BikePark Wales

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Overall rating 
 
4.8
Grin Factor 
 
4.9  (123)
Trail Variety 
 
4.9  (123)
Skills Development 
 
4.7  (123)
Trail Quality  
 
4.9  (123)
Facilities 
 
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Ratings
Grin Factor
Level of fun had, or to be had
Trail Variety
Variety of specific trail or overall trail centre. Mix of obstacles, berms, jumps, drops, shore etc.
Skills Development
Did it develop or push your skills and leave you with more to come back and learn
Trail Quality
Are the trails well built /maintained using sustainable techniques?
Facilities
From cafe post ride grub to bike wash. Did it meet your expectations?
User Review
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123 results - showing 1 - 10
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Ordering
Generally great. But a few bad points!
(Updated: October 04, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
4.1
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
4.0
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
3.5
Facilities 
 
4.0
Had a great day. Brilliant value for £5...
Just a few bad points that will make this place amazing if fixed.

User Review

Good Points
Good access off A470
Picturesque reception area
Plenty of trail options
No overgrowth on trails
Bad Points
One car at a time on paying the entry fee was real bad. Had to que for 15mins!

Car parking was terrible. People taking up far too much room, and the car park is far to small for the number of visitors in busy days.

The overflow carpark some 2miles away was unacceptable and a joke.

Poor marking of uphill section for first timers. Maybe marker gates would be a better guide with a green board with info of distance left to summit.

Again the tracks should be more colour coded on downhill. Maybe blue red and black signs for the track names. Found alot of first timers asking questions about which track is blue red etc...

One last thing. The area at the top where the downhill starts.
2 wheelbarrows with bog roll is not ideal for a lady busting for a wee.
The area which has been logged should be replanted ASAP to provide much needed shelter. The start gathering point will be very exposed to wind and rain in the winter months.
Would you recommend?
Yes
S
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BikePark Wales - Respect!
(Updated: December 30, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0
BikePark Wales is truly an amazing centre. I started on the Blues and they are fast, flowing, confidence building and it's hard not to take air. There is a definite Rowan Sorrell site and some of it is reminiscent of the Verderers in the Forest of Dean (in a good way mind) although don't confuse a Blue downhill with a Blue XC trail as it's a step up on a Downhill.

The reds which are rockier, steepier, with drops and generally more technical and gnarlier. All still absolutely fine on an All Mountain bike. The black is more extreme and really rocky but tons of fun.

The neat thing is you can mix and match. So start on a blue and add a red section option on the way down or do a whole red run end to end.

The best bit is the runs are a mile plus so they feel long and great value and that means maximum fun. I did get quite a bit of arm pump but you get a lot of DH riding in for each uplift.

Be nice though if the uplift ran a bit faster but all in all the facilities are really good and the staff really friendly. The cafe is top notch biker grub and the bike shop well stocked. Bike Wash does what it says on the tin and the trails rock.

I've also on one occasion done the ride uphill and the XC trail up is a lovely trail and well worth doing. It ends at the top with the DH runs so you can choose whatever is your fancy to descend.

It's also not that far from the Black Mountain Cycle Centre which have combined in the same weekend.

I'm hooked and on my 4th trip already.

User Review

Good Points
-Flowing and progressive
-Lots of choice and long runs
-Great facilities and vibe
Bad Points
- Uplift can be quite a wait at times.
- Car park can be a bit full if you get there late morning
Would you recommend?
Yes
S
#1 Reviewer 89 reviews
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Expected better organisation.
Overall rating 
 
3.1
Grin Factor 
 
2.5
Trail Variety 
 
4.5
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
2.5
Facilities 
 
1.0
I'm a newbie to the trail centre experience, preferring to ride the mountains and trails in my locality, but several friends of mine rave about BPW, as does a lot of print and online media (who may be somewhat reserved in their critiques), therefore with a newly acquired bike, it was a must-do thing to ride BPW. My review is going to be a surprise for some readers, who may take certain things for granted, but be advised that my comments are purely my experience and how I saw things. You can read about the nature and diversity of the trails themselves elsewhere, my comments are more focussed on the non-riding experience.

BPW took the title of number one UK Trail and Bike Park of the Year in 2015 (it was at number two in 2014 [source: iBikeRide] and despite a resounding success in the three-and-a-half years since opening in bringing visitors and investment to the local economy, my two recent (maiden) visits in the last two weeks lead me to believe that it needs to up its game if it wants to retain that spot. It can't just be about building new trails and jumps, or laying claim to being a potential MTB World Cup venue, which is all very well and good, no doubt about the efforts spent there, but I wasn't impressed with several aspects of the operations or facilities at BPW.

