Bike park riding hits different. Getting a lift to the top means you can focus all your energy on shredding turns, boosting jumps, and improving speed and skills. For those who love going downhill, it is the ultimate way to ride a mountain bike.
If you want to send it at the park this summer, be sure to wear good protection. You can rent beat-up stormtrooper armor from the shop, but it’s better to have gear that is new, fits well, and hasn’t been crashed out before. Here are the 6 essential pieces of gear you need for the bike park, plus a few nice extras.
You’re not climbing, so leave the half-shell helmet at home and switch to a full-face. Not only will it protect your chin, but it will give you the confidence to test yourself on the gnarliest features. For maximum ventilation on hot days, try a lightweight option like the Fox Proframe.
Goggles won’t move on your face and do a better job of sealing out wind and dust so you can focus on the trail. Plus, many die-hard downhillers consider it a fashion faux pas to wear sunglasses with a full-face helmet.
Knees stick out and always take a beating in mountain bike crashes. A good set of pads will keep them free from scrapes and injuries. Downhill parks require less pedaling so heavy-duty pads work great, but any pad that’s comfortable and doesn’t slide down your leg will work.
You might notice some riders go gloveless, but trust me, skinned palms are no fun. Gloves protect your hands and give you a better grip on the bars when the terrain gets rowdy.
Pants and shorts
Some park rats shred in jeans, but I prefer downhill pants because they are protective, flexible, and quick-drying. Zippered pockets keep your phone, wallet, and lift pass from ejecting into the woods.
Other bike park gear
If you want maximum protection or extra confidence descending, consider adding some of the gear listed below.
Chest & back protectors
Chest and back protectors are becoming lighter and more breathable. After hitting a tree, you’ll find me wearing a chest protector this year. They can be worn under or over your jersey.
With plenty of amenities in bike park villages, there’s no need to carry everything in a bulky backpack. Hip packs are
back in always in style and great for stashing your phone and keys.
If you regularly ride clipless, bike parks are the best place to experiment with flat pedals. Spending some time on flats will sharpen up your skills and make bailing on big features easier.
I’m a big fan of tire inserts because they let you ride all out and they stop flat tires and broken rims from wrecking your day. The extra weight doesn’t matter when you’re riding the lift up.
CushCore Pro - $149.00
What’s missing? What gear do you consider essential for downhill bike park riding? Let me know in the comments!
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