Difficulty rating in mountain biking

S. Siebert, M. Kolleck


The aim of this study was to investigate the gaze behavior of mountain bike riders while analyzing and rating the technical difficulty of mountain bike trails. Differences in the visual attention to the trail itself and its surrounding risk parameters were expected between skilled mountain bike riders and beginners. Gaze behavior of 12 beginners and 17 experts was measured using a portable eye-tracking system. As predicted, visual attention to certain areas of interest differed in many cases. While experts predominantly focus the trail itself to analyze its grade of difficulty, beginners give significantly more attention to the surrounding risk parameters. In some cases the beginners gaze these risk parameters more intensively than the trail. Furthermore, experts observe single key sections on the trail while beginners just get an overview of the trail. The findings suggest that difficulty rating systems in mountain biking should provide both, information on the technichal challenge of the trail and also information on its potential risk parameters.


APA Citation

Siebert, S., & Kolleck, M. (2013). Difficulty rating in mountain biking. Journal of Outdoor Activities, 7(1 Suppl.), 88–93.

Additional Information

Date: June 1, 2013