Let’s take a look at items you need on every bike ride and the gear that makes riding fun, easier, and more comfortable.
Essential Mountain Biking Gear Checklist for Beginners
QUICK SUMMARY: We’ve rounded up a starter kit checklist of essential mountain biking gear to take with you for a more fun, safe and comfortable ride.
Table of Contents
Mountain Biking Starter Kit: Gear Musts
So you’re thinking about taking up mountain biking as a new hobby. What do you need to get started? Let’s take a look at items you need on every bike ride and the gear that makes riding fun, easier, and more comfortable.
Essential gear for mountain biking
The most important thing is to have your bike and your helmet. You can go out and have a good ride without the extras. However, other items may provide an extra safety net, increase comfort, and improve the overall biking experience. Gear can get pricey, of course. If you want to test out the sport without spending a lot on a bike, first try renting.
Consider how you want to use your bike. Some bikes provide speed, while others provide versatility for more rugged terrain. Cross country mountain bikes are lightweight, like road bikes. Trail mountain bikes are probably the bikes you first think of when you think about mountain bikes. These bikes are capable of a wider variety of terrain than cross-country models. Other mountain bikes include all-mountain and downhill bikes. Factors to consider when you’re choosing a bike include:
- Your intended use for the bike
- The size you need
- Spec preferences
Safety while biking is imperative. Make sure your gear kit includes protective gear, including a good helmet, protective glasses, and riding gloves. Knee pads can also come in handy, particularly when you’re first learning. When you’re choosing a helmet, think about its weight, breathability, and safety features. What kind of mountain biking do you intend to do? Cross country helmets are lightweight; they don’t have eye protection for your eyes. Trail helmets have protective visors that prevent wind, rain, and dust from getting into your eyes. You can also get a full-face helmet. Mountain biking gloves help protect your hands, grip the handlebars, and control the bike (without limiting dexterity).
Helmet: Engage MIP by Smith
One of the best mountain bike helmets on the market is the Engage MIP helmet by Smith. The Engage is designed with both style, comfort and fit in mind, sporting 21 vents which will keep you cool on hot days. The Engage also features channels on the front of the helmet for eyewear storage, and a three-position visor that rotates high to allow for goggle storage. Reviews for this product are overwhelmingly positive.
Protective Glasses: FURY Performance Sunglasses
The FURY performance sunglasses are a great lightweight and stylish option, designed with a wide, panoramic lens for maximum coverage as well as highly vented sunglass structure allowing full circulation of air to prevent fogging. FURY is compatible with all types of helmets and comes with a variety of lens options as well as ten different colors.
Gear for cold weather
Colder weather brings some challenges, and you need to factor in the extra safety precautions. A windbreaker or rain jacket can offer some warmth and resistance to the elements. Ways to stay warm include wearing insulation layers and arm or leg warmers.
Keep a whistle and compass with you. These items can help if you get lost or need to get attention. As a safety precaution, bring a basic first-aid kit on your rides as well. Hopefully, you won’t need it. Your basic emergency kit should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and tweezers. Remember any other medications like your inhaler or EpiPen. It can’t hurt to take a wilderness course and a first-aid course, either. Apple phones have the built in medical ID feature which enables anyone who finds you to easily access important medical information and contact details (Check out equivalent apps on android).
First Aid Kit: SurvivorWare Mountain Biking First Aid Kit
For the most comprehensive first aid kit on the market, check out Survivorwares premium first aid kit, which comes in two different sizes.
Unexpected things can happen out on the trail, and you might need to do some repair work on your bike to avoid getting stranded. Keeping a small repair kit on you can be very useful in these situations. Make sure the kit includes:
- A multi-tool
- Two tire tube patches (at least)
- A mini high-pressure air pump
- Bike tire pry rods
At the least, make sure your multi-tool has a 3mm hex, 4mm hex, 5mm hex, and T24 Torx. These tools should solve most of your problems. More versatile multi-tools include a chain-breaker. The repair kit should be easy to bring with you. Find a case that’s easy to mount on the bike or carry in your (hydration) bag. Duct tape and zip ties (though not found in all repair kits) can come in handy. You can use them as shoelaces or for tying down cables.
Repair Kit: Chumxiny Repair Kit
You can grab a quality repair kit by chumxiny on Amazon for $24.99. It comes with a 16-in-1 tool, 120 Psi mini bicycle pump and a tire patch kit. This product boasts a compact and portable design that comes highly recommended on amazon with 5 stars, and close to 700 reviews.
Fashion and comfort extras
You deserve to be comfortable on your bike ride, and a good pair of riding shorts provides extra padding (the chamois or “shammy”). A shammy is sewn into the shorts around the crotch and butt to make your ride more comfortable. Many riders opt to wear mountain bike jerseys because they are a looser fit. Mountain bike jerseys are breathable and come in a variety of sleeve lengths. Biking shoes can make the ride easier as well. Pair your shoe choice with the pedals. Look for biking shoes with good grip and flat pedals. For a comfortable riding experience, it might be worth it to invest in your saddle. Choosing a saddle depends highly on taste and comfort, so testing different saddles at your local bike shop can help you decide on the right one for you.
In general, make sure you have the things you take everywhere. It might go without saying but keep your phone and wallet (with some form of id) on you. You’ll also want to have any snacks or water needed for a day (or more) out. The best snacks are those that provide a lot of energy. Keep in mind the mess some snacks can make when deciding what to bring.
Hydration Backpack: EVOC FR Trail Blackline 20
To make things easier, you can get a hydration backpack. It can serve to hydrate you and carry your gear. The EVOC FR Trail Blackline 20 is one of the best hydration backpacks you can find. It comes with an array of storage features: tool compartment, pockets for your phone and sunglasses, convenient front panel access, and a 3L hydration reservoir. The Evoc includes a removable LiteShield back protector, which provides impact absorption and protection while keeping your back dry and comfortable. It comes in different sizes and accommodates a hydration system up to 3L. However, the hydration bladder needs to be purchased separately.
Other personal items you might want include:
- Sunscreen, bug spray, and chapstick
- Maps, trail guides, route description, and any necessary permits
- Emergency cash and credit card
- Small quick-dry towel and wipes for any cleanup
- A (small) camera
Gear checklist for your mountain bike starters kit
There’s room to pick and choose your gear within the different categories. Your gear kit will depend on personal preference, budget, and biking factors. Consider the location of your ride and what kind of situations you might come across. Factors to think about include aspects such as the weather and terrain. How comfortable are you in different environments? Essential items for your ride include:
Bike repair kit
Hydration backpack (or another water source)
Meals and snacks
Duct tape and zip ties
Rain jacket or windbreaker
Sunscreen and sunglasses
Things that are nice to have include:
Chamois (butt padding sewn into shorts)
Riding shoes and accompanying pedals
You can always get gear recommendations from friends or members of mountain bike riding communities in which you participate.