Membership FAQs

We often get asked the same questions about MTBA membership, so here are a few of them and our answers. We hope that it helps you as you begin your MTBA experience.

8-week trial membership FAQs

MTB Community Membership

Further membership FAQs


I’m not a current MTBA member but I have been in the past. Do I still qualify?

The free membership trial is open to anyone who has never been an MTBA member, or a past member who hasn’t held a membership in the last 3 years. Please note, you can only possess this trial membership once in your life.

Will I be mailed a membership card?

No. Once you have submitted the online free trial application you will be emailed a link to your trial membership card which you can print or access at any time or download the MTBA app by clicking here.

What events can I enter with my trial membership?

Your trial membership has participation and competition endorsement.  You may enter nearly all MTBA-sanctioned events around Australia without the need to purchase a day licence (excluding the National Championships and the occasional MTBA restricted event).  Remember that your membership card is your passport for entering MTBA-sanctioned events and needs to be presented when registering, so please print it out and keep it safe.

Do I have to join MTBA at the end of the 8 weeks?

No. There is no obligation to join MTBA at the completion of the 8-week trial, however, we strongly encourage you to do so if you enjoyed yourself!

How much does a regular MTBA membership cost?

For a list of all the membership types and fees please click here.

Who should I contact with questions?

If you have any questions please email or call on 07 5628 0110


MTB Community Membership

The MTBA Community membership is a new category introduced in May 2017 that is issued to expired members, previous MTBA Free Trial members and Day Licence members. It is a FREE subscription to MTBA’s information service and all past MTBA members are subscribed. Please note this is not a financial membership and does not entitle you to MTBA’s insurance cover.


What is a MTBA membership all about?

MTBA membership gives you a ‘licence’ to race any MTBA affiliated event in Australia and a level of insurance cover depending on the type of membership.

MTBA membership is available in the following classes:

Race Membership – Adult: Allows for a member to contest any MTBA sanctioned race in Australia. This membership is available for people between the ages of 19 and 99. Age determination is made at the time of application.

Race Membership – Junior: Allows for a member to contest any MTBA sanctioned race in Australia. This membership is available for people between the ages of 13 and 18. Age determination is made at the time of application.

Race Membership – DirtMaster: Allows for a member to contest any MTBA sanctioned race in Australia. This membership is available for children between the ages of 7 and 12. This class of membership may have some restrictions to the type or extent of competition available. Details are available in the Junior MTBA member document. Age determination is made at the time of application.

Race Membership DirtCub: Allows for a member to contest any MTBA sanctioned race in Australia. This membership is available for children between the ages of 2 and 6. This class of membership may have some restrictions to the type or extent of competition available. Details are available in the Junior MTBA member document. Age determination is made at the time of application.

Recreational Membership: This membership class is for people who do not intend on racing but who wish for the great insurance cover offered by MTBA for our members. This class of membership is strictly non-competitive, so members of the class who wish to enter a race will also need to pay for a day licence.

Membership provides you with comprehensive insurance cover depending on the membership category and includes public liability, personal accident and capital benefits. Full details of current insurance provisions is available here.

If you are not an MTBA Race member and wish to participate in a race then you will be asked to pay for a Day Licence each and every time you race. If you are not an MTBA Race or Recreational member and wish to participate in a social ride activity with an MTBA affiliated club you will need to purchase a Recreational Permit that is valid for a day.

So a MTBA membership makes good sense. The insurance provisions for a day Recreation Permit holder are limited to public liability and capital benefits, ie there is no personal accident cover for holders of day Recreation Permit.

Please call 07 5628 0110 or email for further information.

OK, you have convinced me – How do I join MTBA?

To join MTBA for a competition you need to also be a member of an affiliated club. To find a club near you click on your State or Territory on the map of Australia that is displayed on MTBA website home page or here. This will take you to a list of all the clubs affiliated with MTBA in your chosen State or Territory. You can join the club on-line if they have made on-line access available.

If you know which club you intend on joining you can join directly by going here.

For any assistance, please call our Team on 07 5628 0110.

All those clubs – Which club should I join?

The club you join should be a good and comfortable fit to the type of mountain biking you do. In your discussion with the club contact of your preferred club you should ask if the club:

  • has a competition or social ride focus
  • has a MTB discipline competition preference, which mainly falls into XC or DH
  • has a venue(s) for competition and training or travels to other races as a club activity
  • has social activities outside formal competition
  • caters for female or juniors with specific activities (as appropriate)
  • has a family discount for all those living at the same residence

The answers to these questions may help you decide which club to join. The other factor is locality. Clubs provide a local context. They provide you a network of like-minded people to compete or recreate with. Clearly a local club close to where you live or ride may be more useful to you than a club located far away.

