7 Essential Pieces of Mountain Biking Gear

Mountain Biking Essential Gear
Mountain Biking Essential Gear. bike/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Walking into a bike store to buy your first mountain bike and all of the accessories that go along with it is overwhelming for just about everyone. 

There is no shortage of mountain biking products for sale--and some bike shops will try and sell you anything they can. But the real question for bikers on a budget is not what mountain bike accessories are cool, but what is needed to make your rides safe and enjoyable?

That's where we come in. 

Start with these accessories and you won’t come up short on the trail.

1. The Bike Helmet 

This is a shameless plea, but please wear a bike helmet. Nobody should be on a bike without a helmet. There have been too many people with serious head injuries that could have been prevented if they were wearing a helmet. Modern mountain bike helmets are both comfortable and stylish and everyone on the trail needs to wear one.

2. Mountain Biking Gloves 

When you ride, your hands can take a beating. Everyone crashes at some point and your hands are one of the first things to hit the ground when that happens. Mountain biking gloves are a great accessory because they take the beating for you. Available in a full-fingered version or cutoff finger variety. Don’t get caught red handed!

3. Mountain Bike Shorts 

The first few mountain bike rides you take can be a bit uncomfortable on the rear end.

Your body does adjust to this after a few rides, but padded bike shorts are a great accessory that can help keep it to a minimum. Available in a tight-fitting Lycra and a casual, baggy variety.  

4. Mountain Bike Shoes 

You need to pick the type of shoes you wear depending on the type of pedals you have and the type of riding you want to do.

If you have clipless pedals, you will need to get mountain bike-specific shoes to accept the special cleat for your pedals. A good mountain biking shoe will be durable, comfortable and should have a stiff sole for better pedaling efficiency. You should also consider the terrain you will be riding when choosing your shoe. 

5. Eye Protection 

Something in your eye can run you right off the trail and into trouble. Eye protection, such as sunglasses or clear-lensed glasses, help keep your eyes free from debris as well as protect them from the wind that can cause your eyes to tear and blur your vision. Make sure you use non-breakable lenses for safety.

6. Hydration System 

Bring either a water bottle with you or a hydration backpack - your preference. It is easy to let yourself get dehydrated so bring water with you and drink it on the trail to keep your body running properly as you ride.

7. Trail Repair Kit 

It's not too hard to get stuck in the woods if you don’t bring the most basic mountain biking accessories for the most common repairs on the trail. Always be prepared by bringing a multi-tool designed to repair bikes, tire levers and a patch kit for fixing flats, an extra tube in case your tube is not repairable, and a mini-pump.