You can hit the trails wearing anything, but if you want to get the most out of your ride you’ll need more than jeans and a t-shirt. We’ve picked out a simple mountain bike kit to get you out riding in comfort and style.
Shorts and a chamois (pronounced like “shammy”) are the most important part of the kit. The chamois is a pad integrated into a short liner to protect your bottom from chafing and pressure points. Some shorts come with a chamois, while others require you to buy one separately. Not every chamois fits the same, so buying the chamois separately can be a good way to try out different short/chamois combos. If you use regular bib shorts for road or gravel, you can try those under your MTB shorts too.
These Fox Ranger shorts come with a dual density chamois in a removable short liner. These are baggy mountain bike style shorts that give you plenty of room to move. The fabric is a durable, breathable ripstop with a bit of stretch and the waistband has a well-thought-out low-profile adjustment system to minimize pressure or discomfort around the waist.
A mountain bike jersey doesn’t need to be too fancy. Breathable synthetic fabrics in a baggier fit give you room to move and plenty of ventilation. Some people prefer long sleeve jerseys for the added protection from minor falls or branches whipping at your arms.
Mountain bikers usually stick with full finger gloves instead of road-style fingerless options. The Fox Ranger gloves give you some extra grip when your hands get sweaty and will protect your palms if you fall. These gloves are touchscreen compatible and also come in a Flexair version that’s made with lighter fabrics for better ventilation.
Picking a good pair of shoes can be complicated and take some trial and error to get the perfect fit, but we’ll keep it simple here. Mountain bike shoes are either compatible with flat or clipless pedals. We recommend that beginner mountain bikers ride flat pedals, because it’s low stress and helps you learn how to handle your bike better.
The Mavic Deemax Elite fits well with a comfortable insole and offers great support while pedaling. It’s also available in blue or red if you want a flashier option. If you’ve already decided that clipless is your jam, the Mavic XA Elite II will give you that extra efficiency and locked-in descending.
Knee pads are second only to a helmet for protecting yourself from injury while biking. The POC Joint VPD 2.0 knee pads are well-ventilated and durable. The soft pads are comfortable to pedal in and harden on impact to protect your knees.
POC Joint VPD 2.0 Knee Pads - $119.99
But there are a lot of great knee pads to choose from. To learn more, check out our guide to the "Best MTB Knee Pads."
When you get out on the trails, you don’t want your equipment to hold you back. This is just a basic list to get you started. The more you ride the more you’ll understand what works best for your body and your rides.
Leave a comment down below if you have questions or suggestions; we love to hear what works for different riders.