Cross-Country (or X-Country, or XC) is the most popular form of endurance MTBing. It can take the form of an outing or else a race on all sorts of different tracks, sometimes with sections on roads too.
Cross-country MTBing and the bikes used are the closest to recreational and trekking cycling, even if a recreational or a trekking bike will not have exactly the same characteristics as a competition cross-country MTB.
The fact that MTBing is now an Olympic sport has profoundly altered the discipline. The distances and circuits are increasingly shorter with ever greater variety and technical demands.
Cross-country is recognised as a discipline by the International Cycling Union and World Championships are held each year. It has also been an Olympic sport since the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
Cross-country can also take the form of endurance races where their length is a key factor, sometimes lasting up to 24 hours. These races can be either individual or else team competitions.
In terms of the equipment used the MTBs are lighter than endurance or freeride MTBs (which tend to have full suspension). An XC tends to weigh between 9kg and 14kg, with their weight being an important characteristic. Nevertheless the weight of the bike won't help you go any faster if you’re out of shape!