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Black Sheep Mountainbiking
  • baselhorst

Single track skala for mountainbiking explained

Looking for a biking adventure that won't have you biting the dust? We've got just what you need – our Single Track Scales! Here, we rate each trail according to its danger level (s1-s5), difficulty and steepness. Most of our trips fall within s1- s3 range making them suitable even for those without an appetite for risk. Plus, all this is explained with text and photos so your mountainbiking journey can be as seamless as possible!

Mountainbiking is an ever-increasing popular sport, especially in certain mountain range areas like the European Alps, where mountainbiking is made even more enjoyable by the thrill of challenging singletrails, both downhill and cross country. However with higher levels of excitement comes a biker's responsibility: safety first! When riding through alpine terrain it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to avoid risks. Don't forget that mountainbiking is meant to be fun, so make sure you equip yourself with adequate knowledge and skills accordingly and don't attempt descents that are over your experience level. Know your limits- and get out there safely!


The alps are some of the most magnificent spots for mountain biking in Europe. But don't be fooled by their reputation, not every alpine route is a strenuous challenge! Trails with an S0 grading make great introductions to alpine mountain biking - whatever your technical ability might be. These flat or gently sloping paths in european forests and meadows are carefully crafted to provide a pleasant ride with good grip on natural surfaces and curves that won't overwhelm you. In other words, it's easy peasy! So if you're looking for stunning alps-y scenery combined with gentle pedalling, grab your bike and a guidebook and get ready for adventure!


Going on holiday and looking forward to hitting the trails? An S1 MTB trail traverses smaller obstacles such as flat roots and stones, with a few gullies thrown in for good measure! Although not too steep, it definitely calls for increased caution - your mtb guide should advise you to keep an eye out for the gradient that peaks at 40% in order to stay safe and sound. Hairpin turns won't be a worry though; instead, basic MTB technique paired with thoughtful braking and body movement will give you the confidence you need to navigate tricky passages. Roll over any obstacles that come your way, enjoy the holiday vibes, and ride off into the sunset!


If you're ready to take your single-track skala skills up-up and away, then get ready for an S2 difficulty rated trail! You'll encounter more roots and stones, as well as irregular surfaces along the way. Navigating turns becomes tricky as the gradient can be up to a 70% incline, so yes, it's time to break out those mtb technique guides! Luckily though, having the ability to shift your centre of gravity is just as necessary as being willing to break suddenly when the situation calls for it - plus some permanent body tension helps too. Good luck out there budding adventurers!


Blocked single trails in category S3 bring a drill-sergeant of difficulty, from higher steps and hairpin turns to tricky traverses. With loose scree and gradients of over 70%, these paths are the ultimate test of your biking drill and skills. So grab that mountain bike, drill down hard on your concentration, break accurately and make sure you've got the requisite balance - this is certainly no Sunday stroll. Don't get too relaxed though; the surface may be slippery enough to make you regret it!


If a local mountainbike guide told you there were some category S4 trails to explore, chances are you'd be in for quite the ride. Our experts would tell you that these steep and treacherous single trails can be filled with large boulders, demanding root passages and slippery scree. If you're up for the challenge, better hope you've mastered trail techniques like wheel shifting and perfected your braking skills - as well as having exceptional bike handling abilities. Only extreme riders have what it takes to traverse an S4 trail while in the saddle; most others may need to carry their bikes along the way!


S5 should come with a pro-mountainbiker and alpinist warning label, because tackling this difficulty grade requires skills that aren't suitable for mere mortals. It's characterized by blocked terrain with features such as counter climbs and erosion, tight curves, multiple obstacles with no break, and very little chance of slowing down. If that wasn't enough, some of these obstacles might even need to be jumped over by the intrepid pro mountainbiker or alpinist. Hairpins are often so tight that shifting the wheels is impossible - you'd have to carry your bike but then you won't have hands to hold on or even climb. Only a handful of freaks manage to take on S5 passages successfully - though why anyone would willingly put themselves through such an ordeal is beyond us!

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