New Zealand for the most part will use ‘The Kennett Brothers’ mountain bike trail grading system, weather or not MTB riders are aware of it. Riding destinations use this grading system as an indicator only, so be sure to ride within your limits and keep in mind that wet weather will always make a trail more difficult.
Riding in wet weather will only damage trails so please keep that in mind unless you are volunteering to help rebuild them.
A brief description of each grade of trail can be found below ….
Trail grading systems differ throughout New Zealand, and Range from Grade 1 through to Grade 6 – with Grade 5 being expert level, you can only imagine what grade 6 consists of – check out some of our videos to find out !
Grade 1 – Predictable wide open trail, including relatively flat gravel or unsealed road.
Grade 2 – Gradual Inclines and or declines with obvious obstacles which are easy to avoid, they could be rocks, potholes or tree roots to name a few.
Grade 3 – Steeper Inclines and or declines with obstacles that can be avoided, as well as sections with poor traction, bigger exposed roots or drops. Trails become narrower.
Grade 4 – Combine steeper narrower trails, both up and down, with poor traction and obstacles that become difficult to avoid or jump over because of the pace of the trail. Please keep an ear out for other riders and be sure to move aside if you find yourself walking your bike through sections.
Grade 5 – Obstacles become larger and less visible. Landing areas after obstacles becomes shorter and have sharp corners or drop offs after them. Techincal and steep climbs/descents are typical of this grade of trail. Walking your bike through sections on your first pass can be expected.
Grade 6 – Downhill / Rough free-ride specific tracks. Mostly used for racing – with large jumps, drops, gaps and other obstacles that are unavoidable. Other man made bridges or features can be found among grade 6 trails. Steepest trails.