Mountain biking is unique in the world of outdoor sports in that it allows access to near-limitless terrain.
But not all mountain biking terrain is the same. There's a wide variety of trails across the world you can access, and a wide variety of bike types needed to conquer those trails.
So, as a primer, here are four of the most iconic mountain biking locations across the globe, and the bikes you'll need to hit them:
Gorge Road Jump Park: New Zealand
One of the world's foremost dirt jump parks, the Gorge Road Jump Park is as meticulously crafted as it is massive.
Located just outside of Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island, the Gorge Road Jump Park is free for the public to use and features a seemingly endless amount of perfectly groomed dirt jumps for people who like spending most of their time in the air.
As it is a dirt jump course — and not a downhill mountain bike park — you'll want a dirt jump bike, which is a sort of hybrid between a traditional BMX bike and a mountain bike.
Try the NS Bikes Movement 1. It's light and responsive enough to be fun flowing through the park and its sturdy build means it can survive a beating if you're a little less than graceful on your landings.
Tahoe Rim Trail: California/Nevada
The Tahoe Rim Trail is one of the most beautiful hiking and biking trails in the United States, a 165-mile trail that loops along the ridges that bound the Tahoe Basin, crossing through six counties and two states.
While much of those 165 miles is off limits to mountain bikes, there are still large swaths of the trail that you can ride.
The biking on the trail is mostly mellow. MTB Project says that 80 percent of the terrain you encounter is singletrack with an average grade of only 3 percent — meaning you won't find much pitch on the trail.
What you will find, however, is jaw-dropping views and long periods of gradual climbs and descent. You'll need a good cross-country mountain bike that can you can pedal forever and while retaining tight control on the often-times sandy trail. Try the BMC Teamelite.
The Whole Enchilada: Moab, Utah
The Whole Enchilada in Moab, Utah, is one of the most epic and revered mountain biking trails in the world, and when looking at the statistics of the trail, it's easy to see why.
Per MTB Project, the Whole Enchilada — which encompasses numerous smaller trails including Burro Pass, Hazard County, and Porcupine Rim — is over 33 miles long with an astounding 7,930 feet of vertical descent.
It features incredibly steep, technical and rocky sections, and as such will require a downhill mountain bike designed to go really fast and survive some abuse. Try the Canyon Sender — it's cushy suspension and sturdy frame will give you all the forgiveness you need as you bomb down the steep, bumpy sections and its geometry will keep you under control and grounded to the bike.
Also, a word for the wise: With shuttle services constantly bringing bikers to the top of the trail, The Whole Enchilada can be incredibly crowded. So if you head there, go early in the morning and perhaps avoid weekends and holidays.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park: Whistler, British Columbia
Indisputably one of the most famous bike park in the world, Whistler Mountain Bike Park has earned its reputation as one of the world’s premiere freeriding destinations.
With 70 trails spanning across five separate riding zones, as much as 2,723 feet of accessible vertical drop and separate parks for drop offs, jumps and slopestyle, you can literally find any type of terrain you desire.
With all of that lift-accessed awesomeness, you’ll want a freeride mountain bike that can handle downhill bombing as well as heavy jumps and drop offs. Try the YT Tues. It’s the freeride bike of choice for mountain biking legend Cam Zink, so it should be more than sufficient for you.