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Downhill biking is a gravity-assisted time trial mountain biking event. Riders race against the clock, usually starting at intervals of 30 seconds (seeded from slowest to fastest), on courses which typically take two to five minutes to complete. Riders come from all around the world. Riders are timed with equipment similar to that used in Downhill skiing. The placing is determined by the fastest times to complete the course; races are often won by margins of under a second. As the name of this discipline implies, downhill races are held on steep, downhill terrain, resulting in high speed descents, and with extended air time off jumps and other obstacles. The 2011 Downhill World Champion is Danny Hart from the United Kingdom. Modern race downhill bikes weigh between 14 to 19 kg (30 to 42 pounds), and usually feature full-suspension and frame geometries that lean back farther (slacker geometry) than other mountain bikes. As of 2006, 203 mm (8-inch) is the 'norm' for suspension travel however some commercially available big mountain freeride bikes can have over 300 mm (12-inch). Large-diameter 203–5 mm (8-inch) hydraulic disc brakes moderate speed. Downhill bikes and freeride bikes are similar but there are some slight differences. Downhill race bikes typically are much lower and have slacker head angles than freeride bikes, so that the bike is more stable at speed and in corners. Freeride bikes have a steeper geometry and a higher bottom bracket height, so that they are better for balance and maneuverability, however freeride bikes sometimes use single crown forks, which are shorter in travel length and lighter than the dual crown forks often used by downhill riders, dual crown forks usually have around 200 mm (8-inch) of travel, and single crown forks are usually around 180 mm (7 in) maximum. Downhill gear features body armor and full-face motocross-type helmets. Other protective gear such as a neck brace can be added to reduce the risk (by bringing the head to a controlled stop) of neck and spinal injury. Many ski areas are converted into biking venues in the summer (such as Whistler Mountain Bike Park and Fernie Alpine Resort just 3 hours from Calgary International Airport, Canada) however there are also many other hills with Downhill Mountain Bike trails built on them. Bikers ride gondolas, trams or chair lifts to the starting point at the top of the mountains. Another method commonly referred to as "Shuttling", uses motorized vehicles to transport multiple riders to the top of the hill. Normally utility vehicles or 4WDs are driven up off-road tracks to the top of the courses. However, some tracks provide access to ordinary cars - such as Kuranda Downhill in Cairns, which runs down the Smithfield side of the Macalister Range and uses the road as access. The Union Cycliste Internationale is governing body for downhill mountain bike racing. Racers qualify to compete in World Cup races by earning UCI points, which are gained by being a top ten finisher in certain races, usually national. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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