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Got a bike - what else?

BlackSpurBlackSpur Posts: 4,228
edited November 2009 in MTB beginners
After seeing many threads asking what else is needed to enjoy mountain biking once the initial purchase of a bike is made I thought I'd have a go at putting some sort of guide together.

Absolutely Essential

You shouldn't go for an offroad ride whithout these

- HELMET! - The most important thing. Protect your head! A popular cheap choice is the Bell Venture. Spending more money gets a lighter weight and bettter ventilation

- Some form of Hydration. Whether you use water bottles or a hydration pack, make sure you have some way of taking water with you - getting dehydrated is not fun.

- Puncture repair kit. Punctures are a pain in the backside so don't let them end your ride: you must have some way of fixing them. Either a spare tube or two, or glue and patches (or both) as well as tyre levers.

- Minipump. It can either be fixed to your frame or go in a rucksack.

- Mobile phone. Most people will take this without thinking as it can be very useful in an emergency.


Very Useful

These things can make you life much easier and more enjoyable

- Multitool. You can fix most things on your bike with a multitool, so taking one with you allows you to fix it on the trail. Topeak tools are very popular.

- Hydration Pack. This is basically a rucksack which also houses a water bladder with a hose and mouthpiece. Most have storage space for you to carry your other bits and pieces around. Lidl and Aldi sell cheap ones from time to time, and Gelert and High Sierra packs (look on eBay) are also popular cheap options. Camelback is one of the popular, more enpensive manufacturers - more money tends to bring better constuction, organisation and more comfortable harnesses.
And/Or
- Saddle Pack. A small bag that attaches under and behing the saddle can be used to hold the essentials - tube, repair kit, phone etc. Often used in conjunction with bottles by those who don't like hydration packs.

- Chain lubricant. Bikes need regular care and maintenance, especially the drivetrain. One of the simplest forms of maintenance os cleaning and lubricating the chain, to slow wear and maintain good shifting. Don't use WD40 or similar - invest in a proper chain lube such as Finish Line or White Lightning.

- Chain Link. A broken chain is said to be the second most common failure to occur on the trail, after a puncture. SRAM Powerlinks allow the chain to be re-joined tool free. They work with the two most common makes of bike chain (SRAM and Shimano), just make jure you get the correct one for the number of gears on your bike. Available from most big online retailers (e.g. CRC) or your local bike shop (LBS). A Chain tool is also advisable as it is likely you will have to remove the snapped link(s), available from the same places. Some Multitools encorporate one of these.

- Gloves. A pair of cycling gloves can really help to reduce hand pain caused by longer journeys. Gloves also protect hands in the event of a crash and keep hands warm on cooler days. Full finger or fingerless, choose to suit preference/condiitons.

- Sunglasses. Not only do they shade your eyes, they stop grit/mud/flies getting into them which can be really distracting! Clear=lens glases such as the Madison Shields or even protective glasses from hardware stores are useful on overcast days or at night.

- Lights/ It's easy to get caught out in the dark when a ride takes longer than expected, especially in the dark so taking a small cheap set with you just in case is a good idea.

- Food. For short blasts you may not need anything, but a snack is good on a slightly longer ride. Obviously, the longer the ride, the more you need. For cycling, ideal foods have sugar for an instant energy hit, as well as ingredients to give a more sustained energy boost. Popular choices are:
- Flapjacks, homemade or bought.
- Energy bars, more expensive but more convenient and specifically designed, popular choices are SIS GO, Maxim, Clif.
- Dried Fruit.
- Pasta (usually as a meal during longer rides)

Nice to Have

Things to consider as you become more interested in the sport

- Cycle specific clothing. A T-shirt and shorts will suffice to start with but as you progress you may want better stuff. Cycle shorts have padding to help prevent saddle sore - many mountain bikers wear a padded lycra undershort under baggies. Cycling tops are designed to wick sweat away and keep you dry and cool. Layers is the way to go here - base layers, jerseys and jackets can be layered for all conditions. Jackets allow you to cycle in bad weather - more expensive ones are more breathable. Very cheap stuff can occasionaly be bought from or Aldi. Decathlon also do some budget gear. Other big companies are Endura, Altura and DHB.

- Pads. As you start to hit more challenging terrain some extra protection can give more confidence and reduce injury if you do crash. Elbow and/or knee pads are worn by some XC riders for this reason. Added bonus - they keep elbows/knees warm in winter.

- Bike Maintenance stuff
- Tookit. You may wish to start carrying out more of your own repairs and a home tookit a great way to start. Again, the German supermarkets occasionally sell them, as well as companies such as Ice Toolz.
- Cleaning Products. Muddy rides lead to muddy bikes - leaving your bike mucky can be damaging. Invest in some brushes and cleaning products (Muc Off and Fenwicks are cycle specific,but some swear by supermarket All Purpose Cleaner). There are a multitude of products with different purposes out there - some remove general dirt, some degrease, some protect....
- A Maintenance book. A great way to help with home repairs is a bike maintenance book, such as "Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance" can save you a lot of money in the long run.
- Bike Workstand. If you want to do your own maintenance a stand makes life much easier. Basic ones can be found on eBay (mine cost £25).


