Info for Mountain Bike Orienteers

Mountain bike orienteering (MTBO) is, as the name suggests, an orienteering sport performed on mountain bikes. Unlike in foot orienteering, MTBO competitors aren't typically permitted to leave the trail and track network. This makes the navigational tactics in MTBO similar to those of ski orienteering, where the major focus is route choice while racing at high speed.

The sport attracts both orienteering and mountain bike enthusiasts. The most important orienteering skills needed are route choice and map memory. Extremely good bike handling and the ability to cope with steep slopes are an absolute must.

Mountain bike orienteering is the newest of the four orienteering disciplines administered by the International Orienteering Federation. It started in the late 1980s at club level in countries where mountain biking was a popular outdoor sport. By 1997, national championships were being organized 12 countries. As of 2009, the count was up to 58 countries. There is now an MTBO World Championships organized every year. At the 2012 event, in Veszprém, Hungary, there were national teams from 31 countries, including the United States.

In recent years, Orienteering USA has fielded teams to the following World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships (WMTBOC): Estonia (2013), Poland (2014), and the Czech Republic (2015). Upcoming World Championships will be held in Portugal (2016), Lithuania (2017), and Austria (2018).

Organizing an Event

To learn about organizing an MTBO event, check the following links:


 Ingrid Stengård, Finland (Photo by Paula Lehtomäki)
Ingrid Stengård, Finland
(Photo by Paula Lehtomäki)

Online Map Memory Training

The Catching Features web site has a Ski Orienteering Simulator that is beneficial as a map memory training aid for MTB orienteers.

Get an MTBO Map Made for Your Club

Get your club's first mountain bike orienteering (MTBO) map made with help from Orienteering USA!

If you have terrain that you feel might be suitable for MTBO events hosted by your club, we'll look into it and then work out how to get it mapped swiftly at little to no cost.

Contact Orienteering USA's Greg Lennon for more details.

O-Ringen MTB-O
July 25-27, 2016
Sälen, Sweden

Contact: Robert Buraczynski (rburaczynski [at] localnet [dot] com)last updated 04 October 2015