The right clothes for biking will make your experience a lot more enjoyable and safe, so knowing what to wear for mountain biking is critical to your health and happiness!
By wearing a helmet, knee pads, and some comfortable clothes, you’ll be able to improve your safety exponentially.
Comfort is also essential because you might ride for hours a day, and uncomfortable clothes can ruin your experience.
In today’s guide, we’ll take a look at the importance of clothes and protection for mountain biking, from helmets and glasses to knee pads and gloves. We’ll see how important every piece of biking clothing is and which ones are a must for you.
How Important Are Biking Clothes?
You can ride your mountain bike without any sort of biking clothing. No lycra shorts or pants are necessary, nor are glasses or shoes or jerseys. However, the fact that you can ride your bike without these gear doesn’t mean you should not get them.
Biking clothes are designed to make your experience a lot more enjoyable and to keep you safe and protected in case of a fall. For many cyclists getting the right clothes is all about comfort.
The more breathable the clothes are, the more you can ride without feeling like you are swimming inside your garments.
If you are just commuting, then unique clothes and gear are not 100% necessary.
However, suppose you plan to go on an uphill ride that will last for hours. In that case, you might want to consider getting the most comfortable clothes.
The Difference Between Biking Clothes and Regular Clothes
One of the main differences between regular clothes and biking clothes is the fit.
Cycling clothes should fit you perfectly when leaning forward when riding your bike.
Legwear and shirts are cut so that you can move without the fear of your clothes showing off parts of your body.
Another difference is the possibility of more movement. Cyclists will tell you that they wear biking gear because they move as they move, meaning that the clothes do not restrict the body.
You can stretch your arms and legs as much as you need, thanks to the lycra material.
Another significant difference between biking clothes and regular clothes is the breathability of the materials. Whenever you train or ride, you sweat, and that sweat can make you heavier and uncomfortable.
Biking clothes and gear allow the skin to breathe naturally and control the temperature of your body.
Additionally, biking clothes are excellent for rainy days. Suppose you love to ride your bike when it is raining. In that case, getting the proper clothing is essential to avoid catching a cold or getting uncomfortable because of the cold.
Here are the main items of clothing and protection you’ll need to make your riding experience a lot better:
Helmets are the essential biking gear every biker must wear.
Whether you are using it for commuting, BMX stunts, or mountain biking, a helmet is a must.
If you fall while riding, the most dangerous thing to happen is hitting your head. Most professional cyclists know that it is better to hit arms or buttocks before hitting your head at all.
Helmets, especially full-face helmets, work by protecting your head from impact and preventing any significant injury.
Full-face helmets are the best option for mountain bikers. The reason is that downhill riding is one of the most dangerous biking subcategories.
If you are a beginner and you are thinking about getting a helmet, we recommend full-face helmets.
Pros of Open Face Helmets
- Open-face helmets are less heavy and give room for more mobility, which allows you to turn your head if you need to.
- It is the best option if you live in a warm climate and it also provides good protection.
- It is easier to carry them and move them around.
Tip: Open helmets come in different qualities and sizes. Ensure you get one that fits you properly and allows good movement.
Cons of Open Face Helmets
- The main drawback of an open-face helmet is that it won’t protect your face in the event of a fall. Helmets won’t prevent brain injuries, but they do an excellent job at preserving the integrity of your head. However, open-face helmets only cover the back of your head, leaving the front unprotected.
Pros of Full-Face Helmets
- The main benefit of a full-face helmet over an open-face helmet is that it protects the chin, teeth, nose, and lips. It is the best option if you are planning to start mountain biking.
- Do you dislike swallowing flies when you are riding? Then this helmet will be your best ally.
- Other benefits are similar to an open-face helmet advantage. So, consider this option if you are planning on practicing downhill riding.
Cons of Full-Face Helmets
- The main drawback of this helmet is the weight and lack of mobility. It gets a bit heavy on your neck after wearing it for a while.
- Another disadvantage of these types of helmets is that they are more expensive than open-face helmets. You can find them cheap, but the most affordable options do not have the same quality and comfort.
- Full-face helmets get too hot during summer. If you live in a hot area, we recommend not wearing them for more than an hour or two. If you wear your full-face helmet, ensure you are going at a reasonable speed constantly to allow the wind to cool down your head.
If you are not using a full-face helmet, you might want to consider getting a pair of biking glasses.
The glasses will protect your eyes from any debris or dirt, or any other object that can compromise your vision. Additionally, most cycling glasses are excellent to protect you from getting blinded by the sunlight.
The cycling or biking glasses are also a good option for protection against snow or rain during the coldest days of the year.
As we’ve mentioned before, cycling clothes offer the best fit, highest-quality materials, and other features that can come in handy.
