Saddle Slang is sponsored by Rehook. Check out our tools, bike care and apparel


Noun, Verb

Berms are banked turns on a trail used for cornering.

Example usage: I'm going to take the berm to get around the corner faster.

Most used in: Mountain biking trails.

Most used by: Downhill and trail mountain bikers.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 2/10

Also see: Banked Turn, Banked Corner, Banked Curve, Berm Turn, Berm Corner, Berm Curve,


What Are Berms in Cycling?

Berms are a type of banking found in cycling trails and tracks. They are created by digging a shallow ditch along the inside of a turn and then building up the soil on the outside of the turn. This creates a banked corner that allows cyclists to take turns at higher speeds without having to worry about skidding or losing control.

Berms are often found in mountain biking trails, where they are used to provide increased control when negotiating tight turns and steep inclines. They can also be found on BMX tracks and cyclocross courses. In fact, according to a survey conducted by USA Cycling, over 40% of cyclocross courses and over 70% of BMX courses have at least one berm.

Berms can be built in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different types of terrain and cycling styles. Some berms are designed to be wide and shallow, allowing for smooth, sweeping turns. Others may be built with a steep gradient, allowing for tight, technical turns. No matter the shape, berms provide an extra level of control and safety to cyclists as they navigate their way around the track.


The Origin of the Cycling Term 'Berms'

The cycling term “berms” has its roots in the 1970s, when it first appeared in the United States. The term was popularized in the Southern California area, and is thought to have originated from the berm-building techniques employed by the early mountain bikers.

Berms are formed by digging a trench in the ground, and then building a wall of dirt and other material up against the trench. This wall is then used to form a banked curve along the edge of the trail. The banking of the berm allows for the rider to maintain momentum and keep the wheels from slipping on the edge of the trail.

The term “berms” quickly caught on in the mountain biking community, and is now widely used around the world. It is a key element in many mountain biking trails, and is essential for creating a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Saddle Slang

Find definitions for all of the technical terms, slang, and acronyms used in cycling. From the different types of bikes and their components, to training techniques, racing terminology and put downs, this dictionary has it all.

Talk the Talk
1 of 3