So you know you want to mountain bike and you may have already purchased your bike; great! But what about the extras that make mountain biking safer, fun and easy? Let's check out the accessories – many of them essentials that help make your MTB experience an unforgettable one.
Protect your head!
It may seem obvious, but helmets are essential to just about every action sport and mountain biking isn't an exception. If there is one item on your list you should never skimp on its safety equipment. Investing in a quality Australian standards approved helmet will protect your head (in and comfort and style). Besides, who wants to wear a brick that doesn't breathe on their head!
Which helmets are mountain bike helmets?
Generally speaking mountain bike helmets are less concerned with aerodynamics and more focussed on protecting a larger area of the head. Often the helmets feature a visor designed to protect eyes from flying debris and muck and most helmets feature mutliple breathing holes designed to help air circulation under the helmet. The full face bike helmet is designed for free-ride and downhill mountain biking, where serious head protection is essential.
Sunnies aren't just for looks
Riding sunglasses or goggles are a popular choice among mountain bikers, most wear clear or low tinted lenses (the brighter the conditions, thee more tinted the lenses. The main goal here is to protect eyes from debris and dirt as you churn your way through the mud.
Get a grip
Just like a pair of decent tyres determines how well a bike grips to the dirt, a good pair of shoes also determines how well pedalling power is translated to the bike. Mountain biking gets muddy and slippery, so reducing the chance of pedal slip might not only save your shins but help maintain smooth stable pedalling power whilst riding. There are two options; to clip in or to not clip in. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Clip ins provide a perfect connection with the pedals, whilst shoes that don’t clip in enable you to more easily slide your foot off the pedal and plant it on the ground to balance or slide turn. XC, trail and enduro riders often prefer to clip in as speed and balance are preferable whereas free-ride and downhill riders care little for pedalling power and prefer the option to plant the foot where needed or to pull off some ridiculously cool trick.
Take a lead from the camels and stay hydrated!
Hydration is fundamental to any sport as fluids are lost they need to be replaced. The convenient way to re-hydrate is through hydration bags the bag not only allows you to carry around spares but houses the water bladder with a drinking hose mounted to the shoulder strap of the bag. Talk about convenient!
It’s a hot potato issue! What to wear when out riding. At the end fo the day almost anything goes as long as it's comfortable, breathes well and offers some water resistance. This said there are a few options which may be worth investing in depending where and how often you ride.
Mountain bike shorts are always a great option, no chance of anything getting caught anywhere, great air flow and you get to show off your pins! Seriously though look for shorts that are tough, water resistant and have the inner seat cushion.
Again as long as the jersey is water resistant and durable its a good choice. It's your choice if you want baggy or fitted!
Another accessory often overlooked is gloves. They help keep your hands warm, provide better grip and the better models help protect your fingers from bending funny/losing skin if you come off.
Mother Nature can pack a punch and some styles of mountain biking deliver greater chances of ‘run-ins’ with her. If you intend to dirt jump, free-ride or downhill then it's worth kitting up with body armour, in fact even donning a couple of pieces as an XC or enduro rider isn't such a bad idea. Some items to consider are knee and shin guards, elbow guards, kidney & spleen belts, full chest body armour and armoured gloves. There's no such thing as being over protected when it comes to action sports!
Don't forget spares for repairs
A flat tyre here and dropped chain there – they happen to us all. The best way to prepare for such an eventuality is to not leave home without the basics.
- Spare tubes/tyres
- Patch kit
- Tyre lever
- A multi-tool
- Chain tool
- SRAM power link
- Derailleur hanger
- Compact pump
- Duct tape
- First aid kit