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What does MTB actually mean?

steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,138
edited March 2019 in MTB general
My wife asked me a question this morning: "why does MTB stand for Mountain Bike, what does the "T" stand for?" Oh she got me there! I doubt it stands for the "tain" in mountain! :oops:

I've been riding an MTB for over ten years and have read loads of different mtb mags and been on several forums, but this has never come up, or I just never noticed if it did. I guess everyone either just knows or assumes that everyone else knows and don't like to ask. Or in my case, just accepted that MTB stood for mountain bike and never questioned why!

I know the French acronymn for MTB is ATV, which when I was in France I was told by a Brit stood for All Terraine Velocette. Sort of makes sense until you realise that "All" is not the French word for all! It really ought to be TTV!

But it got me thinking; what could MTB stand for? My best guess is Multi Terrain Bike.

Any other offers? Anyone else owning up to not having a clue? :oops:

Posts

  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Not a clue. Maybe it just sounds better than MB?
    I don't do smileys.

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  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    Mountain Terrain Bike
  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    ...and motor torpedo boat
  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    ...although I doubt if torpedos were unpowered or that they were launched from rowing boats.
  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    ..possibly Made in Taiwan Bikes
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,138
    Keep em coming!

    All great ideas, but does anyone actually know?
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    The French for MTB is VTT, Vélo Tout Terrain.

    MTB is MT= mountain, B= bike.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,718
    When I started mountain biking back in the mid-80's the bikes were known as ATB's - All Terrain Bikes.
    Before long that changed to MTB which I have always understood just meant MounTain Bike. Maybe the abbreviation should be MtB?
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  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    JBA wrote:
    When I started mountain biking back in the mid-80's the bikes were known as ATB's - All Terrain Bikes.
    Before long that changed to MTB which I have always understood just meant MounTain Bike. Maybe the abbreviation should be MtB?

    Same here mid 80's ATB rider. ATB sales is the company that owns Whyte Bikes going back to 87.

    We in the UK called them ATB's over the pond MTB's
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,138
    JBA wrote:
    When I started mountain biking back in the mid-80's the bikes were known as ATB's - All Terrain Bikes.
    Before long that changed to MTB which I have always understood just meant MounTain Bike. Maybe the abbreviation should be MtB?

    That feels right, as it would account for why I always thought the T was for tain.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,138
    robertpb wrote:
    The French for MTB is VTT, Vélo Tout Terrain.

    MTB is MT= mountain, B= bike.

    That all sounds good to me.

    Supported by JBA too.
  • slc123slc123 Posts: 407
    MT is a known abbreviation for mountain anyway, So I would agree with it being Mountain Bike
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  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,899
    slc123 wrote:
    MT is a known abbreviation for mountain anyway, So I would agree with it being Mountain Bike
    That's always been my understanding.Although as many riders don't actually ride on any Mountains maybe it should be Multi Terrain Bike?
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    sniper68 wrote:
    slc123 wrote:
    MT is a known abbreviation for mountain anyway, So I would agree with it being Mountain Bike
    That's always been my understanding.Although as many riders don't actually ride on any Mountains maybe it should be Multi Terrain Bike?

    That's the same as the original UK 'All Terrain Bike' which I think was more fit for perpose.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • yonnyyonny Posts: 36
    My understanding is that MTB is an abbreviation, not an acronym.
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    yonny wrote:
    My understanding is that MTB is an abbreviation, not an acronym.
    You are technically correct - the best kind of correct [Futurama series 2 episode 11].

    An acronym is an abbreviation that forms a speakable word - eg NATO, NASA. Some go on to become fully-fledged words in their own right - laser, radar.

    I'm not sure how this advances the conversation though. I suspect that MTB will be one of those abbreviations that people post-rationalise to whatever they believed it meant, rather than having any formally defined genesis. In context it really doesn't have to stand for anything other than being a quick way to convey the concept of a bicycle capable of dealing with rough terrain.
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