Mountain biking is a great sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, it is important to dress appropriately for the conditions. In this blog post, we will discuss what to wear while mountain biking in order to stay safe and comfortable.
You will need a few pieces of critical equipment in addition to your bike when you go mountain biking. This may include a helmet, biking shorts or pants, glasses, a jacket, jersey, kneepads, gloves and socks.
Before you go mountain biking, you need to consider the demands of your journey. If you’re going on an all-mountain excursion in the Alps or Rockies, for example, you’ll want to bring a more robust gear since you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for mountain weather conditions. If you are going to mountain bike at a nearby trail, the essentials contained in this list are most likely all that you need.
Table of Contents
A helmet is a crucial piece of equipment for mountain bikers. Even expert mountain bikers know a helmet is a must-have item. Head protection is more important than ever because the chances of slipping, crashing, or colliding with a tree or rock are significantly higher than for commuters or most road cyclists.
Helmets designed specifically for mountain biking have an integrated peak, which helps to keep the sun and rain out of the rider’s eyes and deflects low-hanging branches. To provide greater coverage, a mountain bike helmet sits lower around the back and sides of the head.
Mountain bikers generally wear a full-face helmet when riding in downhill riding, bike parks, and downhill and enduro racing. Full-face helmets are occasionally coupled with a neck brace to prevent the head from being violently thrown back in the event of a major spill – but this is more of an issue for riders doing big leaps and drops.
2. Glasses & Goggles
Goggles or glasses can help protect your eyes from the sun and dirt kicked up by your front wheel. You’ll want glasses or goggles that offer interchangeable lenses and a variety of lens options you can use for different conditions. A transparent lens, for example, is ideal for riding in low-light or dark situations, while a tinted one is better for reducing glare or boosting contrast.
Glasses are required for most mountain bikers, but if the weather is particularly stormy and muddy, goggles may be used as an alternative since they provide complete rain protection as well as a wide range of vision. Goggles are usually worn with full-face helmets, although many may be worn with regular helmets – known as going “full enduro.” Downhillers will generally wear goggles rather than glasses because they are more secure and provide better protection on long, technical descents.
3. Shorts, Liner Shorts, & Baggy Shorts
Mountain biking involves frequent scrambling over rough terrain, so padded trousers are a good idea. Bib briefs with a chamois pad work well alone or as an underlayer beneath baggy mountain bike pants.
You may also purchase padded shorts that are composed of lightweight fabric or mesh and are meant to be used as liners beneath baggy pants. Baggy mountain bike shorts will generally be knee-length and made from a stretchy material with stretch panels around the rear to allow the garment to move with the rider. They should also have enough space for knee protectors to fit underneath.
4. Waterproof Pants
Riding pants will keep you warm, dry, and clean in wet situations. If you ride all year and reside in a place with a lot of rain, like Seattle, riding pants will be of significant benefit. Warm riding trousers will keep you dry and warm, even when the weather gets unpleasant. You won’t be caked in mud and soaking wet if your pants absorb the worst of the precipitation.
Softshell pants with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish are both water-resistant and comfortable to wear. Riding pants are generally available in waterproof versions, as well as water-resistant ones. Waterproof trousers, like other hardshell garments, are made of hardshell material and offer excellent rain protection but little breathability. Water-resistant pants are more likely to be constructed of a softshell fabric and feature a DWR treatment to shed rain, as well as improved fit and durability.
If the thermometer reads too high, vents in the pants can assist with temperature control.
When it comes to riding pants, the fit is crucial. You want something that’s close enough to avoid the cloth flapping yet allows ample pedal clearance. An articulated cut makes things easier. Velcro closures on the ankles, for a more precise fit, and abrasive-resistant materials are also beneficial additions.
The majority of mountain bike jerseys are loose-fitting and come in short, three-quarter, or long sleeves. A short-sleeve jersey will keep you cooler in the heat of summer, but a long-sleeve jersey will provide more protection for your arms – both from the sun and nettles, thorns, and branches. To enhance breathability, some long-sleeved jerseys include mesh panels.
Breathability will be enhanced by mesh-paneled jerseys. The best cycling jerseys for road cycling are more expensive, and there is a large selection of colors and designs available. Cross-country mountain bikers frequently wear Lycra jerseys that resemble road cycling jerseys but feature rear pockets ideal for storing spare tubes, tools, and snacks.
