So have you just started mountain biking? Or are you about to buy your first bike and not too sure what gear you will need to go along with it? Here we give you some great tips on what to wear and how to dress when you hit the trails.
Mountain bike helmet
Is a must for any ride you take on your mountain bike. There are three key types of helmets that are available to wear. You have your normal commuter helmets that offer protection while on roads paths, but I would not take them onto any rougher terrain.
If you do venture onto trails that are a little bit more challenging then you will want a proper mountain bike helmet that offers more protection. They are designed to cover more of the back of your head and have MIPS technology, most have good air ventilation and a visor too.
If you are progressing onto more serious downhill trails and taking jumps, then a full face helmet is what you will need now.they offer protection for your whole head/ face and a lot of bike parks are making it mandatory to wear one.
Biking jersey and shorts
So when it comes to clothing it is all about adding a bit of personality to your look. I would break up your clothing into two categories, warmer weather and cooler weather, and for them mixed months you can mix and match your look.
For a warm weather ride, I would recommend a breathable, moisture absorbing short sleeved t-shirt or a mountain bike jersey. A good material for this is polyester, that keeps you cool in warm weather. As for on the bottom a good pair of mountain bike shorts that are durable and looser fitting, with padded liner shorts. Me personally I prefer un padded shorts over a pair of padded liner shorts, but everything is personal taste. Also to carry a light weight packable jacket in your backpack will also be advisable, with how the weather can change.
And a cooler weather ride, well you will be wearing more layers, than a warm ride. I would still advise a breathable, moisture absorbing material as you will still get hot while you are riding, but I would recommend a long sleeve t-shirt or mountain bike jersey, with a base layer to keep you warm. Long trousers are a must, to protect you from the wind and rain. You can opt for custom mountain bike trousers, or a good pair of hiking trousers are also a good alternative and can also help your wallet in this situation. A waterproof, breathable jacket or windbreaker is also a good choice, but make sure it is strong enough to handle mud and branches.
Mountain biking gloves
So not many people feel that mountain bike gloves are that key to having a good ride, but for me they are a daily essential for any ride. Mountain bike gloves and more durable and have full finger coverage compared to cycling gloves. They are there to protect your hands from bailing and crashes, but also from whipping past branches. The main reason for gloves is the extra grip they give you holding onto the handlebars.
If your just starting out, you probably have flat pedals, and if they have little spikes on them, then a trainer with a grippy soft sole will be more than adequate, very similar to skateboarding shoes. If they are waterproof, then they will be a benefit when you hit them trails on a wet day.
A lot of experienced mountain bikers are big fans of riding mountain bike shoes that are clip-less. They come with a stiffer sole, that helps get more energy from pedalling. If your new to clip-less, I would recommend practising on a grassy area, before hitting a trail, to practice clipping in and unclipping.
Pads and armour
So a good rule of thumb is, you only need to wear protective gear while you are going down a hill, if you are climbing to the top, you tend to be riding on a track, so put the gear in your backpack, and try sweat a little bit less.
Main gear to wear is knee pads, shin pads and elbow pads and if your hitting a big downhill trail I would recommend you wear back and chest protection too.
If you can invest in a hydration pack, that has your water in it, and saves you from having a bottle on your mountain bike. But if your like me and like a water bottle, then work out how long you will be out riding for, and if water will be available where you are going, as you might have to take extra water bottles.
Another good tip is to have snacks, energy bars or even gels, that are full of energy, to keep you going during your ride.
If on a short ride, you can go minimalist, strap essential tools to your frame, have your water in a bottle and in a bottle cage, and carry an energy bar and your keys in your pockets.