The very slow moving uplift queue has to be the biggest bugbear (my visit was Christmas week - holidays for some, sure, but this is a tourist business - they should've not only had the services in place but a contingency to maintain or expand the service due to popular demand, too). I only bought a single uplift pass for the after-lunch trip back to the top, so this meant being in the 'non-priority' queue, which involved needing to wait over thirty-five minutes and for the fifth bus since joining the queue to arrive before getting on board. If you're in the pre-booked priority queue, you must surely feel sorry for all those in the other line as you get to hop on the bus, fuss-free. However, several of the people in both queues I spoke to mentioned how on their recent visits, even with a BPW pre-booked 'priority pass' (at a cost of £32 weekdays, £36 weekends - it's increasing by £1 for 2017, which includes the £7 day riding pass) meant they struggled to get their money's worth in due to a lack of buses and/or drivers. Given that it can be necessary to book several weeks even over a month in advance for a full-day priority uplift pass, it was surprising to me just how slow things are to get moving. I feel that a 16-seater minibus with a hook and dual strap trailer is perhaps not the quickest way to load bikes and bodies into a vehicle. (when I first heard of the concept of an uplift vehicle many moons ago, I envisaged a tractor and a flat-bed truck/trailer full of people and bikes, but I guess the safety police wouldn't like that) but if that's what BPW are running, then at least get a bus on a sub-ten minute window of operation. Having pre-booked £25/£29-worth of uplifts may compel many people to ride right to the bottom to get back on that queue as quickly as they can to get at least seven runs in for the day, which equates to the cost of seven 'on-the-day' uplift passes (eight on a weekend pass!). You might just do it if you time things right (or get lucky) but if you're buying single passes at £4 per uplift (or paying the driver at a fiver a pop - a quid more, sans-pass) you're never going to get seven uplifts in one day, I don't care if you're downhill world champ Danny Hart and can break all records coming back down the hill whichever of the plethora of graded routes you choose, the non-priority queue will never move quickly enough to get that many uplifts in a single day. So, bear in mind that comparing the cost of a single £4/£5 uplift to the pre-booked £25 (plus the £7 riding fee) has to take into account the speed at which you'll get on that bus - if at all. You're paying a premium to be in the priority queue, not necessarily paying to guarantee a cost-equivalent number of uplifts that you can get on the day. (A one-way operation for the buses would be ideal, or a two-lane road to expedite the journeys. Chairlifts, ski-resort style is obviously the ultimate solution with undoubtedly shortest possible queues involved, and I don't see why laying off half a dozen minibuses (or is it a total of ten that BPW have on rotation, plus drivers?) and their inherent annual cost couldn't make that financially viable, and keeping the existing cost for the riders.)

On the subject of queues, arriving at the centre at peak time (by consensus of those I spoke to and the number of vehicles in the overflowing car-park when I arrived at 10:00 a.m. this would appear to be approximately 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. with feet through the door) then prepare to wait well over ten minutes to buy your day riding pass, adding to the painfully slow experience of getting out on those trails. It's here that a lack of foresight in the planning of the park and centre to cater for the kinds of visitor numbers it now receives is very evident (maybe even a sense of a lack of any planning at all): you have one set of double doors to enter the rectangular floorplan building just off-centre, where you're gonna need to hustle your way past a queue of bodies (shuffling their feet and twitching with eagerness to get that coloured strip of plastic which you stick to your handlebars to show observers you're a legit paying customer for that day when out on the trails) if you want to turn right into the bike shop to buy any last minute essentials such as energy gels or hydration sachets - or maybe you've even arrived at BPW with just your bike and naff-all else, here you'll find everything you need to kit up for the day from the aforementioned body fuels to full dress from head-to-toe, even a GoPro if you're keen on impressing your mates when you get home; heck, you can even rent a bike for the day if you even forgot that, although that's something you'll probably want to book in advance) or to turn left to get to the Woodland Café bar and seating area for a pre-ride coffee and a chat with your mates.
However, if you're lucky as I was, one of the more conscientious staff members may make an appearance from the office beside the ticket kiosk (and betwixt that and the bike shop) to announce atop their voice that "pre-bookings are here please" where you can exit the queue sideways and form another queue to give aforementioned staff person your pre-booked confirmation or a copy of your email on your smartphone (I always opt for the latter, who in the hell wants to print off a confirmation at home, and then worry about remembering to take that with you or even remembering to grab input from the car with all your epithet kit just to get that coloured ridge lass?). BPW really needs to invest in e-passes that can be saved to a smartphone e-wallet, scanned into a reader device to print off the ride pass upon arrival. (Hopefully on a portal that involves a much speedier queue, like a theme park system - have distinct and separate queues!) Oh, and by the way, if you're going to pre-book online, and if this is your first visit, make sure you do the obligatory H&S waiver thingy before you arrive, otherwise you'll have to join yet another queue to read and e-sign on one of three terminals beside the kiosk. They look like iPads, so BLW clearly have some technology, even if they're not using the best technology. Ah, the joys of public liability insurance - who knew that riding your bike would involve such in onerous and even tedious set of requirements in this day and age?)

