When you first start out with mountain biking, it can be a bit overwhelming. Indeed, walking into a bike store to buy your first mountain bike can be complex. Figuring out what you really need is not easy. And when you see all the available mountain biking accessories, it can fast become a humongous task. But no worries, I’m here to help!
There are several mountain biking accessories that you can purchase. There are also a lot of related products that you can buy. The sales staff will try, of course, to sell you anything they can. However, the real question isn’t what’s cool, but what accessories you need to make your rides safer and more enjoyable. And this is even more true for those on a budget. Below is a list of the most essential mountain biking accessories. And by starting with these accessories, you’ll be quite fine when you hit the trails.
Mountain Biking Helmet
First thing first. Having a bike helmet is THE MOST ESSENTIAL, and important, mountain biking accessories you can buy. Indeed, no one should ever be on a bike without a helmet. And this regardless of the type of biking you’re doing. There have been too many people who have experienced serious head injury. And in a lot of cases, they could have been prevented by simply wearing a helmet.
Contrary to the popular belief, mountain bike helmets are comfortable and can even be stylish. Anyhow, everyone who rides on the trails wears one. There are different types of mountain bike helmets, so make sure you are buying one for your style of riding. And most importantly, that is the right size and fit for you. This is one item you will want to buy brand new.
When starting with mountain biking, this is something often overlooked. Although it is one of the essential mountain biking accessories. When riding on a dirt trail or in the mud or the rocks, it’s easy to get something in your eye. And when you do, you can run off the trail in a matter of seconds. A clear vision is essential. Being able to keep your eyes open, despite the wind, the rain or anything else, is also essential.
Sunglasses or clear-lensed glasses can help keep your eyes safe from debris, as well as protect them from the elements. Also, when buying glasses, make sure they are non-breakable. Nevertheless, if you’re doing a lot of mountain biking in harsh conditions or mostly ride downhill, you should think about getting goggles. Indeed, biking goggles are more protective and wrap around your helmet. Therefore, more secure.
Mountain Biking Gloves
No matter the season. No matter your riding style. And no matter if you’re a beginner or an expert. Your hands are at the forefront and they can, and will, take a beating. Beginners normally keep a death grip on their handlebars, which can be very brutal for their hands. If you’re a beginner, you should also check out my article about basic mountain riding tips. Also, when you crash, your hands will be the first thing to hit the ground. And want it or not, everyone crashes at some point.
Bike gloves are another mountain biking accessories worth having. Yes, they will take the beating for you, or at least part of it. However, this is not an absolute must. Indeed, some riders prefer to ride bare hands to have a better feel of their grip and brakes. But, if you do so, be prepared for hurt, scratches and blood.
Once again, this is not an absolute must, but a recommendation. After your first few mountain bike rides, you’ll notice that your rear end will be quite uncomfortable. Like with road biking, if you’re in the saddle for a long period, mostly climbing, padded bike shorts are a necessity. Even though your body will adjust, bike shorts are great to have as they will help keep the discomfort at a minimum. You can get shorts that are very comfortable, making them a great addition to your mountain bike ride.
Likewise, if you’re a downhiller, mountain bike shorts are a great addition to your accessories. Specific mountain bike shorts are comfortable, breathable, and often padded to absorb shock when falling. When riding in the summer heat, they are also much more comfortable than pants. You can also wear specific crash pads mountain bike shorts under any shorts or pants.
Mountain Biking Shoes
Depending on the type of pedals you have and the type of riding you do, you’ll want to pick your mountain bike shoes accordingly. Of course, if your bike has clipless pedals, you’ll need mountain bike shoes. Obviously, you’ll want to get shoes to accept the special cleat for your pedals as there are different types of clipless pedals. However, good mountain bike shoes are durable, comfortable, and also have a stiff sole for better efficiency when pedaling. Also, you should make sure to get the right shoe for the terrain you’ll be riding in as well.
Likewise, you can get specific mountain bike shoes for riding flat pedals. They might not be part of the essential mountain biking accessories, but they are a very nice to have. Mountain bike shoes have a hard-sticky rubber outsole that keeps your feet firmly planted on your pedals. Thus, for beginners, and all, they can make a difference in your riding and confidence.
Regardless of the type of riding you do, it’s very easy to get dehydrated on the trails. Bringing a water bottle or hydration backpack with you is always a great idea. Indeed, you should always bring water and drink it on the trail to ensure your body always stays properly hydrated. And if you don’t, or can’t, bring water with you, at least be sure to have access to some.
During summer, I like to have a hydration backpack, so I can ride for a long period. By doing so, I have access to water at any time. I also can bring snacks, tools, and any other item I might need during my day. Furthermore, the backpack can act as protection if I fall.
Trail Repair Kit
On the list of essential mountain bike accessories don’t forget a trail repair kit. This is an item you wish to never have to use, but so useful when you do. When leaving for a mountain bike ride, you should always bring some basic tools for your bike. Indeed, it’s easy to get stuck in the woods or on the trail if you don’t bring the proper repair kit for your bike.
Be on the safe side, bring at least a multi-tool designed for bikes, tire levers, and a patch kit. Indeed, flat tires are the most common bike repair, so make sure you know how to fix a flat tire on the trail. A bike pump would also be a good item to carry.
First Aid Kit
Just as for the trail repair kit, you wish to never have to use your first aid kit. Nevertheless, you’ll be so happy to have it when you’ll need it. We never wish to fall, but it’s inevitable, it will happen. Hopefully, it will be a minor one with no real consequences. However, sometimes accidents happen. And when they do, you want to be prepared.
When on the trail, you can be isolated, and might have to wait a while before getting help. So, having a bike first aid kit is essential. At least, make sure to have a basic one, and have an emergency thermal blanket and a whistle. Furthermore, don’t leave without a fully charged cellphone with GPS.
There are a lot more mountain biking accessories you could have. However, those are the essential one.
Did I miss something? Let me know what you would add to this list of essential mountain biking accessories.
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