Mountain biking requires endurance, core strength and balance, bike handling skills, and self-reliance. Advanced riders pursue both steep technical descents and high incline climbs, however, along with the thrills there can sometimes be spills...
It’s definitely worth investing in a few pieces of essential kit that will help keep you safe and comfortable while out and about on the trails. We discuss with our ambassador and British downhill champion, Ben Deakin what his essential kit list is for training and race day.
"I always carry too much kit, I like to be prepared for all conditions so I keep 'extra' kit in my van. I keep my bike cleaner and a brush and bucket in my van to clean up my kit after muddy rides along. Wet weather clothing, tools and spares are also kept in my van, along with the obvious essentials that I always take out on the trails..."
1. The Helmet
For obvious reasons, a helmet is an important piece of kit that you don’t want to skimp on. Full face helmets might seem pretty cumbersome, but when you’re flying over roots and rocks, you’ll definitely appreciate the added protection.
Single lens goggles are a must-have on your mountain bike kit list and offer ultimate eye protection. While glasses can be worn, goggles will provide superior protection against the wind, dust, dirt and mud that will inevitably crop up when tearing down trails. Goggles work particularly well with a full face helmet, but tend not to fit as well with an open lid, so it’s worth considering these two pieces of kit at the same time.
Before picking your shoes, you will need to choose whether you want to ride with clipless or flat pedals, as ultimately this will decide the type of shoe you need. It's all about personal choice, but flats are a great introduction if you’re new to the sport and still sussing out the basics. Clipless pedals are known for having the benefit of power and efficiency, but flat shoes have been developing considerably over the years to keep up with their counterparts, and as a result are still the choice of many a pro rider.
Not only will gloves help protect your hands should you take a fall – a decent grip can help with bike control, particularly in wet or muddy conditions. When choosing a pair of gloves, think about the type of weather you’ll be riding in, as warmth and waterproofing will vary from glove to glove.
5. Knee Pads
Knee pads have come a long way since their cumbersome arrival. The pads that slip on over your legs tend to be the most secure, but make sure to find a pair that fit well and are comfortable, as you want them to go unnoticed – pads that dig in or slip about while you’re riding will quickly become incredibly annoying.
6. Back pack
Staying hydrated is key, particularly on long rides and in hotter weather. I sometimes take a hydration pack is a handy way to drink on the fly, and it means that you don’t have to worry about water bottles and cages. Many packs now offer padded back protection and are handy for stashing tools, first aid, snacks and maybe a light jacket but it’s personal choice as to whether you want to be carrying anything on your back.
We have created a downloadable kit lis to keep you prepared at all times to do the sport you love best. Make sure it's practical and accurate. Slip in to your KitBrix lid to keep safe. You can even use a non-permanent marker on the pocket cover to tick off items. Available to download HERE .