They are not a must for you to start your biking experience, but they can help you a lot if you like to be comfortable when riding.
The main benefit of a cycling jersey is the material. These jerseys are made of the highest-quality moisture-moving fabrics, which are excellent for the hottest days of the year.
Additionally, they also provide excellent insulation for cold weather and some rain cycling.
Another benefit of cycling jerseys is their fit. It means that regardless of how much you move, the jersey will move with you. You’ll be able to lean forwards without having to worry about your clothes ripping.
Finally, cycling jerseys offer other features that can help you when riding. You’ll be able to carry your phone, tools, and even some food inside the pockets of the jersey.
Tip: When buying your first cycling jersey, ensure that you lean forward when trying it. Try to replicate movements you’ll make when riding, and you’ll know how comfortable the jersey is and if it is the proper cut for you.
Just like with cycling jerseys, shorts are not a must for you to enjoy your ride.
However, if you plan to ride for long hours and days, we recommend considering getting a pair of these shorts. Cycling shorts allow your legs to move without overheating, and they provide the necessary freedom for constant pedaling.
Pressure Points and Padding
There are many benefits to cycling shorts. One of the main advantages they offer you is the reduction of pressure points when you are riding.
This is an excellent benefit. We all know that constant pedaling and shifting can produce irritation and pain in the body’s sensitive areas.
Cycling shorts come with padding that protects the most sensitive parts. This padding creates protection for your body that also absorbs the impact when jumping or going downhill.
Vibration and Impact
Another excellent advantage of these shorts is that they control the vibration produced by the wheels’ impact and the road.
This vibration is expected on the most uneven surfaces, but it is also a problem with smooth surfaces. So, there’s no way to escape the vibration and impact when you are riding.
Now, cycling shorts disperse the vibration and protect your body from it. You won’t feel the vibration in your skin nor inside of your body.
Suppose you plan to ride for long hours. In that case, it is better to protect against the vibration as it can cause severe pain depending on your body’s anatomy.
Moisture and Skin Protection
Most cycling shorts are made of soft fabric or microfiber that feels comfortable and fresh against your skin. Additionally, these shorts’ design and materials allow your skin to breathe even during the hottest days.
By allowing better breathability, the sweat does not accumulate, and you feel fresh.
There are different options for cycling shorts. Each brand and model offers different materials and designs.
Most expensive cycling shorts provide a thin gel that keeps you cool and comfortable, but it is not the best option if you plan just to commute or do short-distance riding.
Note: These shorts are designed specifically for men or women. The female version of these shorts is designed for broader hip bones and provides more rear protection. The model for men is designed to protect the most sensitive male areas.
Knee and Elbow Pads
Knee and elbow pads are the best protection together with your helmet.
When you fall, you cannot control how you’ll fall, and hitting your knee or elbow can seriously damage your body.
That’s why many professionals decide to wear these pads. It protects them from severe injuries.
Knee and elbow pads come in different shapes and sizes. You won’t feel like you are wearing them as they tend to be lightweight and allow excellent movement.
Additionally, this gear is a must for any professional and experienced MTB rider.
Tip: You can wear them over or under your clothes, depending on how you feel more comfortable.
For most experienced cyclists, gloves are as essential as jerseys or shorts. The reason is that gloves offer features that many consider necessary.
One of the main benefits of cycling gloves is the possibility of an enhanced grip and control of the bike’s handlebars. But that’s not all. Gloves also provide extra protection for your hands in the event of a fall.
Additionally, most cycling gloves include a cooling gel to keep your hands fresh, something necessary during the hottest months of the year. Depending on your style, you can get full-cover or go for the fingerless options.
The best type of biking shoes will keep your feet fresh and comfortable or provide enough insulation to keep your feet warm during winter and snow biking.
However, you can ride your bike with any type of shoe. We recommend getting resistant and durable shoes, but it depends on you.
There is a trend among cyclists to use clipless pedals and, instead of a pedal, use their cycling shoes. These types of shoes lock your feet to the bike and allow you to pedal without actually having a pedal connected to your MTB bike.
It requires expertise as it can lead to severe accidents if you are not used to that method.
Another gear you might need is a hydration pack to keep you hydrated during the long hours of uphill and downhill riding.
You can also add a repairing kit if you suffer a fall and your bike needs some help to keep going. Additionally, a first aid kit should always be with you, especially when you are riding alone.
You can ride your bike without the use of any special gear or clothing.
Still, if you are going to go mountain biking, you need the necessary protection. A helmet, knee and elbow pads and comfortable shoes should be your first choice.
Additionally, you can add the correct type of jersey and cycling shorts to make your experience more comfortable. If you want to complete the look, a pair of high-quality gloves can protect your hands and keep them fresh.
Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic