Whether you’re new to mountain biking or an expert, buying the right gear is essential. After all, going mountain biking without something like a helmet is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, some of the equipment that’s necessary for mountain biking can be expensive. Many people find it confusing to know what items are worth splurging and which are okay to save on or buy used. Here’s some vital gear for mountain biking and a quick buyer’s guide, too.
One critically important piece of gear is eyewear. When flying at high speeds down a mountain trail, all manner of debris or branches could potentially hit you in the face or eye. That’s why a quality pair of goggles or protective eyewear is crucial to staying safe on a ride. This is one item that’s a good idea to splurge on, purely for safety reasons.
Skip the crappy gas station quality glasses unless it’s a necessity. In fact, some can be so low quality that sometimes they even distort vision instead of offering a clear view. Expect to spend anywhere from $20-$100 on a quality pair of glasses. Take where you live into consideration: for those in sunny areas, find a pair that’s polarized. If you’re in the cold, look for full-face goggles.
A helmet is perhaps the most crucial piece of gear. This is another area where it’s not a good idea to skimp. Also, it’s never, ever a good idea to buy a used helmet. Once a helmet has been in a crash or been dropped, it may affect the structural integrity or impact its ability to protect your head. Find a helmet that fits and offers excellent safety, too. Expect to spend about $100 here, too, but it’s worth it for overall safety reasons. In fact, one might say it’s a no-brainer!
Wearing the wrong pair of shoes can absolutely derail a bike ride. While some people like to spend a lot of money on shoes, you should be okay with using them as long as you have a serviceable pair in relatively good condition. Even skate shoes will work in a pinch, but not for the long-term. Expect to spend anywhere from about $50-$200. If you’re okay with used shoes and can find a good pair, all the more power to you. It’s also okay to buy new, but for those on a budget, used is perfectly fine.
Gloves are one area where it’s okay to save. Of course, hand protection is essential when riding. However, there’s usually not much of a difference between a $20 pair of gloves and a $60 pair of gloves. Even a generic store brand or inexpensive option is fine here. Obviously, those who have the cash and don’t mind spending it can feel free to splurge.
Pads are incredibly important, especially for those who go on very long rides. Finding a pair of pads that fits well and are comfortable can make the difference between enjoying a ride or being miserable and sore the next day. It’s especially worth it in the event of a crash. Look for knee pads and padded shorts to really up the comfort and safety level on a mountain bike ride.
Finding a roomy fanny pack or bag to wear on long rides is another vital piece of gear. It’s the perfect place to store things like a cell phone or a small tool kit, which can be invaluable when riding. It’s important to look for one that attaches securely and doesn’t flop around or come loose when riding on rough terrain. It’s easy to find a good fanny pack that will buckle securely and has room for all the necessary items for about $20.
Find the Right Gear
Mountain biking is an expensive sport, especially when it comes to gear. When it comes to a helmet and goggles, always buy new so you have the face, head, and eye protection necessary for dangerous trail rides. However, it’s okay to save on pads, bags, gloves, and shoes to avoid spending an arm and a leg. No matter what you spend money on, mountain biking is about the thrill of the ride and the sheer love of the sport. Even if you have to wear a t-shirt, helmet, and skate shoes, as long as you’re safe and have fun, that’s the important part.
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