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mountain bike slang

Mountain Bike Slang – The Most Common MTB Jargon

Mountain bike slang can be…interesting at the very least! The lexicon of this exciting sport is quite diverse and with some regional differences. Despite this, there are many that most hardcore enthusiasts will recognize. Many terms are inspired from surfing or skateboarding, but here we discuss the top used terms and their meaning. We hope you enjoy this moon booter of an article!

Sidenote, we encourage all interested to try mountain biking! But be mindful that the skills required and hazards are different than road cycling. See our articles on how to get in shape before cycling and conquering your fears as a newbie and stay tuned for our upcoming series on the best workouts to prepare for mountain biking.

Most Common Mountain Bike Slang

full squish MTB

Full Squish

Essentially a full squish refers to a bike with full suspension. The term refers to the fact that the suspension can be “fully squished” when hitting a hard drop, as opposed to bouncy. There are a variety of opinions as to whether beginners should utilize full suspension bikes. Generally it is recommended to utilize a full squish bike at a more intermediate or advanced stage for learning purposes.

Gnar on a mountain bike


Gnar refers to a trail or segment that is especially challenging. Segments like these in the MTB world will include a lot of rocks and technical features that make it challenging. Its difficult to say exactly where the phrase came from. It likely bears some connection to “gnarly”, which can mean both “awesome” as well as “disgusting”.

hero dirt on a MTB

Hero Dirt

Hero dirt refers to a track with perfect consistency and grip for riding. This is usually a fortuitous condition brought on by rain or weather. Hero dirt allows for performance that one might not usually obtain in less forgiving conditions. It’s obviously a good thing!

baby heads on a MTB

Baby Heads

Baby heads are rocks that tend to jut out and prove a hazard on the MTB trail. These rocks are usually large and can be the size of a baby’s head. “Watch our for baby heads” is disturbing but descriptive!

dead sailor MTB

Dead Sailor

This refers to a rider suspended in the air after a large jump who has come off their bike. Newbies tend to lock their bodies in this scenario and be afflicted by rigor mortis, hence the term.

moon booter MTB

Moon Booter

A jump that sends a biker to incredible heights, ie “towards the moon”.

yard sale MTB

Yard Sale

Refers to ones equipment scattered everywhere after a fall or ill-conceived jump. The appearance of ones scattered belongings is akin to what you’d see at a Yard sale.

Other Mountain Bike Slang

Chicken Line

Used in a variety of sports, this refers to a more conservative route around obstacles.

Dentist Bike

Used in both road and mountain biking, refers to a usually overpriced bike or kit. The phrase derives from working professionals who sometimes spend big but have little time to master the sport.


A variation of “WOO” which is more used in MTB. Essentially a cry of either celebration or great fear.

Full Send

Used in other sports and games, essentially means to “gun it” or “go for it” fully with no reservations.

Granny Gear

Refers to the largest/easiest gear of your bike. IE, requires the least effort to move uphill but is also the slowest. Used in road cycling as well.


Excited, happy, and motivated. Not MTB specific and used in many other contexts.

Donkey Kicker

A small jump that provides significant air time on a descent.


A perfectly set up bike. IE “Dialed-in”


Mountain bike slang consists of some interesting terms! Let us know if you’ve heard of or used other colorful terms!