Find your perfect event with our grading system

Find your perfect event with our grading system

Home » Sportives

If you’re riding a sportive our grading system will make sure you find your perfect match. From your first sportive, to the toughest rides in Britain, our simple grading system identifies the challenge on a one-to-five scale.  

The British Cycling Sportive grading system was developed working closely with IMG Challenger World, organisers of the Etape Series, to help participants get the best possible experience and satisfaction from their ride, while helping them decide on their next challenge.

How the grading system works

The grading system makes it possible to accurately compare multiple events, which may have different ascents or distances within the same one-to-five band.

You can also build up to taking on a sportive, safe in the knowledge that your next event will be a progression rather than a giant leap.

What the one to five grades mean

  • Grade 1 – Moderate: Grade 1 routes are great if you are new to cycling as these routes are usually shorter and flatter.
  • Grade 2 – Challenging: If you are new to cycling but want a challenge, Grade 2 routes will offer a rolling route with some challenging aspects.
  • Grade 3 – Difficult: If you are a regular cyclist and looking for a challenging event that won’t break the legs a Grade 3 is the event for you. Usually around 3000 – 4000 ft of climbing over a middle distance route.
  • Grade 4 – Hard: Grade 4 events are for regular, experienced cyclists. Typically routes of a longer distance with challenging climbs included. Training for Grade 4 events is recommended.
  • Grade 5 – Very Hard: Grade 5 routes are not for the faint hearted. They will include very hard climbs, usally over a longer distance. It is recommended to train for events such as these to ensure you are fully prepared. Only a handful of events will have a Grade 5.

To get more detail on a single event, just click the event name and you'll be taken to the individual event page where you can get all the details, including multiple graded rides where appropriate.

The events calendar will also have details on location, distances, ascent and how to enter, with the majority listed being accessible to enter right here on our website.