Mountain Bikes – What Every Rider Needs

Mountain bikers need only two things when they go biking – a good bike and a good helmet. But there’s dozens of other pieces of equipment which riders should stock up on to increase their enjoyment of the sport.

When you’re out on your mountain bike, the only things you really need to have, apart from a bike suited to the terrain over which you’re writing, are a helmet and goggles. Everything else can really be considered accessories, although they’re the type of accessories that it also important to have.

But let’s consider mountain biking equipment from the ground up.

Bike storage
Where do you keep your bike when you’re not riding? If you live in an apartment where space is at a premium, it’s always best to hang the bike in a hall, either on the wall or suspended from the ceiling. (Anyone remember seeing that bike hanging from the ceiling in the classic Seinfeld television series?)

If you’re fortunate to have a garage, there’s plenty of places to store a bike, but since chances are you don’t have a kick stand on your mountain bike, the best thing to do is have a bike stand in which to place it. Placing bikes in a stand also simply makes the garage look neater.

Bike tools
Do you want to do your own bike repairs? If so, it’ll make it a lot easier on you if you not only have the small tools made for the purpose, but also a large tool – to be exact a truing stand, which will help you true your wheels on occasion.

When you’re out on the trail you may have a flat, so of course you’ll want to bring a bundle of tools with you. But it’s not enough for you to have the tools – you also have to know how to use them. So take some time after purchasing those tools to work with them and familiarize yourself with the methods necessary to fix the various things that can go wrong with your bike.

Bike accessories
What kinds of accessories can you get on your bike? There’s such a thing as rear view mirrors, although these are more popular among road cyclists than mountain bikers. The same goes for horns or bells to let people know you’re behind them. Also available are bike lights, powerful ones for use when you want to tear down the trail at night.

Bike clothes
Road cyclists normally wear tight fitting cycle shorts and a tight fitting jersey, whereas mountain bike riders do have a tendency to look a bit baggy. The more clothes a mountain biker wears the better, actually, as they can serve to cushion falls. Rather than depending on those clothes, however, you can also stock up on knee, shin, leg, arm, and elbow guards. Gloves are also an essential, as they’ll protect the hands from road burn, not to mention increasing the grip on the bike.

Bike security
We live in a world where unattended bikes will quite often disappear. That may not be much of a bother if its only a $20 “beater”, but when it’s a mountain bike worth hundreds of dollars the loss stings a bit more. Sturdy bike locks are a must.

It’s possible to put transponders into bikes so that they can be tracked if they’re stolen. Police use this with “bait” bikes. However, various companies are working towards making GPS tracking devices to put on real bikes. They’ll probably be on the market in a few years.

Alastair Hamilton


  1. Anonymous says:

    What's the story behind all the mountain bike issues in the Bay Area, California?
    As a mountain biker who pays attention to advocacy issues I would like to know more about the tensions between mountain bikers and hikers in the Bay Area in California and the story behind it all. I just don’t get why the hikers and horseback riders have to make such a fuss over mountain bikers trying to gain access on just a few more trails. Europe is much more welcoming and much less stereotyping of the mountain bike community in general and I just don’t get why hikers won’t let that happen here. The wilderness designation thing also pisses me off, because it allows anti-bike organizations to wipe out entire mtb trails in one fell swoop. Hikers and mountain bikers need to learn to get along like they do in Norway, Sweden, Wales, Scotland, places like that. In Norway any mountain biker can ride any trail (due to a right of access policy) in any countryside area. And guess what? No bigoted hikers who stereotype the MTB community! So let’s make it more like that in the Western United States too. What’s the story behind the bay area california advocacy issues? I just don’t understand how the hikers could be so selfish as to want every single singletrack to themselves.
    I really don’t want these responses from anti-bike folks about the bike culture being rude to hikers, as the mountain bike community deserves a positive image. It is also unfair that hikers and horseback riders have many of the trails to themselves, while bikers make up 20% of marin county’s trail user population, but they get only 2.6% of marin county’s singletrack trails open to them. That’s just not fair. Just because hikers won’t hike on mtb-legal trails shouldn’t mean bikers should have no more trails to ride. Hikers and horseback riders can, if it has to mean doing so, "give up" a couple of trails to the mountain bikers and not act like selfish brats who hog all the trails. And this "bike culture is different" doesn’t answer my question. My question is about how the bike bans came into place. Most bikers are respectful to other trail users, and do a lot of trail maintenance. Most mountain bikers are not evil, disrepectful punks who ride too fast and damage the trails. They are pa

  2. Needs Adjustment says:

    If mountain bikers had more respect for other trail users they would get more respect in return. As it is, anyone who has encountered half a dozen mountain bikers coming down a narrow track at full speed making no attempt to slow down will take every possible measure to ban them.


    You’re in the cycling section, there aren’t any "anti-bike folks" here. What there are is a few grown ups who like to show other human beings a little respect.
    References :

  3. sd_diver2001 says:

    I think it has to do mostly with an attitude that a lot of mountain bike riders take. The need for some to be "extreme" appears to breed a mentality that any trail they are on was built for their rush. I have been forced off trails several times by inconsiderate MTB users here in So Cal and it sort of ruins a hike.

    The last time was with no warning, just a moron doing 25 down a multi use trail like he owned it. Next thing I know, I am being screamed at to get out of the way. I could hear him screaming at others in the same fashion as he worked his way down. At the end of the hike, several people mentioned this to the ranger and now there are signs posted that MTB users must limit their speed and yield to others. With a little respect from the bikers, none of this would be necessary.

    Now I am not saying that all MTB riders are like this…not by a long shot. Most are respectful and courteous. Most of them also understand that they are a vehicle and can be banned from trails if their activity becomes a hindrance to foot traffic. It only takes a few adrenaline junkies to spoil it for everyone.

    As for other countries, it may be that the European cyclists that you are referring too have already figured out that they are simply one of many users of the trail. Possibly they are self regulating their behavior so that hikers do not have to take action in order to enjoy their sport as well? Just thoughts.
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  4. PeteR says:

    In almost every country in Europe, bicycle bells are required equipment – and people use them gladly – and don’t zoom by pedestrians by inches at high speed.

    European cyclist are, as a rule, a bit more polite and civilized out on the trail.

    Maybe it’s a "stereotype" that ALL mountain bikers are like that in the US – but the culture is certainly there among many mountain bikers in general.

    You would do better to address your concerns to mountain bikers – change the culture from the inside – and their behavior on the outside – and things would eventually change.
    References :