Mountain Bike Category System Explained

Mountain Bike Category System Explained

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Mountain bike categories and classifications

Age categories

All categories in mountain racing are age-based until you get to the age of 19.

U12 downhill – Riders taking part in short course or mini downhill events can compete in their 10th, 11th and 12th year.

Juvenile - To qualify for the juvenile category, a rider must be in the year of their 13th or 14th birthday.

Youth - Riders in the year of their 15th or 16th birthdays.

Junior - Riders in the year of their 17th and 18th birthdays.

Senior (sport / expert / elite) - When a rider reaches the year of their 19th birthday then they will race in an ability based category See below for how riders can attain expert or elite status.

Master - for riders aged 30 to 39. In downhill, senior riders will default to master on reaching the year of their 30th birthday.  There is no masters licence category in cross country, however riders of masters age with sport or expert licences may ride in masters races where they are held.

Veteran - for riders aged 40 to 49.

Grand Veteran - for riders aged over 50 (downhill and female cross-country) or aged 50 to 59 (male cross-country).

Super Veteran - for male cross-country riders aged over 60.

How do I qualify to a higher ability category?

Qualification from senior/sport/junior to expert; or from expert to elite, is gained through your end of year ranking points.

Female cross-country and downhill

These riders should apply directly to British Cycling if a category change is required.

Male Downhill

Elite: The top 40 ranked riders will remain elite. Elite riders ranked outside of the top 40 will retain their status and any other eligible rider can gain elite status if two world cup finals have been achieved in one season. The top 10 ranked expert riders will be promoted to elite. The first ranked junior rider will be promoted to elite (British Cycling reserve the right to move more than one rider up on merit). Dispensation will only be considered for riders who have been injured for a minimum eight-week period during the months from April to September. A letter from a GP or specialist must be provided.

Expert: Any elite riders ranked below 40; expert riders ranked 11-80; top 25 ranked senior riders; top 25 ranked (second year) junior riders; first placed veteran and top three masters (optional, but veterans and masters riding out of category will be offered expert). Dispensation will only be considered for riders who have been injured for a minimum eight week period during the months from April to September. A letter from a GP or Specialist must be provided.

Senior: Juniors moving up an age group, but outside the top 25, entry level riders of senior category age, riders ranked outside the top 80 Experts, non licensed riders of senior category age

Male Cross-Country

Top 50 ranked elite riders stay elite
Top five ranked experts promoted to elite
Top two ranked second year juniors promoted to elite, or top five dependent upon ability

Elite riders ranked below 50
Expert riders ranked outside the top five remain expert.
Junior category riders (second year) ranked third to fifth are promoted, dependent upon ability
Sport category riders ranked in the top 15

British Cycling will consider applications for upgrade from riders who fall just outside these thresholds.


Riders must remain within the top 20 national series standings
First place junior rider. Optional and dependant upon age
Top three senior national series standings
The winner of a 2008 senior national series event

Elite riders ranked outside the top 20
Junior riders moving up to senior
Master age riders wishing to progress to elite