Nothing of what we wear in everydays' life is suitable to go mountain biking: from head to toe. Indeed, there is a specific mtb clothing evolved over the years to ensure comfort and safety. Each part of our body is stressed differently and requires special attentions, ranging from protection to agility: so much that it would be more appropriate to speak of equipment instead of clothing.
Helmet and goggles, don’t forget them
Let's start from the head: there are two accessories in your mtb clothing that must never be left home: helmet and goggles.
The biker helmet is lightweight, made of rigid polystyrene plastic coated. The value of this shell could be measured in the number of head injuries prevented each year. Not only that: the helmet also protects you from the scratches caused by overhanging branches or stones falling from mountain walls... accidents that are not uncommon in the woods.
Equally valuable is the function of goggles. Let me be clear: they are not an option, but two plastic shields that defend our eyes from all that can attack them while we have fun; therefore look for a pair of them on the shelves: it doesn't matter the color and form, choose the one that you like but then do not forget them ever.
Let's talk about the real MTB clothing now: cycling jerseys
are made of a soft and porous fabric which facilitates sweating and breathing of the skin
. All year round there are suitable clothing: in cold seasons you should consider to buy a space-saving winter jacket to prevent cold air from entering annoyingly. There are many on-line shops, like bicycle-line.com
, that have great stocks and selection.
What you have to carry in all seasons is a rain or windproof jacket: in our tours the climate is always changing, sometimes dramatically even in few hours or in different microclimate situations as forests, galleries, not to mention the temperature range due to altitudes. Expert bikers dress in layers, in order to balance temperature changes. Significant is also the choice of colors: the visibility to all other road and trail users is something we have to consider, therefore wear phosphorescent colors and avoid the dark or camouflage ones.
As for the shorts, there are two schools of thought: tight ones (more used among road cyclists but also good for mtb) and baggy shorts (popular with freeriders). Then there are bibshorts and shorts without straps: the choice is up to you!
Hands and feet: cover them well!
Now let's get back on more technical elements in your MTB clothing such as gloves and shoes. Our hands need grip to grasp the knobs: a stressful job for our skin that receives relief from the use of a pair of gloves. In case of fall, gloves wil save us also annoying scrapes and will help us to have a softer impact. Therefore, it is important to choose a good pair of gloves: well lined inside and with the proper coating on the outside.
We end up with feet: there are special socks that ensure a good breathing. They can be found easily on the market but be careful and if you can buy sports socks.
Let's come to the shoes: as for any activities also mountain biking has its own (also different from road bike shoes). It's up to you to choose shoes with or without fastening: the first choice allows you to be firmly anchored to the bicycle with great advantages especially uphill but downhill they can give you some problems in dealing with the unforeseen, the latter allows more freedom of movement and setting. Shoes sole should be stiff but not too much to prevent you to walk in those pieces of trails that inevitably you will face. Avoid sneakers that belong other sports: they are too soft uphill and too slippery downhill... and their laces invariably end up being sucked into the gears.
In some case, you can opt for a pair of hiking boots with hard sole: a solution that many bikers take in winter or on paths where there are many pieces of trail where to push.