A brief guide to give you the basics on biking equipment. You will want to know more though so pop into your local bike shop and get the pro's to help you out!
Probably the best bike you will ever own (well, borrow for a day). The hire bike is a great way of getting started in mountain biking. By trying mountain biking on good equipment you can see if you like it (we are pretty sure you will!) before you treat yourself to a bike of your own..
Without doubt the most popular bike in the world. This often under-rated and neglected beast is unhappy with their current position. We strongly advise unleashing ‘The Shed Bike’ from its current position taking it to your local bike shop for a quick check over then go for a ride – you will be amazed at how much fun you will have!
They are generally light weight, and don't have as much front or rear suspension as downhill or freeride bikes. They are made light by using lightweight materials and partly through their construction - meaning they are easier to cycle over longer distances but they are not as rugged and durable when going over large obstacles and jumps as downhill or freeride bikes.
Built to be as sturdy as is possible. They have large amounts of rear and front suspension this enables them to go as fast as possible over any rocks and roots on the trail.
Are usually smaller and lighter build compared to a downhill bike. However they are still likely to have front and rear suspension.
Look more similar to cross country mountain bikes (see below) than DH or freeride bikes but have a rigid sturdy frame and a lower saddle height - to keep the seat out of the way whilst performing tricks.
To protect your head/brain! We highly recommend you use a helmet when mountain biking. It could help to prevent injury which seems like a good idea to us. They are available in all shapes and sizes, some of which are dependent on your discipline. For example, Full-Face helmet for downhill, 4X and freeride mountain biking.
Keep yourself drenched. As with any form of exercise, it is important to keep drinking water before, during and after the activity, as even slight dehydration can cause a dip in energy levels. Bottle holders for your bike are cheap and available from all bike shops. Some cyclists prefer a camelback – which is a water pack designed like a rucksack!
It’s a good idea to take some fruit, energy bars, gels or snacks. You might find yourself hungry at the top of a mountain or halfway along a trail, and a fair distance from your nearest shop or café. If you’re feeling really ambitious, take a picnic!
Watch out for that tree! A full first aid kit may come in useful for any scrapes and bumps that occur.
Helpful if a wheel comes off…or both of them… Tool kits are now affordable and compact. Most basic tool kits include the following: multi-tool, puncture repair kit and/or spare inner tube, tire levers; and they can be attached to your bike.
For flat or punctured tyres.
No point pumping up a tyre with a hole in it. Take a spare with you and you’ll be right!
And some extra links to fix a broken chain…otherwise you could be walking
Important if you’re riding alone and end up stuck in the middle of nowhere. It’s a good idea to tell someone when and where you’re going, and when you’ll be back. Alternatively you can tweet if and where you are stuck…though don’t expect as quick a response.
Padded cycling shorts will increase your comfort on the bike. You can wear traditional fitted cycling shorts if you like, however, the lycra fabric can get snagged on branches, (and aren’t the most attractive piece of clothing ever made). Many off-road cyclists prefer to wear "baggy shorts". Baggy shorts have the look of regular shorts, but have a padded liner built inside.
Cycling jerseys and t-shirts come in handy as they tend to have extra pockets for carrying extras and are made from breathable material. Mountain bike t-shirts are more durable and have a looser fit than their road cycling counterparts
Check out the stylish 7stanes jerseys which will catch the eye of anyone you re looking to impress!
Because it might rain...it is not unknown for all 4 seasons to happen in 1 ride… Jackets range from simple and low-cost shower-proof to completely waterproof, the choice is up to you. It recommended to check the weather before mountain biking and if it is going to rain, it’s best to have a jacket to hand.
Leave your flip-flops for the beach. Choosing between mountain bike shoes, with or without cleats and clip-in pedals, is a matter of preference. Cycling is more efficient when using clip-in pedals; however you may need some practice before you get used to them. Also, remember that on some parts of a trail you may have to get off your bike and walk, so you’ll probably want some shoes which are comfortable when cycling and hiking!
Not just to stop your hands getting cold. Cycling gloves are also designed to absorb bumps and shocks (for when you going down a particularly rocky trail), and to prevents cuts and scrapes, (from trees and bushes or if you fall off!). Compared with road touring, mountain bike gloves tend to be made more durable and with extra padding. They are also more likely to have thumbs and/or fingers covered, unlike the more common fingerless cycling gloves.
Not the same as a bulletproof vest, but body armour will help protect you in the event of a crash. Mainly made for downhillers, freeriders and dirt jumpers, body armour ranges from simple knee and elbow pads to combinations of hard plastic shells and padding that cover a whole limb or the entire body.
To help protect your eyes from not only the sun, but they also protect your eyes from low branches and loose bits of mud or rock which get thrown up by your bike. Interchangeable lenses for different light levels are common. Downhill and freeride cyclists will tend to wear goggles, similar to snowboarding, rather than glasses.