Welcome to ThinkVail – shop our list of the best mountain biking gear featuring clipless and flat shoes, pinned pedals, helmets, gloves, cycling shorts, shirts, hydration packs and more so you can get off-road.
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.
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 bunny hop-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.
#1 Best Mountain Biking Gear – 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.
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.
#2 Best Mountain Biking Gear – 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.
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.
#3 Best Mountain Biking Gear – VP Components 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.
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.
#4 Best Mountain Biking Gear – 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
Perfect for both men and women
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.
#5 Best Mountain Biking Gear – 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.
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.
#6 Best Mountain Biking Gear – Women’s Endura Cycling Jersey
Beautifully designed and colorful biking jersey will have you looking forward to riding.
High performance comfortable jersey with sweat-wicking moisture control
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
#7 Best Mountain Biking Gear – Spotti Men’s 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
#8 Best Mountain Biking Gear – 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.
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.
#9 Best Mountain Biking Gear – Camelbak Cycling Hydrobak
This minimalist bike hydration backpack from Camelbak is essential and welcome on any mountain bike adventure. This one is very lightweight and boasts a ton of helpful features.
Perfect size for a 2-hour ride 1.5L/50 fl. oz.
BPA-free FDA approved hydration bladder is included.
Low-profile backpack with full adjustment fits everyone comfortably.
Ventilated mesh harness and back panels keep you cool.
Insulated bladder compartment keeps liquid cool or hot for up to 4 hours
Ergonomic handle for easy refilling, and an on/off lever prevents leaks.
Hydration pack only weighs 5 oz. empty.
Reflective accents for visibility in low-light environments
Secure zippered pocket holds small essentials.
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.
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 Gloves are 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.