I want to race – What do I need to do?

Just as in any other sport or activity the right clothing and safety gear can make all the difference to your enjoyment. For participating at any MTBA sanctioned activity you need:

  • MTBA membership or the purchase of a MTBA day permit (or you can upgrade online from a recreation membership to race membership in your membership area)
  • Australian certified bicycle helmet for any XC type activity. For DH you need a full-face helmet that is Australian certified helmet or one that has been certified by an International Standard organisation.
  • Your feet need to be fully enclosed – ie no sandals or thongs. Proper bike racing shoes are best but any hard-soled shoe will suffice. You may like to get clip-less pedals and shoes, but make sure that you are familiar with their use (getting your feet unclipped) well before your first race.

We recommend the following:

  • Eyewear to prevent bugs and dust and leaves and such annoying your eyes. For DH most riders use race goggles.
  • Cycling gloves – full or half finger ones for XC and full finger for DH
  • Padded cycling shorts will aid your comfort and a cycling jersey has plenty of pockets to put your food and spares in. DH racers sometimes use BMX-style clothing.
  • For DH we recommend body armour and additional protection for knees and elbows.

What kind of mountain biking can I do with MTBA?

These days MTB is much more than just Downhill (DH) or Olympic Cross Country (XC). Clubs around the nation now do many other forms of MTB. Here are some descriptive words of what you can do with your MTB with MTBA to whet your appetite.

  • Olympic Cross-Country (XCO or XC for short): An individual or mass start competition, which is held on a circuit course, composed of forest roads, forest or field trails and unpaved dirt or gravel roads (a minimal amount of paved road may be necessary).
  • Short Track Cross Country (XCC): A very short XC style event of about 800m in length but generally about 1 minute 30 seconds in winning time. A short, sharp exciting event to watch and participate in.
  • Marathon (XCM): A XC event of over 60 kilometres in length and more than 3 hours in duration.
  • Downhill (DH):  A time trial of sustained descending occurring between a start line and a finish line, which is located at a lower altitude. Competitors typically depart the start line in timed intervals (i.e. 30 seconds). The minimum length, of course, will be 1.5 km and the maximum will usually be less than 5 km and with a winning time of between 3 and 5 minutes. The course consists of a mixture of rapid and slower technical sections and be composed of singletrack, wide track and rocky tracks. The emphasis is placed on the technical skills of the rider.
  • Gravity Enduro (GE): Gravity is enduro is a race format that combines timed downhill sections with untimed uphill connecting sections, though these often have to be completed within a set time limit. There can be up to six stages for riders to complete. 
  • Four Cross (4X):  4X is a competition that consists of a qualifying round or rounds followed by a final race series where 4 qualifying riders compete on a shared short downhill type course. The winner and the second placed riders in each match qualify automatically for the subsequent round. Times are not taken into account except at the qualification stage.
  • Bike Trials: Events conducted over an obstacle course including such natural hazards as mud, rocks, water, or man-made hazards and can have any number of sections. The riders attempt to negotiate each section without putting down a foot or hand (dab). Each dab (foot or hand) adds a point to the rider’s score. The rider with the lowest score wins the event.
  • Cyclocross (CX): Cyclocross is a very specific type of bike racing. For the most part, the course is off-road but there are sometimes portions of pavement included in the course. You can expect to encounter grass, dirt, mud, gravel, sand, and a whole slew of other assortments and combinations. The races are based on a set time (measured by numbers of laps), not distance. Depending on your category, a race can be as quick as 30 minutes (for beginners), or as long as 60 minutes (for pros).
  • Hill Climb/Uphill: A timed competition of sustained climbing in which the finish line is at a higher altitude than the start line. A hill climb may be a mass start competition or a time trial.
  • Point-To-Point: An individual or mass start competition held on a course from point A to point B composed of forest roads, forest or field trails and unpaved dirt or gravel roads (a minimal amount of paved road may be necessary). The minimum length for a Point-to-Point event will be 25 kilometers and will be less than 60km.
  • Stage Races:  Events where competitors are required to compete in a series of different events toward one total overall score or time. A typical stage race might consist of an uphill, a cross-country and a downhill time trial. This event determines the most versatile rider and occurs over one or several days. Each stage has a winner. Competitors must complete all stages with the finishing times or points recorded after each event. The rider with the lowest accumulated total time or the highest accumulated points at the end of all stages is the winner.

