"I have ridden a mountain bike once or twice, I have tried electric mountauin bike too, mais I don't feel at ease, I am a complete begginer!"

Hey, I can ride any slope, no worries! If I have gone offroad with a bike? On a mountain? Well, no, but I'll follow you don't worry!"

Estimating one’s level is not easy. We tend to underestimate or overestimate ourselves based on our self-confidence or past experiences. However, knowing how to evaluate your level is very important when you book a group outing, but also if you are going on an autonomous route. Here are the most important reasons, as well as our level finder for you to find the right level.

Sortie Myrtebike pointe percee automne decouverte vttae ebike 3

Why finding the appropriate MTB level is important:

1 – When riding in a group (guided tour)

Lorsque vous partez pour rouler une journée ou demi-journée en groupe, il est important que le groupe ait un niveau homogène. Our guided tours are classifies by level for each group’s member to have the same pedaling rythme and technical skills. The aim is for everyone to take pleasure without putting themselves in danger just to avoid having the others wait.

2 – Alone (when renting on your own)

When renting a Mountain Bike on your own, so without an instructor guide, you will be the only responsible for your route. There are mountain bike itineraries referenced by level, so you must be able to determine your level before embarking on a trail. You can always turn back if the level is too high, but it is more pleasant to choose a suitable level from the start.

Please note: if you go on your own, you can to be able to come back on your own, even if you had a mechanical problem. You need to know how to fix a broken bike and carry with you a repairing kit.

Our Level Finder for Mountain Bike and E-MTB

Beginner Level: You have not ridden or have ridden a few times a bike off road.

You can ride a bike in the city but you have never tried in the mountains off the road and you would like to start it softly. You can:

  • Ride on flat slope.
  • Use the 2 brakes to control your speed.
So we advise you to take a private session of 2 hours with an instructor to familiarize yourself with the bikes (gear shifting, slight uphill and downhill) and to do a little off-road initiation.
Your child is aged 8 to 13 years old and seem to have this level? We recommend taking the Kids Introduction Course.

Discovery Level: You have ridden a mountain bike once or twice (Green trail)

You have little off-road mountain biking experience and would like to learn. You can:

  • Go down a gentle, unobstructed slope while standing on the pedals
  • Use both brakes to control your speed
  • Rolling in a straight line on a flat surface while dropping one hand
  • Shift gears at the right time to regulate your pedaling

You have the level for our discovery outings such as the Myrt’e-bike, the Treasure Hunt or the Lakes Tour, in order to ride on 4×4 roads and learn to handle your VTTAE on a moderate slope over a longer distance.

Your child seems to be in this level and between 8 and 13 years old? We recommend the Discovery Course or a half-day trip as mentioned above.

Intermediate: You are ready to discover mountain biking on single trails (Blue Trail equivalent)

You are at ease on a mountain bike or ATV and on wide paths, in a straight line and in curves. You can:

  • Slalom on a gentle slope while standing on the pedals
  • Stand still for a few seconds without putting your foot on the ground
  • Riding on doubletracks (4×4 roads) and 1 meter wide singletrails with little uphill or downhill slope.
  • Go down some stairs’ steps.
You have the level to participate in our Aravissante or Aravigorante tours and to learn how to ride on singletracks.
Does your teenager seem to be in this level? According to his character and his desires you can choose the Aravissante for a more quiet outing, the Aravigorante for a challenging tour or the e-Enduro & Bikepark day for him to have a good night of sleep! (There is nothing better than discussing it together)

Advanced: You are looking for a challenge and like the spice of the effort (equivalent to Red Trail)

You are comfortable on moderate slopes and at a moderate pace. You can:
  • Make a standing turn by leaning the bike inwards
  • Go down a steep slope for a few meters while controlling your speed.
  • Go down a few steps of 20 cm to 30 cm.
  • Mastering skidding, in a straight line and in a curve
  • Raise the front wheel and relieve the rear wheel. (Climb a 20cm step without the tires touching the edge of the step).
You have the level for our Confirmed routes such as Forclaz’wood, Aravipercée or E-Enduro & Bikepark and will enjoy these sporty and technical routes.

