three mountain bikers on the trail

Best Mountain Biking Gear-What You Need to Hit the Trails

It’s that time of year again, to get out,and hit the trails with your mountain bike. Get yourself geared up with some awesome essential mountain bike equipment to make your ride safer and more fun. Here is a list of the best mountain biking gear, whether you’re new to the sport or just need to replace what’s worn out, this list has what you need.


See Also: Best Mountain Bike Maintenance Tools


Best Mountain Biking Gear


Clipless Shoes

Clipless shoes are made for the climb. By having your feet attached to the pedals it is easier to transfer power and make each turn of the pedal more efficient and powerful. It also increases your bunnyhop-ability, so you can clear large rocks and logs much easier. Clipless shoes are best for experienced riders.

  • Cross-country clipless mountain bike shoes look similar to road shoes. They are lightweight with a stiff sole and have minimal tread to make walking on trails easier. They do not offer a lot of protection around the heel and toes.
  • Trail/Enduro clipless mountain bike shoes are burlier with a heavy-duty upper and armoring on the toes and heels to protect you from rocks and logs.

Venzo Mountain Bike Shimano SPD Shoes Venzo Mountain Bike Shimano SPD Shoes

The Venzo Mountain Biking Shoe is a great choice when you are looking for a quality clipless shoe at an affordable price. This includes one pair of shoes, one pair of cleats and two pedals, this complete package is a great value for the money.

  • This complete package is designed to give mountain bikers lots of control and stability on the trail.
  • Made of a quick-drying mesh and a synthetic upper that offers comfort and breathability.
  • Removable sock liners ensure a comfortable fit.
  • Shoes boast a low-cut construction (like a road cycling shoe) making them lightweight.
  • Shoes have a really flexible forefoot with a beveled heel, similar to a running shoe.
  • A pair of Wellgo mountain bike clipless pedals with a black aluminum ED construction and Chromoly spindle are included.
  • A pair of Wellgo SPD-compatible cleats are also included in the package
  • By having a complete package there is no fear that one item won’t be compatible to another.
  • Also, great for spin classes
  • Sold in men’s sizes but fits both men and women.

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Flat Shoes

Flat mountain bike shoes do not lock to the bike so they offer a faster escape then clipless shoes. They boast very grippy soles so they hold the pedals better than regular street shoes. They are used with flat pedals. Flats are perfect for beginners, by removing the worry of being locked into your bike during a crash.


Five Ten Men’s Freerider Pro Bike Shoes Five Ten Men's Freerider Pro Bike Shoes

If your not into clipless shoes then these flat shoes are the way to go. These new shoes are an updated version of the legendary Five Ten Freerider mountain bike shoes and they are packed with new features to enhance your ride.

  • The man-made, lightweight, weather-resistant uppers dry quickly and are very durable
  • Chris Kovarik is quoted as saying, ”The Freerider Pro is my favorite shoe to date.”
  • Compression-molded EVA midsole offers maximum cushion and arch support. It also absorbs shocks when landing big jumps on the trail.
  • Lace stops keep laces secure and out of the way of pedals and chain.
  • Reinforced toe box offers lots of toe protection.
  • Toe box is reinforced with impact resistant foam pour-on which stiffens on impact to protect your piggly wigglies from harm.
  • Perforated toe box also offers breathability to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
  • Removable Ortholite molded sock liner offers additional cushioning.
  • Stealth-1 rubber sole offers unparalleled grip and durability.
  • Women-specific model is also available

See Also: Women’s Five Ten Freerider Pro Shoes

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Pinned Pedals

If your going to be using Flat shoes you are going to need pinned pedals. Pinned pedals are flat pedals which are studded with small pins to provide extra grip. By placing the sole of your shoe on these pins, you literally attach your foot to the pedal, however it will disengage quickly and naturally when you need to, unlike a clipless pedal.


VP Components Vice Pedals VP Components VP-Vice Pedals

If you are not ready for a clipless kit, or just don’t like them, then a pinned flat pedal is the way to go as it will give you additional stickiness to the pedal without trapping your foot like a clipless pedal does.

  • Pedal is made of durable, lightweight, machined aluminum.
  • Offers superior grip with a low profile
  • 14 replaceable, back-out steal pins per side make switching worn-out pins a breeze.
  • 105 x 105 x 17mm platform
  • Offering lots of grip but you can easily move your foot so less chance of destroying pedals
  • Available in 4 colors: Red, Grey, Blue and Black
  • This pedal is simple, thin, grippy, and durable.
  • Will bite into any shoe out there and stick you to the pedals, increasing confidence
  • VP Vice is fully rebuildable with the Rebuild Kit and you can reduce additional weight with the Forged Titanium Axle upgrade kit.

