high on the outer edge so you can take the corner faster than you would a flat corner. It was probably handmade by someone sweating it out to give us all a sweet place to ride so take care of it, have fun, and keep practicing those turns!
chompy©: Used to describe a section of trail that is covered in rocks that are approximately the size of baby heads. These rocks yank, or “chomp” your tires causing your bike to jerk back and forth. You need a bit of speed to ride these sections, which can be daunting. But not enough speed, and your forward momentum will be stopped by a rock and you will be launched. (Fox original).
dropper seat: You know that sweet office chair you have? Where the push of a lever lowers or raises the seat to perfection? That’s essentially what a dropper seat does for your bike. By adding a dropper seat post to your current seat, you’ll be able to push a lever on your handlebars and raise or lower the seat. No more manually adjusting the seat height while your friends rip down the hill. And no more doing a number on your knees by riding uphill on a seat that’s been lowered and now needs to be up.
hike-a-bike: 1. When you go on a hike and bring your bike along. It’s kind of like bringing a dog on your hike; it keeps you company and you don’t have to worry about picking up poo. 2. What you do when the trail is so darn steep, or you’re so whooped, that you just have to walk along pushing your bike.
It’s all in the hips©: Potentially the meaning of life, but for now, as defined by Old Man Graka, “I like to say everything is in the hips. You know, from bambam to tango to walking the dog – it’s all in the hips.” (OMG original.)
kickers: Bumps, of various sizes, on the trail. Can be dirt, rock, wood, or even handmade ramp (often curved) that give you a little boost of air if you choose to hit/jump it. Did you hit the kicker?
Ride the Lightning©: 1. Getting, and keeping, momentum through something potentially tricky – for better or for worse. You’ve just got to Ride the Lightning through that chompy section. 2. (from the creator himself…) “when declaring that sometimes you have to man up and make it work – do something out of your comfort zone.” 3. “when Jos is frowning at me for being reckless or not planning enough I say ‘Hey, sometimes you gotta ride the lightning man!’ and I imagine myself wearing 70’s sunglasses with big sideburns.” 4. “Committing to something scary, so if you choke, the consequences are worse.” (AB original.)
saddle: 1. Another name for your bike seat. 2. A reminder that you should ride your bike like it’s a goddamn stallion.
skinnies: Narrow ramps, often made of lumber or logs, that you ride your bike along (and hope you don’t fall off of and nail your shin on them).
tacky: When the dirt on the trails is the perfect amount of moist.