Expert : The Ride has no secret for you (equivalent to Black Track)

You go everywhere, nothing scares you, you are there for the pleasure of the ride. You can:
  • Analyze the terrain to choose a path that matches your skill level.
  • Ride down a steep slope with obstacles in a singletrack.
  • Jump over steps and bumps.
  • Master the flat and banked turn.
  • Do Bunny up, Wheeling, Manual, Stop it (or would like to perfect this)

You have the technical level for our Expert tours like Araviwood, Danaymite or E-enduro & Bikepark. Follow us in the best singletracks of the Aravis.

Difference in level between mountain bikes and electric MTB

Your technical level does not change, whether you ride a mountain bike or an electrically assisted mountain bike. Basically the techniques are similar. However, what can vary is your capacity to resist to the effort.

In mountain biking, the uphill sections will always be more difficult. The length and duration of the route is also important to consider. If you spend all your energy pedaling, you will be more tired on the way down and therefore less efficient.

When mountain biking, it is important to choose a route that is adapted to your battery autonomy, and that is safe in terms of return (do not go down to the bottom of the valley if you have less than 50% of your battery left). If the trail is very technical and requires pushing the bike uphill, keep in mind that an electric mountain bike weighs about 10kg more than a conventional non-electric mountain bike. So this route will be more difficult with an electric nbike.

The official trails: can we trust the difficulty levels announced by the colors?

The official routes are made by 2 types of organizations: the French Cycling Federation (or FFC) and private resorts or lands.

The FFC routes

The FFC groups these routes together on a website where you can find all the routes marked out in nature on panels along the routes. These tracks are all practices or specific to a practice (MTB, enduro, fatbike, all-terrain chair, etc.) and has 4 basic colors of notation:

  • Green = very easy
  • Blue = easy
  • Red : difficult
  • Black: very difficult

The FFC reminds us that these paths, even if marked, are shared paths. It therefore reminds us of certain rules (theoretically basic!) for the good conduct and understanding of the various practitioners. You can find them here in our Good Conduct Guide.

The markers have 3 colors according to the length of the circuit:

  • Yellow: local circuit (most common beacon)
  • Brown : circuit crossing a Regional Natural Park
  • Red : Great Crossing or circuit of more than 80 km

Communal or mountain resort routes

The resort of Le Grand Bornand has created a mountain bike map, just as it has a hiking map. This is a non-exhaustive presentation of the itineraries where you can ride your bike during your stay.

The paths are marked by color, just like the FFC routes, from green to black, depending on the difficulty, the difference in altitude and the length of the route. You can also download the GPS route of each bike ride on the website of the Tourist Office of Grand Bornand and follow it with an application such as Komoot, Open Runner, Strava, etc…

If you are going to ride on your own (without a mountain bike instructor), it is necessary to have information about your itinerary and to have a map or GPS track to follow. (Be careful, in the mountains the network is not always reliable)

Attention to colors and meaning

The color of a line gives a level INDICATION. At certain points on a route marked blue (easy), there may be a difficulty that is not indicated beforehand. Moreover, this notation is subjective and varies according to the places of practice, according to the people who have noted them, etc…

The trail has been marked in a particular direction. If you take the trail in reverse, the color (and therefore the difficulty) of the trail may not be the same.

So always keep a lot of margin if you are riding on an unknown route.

You know everything about the levels to ride with us or to engage in autonomous routes.

You have a doubt? Contact us to discuss.

Picture of Marion Clerc

Marion Clerc

Co-fondatrice et rédactrice d'Arav'eBike, rideuse depuis ses premiers pas, née et élevée au grand air, face aux combes des Aravis.