6. Knee Pads and Other Protection
If you’re riding any trail where there’s a lot of risk of falling, most riders wear knee pads at the very least. There are more lightweight choices than ever before that give adequate protection while enabling you to pedal freely. For more technical riding, bigger protective pads are available.
Some mountain bikers will also wear other forms of body protection, such as elbow pads and back protectors, for racing or technical riding.
Gloves are necessary to keep your hands safe. The majority of mountain bikers prefer full-fingers gloves because they offer more comprehensive protection than gloves with finger exposed. Full-fingers gloves give better protection against crashes and undergrowth than mitts, and some glove models will include padding on the palms to increase comfort.
Gloves designed for downhill or enduro riders are more likely to have greater protection on the back of the hands since the risk of crashing is much greater for this sort of activity. Gloves may also assist with grip by giving a firmer grip on the handlebars.
Full-fingered gloves, rather than fingerless gloves or mitts, are used by mountain bikers. Grippers should be carefully placed on the gloves you choose. Look for gloves with well-placed grippers to give you complete control over the brakes and shifters. In the fall, winter, and spring, when riding in chilly or wet weather, full-finger gloves provide much-needed insulation and protection from the wind.
Long socks, like short socks, provide protection against scratches and cuts from the undergrowth as well as the pedals themselves. Waterproof socks are popular among mountain bikers who ride in wet conditions since they keep their feet warm and relatively dry when their shoes get wet. Lightweight, breathable socks, on the other hand, will allow you to keep your feet cool in the summer.
There are also waterproof shoe covers to consider, which would go over the top of riding shoes and add even more wet weather protection.
If you dress appropriately, mountain biking may be done all year. A jacket can help keep the elements at bay if the weather starts to look threatening. There’s a lot of variety in the situations you could come across while mountain biking, so there are many different types of mountain bike jackets on the market; three of the most popular choices are lightweight shell, a hybrid jacket, and a completely waterproof garment.
A windbreaker is a lightweight garment that is designed to withstand the elements, such as wind and rain. It should be packable, which means you can remove it if the weather improves and store it in your backpack. Alternatively, you may keep it in your backpack just in case the conditions deteriorate midway through your journey and you require an additional layer.
In the winter, a hybrid jacket will keep you warmer. A hybrid jacket has the look of a seamless blend of warmth, water resistance, and breathability. For added comfort and warmth, a good hybrid jacket is likely to be composed of a softshell or cushioned fabric.
While a hybrid jacket will be less packable than a lightweight shell, it should still fit into a riding bag or backpack. Look for vents because, even with a breathable fabric, there can be a lot of heat build-up as you ride. It’s also doubtful it to be totally waterproof. We’re talking about real hard shell waterproof jackets here that are meant to keep the rain out for hours on end.
A waterproof mountain bike jacket will have a looser fit than a waterproof road cycling jacket to allow for layers and possibly body armor beneath, as well as greater mobility. There will usually be several pockets for storing items and snacks, as well as vents to help keep your internal temperature down while climbing.
9. Shoes For Mountain Biking
Whether you pick flat pedal shoes or clipless ones, make sure you get a suitable fit. The shoe/pedal interface is one of the most important contact points when it comes to riding over hard terrain. Riders must feel safe while cycling over rough terrain and be able to pedal swiftly up difficult technical climbs. There are two options: flat pedals or clipless pedals.
Clipped-in riding, such as that done by road cyclists, is popular among many trail and cross-country riders as well. A cleat on the sole of the shoe that connects to the pedal is a form of connection used by many trail and cross-country riders.
Clipless shoes resemble cycling shoes but have a recessed cleat and a chunky tread for more normal walking. Flat and clipless pedals are two choices for mountain bikers.
Other riders prefer to ride with flat shoes and pedals, which have a rough-textured surface and protruding pins to grip the shoes. Flat pedal footwear is frequently made like skate shoes or trainers, with a lace-up fastening and an elasticated band to tuck the laces away.
The outsoles on these shoes also have a tread pattern that matches the pedal pins and is made of extra-grippy rubber for the same purpose.
If you ride throughout the winter, when it’s cold and dark, consider wearing winter mountain bike shoes, which are designed from warm, waterproof materials.
Making the right choice on what to wear while mountain biking is as exciting as the biking adventure itself. We hope this blog post made it all easy for you. Go have fun with it!