When it comes to mountain biking, you have to be prepared for everything. Experienced mountain bike riders know everything to expect from the trails they ride, and they know the equipment they will need to handle even the most difficult situations..
However, as a novice mountain bike rider, you may not know exactly what you are going to need. Not only do you need a top-quality mountain bike and water to keep you hydrated, but there is a lot of other essential equipment as well.
The Most Important Mountain Biking Equipment for Beginners
Before setting out on any kind of mountain bike adventure, it is mandatory to double-check everything. If you are a beginner mountain biker, here is a list of essential gear which will keep you safe:
The Right Mountain Bike
Let’s start from the very beginning: the most essential piece of mountain biking equipment for beginners is a proper mountain bike.
Use a good bike all the time.
There are many types of mountain bikes on the market, and it can be difficult to choose which one is best for you and your skills. You may also consider how much is worth investing depending on how often you will go mountain biking.
Mountain bike prices can get pretty high, very quickly, especially if you want custom or special features. You can always look up discount bikes online to find great bikes at a better value. However, you never want to sacrifice quality for price.
Dave’s Cheap Bikes has a pretty robust list you can check out as well, and he seems to update it every couple of months or so. Plus, your local bike shop should have some options.
However, you can usually get better deals online. A good idea is to consult with experienced mountain bikers to get some ideas about what is the best option for you.
Once you understand what mountain bike fits your experience level, price range, and safety needs, websites such as Dave’s Cheap Bikes or Bicycles Online. Shop will be able to get you the bike you need at an affordable price.
Proper Mountain Bike Pedals
Newbie mountain bike riders often do not know that there are pedal options for different kind of riding circumstances. Improper mountain bike pedals can affect your safety as well as performance.
That is why it is important that you choose the right mountain bike pedals depending on your riding condition and needs. For instance, you can use clip-less or non-slip bike pedals if it is wet or raining.
Do your research depending on your needs and riding conditions, and make the right choice.
A Quality Helmet
It might seem obvious, but wearing a helmet is one of the most essential pieces of mountain biking equipment, as it is designed to protect your noggin as you blaze through the trails.
A quality mountain biking helmet is comprised of a tough outer shell and soft inner padding for comfort. The padding that rests against the head keeps it cushioned and creates a barrier in case debris lands on its exterior part.
Therefore, do not shy away from investing in a quality snug fitting helmet. You can find it in different shapes and sizes, and some with additional features like reflectors and ventilation holes.
Staying hydrated is important, not only during mountain biking. Therefore, go for the hydration packs as they keep more water than standard water bottles.
Hydration packs usually look like regular standard backpacks but have a large water bladder inside. It also has a small hose for drinking water easily, while on the bike.
Moreover, you can find some of these hydration packs with some extra storage pockets as well as ventilation and padding features to keep you comfortable as you ride.
You should always wear your riding gloves but the quality ones with thick paddings on the fingers, palms, and wrist. Wearing proper riding gloves is important because mountain bike accidents are often dangerous, especially at high speed.
Therefore, you need to protect almost every part of your body.
Besides, top-quality riding gloves are bound to protect your hands during a wipe-out while improving your grip on the handlebars.
Protective glasses can help you avoid any blinding mountain bike accidents, or stray tree branches and flying debris. You can wear them like any other type of glasses, without feeling any discomfort.
However, most usually cover your entire eye for overall eyesight protection. You can choose from tinted to a colored one for better vision, depending on where you will be biking.
Although it might seem obvious, not many newbie mountain bike riders tend to take the use of a fix kit seriously. A fixing kit should not just be a random assortment of tools, but the right kind of fix kit with the right kind of accessories and tools to help you in case you get into an accident in the mountains or your mountain bike is damaged.
You can ensure it has spare tubes, fixing tools like tire levers and multi-tool with chain breaker among other fixing tools and even a first aid kit.
Mountain Bike Shoes
When it comes to mountain bike riding, you cannot just use your regular sports shoes and expect to get a better experience. You need the right kind of mountain bike shoes, ones that match with your bike pedal.
