IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 12552: Current Perspectives of Cross-Country Mountain Biking: Physiological and Mechanical Aspects, Evolution of Bikes, Accidents and Injuries (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Mountain biking (MTB) is a cycling modality performed on a variety of unpaved terrain. Although the cross-country Olympic race is the most popular cross-country (XC) format, other XC events have gained increased attention. XC-MTB has repeatedly modified its rules and race format. Moreover, bikes have been modified throughout the years in order to improve riding performance. Therefore, the aim of this review was to present the most relevant studies and discuss the main results on the XC-MTB. Limited evidence on the topic suggests that the XC-MTB events present a variation in exercise intensity, demanding cardiovascular fitness and high power output. Nonetheless, these responses and demands seem to change according to each event. The characteristics of the cyclists differ according to the performance level, suggesting that these parameters may be important to achieve superior performance in XC-MTB. Moreover, factors such as pacing and ability to perform technical sections of the circuit might influence general performance. Bicycles equipped with front and rear suspension (i.e., full suspension) and 29″ wheels have been shown to be effective on the XC circuit. Lastly, strategies such as protective equipment, bike fit, resistance training and accident prevention measures can reduce the severity and the number of injuries.