BUYER’S GUIDE 2015
THE PRODUCTS YOU
THE SHOP WITHOUT
It’s been said that buying a bike is only half the cost of getting into the sport. The bottom line is, riding is a gear-intensive activity, and there are some pieces of gear we would simply never hit the trails without. Fortunately, most bike shops will offer a sweet
discount on gear, parts and accessories when you purchase your new bike, and before
you finalize the deal, you should work these essentials in.
It goes without saying, but you
need a helmet for mountain biking. All
helmets sold have to adhere to CPSC
safety standards, so why are some
helmets so much more expensive than
others? Spending more on a helmet
will get you better ventilation, lighter
weight and a more precise fit. Does
spending more money equal more protection? There is no proof of this.
Having padding in the short (called a chamois)
makes a big difference in comfort. Most mountain
bikers opt for baggy shorts (loose-fitting shorts
with a chamois inside), but there is nothing wrong
with a roadie-style Lycra short. Understand that a
good cycling short is cut to work best on the bike.
Trying it on in the bike shop and walking around
will feel weird. Get on a bike to determine if the
short you are trying fits correctly.
We wouldn’t ride without gloves.
They help prevent nasty blisters and
will likely save your skin in a crash.
Lightweight, full-fingered, ventilated
gloves are our preference. Some
riders like a lot of padding in the
palm, but we have found that minimal padding with a quality set of
grips (like ODI Lock-On grips) is the
best way to go.
You will want to drink water during your
rides, and using a hydration pack with a
reservoir will not only encourage you to
drink more and stay hydrated, it is the best
place to stow tools, food and spares. Small
packs are great for short rides, but they are
limiting if you take longer rides and want
to carry more food or spare clothing. Buy
a pack at the $100 mark. This will have a
100-ounce reservoir and plenty of storage
Mountain bike-specific shoes make a big
difference over any type of athletic sports
shoe. The sole will be stiffer, and there
will be strategically placed guards in the
toe and heel areas. The sole will also have
knobbies that will rival those of your tires.
Matching them with clip-in pedals takes
it to the next level. But even if you plan to
ride flat pedals, a mountain bike-specific
shoe gives you a big performance boost.