So, once you're booked in, strap that coloured band to the bars, rode off onto the XC "Beast of Burden" blue-graded uphill trail to the centre's right or shoot off left to the uplift queue, where you'll get a sense of some of the 'flowy' trails to come as this is a downwards gradient towards to uplift point to get you into that groove immediately. Alternatively before riding either of these trails, you can make use of the small pump track situated immediately in front of the centre if you want to fine-tune the bike setup or just have a bit of fun. (Incidentally there were no queues for the pump track!)
You'll be given a printed map of the trails which is very informative, but it's here that this reviewer would prefer a electronic route map. I hope that I'm not the first to consider this and some of the more techie-minded visitors or even BPW staff have begun to write and generate a set of Google Maps/Garmin type route-maps or waypoints. In the future, maybe. Just don't try following the printed map too frequently in the rain, it'll fall apart unless you have a hiker's map wallet to store it in.
Post ride, a coin operated £1-a-go hose-wash in a trio of Muc-Off branded wash bays situated immediately behind the centre help you return some of that Welsh mud to the mountain instead of transporting it home (but how long each go is seems a mystery a there are no signs telling you how many minutes you get or a timer or audible warning that the hose is about to cut out). I saw some bottles of that lovely pink Muc-Off spray I have at home laying about, but there's nothing to suggest you can use this gratis or even for an additional fee (some ownership and supervision of the cleaning operation by staff is much needed here), and by this point I was too knackered to bother asking anyone - I just wanted to get that bike cleaned, get myself changed and into the car. Some degreaser or special cleaners would certainly have helped and been welcomed here, especially that I had to pay for the water. (Sure, nothing's 'free' but honestly I'd have expected wash bays and the use thereof to be part of the premium of the day pass - after all, it's just a few gallons of water and a hosepipe, right?)

Lastly, upon exiting the car park - oh, and hopefully you're a responsible and caring human being that takes their littler home, because I didn't spot a single wastebin in the car park, although some less responsible visitors (read as 'scruffy scumbags') clearly think that the Welsh hillside would look prettier by discarding their rubbish onto the ground - I momentarily took my eye off the road trundling down towards the main exit and hit a fairly big dinosaur-footprint-sized pothole. BOW seem proficient at grading and surfacing the trails on the mountain, which are well signposted (even if named with ridiculous sounding names - I'm all for creativity and making uniquely named trails to give the place it's own identity, but some of those trails' names are just plain stupid, sorry), but not so good or bothered about fixing the bloody holes in the road to get in and out. And do NOT attempt to turn right when coming out of the car park loop if you're thinking of going back up to the shop or café - I did because I'd seen a cap I wanted to buy before heading to the bike wash and then back to the car, but my wallet and plastic were in the car (I'd spent the £20 note I took on my person already) - I ground the car on pot it's still be attempting the acute right hander instead of simply riding or walking back up to the shop - doh!

Overall I was probably - no, definitely - disappointed with the basics here. That did put a slight dampener on my visit, because I couldn't help but get all in a tizzy about some fundamental operational opportunities to improve the experience that the BPW management won't see themselves unless they step into a customer's shoes, or read this review and take some of it on board and action the appropriate improvements.

Will I come again? Sure, but don't count me as a regular, it's just too expensive for me to justify for a weekly visit, but once a month, maybe. Couple times a year, definitely, I need to ride these trails in the dry and to see if things have improved!

Value for money: 5/10

User Review

Good Points
Wide variety of trails, something to suit everyone. Good quality trails.
Well stocked shop, everything you could need in an emergency.
Bad Points
Very slow uplift, huge queues. If you buy a 'non-priority' pass on the day, you might wait an hour for an uplift. That's shocking.
Slow to get the tickets, the booth is in the wrong place, no speed queue for pre-bookings.
Very, very expensive.
Would you recommend?
No
RE
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Ok i suppose
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Grin Factor 
 
2.5
Trail Variety 
 
3.5
Skills Development 
 
0.5
Trail Quality  
 
2.5
Facilities 
 
0.5
Been to BPW a few times now,but not in a hurry to go back.
Changing facilities are non existent,one toilet for everyone.
Uplift is very pedesrian,friendly drivers though.

