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A Beginner's Guide to Mountain Biking Gear

A Beginner's Guide to Mountain Biking Gear

Mountain biking is an exhilarating sport that combines the excitement of cycling with the challenge of off-road terrain. However, to enjoy mountain biking to the fullest, it is essential to have the right gear. In this guide, we will take a look at the essential mountain biking beginners gear that you need to start your journey. From the right bicycle to protective gear, clothing and accessories, this guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of mountain biking gear for those who are just getting into the sport of mountain biking.

Essential Mountain Biking Equipment For Beginners

If you're new to mountain biking, you might wonder what beginner mountain bike gear you need to get started. While it's true that you don't need much to enjoy this exciting sport, there are a few essential pieces of equipment that you should invest in before you hit the trails.


The first and most obvious piece of equipment you need for mountain biking is a good bicycle. When it comes to mountain bikes, there are many different types to choose from, so it's important to find one that suits your riding style and the trails that you'll be riding on.

Let's take a look at how to size your mountain bike.

Sizing Your Mountain Bike

Once you've chosen the type of mountain bike that's right for you, it's important to ensure you get the right size. A properly sized bike will be more comfortable and easier to control, making your rides more enjoyable. Here are some general guidelines for choosing the right size:

  • Stand over the bike with both feet flat on the ground. There should be 1-2 inches of clearance between the top tube of the frame and your body.
  • When sitting on the bike, your feet should be able to touch the ground without fully extending your legs.
  • The handlebars should be about the same height as the seat or slightly lower.


A mountain bike helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment for bikers. It can protect your head from injury in the event of a crash or fall. When choosing a helmet, ensure it fits properly and meets safety standards. Look for a helmet that:

  • Covers your forehead and the back of your head.
  • Has adjustable straps that can be tightened to fit snugly.
  • Meets safety standards set by organizations like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).


Gloves are another essential piece of equipment for mountain biking. They can protect your hands from blisters, cuts and scrapes, as well as improve your grip on the handlebars. When choosing gloves, look for:

  • Full-finger coverage for better protection.
  • Breathable materials to prevent sweat buildup.
  • Padding in the palms to absorb shock and improve grip.

By investing in these essential pieces of equipment, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the thrilling sport of mountain biking. Remember to always ride within your limits, wear your safety gear and have fun!

Additional Protective Gear

In addition to having a reliable helmet and gloves, there is other protective gear that will keep you safe on the trail. While mountain biking is an extremely rewarding sport, it does have its risks. Mountain biking often involves uneven terrain and inclement weather, so make sure you're prepared with the right protective gear. Here's what you need to have:

Knee and Elbow Pads

Knee and elbow pads are common protective gear pieces that can protect you in case of a fall. Most knee and elbow pads are made of durable, high-density foam that provides maximum protection while being lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Some knee pads have additional features like shock absorbers, which can dissipate the impact of falls or hits. Elbow pads typically have a contoured design that fits snugly on your arm, providing complete protection even in vulnerable areas such as the elbow joints. When shopping for knee and elbow pads for mountain biking, make sure they fit snug and comfortable so you can wear them on long rides.

Reflective Clothing

Reflective clothing is important while mountain biking because it helps to make you more visible to other riders, hikers and drivers. This is especially important at night or in low-light conditions when it can be difficult to see other people. Reflective clothing works by reflecting light back to the source, making it easier for others to see you. There are a variety of reflective clothing options available, including jackets, vests, pants and accessories. When choosing reflective clothing, it is important to choose clothing that is bright and reflective. You should also make sure that the clothing is comfortable and fits well.

Here are some of the benefits of wearing reflective clothing while mountain biking:

  • Increased visibility: Reflective clothing helps to make you more visible to other riders, hikers and drivers, which can help prevent accidents.
  • Improved safety: Wearing reflective clothing can help to improve your safety while mountain biking, especially at night or in low-light conditions.
  • Increased confidence: When you are more visible, you may feel more confident while mountain biking, leading to improved performance.

Here are some tips for choosing reflective clothing for mountain biking:

  • Choose bright colors: Bright colors are more visible than dark colors, so choose clothing that is bright orange, yellow or green.
  • Choose reflective materials: Reflective materials, such as retroreflective tape, help to reflect light back to the source, making you more visible.
  • Choose clothing that fits well: Clothing that fits well will not restrict your movement and will help to keep you safe.
  • Choose comfortable clothing: You should be comfortable while mountain biking, so choose clothing that is made from breathable materials and that fits well.


Protecting your eyes from flying debris, dirt and bright sunlight is an important aspect of bike safety. Eyewear is a vital protective gear that helps shield your eyes from any external elements that may cause damage or obstruct your vision while riding.

For mountain bikers, sunglasses or goggles with shatterproof lenses are essential for reducing glare and increasing visibility. If needed, you can look for eyewear with an anti-fogging feature that prevents clouding and improves your vision. The glasses' frame should fit comfortably around the eye sockets without pinching or leaving gaps that can allow wind or debris to enter.

With the right protective gear, you can reduce the risk of getting injured, make your biking adventures more enjoyable and, most importantly, stay safe.

Clothing for Mountain Biking

Another key piece of mountain biking gear is clothing. When selecting apparel for biking, you want a fabric that is stretchy, breathable and protective. The right clothing makes all the difference in your performance. Here are some key clothing items to consider when mountain biking.


Mountain bike shorts are specially designed for the sport, featuring a loose fit that allows for greater movement and comfort. These shorts are made from durable, moisture-wicking fabric that will keep you dry and cool during even the most intense rides. Look for shorts with a good amount of padding in the seat to provide additional comfort in the saddle and those with pockets for carrying small essentials like energy gels and keys.

