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Essential Downhill MTB Bike Park Gear

For those who love going downhill, bike parks are the ultimate way to ride a mountain bike. Stay safe with full face MTB helmets, knee and elbow pads, gloves, chest protectors, and more.

Written by: Bruce Lin

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Essential downhill bike park protective gearBike 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.


Full-face helmet

Best full face downhill bike park helmetsYou’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.

Bell Sanction - $89.95
Fox Racing Proframe - $259.95
Fox Racing Rampage Comp - $284.95 
POC Coron Air Spin - $274.99 



Best downhill mountain bike gogglesGoggles 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. 

100% Strata 2 - $25.00
Fox Racing Main II - $26.90
POC Ora - $69.95 


Knee pads

Best downhill bike park mountain bike knee padsKnees 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. 

Fox Racing Launch D3O - $79.95
Fox Racing Enduro D3O - $84.95
POC Joint VPD 2.0 - $119.99
POC VPD System Lite - $129.99 
Troy Lee Designs 5450 - $49.99 



Best mountain bike glovesYou 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.

Fox Racing Defend D3O - $49.95 
Fox Racing Ranger - $25.95 
POC Resistance Enduro - $43.99
Troy Lee Designs Ace 2.0 - $24.99


Pants and shorts

Best mountain bike downhill pantsSome 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. 

Fox Racing Defend - $149.95
Fox Racing Ranger - $99.95 
POC Resistance Pro DH - $174.99

Best mountain bike shortsIf it’s too hot for pants, some breezy but tough shorts are the next best thing. 

Mavic XA Pro - $78.99
POC Essential Enduro - $99.99 
Fox Racing Defend - $119.99



Best mountain bike jerseysCotton t-shirts get hot and sticky. I like breathable ¾ sleeve and long sleeve jerseys because they give your arms some extra coverage if you do take a tumble. 

Fox Racing Ranger Drirelease ¾ - $59.95
Fox Racing Flexair Delta LS - $89.95 
Mavic Deemax Pro - $74.99 
POC Essential Enduro ¾ Light - $54.99
POC MTB Pure LS - $79.99 


Other bike park gear

If you want maximum protection or extra confidence descending, consider adding some of the gear listed below. 

Elbow pads

Best mountain bike elbow padsA lot of riders don’t like heavy elbow pads because they’re uncomfortable and limit your arm movement. Try a lightweight and flexible sleeve-style pad that will disappear as you ride. 

G-Form Pro X2 - $38.50
Dakine Slayer - $45.00
Fox Racing Enduro - $54.95

Chest & back protectors

Best mountain bike downhill chest protectorsChest 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. 

O'Neal Holeshot Chest Protector - $71.99 
POC Spine VPD 2.0 Vest - $219.99
POC VPD System Torso Guard - $239.99


Hip pack

Best mountain bike fanny pack hip packWith 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. 

Dakine Hot Laps 2L - $35.95
Fox Racing Hip Pack - $59.95
Evoc Hip Pack Pro - $92.60 


Flat pedals

Best mountain bike flat pedalsIf 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. 

Race Face Chester - $54.99 
Look Trail Roc - $79.99
Shimano Deore XT - $99.99


Tire inserts

Cushcore mountain bike tire insertsI’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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