User Review

Bad Points
Very poor facilities for changing,uplift is mediocre also
B
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Amazing
(Updated: August 24, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0
Just to add my praise to everyone else's....Bike Park Wales is fantastic and I would encourage any rider rider in the UK, of almost any ability, to come here for a day of uplift. We've been 6 times since it opened and bar a slight false start (climbing beast of burden with a banging hangover is not a good idea) we've loved every trip! Our skills have come on more in one day of uplift here then anywhere else, and the variety of trails is excellent, one trip we went with a friend who's a DH'er, we spend our day on our hard tails on the blues, he spend them on his DH bike on the blacks, we'd meet after every run at the uplift and swap stories on the way back up (his were more impressive). To top it off they keep adding new trails, 50 Shades of Black is a million miles away from our skill level, but Terry's Belly is amazing and one of my new favorite trails anywhere.The coaching is really good too. Can't recommend enough.

User Review

Good Points
Great trails
Great facilities
Uplift service
Bad Points
It's a very long drive from where I liveUplift gets booked up quicklyYou'll be shattered after a full day's riding here
Would you recommend?
Yes
T
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BPW Makes you Smile!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0
A great playground for any age and all the family! My 5 and 7 year olds love the place!

User Review

Good Points
Where do we start!
Friendly staff, Awesome Trails, Superb Facilities, Lovely Food, Tidy Shop, Beautiful!
Bad Points
Needs a chairlift :)!
Would you recommend?
Yes
HC
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Widest Offering of Trails
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0
Definitely the best offering of trails in one place. Always kept to a great standard

User Review

Would you recommend?
Yes
JD
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Our home Bike Park
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0

User Review

Good Points
BikePark Wales is a jewel in the Valleys, we helped construst many of the trails so maybe a bit biased bit there is a lot of variety here, I you are a beginner or hard core rider there is plenty to keep you entertained.

The Trail centre is superb, great shop and cafe lots of choice and the staff are very friendly and helpful when required.

More trails are planned which we will assist in contructing in due course.

Yes BDC is being held here next year which is fantatic news

This BikePark is going to get better and better so keep and eye on it.

Follow us on Twitter @AberdareMTBclub


Bad Points
Limited toilet facilities, only one dump house which can be problematic at bust times for lads.

No wifi to upload vids/pics to social mediabut this is due to the centre not having broadband and reliant on 3G.

Would you recommend?
Yes
A
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(Updated: August 24, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
4.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
4.5
It's hard to find fault with Bikepark Wales, in my humble opinion! I've spent so many Saturdays there this year I've lost count!! Trails are so varied and well thought out, and seemingly constantly being added to. Facilities are excellent, Cafe very cosy and tasty grub! The staff that I have encountered (Cafe, Desk, Bike shop, Drivers, coaches...even the directors!! :) ) are all so very friendly, which I think matters a hell of a lot!! Uplift is great, even on the non priority queue, it didn't seem to take too long to get on. Views are amazing! Photos taken by Airshotz are great quality and really well priced! Etc etc. One perfect indicator of the appeal of BPW is to sit on the uplift bus and listen to the various accents from all over the UK, and beyond!! All in all, the best place to ride in South, or probably any other part, of Wales

User Review

Good Points
Trail variety, all weather use, lovely people!
Bad Points
Not a lot!
Would you recommend?
Yes
ME
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bike park wales love affair
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Grin Factor 
 
5.0
Trail Variety 
 
5.0
Skills Development 
 
5.0
Trail Quality  
 
5.0
Facilities 
 
5.0

User Review

Good Points
Amazing trails will keep you grinning like a fool and screaming like a girl all day. Staff are amazingly friendly in the cafe and the bike shop as well as at reception. The food in the cafe is immense and you can sit and eat it in front of the roaring log fire. The bike shop are always eager to help and can sort any problems you have as soon as you have them with every spare you will ever need. And well what can I say about the trails they are awesome trails with everything from family and pump tracks up to extreme pro lines so whether your after a little stroll through woodlands or practicing your pump or the other extreme you want to throw yourself down mountain at break neck speeds everything you ever need is up there. The bonus about this place is that it's easily accessible and also even after going a few times I challenge anyone to ever get bored as its being extended improved and new lines added all the time. BIG UP BIKEPARK WALES
Bad Points
There are none go and see for yourself
Would you recommend?
Yes
KL
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