When it comes to choosing mountain bike shorts, there are two main types to consider:

  • Baggy Shorts: These bike shorts are loose-fitting and provide more coverage, making them a good choice for cooler weather and longer rides.
  • Lycra Shorts: Lycra shorts are tighter-fitting and provide better aerodynamics, making them a good choice for racing and hot weather.

Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference, and the type of riding you prefer.


Another important item of clothing for mountain biking is jerseys. Like shorts, mountain bike jerseys are made from durable, moisture-wicking fabrics that keep you dry and comfortable during intense rides. These jerseys feature a looser fit than road cycling jerseys, allowing for a greater range of motion and more comfort in the saddle. Mountain bike jerseys are also designed with long sleeves to provide more coverage and protection from the sun and brush along the trails. Depending on your level of exercise, you can also look for bike jerseys with strategically placed mesh vents, allowing you to stay cool and comfortable on your ride.

When choosing a mountain bike jersey, look for one with a zipper front to allow for ventilation and temperature regulation. Some jerseys also come with additional features like pockets for storing small essentials and reflective materials to make you more visible on the trails.


Finally, no mountain bike outfit is complete without the right shoes. Mountain bike grippy shoes are designed to provide a secure fit while also being comfortable and breathable. These shoes feature stiffer soles than regular athletic shoes, providing greater power transfer to your pedals and better support on rugged terrain. Look for shoes with grippy soles that provide good traction on slippery or uneven surfaces.

There are two main types of mountain bike shoes to consider:

  • Clipless Shoes: These shoes require special cleats that attach to your pedals, providing greater control and power transfer while riding.
  • Flat Pedal Shoes: Flat pedal shoes don't require cleats but feature a sticky sole that clips to flat pedals, allowing for greater control and more freedom of movement.

Bike Accessories and Tools

With your gear and protective equipment ready, it's time to find the right mountain bike accessories for your trip. Let's take a look at some must-have tools that you'll need to get the most out of your biking experience.

Hydration Packs

The importance of hydration during exercise cannot be overstated, and it's no different when you’re on a bike. A hydration pack is an essential accessory for a cyclist who wants to stay hydrated while on the move. Hydration packs usually come with a water reservoir and a hose that allows you to drink water without stopping cycling. When buying a hydration pack, it's essential to choose one with a comfortable and secure fit that is also easy to clean and maintain.

Alternatively, for shorter rides, you can also look for a durable water bottle that keeps your water cool. Make sure your bike has a secure spot to place your water bottle so it's easy to access during rides.


A multi-tool is an essential item for any cyclist because it comes in handy for basic repairs and adjustments when you’re on the move. A basic multi-tool usually includes a set of Allen keys, screwdrivers and a chain tool for fixing minor issues on your bike, such as gear adjustments and flat tires. When buying a multi-tool, look for one that is lightweight and easy to carry but also durable and reliable.

Tire Pump

A tire pump is another must-have accessory for any cyclist. It allows you to inflate your tires to the correct pressure, which is essential for maintaining control, speed and comfort while cycling. There are various types of tire pumps available, including hand pumps, floor pumps and CO2 inflators. Hand pumps and CO2 inflators are portable and easy to carry, while floor pumps are best suited for use at home or in a garage.

While buying bike accessories and tools, it's essential to choose those that are durable and suited to your specific cycling needs. These three must-have accessories will ensure you stay hydrated, can make basic repairs on the move and can keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure.

Shop Mountain Bike Gear from Stio

At Stio, we live and breathe mountain life. That's why we design functional, versatile clothing suited for mountain bike enthusiasts. Shop our men's team bike jersey for a breathable, stretchy shirt perfect for warm-weather road and cross-country rides. Or, check out our women's Glide Tech 9" shorts designed with nylon/spandex fabric perfect for pushing yourself on the trail.

Stio is proud to offer one-of-a-kind outdoor gear for everyone looking to get more in touch with the natural world and the mountains. Visit us online today to see what we can offer you.

FAQs: Mountain Biking Gear for Beginners

1. What are the essential mountain biking gears?

The essential mountain biking gears include a helmet, a bike, gloves, suitable shoes and comfortable clothes. A good quality helmet is the most important piece of equipment as it will protect your head in the event of a crash. A reliable bike is also necessary, and you should select one based on your experience level, the terrain and the style of biking you'll be doing.

Gloves will protect your hands from scrapes and blisters, while suitable shoes will keep your feet comfortable and well-supported. Finally, suitable clothing that is both breathable and comfortable will keep you feeling good on those long rides.

2. What kind of bike should I get for my first mountain biking experience?

If you're new to mountain biking, it's best to start with a hardtail bike, which has front suspension only. It's lighter and less expensive than other kinds of bikes, such as full-suspension bikes. Hardtail bikes will allow you to learn basic techniques and also help you to develop fundamental mountain biking skills.

3. What should I look for when buying mountain biking gloves?

When buying mountain biking gloves, it's important to look for those with good padding and ventilation. The padding will protect your hands from bumps and scrapes, while the ventilation will keep your hands cool and dry. Additionally, it's essential to choose gloves that are the right fit to avoid discomfort while riding.

4. Are specific shoes necessary for mountain biking?

Yes, specific shoes are necessary for mountain biking. Mountain biking shoes are designed with a stiff and supportive sole, which allows for efficient pedaling and better control of the bike. They also have good traction, which is essential when riding on rough terrain. Additionally, mountain biking shoes are usually compatible with the pedals and help keep your feet securely attached to the bike.

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