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Bike Helmet

The number one job of your bike helmet is to protect your noggin. Mountain bike helmets are not required to have certification so make sure you look (and find) a helmet with safety certification. Correctly used helmets meeting these standards protect against skull fractures & severe brain injuries.

  • ASTM; American Society for Testing and Materials
  • Snell Foundation Safety Standards
  • CPSC; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission safety standard certifications.

JBM Bike Helmet JBM Bike Helmet

To be safe, bike helmets need to meet safety standard certifications, they are not required, but you will feel better if you know your helmet meets some safety standard. The JBM Bike Helmet is CPSC certified.

  • The JBM bike helmet is made of a tough and durable PVC & PC, with EPS foam to absorb impact and protect the head during crash or impacts. Certified by the CPSC Consumer Products Safety Commission
  • Features an easy-to-use dial system and side straps to easily adjust to different head sizes.
  • Aerodynamic helmet shape and ventilation design allows air go through the biking helmet to increase airflow and keep you cool.
  • Constructed of lightweight material
  • The inner pad makes the helmet more comfortable
  • Adult helmet
  • Perfect for both men and women

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Cycling Gloves

Gloves are important for two reasons. First, they protect your hands from the constant pressure, friction and vibration of palms on handlebars and prevent calluses, blisters and general discomfort. Second, they offer a lot of protection from abrasion and road rash in the occurrence of a crash. Look for lots of cushioning and durability.


BOODUN Cycling Gloves BOODUN Cycling Gloves

Keep your hands happy, protected and out of harm’s way while mountain biking with these great gloves. Offering lots of protection from abrasion and road rash on the palms.

  • Made of 55% polyester and 45% nylon
  • Features a shock-absorbing, elastic 8mm foam padding on the palms for protection
  • The gloves upper material is made of stretchable and breathable Lycra.
  • Light and soft, gloves feel natural with comfortable fit
  • Convenient towel cloth on the thumb helps to quickly wipe sweat away when you need to
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Designed to relieve pressure on Median and Ulnar nerves for long distance, mountain bike comfort.

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Clothing

Look for clothing that is breathable and wicks moisture from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable. Pockets are awesome for carrying small essentials. Look for short sleeve shirts and jerseys for sunny, hot trails and long sleeved jerseys for wooded, late season or high altitude riding.


Womens Endura Cycling Jersey Endura Womens Xtract Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey

  • Beautifully designed and colorful biking jersey will have you looking forward to riding.
  • High performance comfortable jersey with  sweat-wicking moisture control
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Made of ultra soft Airtex fabric for quick drying and comfort
  • Three back pockets hold accessory items.
  • Reflective warning strips on sleeves and rear pockets improves safety when riding at night.
  • Professional fitting design keeps you looking your best out on the trail
  • Available in a variety of colors

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Spotti Mens Cycling Jersey Spotti Mens Cycling Jersey

  • 100 % polyester for quick-drying
  • Jersey can be a tighter or a looser style depending on the size you choose
  • Made of an advanced, breathable fabric, that maximizes ventilation with high-wicking ability.
  • Lightweight material features high quality workmanship and stitching
  • Reflective print logo on the front and back of the shirt, makes you highly visible at night and low light.
  • The 12” zipper, it’s easy to wear and can easily be opened on the fly to cool you down.
  • Elastic hem keeps the back of the shirt in place and doesn’t let it ride up.
  • 3 rear pockets lets you hold a tone of needed items close at hand.
  • Available in a long sleeve version also
  • 90-day guarantee

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Cycorld Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts Cycorld Women's Mountain Bike Shorts

  • Cool baggy design shorts are durable and reliable and comfortable, so you cycle more freely.
  • These shorts are incredibly breathable and will keep you cool.
  • The water repellent fabric will keep you dry when biking.
  • Enjoy 4 spacious, deep pockets to hold your phone, keys, wallets and any other small items.
  • High-quality YKK brand zippers
  • Reflective strip increases visibility when riding at night
  • Adjustable waist insures a great fit, with the use of adjustable Velcro straps.
  • These cycling shorts are non-restrictive, loose-fitting and perfect for all types of biking and outdoor activities.

See Also: Mens Cycorld Mountain Bike Shorts

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Hydration Backpack

Always stay hydrated. A hydration backpack is nice because it can hold your water as well as bike tools and other important incidentals. If you don’t have a hydration pack at least have a water bottle and holder mounted on your bike because you will build up quite a thirst on the trail.


Hydration Backpack Hydration Backpack

A Hydration Backpack is essential and welcome on any outing but the shortest mountain bike rides. Make sure you choose a great one!

