Mountain biking is not only about the bike! Many accessories available today not only make the sport safer but offer valuable practical applications as well. Of course good bikes don’t come cheap, so you will also need to keep your bike securely stored away to prevent theft. Your experience can be significantly enhanced by investing in a few of these indispensible extras.
Safety combines a number of products that not only protect the bike, but the rider too. By now you should be wearing the standard safety equipment. Helmets, padded gloves, elbow and knee pads are needed, especially when tackling big downhill's. Add to that body armour, neck braces, wrist guards and ankle guards and a cyclist can ensure all over body protection.
There are other forms of protection available however, to protect you and your bike.
Riding at night can add an exciting new dimension to an already adrenaline filled sport. Of course, it should only be attempted by more experienced bikers and will require strong, piercing lights . Front and rear lighting sets such as the Lezyne Zecto Drive LED and the Giant Numen offer substantial battery life, adjustable light configurations and are waterproof. USB rechargeable lights such as the RSP Light Set offer 8 hours of battery life with a 2,5 hour recharge time through a USB port.
Lights such as the Exposure Diablo Mk6 can be mounted on a helmet where it will provide directional light and rider visibility. It can also be handily charged via a USB port.
Locks and other security
The security of your bike, be it at home or when out and about is vital. Luckily there are a number of products available, not only to secure it but also to help identify it if stolen.
The Master Lock Wall offers a perfect home security solution as it bolts into either the wall or the floor. It is made out of hardened, tamper proof steel which is acts as a further deterrent from more determined thieves packing heavier duty bolt clippers.
More mobile lock options include the OnGuard Bulldog Mini D, a small yet extremely durable locking option, perfect to put in your backpack on trips away. The Oxford Chain Lock offers a more traditional locking option and with the flexibility of the chain, your bike can be secured to almost anything.
An identification kit such as the Kryptonite Bike Shepherd adds a further level of protection and will help in identifying your bike if stolen. The tag itself is tamper proof and water resistant.
Although not used by all mountain bikers, mirrors can come in handy, especially when cycling in urban areas. Most mirrors such as the Cycleware Wingman and the Blackburn Mountain Mirror mount onto the handle bars, but can be folded or removed at any time. For those who prefer a more minimalist approach, a helmet mirror such as the Zefal Z Eye a good option. Fully adjustable and weighing a mere 20 grams, it offers superb rear visibility.
A number of products are designed to protect the frame of your mountain bike from debris, sand and rocks thrown up on a mountain bike trail. We recommend the BBB Carbonskin and for those who want to go that step further chainstay protectors will safeguard the frame from the chain where chaffing can occur through vigorous bike use.
Storage & Transport
Storage and safe transport to and from your mountain bike trails are an essential part of the sport. Also the ability to carry bike spares with you can be a life saver if as is inevitable, a key part of your bike malfunctions.
There are a number of options available for home storage.
A bike floor stand is an even easier option if you have a little more space as the bike can be pulled out for use in a matter of seconds. It will also prevent your bike falling over or being crushed by any other equipment or goods (this is especially true if you have a clogged up garage or shed!)
Vertical bike racks are an even more elaborate yet effective space saver for your bike(s). Allowing you to mount your bike with wheels first up against the wall means you have more room to play with.
Choosing one of these products will mean freeing yourself from those awkward efforts to cram your bike(s) in your car boot (which can be somewhat back breaking at times!). Bike roof racks that attach to your car are a popular option and include models such as the Peruzzo Crank Arm, to which the whole bike can be attached or the Avenir Pordoi in which the front wheel is removed and the front fork attached to the rack.
Boot racks come in a number of configurations. Single boot racks such as the Saris Bones Solo are perfect for single riders. Those who ride in groups will be well served by multiple bike boot racks such as the Hollywood Express 3 Bike model.
These bags provide a great way to transport bike spares including spare tubes and tools. Options include small wedge shaped bags such as the Specialized Mini Wedgie that takes up very little space, to larger bags such as the Giant WP Saddle Bag, able to fit more spares for longer journeys.
Various components including cycling computers and cameras allow you to keep track of kilometres ridden, top speeds, time cycled and in the case of cameras, great video footage of your journey.
On-board computers come in various guises. Entry level computers such as the ETC Mach 5 record basic information relating to your journey. More advance computers such as the Garmin Edge produces the same data along with many other functions including GPS tracking, cadence output and route tracker. A heart rate monitor can be used to monitor fitness exclusively.
Cameras have become extremely popular as they have reduced in size. The ability to record your mountain biking session is invaluable not only to share your experiences with friends but as a way to study and learn from your rides. The GoPro Hero is one of the best entry level recording cameras on the market today, able to take photos and record video in high definition. The GoPro Hero 4 offers more advanced features including a slow motion capture, perfect to learn technical trail sections.The Garmin Virb Elite camera allows users to setup specific profiles, track their journey using GPS, record video footage for up to 3 hours and connect via Wi-Fi to the internet.
Although not used by all cyclists, mud guards can help to keep yourself and your bike free from dirt and mud, especially in wet conditions. Front mud guards such as the aptly named Crud Catcher protect the rider while rear mud guards, including the Zefal Deflector prevent bikers being splashed by your back wheel. Mud guard sets such as the SKS Hightrek are also available.