Nine Mountain Bike Essentials


Winter is over, ski resorts have closed for the season, the ice is off the lake—that can mean only one thing. Time to get your mountain bike on. Whatever your style—enduro, XC, downhill, beginner, or seasoned shredder, here are some essentials to keep you riding happy. 

1. Shredly Shorts ($95): My friend Cheryl introduced me to this Colorado company and I have since become obsessed with their line of women’s mountain biking shorts (sorry guys-these beauties are only for the ladies). Purposefully designed by women with active women in mind, these flattering and wonderfully wacky styled bike shorts fit you in all the right places. Say goodbye to that sagging back gap when buying shorts or jeans to fit your cycling thighs, as adjustable tabs allow for the waist to be taken in to suit each individual. Invisible-zipper thigh vents add additional air flow for when you really get after it. Chamois ($45) sold separately. 

2. Osprey Raven 6 hydration pack ($110): You need somewhere to store an extra layer, water, snacks, your phone, tools, and first aid kit (for those long XC adventures) while out your ride. I find the 6L-10L capacity hydration packs are the perfect size for your daily mountain bike rides. 

3. Swiftwick Sustain Four socks ($15.99): Spring mountain biking usually involves mud, rain, possibly some snow, and probably a river crossing or two. You need socks that will not only hide all that dirt, but wick away sweat and water. 

4. Smith Forefront Helmet ($220): Lightweight, well vented, and full coverage protection—what's not to love about the new Smith Forefront bike helmets. The AEROCORE construction features a honeycomb Koroyd technology that absorbs more energy upon impact compared to international standards, while increasing airflow at the same time. This brain bucket fully integrates with your sunglasses, goggles, bike light, or action camera, and the various bright colors will make you the envy of all your fellow dirt lovers. I even had guys pull me over begging to trade helmets. 

5. Ryders Via Photochromic ($89.99): Even when not riding in bright sun, you need to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from debris as well as harmful UV rays. The yellow tinted Via are perfect for highlighting changes in terrain, while the photochromic lenses automatically adjust between category 1-category 2 (very low to average bright) protection depending on the current light conditions. 

6. Bluesmiths Kahana ($90): Stay with me on this one—yes, this is technically a water sport shirt. But the Schoeller NanoSphere hydrophobic coating also means this shirt repels dirt, dust, and rain. What could possibly be more useful than that for multi-day desert or early season Pacific Northwest riding?

7. Gloves: A must have accessory when mountain biking as they help dampen vibration, enhance your grip, and most of all protect the skin on your hands should you take a digger. Believe me, it's not fun picking gravel out of the trail rash on your palms. 

8. Salomon Minim Jacket ($230): Spring riding usually brings with it rain and strong, often cold wind. Made from Climapro 10/10 fabric, the Minim is incredibly lightweight and packs down small in the bottom of your pack. Windproof, waterproof, yet breathable, you won't get all clammy when riding full out in this jacket. 

9. Five Ten Freerider VXi ($120): Flat pedals are the name of the game for technical riding or for those just starting out. Even though you aren't clipped in, you still want your feet to stick to the pedals when knocked around by death cookies or flying around berms. As the undisputed king of sticky rubber, there is a reason most of the best mountain bike athletes in the world sport Five Ten shoes. 

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