Mountain biking needs a different mindset than normal cycling/biking. You can't wear random stuff you have been wearing from years.
That said, wearing different kinds of outfits is not only essential, but also a top safety priority.
Many people who are just starting out, have little or less idea what to wear when mountain biking. So, I am going to show you the top wearable you need for a solid MTB experience.
Things you need to wear when mountain biking
When it comes to mountain biking apparel, protection, comfort and sweat-handling are three essential components to look for. Whether you are a cautious rider or an adventurous one, below are the top things you should have in your gear closet:
1. Mountain bike jerseys
If mountain bikes differ from road bikes, it only makes sense that riders wear different clothing too!
There's technically no rule against wearing your cotton shirt while mountain biking.
But if you've tried riding your mountain bike in your favorite cotton shirt, then you will know it doesn't wick moisture away compared to jersey fabric.
Opt for mountain bike clothing that is really useful, practical and perfect for the adventure-seeking and trail-building fanatic such as yourself by investing in a quality cycling jersey.
You will thank yourself later once you're one the trail, warm and protected from the elements in your cozy riding ensemble.
For better protection from the elements, a long-sleeved jersey is your go-to apparel. For downhill riding, choose a jersey with a slightly loose fit than road bike jerseys.
2. Mountain bike shorts
These are crafted to be flexible and durable to keep you protected without hindering your movement.
Its stretchy layers give you the freedom to pedal along complex terrains, giving you that much-needed comfort.
Shorts used for downhill rides are more padded and are longer in length for better protection.
There are also padded liners or chamois that are either integrated into the shorts or are removable, depending on your preferences.
These shorts also wicks moisture while reducing friction and prevent chafing. Even if you are still a beginner, it is best to come prepared with a pair of chamois.
3. Mountain bike shoes.
When pedaling through rough terrains, you want shoes that make you feel secure and grips the pedal nicely. Pick shoes that help you pedal efficiently up on tough, technical climbs.
You can choose to ride clipped in or with flat clip less shoes, depending on your preferences.
Flat shoes offer you better control of your feet and your pedals while clipped shoes help provide powerful strokes with ease.
If you are new to mountain biking, test out these two types and get a feel on them to find out which one suits you best.
4. Cycling jackets
Be sure to grab the perfect jacket that can withstand the wettest and wildest weather out there.
It should be waterproof so you won't have to worry about drenching your phone when you can carry it safely in your pockets.
Be an advocate of change by choosing jackets made of upcycled materials that are not only effective in wicking away moisture but is also eco-friendly.
Pick a jacket that is crafted using fabrics that allow water to move away from your skin while keeping the rain out.
These jackets also have vents found in discreet areas to let the warm moist air out of your body.
Some riders love to wear waterproof onesies.
If you think your terrain requires you to wear one, go ahead and gift yourself your cycling buddy with the trendiest pair out there!
5. MTB Gloves
Riding gloves allow you to grip the handlebars better especially on longer rides. They keep your hands from slipping when riding in the rain or even when your hands are all sweaty.
When picking riding gloves, focus on aerodynamics, lightweight quality and maximum overall feel and control.
Choose between fingerless gloves for summer riding or full finger gloves that are perfect for winter rides in the mountain.
Just like your mountain bike jersey, your gloves should also be breathable, wicks away moisture, waterproof and offers various levels of protection depending on the weather.
It should have enough grip to keep you on your track while keeping you cool during summers (finger less) or warm during winters (full-fingers).
6. Bike tights
While it's true that you can wear any type of clothing while mountain biking, specialty clothing designed for mountain biking, like your bike tights, offers better protection.
Since it is made of thicker material, you can use it during winter rides or during those chilly mornings and late afternoon.
Their ability to stretch with you as you move makes pedaling a lot easier.
Most bike tights are made from light Lycra fabric so you can also use them in warm weather.
Not wearing the right pair of mountain bike socks is the reason why you get cold feet while riding.
When the temperature becomes unbearable during winter, you need a decent pair of woolen socks matched with thin silk-based socks under the layer.
Or you can simply go for one thicker pair if you want to do away with all the layers.
The bottom line is, you should not risk losing heat from your feet. Use a sole insert so you can have that extra layer of insulation when the weather is extremely cold and yet you don't want to miss riding your mountain bike.
8. Mountain bike shoes
It's time to ditch out those flat pedals and sneakers you initially used when you started biking.
If you want to be an official mountain biker, grab the proper pedals and shoes.
For starters, invest in clip less pedals so you will feel more connected to your bike without the cumbersome presence of the clip to help you deliver more powerful and efficient strokes.
When it comes to shoes, et a pair with stiff soles for better comfort. Getting the waterproof variety keeps your feet dry and free from moisture.
You can also opt for shoes with reinforced fiber soles.
As an essential part of mountain biking, a helmet is one of the things you should not forget. Crashing, bumping into a tree or slipping off the trail in your bike is common among mountain bikers and if you want your head protected from trauma, you better wear the proper helmet that's intended for mountain biking.
If you are one of those riders who are extremely adventurous and wants to try out every mountain bike trick there is, then wearing a full-face helmet with a neck brace will help keep your head from being thrown back in case you crash into something.
10. Glasses or goggles
The harsh glare from the sun may compromise your safety unless you wear tinted glasses. If you are a trail rider, you may need to keep your glasses on most of the time.
However, if the trail is a bit muddy, then you can switch to your goggles instead.
Goggles are often paired with full-face helmets but you can also use it with a regular trail or shell helmet.
Downhill riders prefer goggles because there are fewer chances of them falling off and they offer better protection if the descent becomes too technical.
There's a reason why mountain bike riders are meticulous when it comes to their gear. It's because when you ride a mountain bike, not any garment will do.
Other than comfort, fit and sweat handling, you should also consider the style and your personal preferences.
For instance, you may opt for arm and leg warmers or knee and elbow pads or a full body armor when you go downhill or trail riding.
There are many brands out there when it comes to mountain biking apparel. The right clothing can help you go faster when riding your mountain bike.
You won't have to waste energy while pedaling because the right mountain bike clothing is more aerodynamic and fits nicely with no spare fabric flipping in the breeze.
For an all-mountain adventure, bring a more serious kit keeps you prepared for any weather conditions while riding your mountain bike.
Don't forget to take your hydro pack with you to keep you hydrated especially on longer rides.
So whether you are an amateur mountain bike rider or a professional one, finding the right cycling apparel should be your top concern.
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Nathan Is a Semi- Professional Cyclist & Founder of Mybikexl. He own 2 bike shops and a full time passionate rider. When he is not in his shop fixing stuff, you will find him in the road or mountains enjoying himself with his bike.
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