My first race – What is involved?

Your first race is always going to be an exciting time. You will be nervous about what you have to do, if you are up to the task and who your competition is. The best way of allaying these things is racing more often. The more races you do the more comfortable you will be and the more you will know what to expect. However, there are some things that you should always do to ensure that you have the best experience possible:

Prepare. The night before set out your MTBA membership card and money, clothes, helmet, shoes, gloves and eye-wear. Prepare your drinks and food for the race. Place all these in one place so that you are not hunting around madly trying to assemble all this at the last minute. Prepare your tools to take and make sure that your bike is lubricated and working correctly. The night before is not the time to change anything significant on your bike – like a new seat or gears – to do that will only add to the worry next day.

Practice. For XCO the first lap of the race is not the time to pre-ride the course. This should be done the day before or before the racing starts. You should know exactly where the course goes so that you can mentally know what is around the next corner or over the next climb.

For DH there will usually be plenty of time on race day to practice the course and you will have the full support of the race organisers when you do so.

For the other forms of MTB disciplines, the opportunity to practice may be limited (in particular Marathon for instance) or indeed riding the course unseen is part of the appeal.

On race day. The following refers mainly to XCO and DH activity since these are the most common forms of MTB activity clubs do. “On race-day” for the other disciplines varies greatly and you should be guided by the race organisers.

So, for XCO or DH, get to the race at least 1 hour before the first race is due to occur or before the first official practice session. When race registration is available, register your name, nominate your race class show your MTBA membership card and pay the entry fee.

The remainder of the day somewhat depends on what MTB discipline you are doing. The way the day unfolds is different for XC and DH.

  • XC

    • Remember that you are not permitted to practice the course while another race is happening – it is not fair on them and you would not like it done to you. You are also not permitted to practice the race course on race day without having registered your intention to race and have attached the race number to your bike. Practice the course the day before or do one lap before the racing starts and then cool down, recall in your mind the course, where it goes and what it entails.
    • Know when you are expected to start and listen out for the race start calls. If you are just starting out do yourself a favour and do not start at the front of your class. In club races your race start may be in conjunction with other age groups or race categories and the call up to the start line may be in a particular order. If in doubt what the procedure is at any race ask the race organisers for clarification.
  • DH

    • Make sure that you understand the practice times and how you will be placed in your age category or race class once racing starts. Usually, club and state level DH races are staged by having a morning practice session followed by the afternoon race on the same day. Some lager state races may be held over 2 days where additional practice will be available on Saturday.
    • Before you can practice you need to register for the race and get your number plate: no plate no practice. If you are new to DH racing or you are new at a particular race course your first practice run should be slow or better still walk the course when you first get to the race venue. It makes sense that you want to get the most out of your day so crashing and burning in the very first practice run is a big downer!
    • In some classes a preliminary race in the afternoon is held to rank the riders in order fastest to slowest. In some races, the start order is completely arbitrary and you start when you get to the start line. If you are expected to start your race at a particular time the race organisers will post a start time list in between the finish of morning practice session and the start of the afternoon racing. It is your responsibility to check this list to (a) make sure that you are listed and recorded in the correct race class, and (b) check your start time.
    • Since the DH start line is usually some distance up a hill you will need to make sure that you know when you need to be there by checking the start time list (see above) and some idea of the time it takes to do so (by mentally knowing the time it took in your practice sessions). It is your responsibility to make sure that you are at the start line in plenty of time before your allocated start time. A good thing to keep in mind is that it is often easier to wait at the top than to wait at the bottom. Remember that if the race organiser has provided transport to you to get to the race start you are not permitted to use any form of private transport to get to the race start.

In both XC and DH races if in doubt ask.

What is the accepted rider etiquette?

When you are racing you can get extremely focussed and single-minded which unfortunately may mean that you can only think of one thing – your race. The fact is that you are also racing with many other people in your class, in a different (age or skill-wise) race class and thus be better than you are or you are also riding with others who are less skilled than you are.

In all these cases it is important to know how you should react if you catch someone or someone catches you on the race course.

If you struggle with a climb or a downhill and you have to get off please clear the trail straight away so that riders behind you can keep going. If someone in front of you can’t get out of the way quickly enough be patient and polite and wait till the rider in front can safely move aside and allow you to pass. Remember that this is probably how you would like to be dealt with if you are caught up.

