Switching Gears
July 15, 2016

Flow vs. tech trails

Flow vs. tech trails

Ariel Kent


By Ariel Kent

There are two main types of mountain biking trails, flow and tech. Flow is typically wide machined trails that are smooth, fast, require minimal braking, and are full of bermed turns and oftentimes jumps. Flow is a fairly new style of mountain bike trail, whereas tech is rocky, rooty and old-school.

Killington brings the best of both worlds to one mountain, which is sure to make its popularity grow.

One type of trail is not better than other (though some would argue otherwise). Both can be challenging in their own ways and a good rider must be accomplished in both. Killington is great because it allows riders to enjoy both styles of terrain but with enough separation so that they don’t overlap. One can warm-up on Snowshed riding the incredibly popularized trails of Step It Up and Blue Magic. But then they can head to the K-1 and ride the upper mountain for some rooty, rocky, tight singletrack.

Technical Singletrack is my personal preference because it makes me be on my “A” game all the time. One small mistake could result in catastrophe — especially at high speeds. Technical riding teaches a rider to modulate braking through uneven terrain and gives the ride the thrill of threading a tight line that seems unrideable to some. Trails like #7A and #32 (Scarecrow and The Beast) could be classified as the hardest trails on the mountain and provide that extra adrenaline boost that some search for (experts only).

This is not to discount flow. Like it sounds, when riding a flow trail a rider has to flow with the trail, pumping rolls and berms, making sure he or she gets as much control and contact with the ground as possible. Flow allows riders to really feel the bike, to know how it flexes, turns and rebounds. Flow makes riders more fluid.

But one is not complete without the other. Take a flow rider and put them on the upper mountain tech and they may not settle into a comfortable pace as quickly as they’d like. Same with a straight tech rider who may not fare as well on flow if all they know is technical trail.

At Killington riders are treated to the virtually unchanged upper mountain tech trails as well as the lower mountain’s machine-made flow trails. This winning combination is what has made Killington so popular to the mountain bike community and is why I encourage all to ride here at least once, so they can enjoy the wide variety of trails at the Beast of the East.

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