8 Essential Mountain Bike Gear Items to Get You Started

November 18, 2021 by No Comments

You’re not the only mountain biking, whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting. More women are trying mountain biking, especially since the 2020 bike craze.

Ashley DuffusJambor, a long-time mountain biker and founder of Cosmic Dirt, says, “Now, everyone wants to try [mountain riding] and it’s super cool.” “The general population of outdoor people has changed dramatically in the past year.”

The price of entry to outdoor sports can be high, especially when you consider the cost of the helmet, bike, tools, and other necessities. As you learn more about the sport, it can be difficult to discern what is essential for a ride and what may suffice.

We spoke with several female mountain bikers who have spent many hours on the trails to help you get started. We asked them for their advice on how to get started with your mountain bike gear and the trails.

The trail:

All of our sources recommended that women ride with a group or lesson because of the rise in mountain biking. There are more and more women’s riding clubs popping up all over the place. Ask your local bike shop if any of them know.

Although everyone is different, riding groups can be a great way to meet others, gain knowledge, and inspire you as a rider.

“It is important to ride with people who are supportive and fun!” states Brooklyn Bell, pro rider, artist and advocate. “Riding with people who are good helps to keep things safe, and allows new riders the opportunity to learn and grow.”

The Gear:

You Bet! is co-owner on the gear side. Carrie Levine, co-owner of You Bet!, is a mountain biker and bicyclist of five years.

Levine states, “When you get into the sport, it’s important to use what you already have, find out what works, and then go from there.”

However, some essential pieces of gear and others will make your riding experience even better. Most important? The most important thing is a helmet and a bicycle. We recommend starting with knee pads, a “shammy” or butt padding, a saddle, shoes, pedals and sunglasses if you want to put a bit more into your ride.

Helmets

Our sources all agreed that the most important piece of gear you will use is a well-fitting helmet.

Duffus-Jambor states, “You can wear whatever clothes you like, but you shouldn’t ride a bicycle without a helmet.” “I have seen too many serious injuries.”

Your mountain bike helmet is the best piece of gear you can buy. Riders recommend getting a helmet specifically designed for mountain bikes with MIPS (Multidirectional Impact Protection System). These helmets offer more protection.

Specialized technical rep and downhill mountain biker, Kerstin Hoster, says that MIPS and fancy equipment are not essential. It’s about fitting well and making sure you change it regularly. The holster does this every year.

For more helmet guidance, see our full women’s bike helmet guide.

1. Troy Lee MIPS Classic Bike Helmet

Duffus-Jambor recommends Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Helmet. It’s extremely comfortable, and I found it to be the most intrusive adjustment system with the ponytail.” Duffus-Jambor notes that full-coverage helmets can tug hairs and make them uncomfortable. The A1 design isn’t as tight on hair.

It also includes a full-spectrum adjustable sun and debris visor. The helmet is lightweight at 12.7 ounces, so it’s almost invisible.

Budget tip Duffus Jambor advises against buying a used helmet as you don’t know how it has been affected by crashes. However, you can find clearance and REI outlets. When a new model is released, the styles from last year will often go on sale. A helmet purchased from REI outlets two years ago is just as good today as it was when it was released.

2. Smith forefront 2 MIPS Helmet

Although the helmet isn’t cheap, it’s very popular with mountain biking women like Bell and Samantha Streletsky. Bell is a head coach at The Cycle Effect, and Samantha Streletsky is a sales associate at Wilderness Sports. It is fashionable and still offers great features. Streletsky: “No compromise!”

MIPS, an internal visor, MIPS, internal air channels and 20 vents provide top-notch ventilation. It also has a full-coverage construction that doesn’t add bulk.

Bikes

Levine points out that your mountain bike is likely to be the most costly investment. You don’t need to buy a mountain bike with every feature. A simple hardtail, meaning the bike has front suspension only, will do.

Budget tip If your budget is tight, you can rent a bike from REI for $50 for a day. Check with your local bike shop to find out if they have demo bikes so you can try different bikes.

You can find more information about buying a bike in our women’s bike buyer’s guide.

3. Liv Tempt 4

Our full bike guide shows that Liv bought her first mountain bike, the Temp 4 hardtail, from former girls camp coordinator Jessica Wiegandt, mainly because it is relatively affordable ($550-600). Although this is a basic hardtail bike, Liv is a well-respected brand that makes really good bikes.

You can choose between mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic uses a fluid to trigger the brakes and is slightly more costly, while mechanical uses an electric chain to trigger the brakes. The bike also has grippy 2.2-inch tires.

Knee Pads

Bell adds that she recommends purchasing knee pads as bruises and cuts are common when first learning.

5. Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads

Jackson uses Bodyprox knee pads as they are affordable, comfortable, and keep her in place while she rides. The cloth knee pads are made of high-density foam to protect the knees and stretchy, breathable fabric for the rest.

They are easy to slide on and very comfortable. I didn’t feel any heat from them.

Chamois

The chamois, or “shammy”, as many in the biking community refer to it, is the padding around the butt and crotch of your bike shorts. It may not be necessary for mountain biking, depending on the bike’s saddle. However, it can make riding more comfortable and protect nerves and connect tissue.

This is the problem: These kinds of shorts (or bibs, if you prefer) can be expensive, especially from established brands. Duffus-Jambor says that there are cheaper options. The most important thing is that the shorts and padding fit your body.

6. Berry Women’s Bike Shorts

Jackson loves the Berry women’s bike shorts because they are affordable and high quality. “[Beroy’s] cycling pants range from $20 to $35, which is great if you are a beginner.”

Gel and foam padding, elastic dots on the legs and gel pads keep the shorts from bouncing around during a ride. The brand also offers a range of colours and designs to suit those who like a splash of colour.

7. Terry Shorts

Duffus-Jambor recommends Terry, a women’s-only cycling company. Because shimmies are a personal thing, they make several different shimmies.

Terry offers a range of short options at varying price points. All of these are specifically designed for women. Terry offers sizes ranging from XS-XXL.

8. Machines for Liberty Essential Short

Many riders love the Machines for Freedom Essential Short. The label offers sizes from XS to 3X. It was founded by a Malibu woman who started the brand in her living room. They offer a unique fit guide on their website that helps riders find their perfect fit.

They are made of a durable, comfortable fabric that can withstand many falls. The shorts are designed to be compressive but not too tight like many shammies. They also have a subtle, non-slip leg band that stays put and doesn’t ride up, rather than riding up.

Terry offers a range of short options at varying price points. All of these are specifically designed for women. Terry offers sizes ranging from XS-XXL.

8. Machines for Liberty Essential Short

Many riders love the Machines for Freedom Essential Short. The label offers sizes from XS-3X. It was founded by a Malibu woman who started the brand in her living room. They offer a unique fit guide on their website to help riders find the perfect fit.

They are made of a durable, comfortable fabric that can withstand many falls. The shorts, like many shammies in general, are designed to be compressed but not feel tight. They also have a subtle, non-slip leg band that stays put and doesn’t ride up, rather than riding up.

 

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