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We want you to have the best possible time during your biking tour in Japan with us, and matching your experience level, and current physical conditioning to an appropriate adventure is the most important part of ensuring you have a truly enjoyable trip.  With that said, it is incredibly hard to create a one-size-fits-all system that accurately portrays the difficulty and challenges of each unique bike trip within the context of its particular environment, trail conditions, technical aspects, distance, duration and elevation gain.  Perhaps this is why there is no universal standard for rating the difficulty of biking trails.

We have drawn heavily, and sometimes verbatim, from the difficulty rating scale developed by the Adventure Cycling Association that we feel does an excellent job of boiling all the variables down into a relatively simple, accurate and easily understandable ranking, but have slightly modified it in places to apply more specifically to the trails we will be riding during our tours in Japan.  The end result is a two-part system that assigns a 6-level number scale to describe the necessary level of fitness, and combines it with a 3-letter scale to grade the technical difficulty of the surface.  Please see the detailed explanation of each system below.

When choosing a tour, be honest when evaluating yourself - and if you are unsure whether you could realistically handle the demands of a particular biking trip on offer, just ask!  Send us a message or give us a call and we will be happy to talk you through it.


FITNESS LEVELS: 1 through 6

Multi-day tours will most often be ranked a level higher than their single-day stats might suggest, since we must not only take into account the average daily distances and elevation, but also the physical ramifications of maintaining a load over several consecutive days, as well as the increased effort necessary to pedal a bicycle loaded with gear for a lengthy tour. 


Scenic Road Bike


Paved Roads

Cycling is done entirely on paved roads and no special or technical bike handling skills are necessary.  If you are comfortable on a bicycle in general, you will be ok on the tour. Road bikes or cross bikes are sufficient.

Bicycling in the Woods


Moderate Dirt Roads,

Trails & Doubletrack

Cycling may include some sections of travel on hard-packed dirt roads or trails and/or mixed surfaces, but technical difficult is still easy to moderate. Rigid bikes with a tire width of 35 to 42mm are typically recommended.

Mountain Biking


Technical Dirt Roads, 

Trails & Singletrack 

Cycling is done largely or entirely on unpaved surfaces and could include extended sections of loose gravel, soft dirt, mud and/or ruts. These trails are of moderate technical difficulty and are best-suited to those with at least some mountain biking experience. Mountain bikes with front suspension are appropriate.

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