Let's try the "Jeopardy" approach on this, shall we?
Clue: Puppies. Ice cream. Three-day weekends. And gear.
Question: What are things that are universally loved?
While all of us that ride bikes dig super cool gear, the subset of cycling fans that seem to really love gear the most are mountain bikers. Name a specific piece of gear, and mountain bikers are sure to have a favorite. GPS units, sunglasses, bike shorts, backpacks, bike jerseys, rain jackets, gloves, water bottles, and lights?
Yes! Mountain bikers love them all!
While it may be hard to name the most lovable breed of puppies (our vote is for whichever puppy we saw most recently) or the best flavor of ice cream (rocky road, naturally), we can boil down an an-almost-definitive list of essential mountain bike gear.
So we compiled one!
Not all mountain bikes are ridden in the actual mountains. They are, however, usually ridden in rough and tumble terrain. When you ride a bike in rugged places loaded with bumps, stumps, rocks, and roots, there's a high likelihood that some of your bike's mechanical parts might not hold up to the constant pounding.
Enter the repair kit.
A good repair kit is a must-have for any mountain biker. Tires will go eventually go flat. Screws and nuts are going to work their way loose. And when the inevitable breakdown happens, it comes with an intense feeling of dread and helplessness of being a few miles from the trailhead with a broken-down bike.
The good news is most on-trail repairs won't require the undivided attention of a bike mechanic. In our Emergency Repair Kit, the 15-in-1 multi-tool and 10-function wrench are usually enough for riders to get their bikes back in riding condition. The tube patch kit and the pump will fix most flat tires without an appointment at the bike shop. And the whole thing easily straps onto your bike.
We put repair kits at the top of our list for good reason. Mountain bike riding can be tough on a mountain bike. Make sure you have one!
It's a good idea to always bring your phone with you on a mountain bike. And snacks (see below). And maybe a map. And bug spray. And...well, you get the idea. There's always something that needs to be brought along on a mountain bike ride. How on Earth can you be expected to carry it all?
Setting aside the discussion of a backpack, for now, our easy-to-attach Seat Pack serves as a great way to bring along those extra necessities on your next ride. It's got enough space to carry the basics – and then some. You could even carry a lightweight, packable rain jacket in there if you wanted.
Another, smaller storage bag to consider is our Top Tube Phone Bag. While it doesn't offer quite the same amount of carrying capacity as the seat pack, it's plenty big enough to bring your phone and a few other pieces of gear along on a ride.
Or consider both! Since you'll always need plenty of gear on a mountain bike ride, having extra storage space is going to come in handy.
It's 4 o'clock on a Friday, and your BBF (Best Biking Friend) convinces you to head out to the local singletrack for a quick ride. You'll be back before dinner. No problem.
But a funny thing happens. Your bike needs repairs on the trail (luckily, you have a repair kit). Your BFF misreads a map, and you wind up at the bottom of a small gulch. Suddenly, the idea of getting back for dinner looks like it means getting back before the clock strikes midnight. It's getting dark in a hurry.
Unforeseen circumstances are part of mountain biking. That's why we put a repair kit at the top of this list. Failure to prepare, they say, is preparing for failure. Or at least preparing for a miserable ride home.
No matter when, where, or with whom you go for a mountain bike ride, there’s going to be a time when you'll need lights. So why not equip your bike with our Rechargeable Light Set?
These lights are super easy to recharge with a USB cable, provide hours and hours of light (both front and rear) and are weather-resistant. They don't always have to be used just for emergencies, either. If you use your mountain bike for commuting, these lights are great choices for everyday use.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: Make sure you're properly hydrated!
The American Council on Exercise's basic guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise make it clear exactly what "hydrate" means. According to the guidelines, you should:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before you start exercising.
- Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up.
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.
That means the average hour-long bike ride requires drinking somewhere between 20 and 30 ounces of water. And, as luck would have it, we just happen to have a 26-ounce water bottle that fits easily on your mountain bike!
Reflective, insulated, and BPA-free, this water bottle nestles in a rugged polymer cage that can be added to virtually any bike. You can even get creative on bikes like our Mesa and add two water bottles so you can be properly hydrated on longer rides.
The more we think about it, the more we wonder if we should have added "snacks" to the Jeopardy-style question we started this piece off with. Everybody has some sort of favorite snack, from fresh fruit to candy bars, from GORP to pork rinds. Sure, we can argue if the best snacks are sweet or savory. We can debate if the best snacks can be junk food or if they have to be healthy, but those conversations are for another day. Just know you'll want snacks on your next mountain bike ride.
Luckily, we've compiled a great list of snacks for bike riders that can give you a much-needed boost of energy, satisfy your hunger or do both! Check out these five snacks that are perfect for taking on your next mountain bike ride.
You will note that the snacks we suggest are all pretty healthy. Hint, hint.
There it is. The definitive list of essential mountain bike gear. Well, almost definitive. We could go on and on about the best mountain bike shoes, shorts, and gloves. We could wax poetic about sunglass and socks. We didn't even talk about helmets. But for now, we're confident that the five essential pieces of mountain bike gear we've listed above are must-haves for your next ride.