What To Wear For Mountain Biking

Mountain biking (MTB) is among the most exciting activities for outdoor enthusiasts.  It really gets your blood pumping through your veins and a great adrenaline rush. However, as with all sports and outdoor activities, choosing the best equipment and attire is of utmost importance. Let’s take a look at some apparel that will enhance your MTB experience whilst keeping you comfortable and safe.

What Should I Wear For Mountain Biking?

Choosing the right equipment for mountain biking can keep you safe on all terrains and help take your biking experience to the next level. The recommended and professionally-used attire for mountain biking includes:

  • Mountain Bike Helmet
  • Eyewear
  • Biking Jersey and Shorts
  • Protective Gloves
  • Ergonomic Biking Shoes
  • Padding and Armor

Each of these items brings a set of safety pros and benefits to the table. Let’s explore these in detail and see the underlying purpose for each item. Moreover, you will also understand how mountain biking clothing can help enhance your mountain biking experience, offering something unique at your fingertips.

Mountain Bike Helmet

If you are a huge fan of mountain biking and have seen or attended professional biking events, you must have noticed every biker wearing a hard safety helmet. These biking helmets are specifically designed to reduce air drag and offer a heightened safety level.

A biking helmet may be considered the most important element of your mountain biking attire. It offers maximum head protection, and the integrated peak at the front helps keep the sun and rain out of the biker’s eyes. In addition to this, the integrated peak helmet is also capable of deflecting any low-hanging branches, and bikers can easily make their way through forests and biking trails in thickly covered areas.  

These mountain bike helmets are designed to sit lower around the back and the sides of your head so that you can enjoy better coverage against any unwarranted crashes or accidents.

Mountain bikers who are interested in downhill riding or endure-racing also consider full-face helmets for maximum protection. These bike helmets come with a neck brace to prevent the head from any sudden jerks or whiplashes in the event of a crash. This should then provide some additional support in case of any mishaps!

Some modern biking helmets also come with “MIPS Technology” to offer an additional protective layer inside the helmet to restrict any rotational forces on the brain. This way, bike helmets can protect your head and neck, as well as your brain, in case of an impact.

A head injury can not only result in physical harm but can translate into long-lasting psychological harm as well. That’s why it’s crucial that bikers wear the best and the most robust helmets with the latest technologies to protect their skulls from unwarranted impacts.

Related article – How To Choose A Bike Helmet

Helmet Hanging Off Mountain Bike

Eyewear

Safety goggles and glasses are also essential for taking care of your eyes from any glare or debris whilst you’re riding through the mountain. If you have ever taken your mountain bike for an adventure, you must have faced a lot of debris thrown up by the front wheel. This debris, along with low hanging branches can often go into your eyes and have long-lasting consequences on your sight and retinas.

If you’re in the market to buy some goggles for your next biking adventure, you should know there are multiple-lens options and interchangeable-lens options available at your fingertips. This way, you can adjust your goggles’ tint depending on the weather conditions.

Protecting your sight is almost as important as protecting your head.  Therefore, investing your time and money into finding the best safety goggles for yourself will help save you from a lifetime of sight issues!

MTB Cyclist Going Down Hill

Biking Jersey and Shorts

No mountain biking kit is complete without the right biking jersey and a pair of biking shorts. Mountain bike jerseys come with a loose cut design and a short-sleeve pattern to offer maximum flexibility and comfort.

A mountain bike jersey will protect you from any thorns or branches in your way, and it will help you quickly make your way across any terrain. It can keep you safe from the harmful rays of the sun, and the mesh panel in these jerseys will also offer maximum breathability at your disposal. This way, you can protect yourself against the forces of nature without giving up breathability and comfort.

You will find long sleeve options or three-quarter options, but the most commonly used mountain bike jerseys come with shorter sleeves. This will 100% be a personal preference.  Some people still wear a long sleeve during summer as it’ll provide you some additional protection from the sun and debris. To help introduce some breathability, there’s usually mesh panels on these long sleeve jerseys.

