Descend Rotorua

Descend Rotorua

Descend is the Downhill arm of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club supporting junior to elite level riders.


Our Vision:

To inspire young New Zealanders at an early age to become involved in Downhill mountain biking, providing pathways to reach their goals. 


What we do:

  • Run DH events: Dawn to Dusk, Low Key DH, NZDH Series, MTBNZ Series (link to event listings)
  • Assist riders to get involved with the New Zealand DH Circuit
  • Engage youth with DH role models and mentors
  • Work alongside the local community and businesses
  • Support families of DH riders 
  • Provide a Privateer Fund Scholarship (Note link to scholarship page) to contribute towards riding the World Cup DH Series internationally
  • Coaching (will be coming)
  • Training sessions (will be coming)

On a national level, Descend shares its knowledge with other mountain bike clubs to collaborate and grow the Downhill mountain bike community in New Zealand. This is vitally important for our riders, families and members to create a pathway into the sport of Downhill riding. 


How to get involved in Downhill (riding or racing)

Descend is able to give advice and guidance to any riders wanting to get involved into the Downhill side of mountain biking.

You can contact Descend as below:



How young can you start racing Downhill?

Generally, the minimum age is 13 or turning 13 the year you want to race (you can be 12 turning 13 that year).

However, the New Zealand Downhill (NZDH) race scene is fortunate to have another loved Downhill Series that fosters and encourages youth into racing.

The NZDH Series ( offers riders as young as 10 years old the opportunity to start racing. Should your child be younger than 13, they MUST be signed off and approved to race any of the NZDH series by Dave Hamilton from Descend.



What equipment is required for Downhill racing?

If you’re keen to start racing Downhill, there are pieces of equipment that are required over and above the standard bike helmet.

 In summary, the following is advised as a starting point, however, we recommend you reference the Cycling New Zealand protection policy (section 6.2) below to make sure your equipment is appropriate:

  • Full Face Helmet
  • Neck Brace
  • Elbow and Knee pads

Section 6.2 outlines the full requirements as it can vary on age category here.


Do I need a Downhill bike for racing when I am first starting out?

Mountain bikes on the market are getting bigger and better with their suspension travel. You can use normal mountain bikes, however, for your safety we suggest as a minimum:

  • A full suspension mountain bike
  • Minimum of 150mm suspension travel

As always this type of racing is a specialist sport in mountain biking and the quicker you can transition onto a full Downhill mountain bike, the safer you will be on the downhill tracks. If you'd like to buy a DH bike, we're happy to give advice on what to look for. Just get in touch.


What does the Downhill racing circuit look like:

There are two series on the New Zealand Downhill race circuit - a Nationals and Schools event. The general race season is as below, however, these are general dates and can change:

NZDH Series (September – December)

5 races in the North Island (Generally Rotorua, 2 x Auckland, Napier and Wellington)

MTBNZ Series (Jan – March)

5 races in the North and South Island (Locations vary yearly)

CNZ Nationals (February – Dates can vary)

1 race (Locations vary yearly)

CNZS North Island/South Island (April – Dates can vary)

1 race per Island (Locations vary yearly)

CNZS Nationals (October – Dates can vary)

1 race (Locations vary yearly)


About Downhill

Shredding down mountain sides on seemingly impossible terrain, Downhill riders defy gravity as they hit huge rocks, webs of roots, massive drops and hit it all at speed, soaring through the forest.

Fuelled by adrenaline, bravery and skill, this sport is all about who can reach the bottom of the hill in the fastest time possible. Riders hit speeds of up to 65km/hour and will often do the race run in about 3 minutes.


Follow us:

Check out the Descend Facebook


Important Links