Choosing the best shoes to wear when cycling is just as important as it is for any other sport.
Although it may seem different since you aren’t making constant contact with the ground such as if you were running playing basketball, football or other sports like this, choosing the correct footwear is just as important for cycling if you are planning to do a lot of biking.
Your cycling shoes should match with your bike pedals, this way you get the right amount of grip on the bike pedals and protect yourself from different kinds of debris. It is true that you can bike in just about any shoes at all, but if you are serious about cycling or using a bicycle to maintain your physical condition, it is a necessity that you choose the correct footwear!
Moreover, proper mountain bike shoes that match with your bike pedals are likely to ease your flexibility when it comes to achieving full foot motion.
Nonetheless, if you have platform pedals, you can use different types of shoes from athletic footwear to thick boots. However, clip-less pedals tend to work with unique types of shoes with installed cleats.
You can check Thrill Appeal for more information on the best type of mountain biking shoes for your mountain bike ride.
One of the biggest differences in cycling shoes and running shoes is that cycling shoes are generally designed with a much stiffer “sole” of the shoe. By having a stiffer sole on the shoe, you will be able to much more easily transfer power from your legs, to the bike.
Similar to a weight lifter who does his squatting and deadlifting in Chuck Taylor’s or lifting shoes, the goal is to allow yourself to transfer power and strength as easily as possible.
To go further in to the differences of cycling shoes; shoes for road biking and shoes for mountain biking also have their own distinct differences.
Shoes for road cycling are generally much sleeker, and can be even more stiff overall. Road cyclists do not usually need to worry about bumps and maneuvering on the terrain as much as those who do more mountain biking, and their shoes fit this need.
The shoes for road cycling are generally sleek and stiff, with the ability to power down the road as easily as possible.
Northwave cycling shoes are a great example of a type road biking shoe that can make a huge different in the effectiveness of your rides!
Contrarily, mountain biking shoes are normally more flexible, although still with a stiffer sole than a running shoe. Mountain biking shoes need to be able to adapt to terrain, and usually even come with solid sole traction for walking hills and maneuvering carious surfaces. The outside of this shoe is always more flexible than the outside of a road biking shoe.
If you are looking for a combination of both types of shoes, a city bike shoe is the one for you! The city bike shoe will normally have a combination of features from both styles, with support and a sleek feel, but still flexible enough to work through different terrains.
You can check out these excellent Shimano cycling shoes and compare the differences in look and design of city, road, and mountain bike shoes easily!
Choosing the correct shoe for mountain biking may sound like a mundane task, but it is clearly more important than you may have originally thought!
See Also: Choosing the Best Workout Shoes
Concluding Thoughts – Essential Mountain Biking Equipment for Beginners
So are you ready for your mountain bike experience, are you well equipped with everything you need and might need? Then it is time you pick your trail and hit it.
Mountain biking is a very exciting extreme sport that can give you amazing outdoor experiences. But remember that it’s an extreme sport, so you need a lot of preparation and practice before you go on your own to remain safe.
First, try yourself out on beginner trails to get the feel of the land and slowly move up to more difficult ones. Also, always be mindful of your surroundings and keep your eyes on the road.
Lastly, try mountain biking with your friends! If you don’t have friends who want to go mountain biking with you, a good alternative is to get a good cycling partner or better yet, join a cycling club. Working out in a group can do wonders as far as motivation is concerned as you will ultimately notice. When you meet local bikers and bike with them, you will have a lot more fun on your rides, and it adds an extra level of safety to your bike rides.
Along with the items listed above, another great piece of equipment is a fitness tracker such as the HELO fitness band, which can help monitor your rides and track your progress. You can also check out this awesome guide to find additional mountain bike gear you might need.
Like with any training regime – keeping a schedule is crucial. If you’ve had a long break from cycling or exercising in general, it may be wise to pace yourself and increase the length and difficulty of rides as you get back into it.
If you still don’t feel comfortable trying out mountain biking, using a stationary bicycle is not a bad idea.
For more information, check out my article on stationary bike benefits.
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