You can choose from hundreds of different designs, colorways, and stitching patterns in the market. However, bikers tend to wear bolder colors for quick identification in case of any crisis, and it generally just looks better :). 

Moreover, bikers also prefer jerseys with different pockets to keep any equipment, snacks, or tools within their reach. Therefore, you can attain maximum protection, comfort, breathability, and practicality with modern mountain bike jerseys.

If you have seen any professional biking events, you must have noticed the bikers wearing padded shorts or liner shorts. These shorts are perfect as riders have to constantly get in and out of the saddle during their rides in harsh terrains.

Another common choice for biker shorts is the bib shorts that come with a chamois pad. Mountain bikers often combine different shorts together and wear a baggy pair of shorts on top of padded shorts for maximum flexibility and protection.

Most bike shorts on the market today are made of lightweight material with a mesh design to offer breathability. Some are also made from moisture-wicking material so that you do not have to suffer from any rashes or hives at the end of the day. You can find biking shorts in knee-length and tear-resistant fabric with stretch panels that allow the shorts to move as quickly as the rider.

Pro MTB Rider

Gloves

While some mountain bike riders do not like to wear gloves, protective gloves are highly recommended for beginners and professional bikers alike. In case of any crash or accident, these can protect your fingers and hands from major cuts and bruises.

Other than offering protection at your fingertips, these gloves are also designed to offer you an enhanced grip on the handlebars and brake levers.  Look for gloves that have specifically placed grippers, so it’ll help provide you maximum control.

Moreover, these gloves are ergonomically designed to offer comfort for the riders and reduce the amount of stress placed on your fingers during long hours of riding. If you want to go for an amazing biking adventure for hours, padded gloves can reduce the amount of strain placed on your fingers and hands.

Bike Shoes

You cannot ride your mountain bike wearing any footwear you want. If you wish to make the most of your mountain biking experience, you need to find pedal-compatible footwear that will assist with biking. 

With MTB shoes, you will need to find the right balance of comfort and pedal efficiency.  The right shoe will help you feel secure during rough terrain, yet offer some assistance as you power up a tough climb.

MTB shoe / pedal interfaces come in two choices – flat pedals or clipless pedals.  I suggest you stick with flat pedals until you gain some experience and confidence riding through trails.  

Similar to road cycling shoes, clipless shoes have cleats on the bottom of the shoes to click into the pedals.  Only difference is that these cleats are a little easier to walk in!

Lastly, if you are going to enjoy your next biking adventure in a thickly covered forest, you will need to make sure that your chosen biking footwear offers waterproof protection. Sometimes, biking trails come with a high amount of moisture and dew, and you need to keep your feet from getting wet if you want to make the most of your experience.

Find out if mountain bike shoes are worth it!

Padding and Armor

Other than biking shoes, helmets, and jerseys, you will also need to equip yourself with protective padding and protection for other areas of the body. These protective items may include:

  • Knee Pads
  • Elbow Pads
  • Shin Guards
  • Chest Protectors
  • Back Protectors

If you have just begun your biking adventures and are a beginner, you will want to maximise the amount of protection you use. The obvious drawback of this is you’re carrying additional cost and weight. However, for peace of mind during rough terrain it’ll be worth it!

Mountain Bike Rider with padding gear

Final Words

The perfect mountain biking apparel should help keep you safe, comfortable, and well-protected during your biking adventures.

You won’t need every single piece of gear listed here and will take a bit of experimenting on your side to work out what’s best for you. If you’re just getting started and looking at which mountain bike to pick up, you can check out our guide on the best mountain bikes under $500 here.

Just get out there and have fun!

Hi, I'm Harry, the owner of this site! A 30-something MAMIL - a middle-aged man in lycra. An avid cyclist who is looking to maintain a baseline level of fitness to be able to enjoy the great outdoors on weekend rides with his mates!

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