If you are catch-up or you are caught-up the rider behind will call “track left (or right)” to indicate which side he/she wishes to pass you. You should attempt to move to the opposite side of his call (right or left side of the track) at the earliest opportunity to make room for the rider to pass you safely. Having said this it is the passing rider’s responsibility to pass safely. It serves no purpose to pass a slower rider in an unsafe manner if it could precipitate a tangle of bikes in which both of you go down or even worse are injured. It is unsociable to pass a rider if the passing move causes the rider being passed to have an accident. To do this may precipitate a protest on your action which may result in relegation or worse still disqualification.

Which category should I race in first?

Most races will have age classes which are strictly limited to an age bracket or they will have open race categories in which there are no age limits. Age for most club or State level races is mostly determined by your age as at the end of the year in which the race is held. The race organiser will be able to confirm the age criteria.

In general terms, if you are a junior (under 19 years of age) MTBA recommends that you enter your appropriate age category. If you are a adult (19 years of age or older) then you also have the option of the Elite category, an age category or an open age category. The choice is yours.

In most cases male and female race classes will be offered, although due to the limited number of women racing mountain bike all the women may be started together, although your results should be recorded in your correct race category.

If you are just starting out and over 19 years of age one of the open age classes may be a good beginning. This way you will be able to compare your race time with your correct age category or indeed the Elite race class and perhaps decide to enter one of those classes next time. For XC the difference in the race classes is mostly about your ability – the time it takes you to race a predefined number of laps of the race course (see below).

What training should I have done beforehand?

Like most things, the more you do something the easier it gets. MTB racing is no different. One of the joys of MTB is that you can practice a race course with your mates and friends. Riding with people who are stronger/better riders will often bring good gains in your skills and strength. You will be able to see how they negotiate sections of the trail and hopefully encourage you to extend yourself. Remember though that you control your own fate when riding your MTB and the sport is nothing if not self-limiting. If you are uncomfortable with riding a section of trail get off your bike and walk (or better still run) through it or get some expert tuition to help you ride through it.

In the early days on your bike, riding on a wide variety of surfaces is important. Getting used to the way your bike responds to various surfaces and learning how to shift your weight around to compensate for uphill, downhill or corners is something that will come with time and practice.

What is the difference between a National, State and club race?

In most circumstances you will interact with MTBA at a club level and for most people this is all they are after – just plain old fun with their mates and having bragging rights when you place better then others in your peer group. For some others testing themselves against others drawn from a wider area is a better test of their ability. State level competition provides this, while still being reasonably local. For some others this is still not the test they need and contesting National Series level events and, in the ultimate, the National MTB Championships provides the real indication of where one is placed in Australia. The National series and the National Championships also provide the opportunity for the National selectors to see what you are made of, what you can do and for you to place yourself on notice for possible selection to represent Australia at the World MTB Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the pinnacle sporting event in the world – the Olympic Games (for XC only).

Will my bike be good enough?

If you are just starting out in MTB competition use the bike you have until you are sure this sport is one that you feel you want to continue with. As you grow in your sporting ability you will naturally find yourself needing a more sophisticated bike. It is important to remember, though, that the best riders can win on any old bike (so long as it holds together) so getting a very expensive bike to begin with is not needed.

In general terms, though for XC racing a front suspension hard-tail (no rear suspension) is what is needed. While weight is often spoken about as being important in XC racing the reality is that the lighter the bike the more expensive it is and the more care is needed to make sure it is looked after. Another truism is that it is often much easier to lose weight yourself than spend the money and effort in making your bike lighter. Having said all that, as you become more skilled and stronger getting a lighter bike will help in achieving that extra few percentage of effort.

For DH activity the type of bike these days is a dual suspension with between 4 and 8 inches of travel both front and rear. However there is a growing trend to cater to ‘hard-tails’ – bikes with only front suspension, so don’t feel that you need to buy a dually right away.

Can I use the sport voucher scheme to pay for my child’s MTBA membership?

Yes, as long as your local MTB club is registered! Please ​contact your local MTB club to see if they are registered and to make use of the sports voucher (if eligible). 

If the club isn’t registered, please let the club know so they can register as a sports provider to accept the sports vouchers.

For more information on this great initiative, please visit the official sites below:

New South Wales: Active Kids Voucher

Northern Territory: Sport Voucher Scheme

Queensland: FairPlay Voucher

South Australia: Sports Vouchers

Tasmania: Ticket to Play

Western Australia: KidSport

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