  • Perfect size for single day or overnight outdoor adventures (capacity 18L)
  • BPA-free FDA approved 2-liter hydration bladder is included. Convenient bite valve, large opening for easy filling, cleaning & drying.
  • Low-profile backpack with full adjustment fits everyone comfortably.
  • Ventilated mesh padding are applied for the shoulder straps, waist straps and back area to keep you cool and avoid sweat spots and won’t dig in to your shoulders
  • Insulated bladder compartment keeps liquid cool or hot for up to 4 hours
  • 90-day guarantee
  • Large capacity hydration pack only weighs 1.3 pounds empty.
  • 3 zipper pockets & dual side mesh pockets make this backpack big enough for day or overnight trips.
  • Durable, triple-heat sealed edges can hold up to 132 lbs, and won’t burst even if someone stands on it.
  • Plug-in connector instead of a traditional screw-on connector prevents loosening and leaking.

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Comments three mountain bikers on the trail

What do you consider the Best Mountain Biking Gear? Do you agree with this list or have we left anything important out? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories. Thanks for reading.

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8 Comments

  • Dhayours

    Great article about best mountain biking gear, and I am sure this guide is very helpful for mountain bikers. However, I am not a mountain biker, I am looking for a pair of clipless shoes that will work for my spin bike.  Clipless shoes should keep my feet from slipping off the pedals, and make me feel more secure and able to dig deeper.  Will the Venzo Mountain Bike Shimano SPD Shoes work on a stationary bike?

    • ThinkVail

      That is a great question, thank you for asking.  Yes, the Venzo Mountain Bike Shimano SPD Shoes should work perfectly on your stationary bike.  Most indoor bike pedals are SPD®-compatible. So if you are wearing a shoe that is SPD® compatible, the cleats that attach to your shoes should work with your indoor bike.However, the really nice thing about this shoes is that it includes the clips and pedals, so even if your current pedals for some reason, didn’t fit the clips, you could just change them out with the included pedals.  Have fun getting in shape!

  • Nuttanee

    Hi I have just moved to Vail with my parents, I am 15 years old and love to mountain bike but we are from back east, Ohio, and not familiar with this area.  Would you suggest any gear for riding in Colorado that we might not have needed in Ohio and how do I find out where the local bike trails are?

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Nuttanee, welcome to the area, you are going to LOVE mountain biking here in Colorado.  For gear specific for Colorado I would say make sure you have a good hydration pack as due to the elevation it gets really dry here and your body dehydrates faster than at sea level, so yo won’t perform as well, you must stay hydrated.  I would also say to make sure you wear sunscreen all the time.  At 8,150 ft. above sea level, it is sooo easy to sunburn.  For trail information check out the post Vail Mountain Biking Trails & Surrounding Areas it has tons of information about the local routes. Thanks for reading about the BEST Mountain Biking Gear. 

  • Mehedi

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this list of all the best mountain bike gear.  I have just started mountain biking and I love it!  I am planning on buying a new item for my latest passion each paycheck.  I love this list, it has everything I need, it is all highly rated and affordable.  My first purchase is going to be good mountain biking shoes, I am not ready for clipless but I really like the Five Ten Freerider mountain bike shoes, after that I think I will invest in a pair of pinned pedals.  Thanks so much, for this informative, comprehensive list of must-haves.

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Mehedi, I am happy you liked the best mountain biking gear list.  These are some of my favorites and I am sure you will love them. The Five Ten Freerider mountain bike shoes and pinned pedals are a great combination which will give you a lot of confidence because you can stick to the pedals so much better ( but not locked in , like with clipless) have fun, and enjoy collecting a new treasure each paycheck!

  • Coach

    Great article about the best mountain biking gear.  It is spring here in Colorado and although the snow is melting, the trails are still too muddy to ride.  However, I am super excited to get on my bike so I just took it out of the storage closet, and thought I would give it some love before the season starts.  I put it away muddy, so the first task is to hose it off, both tires have lost all their air, my chain is dirty and needs to be greased and I can only find one of my cycling gloves, so maybe it’s OK that it might be another week or so till I can ride because I have some repairs to do and some equipment to replace.  I really like the Boodun Cycling Gloves and I am in desperate need of some new shorts. Thanks for the suggestions, this post rocks!

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Coach, I am so happy you found the post about the best mountain biking gear helpful.  I know how exciting it can be right before the season starts and you are just chomping at the bit to get out on the trails and get the season started. Before you hit the trails check out the post Best Mountain Bike Maintenance Tools to get your bike in tip top working order. The Boodun Cycling Glovesare a great choice and they have almost a 70% 5-star rating on Amazon, so you know people love them. If you’re looking for new mountain biking shorts you can’t go wrong with the Cycorld Mens Mountain Bike Shorts

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