Consider for longer rides

-First Aid Kit. Many guys carry this on all rides, but it is definitely advisable to carry one if you plan to venture on longer rides deeper into the countryside. Hopefully you will never need to use it. A space blanket could also be useful.

- Map. If you are following a new route, or even if you are not, an OS map could come in very useful.

This is just a preliminary list - all suggestions (and spelling corrections!) welcome![/list][/b][/b]
"Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling." ~James E. Starrs

Posts

  • a17vtsa17vts Posts: 90
    This is a really good guide IMO.

    There are so many stupid items I forgot to get when i first purchased my bike. Now I think I have the essentials to get me through a ride and if I start to enjoy it I shall increase the amount of items in my garage!
  • Wicked list, cheers mate :)
  • handfulhandful Posts: 918
    Very useful, thanks BlackSpur. It's nice to get some 'budget' options as well. When I got my bike I had no idea how much more I was going to have to spend on 'essentials'. Should have done it before and saved me a load of earache :wink:
    Vaaru Titanium Sram eTap HRD
    Kuota Kharma Evo Rival 22 - fair weather
    Moda Chord with drop bars and Rival shifters - foul weather
    Intense Spider 29er - mud
  • xgeekxgeek Posts: 117
    Good list. I only got my GT XCR this month and so far I have had to buy everything on your list except the book. I think I have spent more on the extra stuff than I did the bike :?
  • Rich9Rich9 Posts: 1,635
    Nice on Balckspur. very useful info for newbies
    2014 Whyte T-129S
  • a17vtsa17vts Posts: 90
    a book is next on my list.

    but as said all this stuff adds up.
  • DV1DV1 Posts: 22
    Deffinately a spare inner tube or 2 , its bloody hard work trying to fix a puncture in the p*ssing rain :cry:
  • cjwcjw Posts: 1,889
    How about a workstand in nice to have.

    Don't know how I managed before one - ah yes, I remember... turn bike upside down to work underneath and it keeps falling over. Proped it up on blocks to spin the cranks / rear wheel to adjust gears, and off course it falls over all the time :?
    London to Paris Forum
    http://cjwoods.com/london2paris

    Scott Scale 10
    Focus Izalco Team
  • I would add as essential a chain tool and the appropriate magic link. If your chain explodes miles up on a fell, (and it's always miles away from anywhere when it happens) they can see you sorted in less than five minutes, saving a long walk home.

    If you are heading out into the wilds, a first aid kit and a thermal blanket are also recommended. hopefully just passengers to carry about, but you would be glad to have them if you need them.
  • BlackSpurBlackSpur Posts: 4,228
    Gloves, workstand and powerlink added.
    "Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling." ~James E. Starrs
  • ST ColinST Colin Posts: 147
    I think this thread should be made into a sticky.

    I'm also happy i've covered all the essentials for my riding :lol:
    http://stcolin.pinkbike.com

    BeOne Aspire 1.0
    RS Recon Race Air Solo 100mm
    Raceface XC and Easton
    Mavic 321, DT Swiss spokes, XT hubs
    Panaracer Rampage SC's
  • I'm thinking knee protection could be worth adding, something like 661 Kyle Straights.

    Can obviously protect very important parts and keep the knees warm too... Not nice riding in cold weather, warmed up but with the wind changing that pretty drastically.
    And best of all, they're comfy enough for long rides without any irritation!
  • i never ever go out without my moby,
    first cause i got some good tunes on to keep me going,
    and if you have a bad stack you or your mates can always call for help.
    i take an old one with me and then if i do wreck it i aint lost nothing,
    something to think about?
  • cjwcjw Posts: 1,889
    i never ever go out without my moby,
    first cause i got some good tunes on to keep me going,
    and if you have a bad stack you or your mates can always call for help.
    i take an old one with me and then if i do wreck it i aint lost nothing,
    something to think about?

    I can never get a signal where ever I cycle.
    London to Paris Forum
    http://cjwoods.com/london2paris

    Scott Scale 10
    Focus Izalco Team
  • batch78batch78 Posts: 1,320
    Nice list Blackspur.

    I'd add to essentials, ZIPTIES , can be used to fix just about anything, re-usable ones are handy but standard ones can do up tighter.[/b]
  • BlackSpurBlackSpur Posts: 4,228
    I will add zipties in with multitool - very usefull but I would not say absolutely essential to go out with on the first few rides.
    "Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling." ~James E. Starrs
  • batch78batch78 Posts: 1,320
    Thats fair, I'm a bit odd and carry them everywhere! In my car, in my saddle bag, in my coat pocket, you get the idea. :lol:
  • easygeasyg Posts: 266
    Unless I've missed them in your list Spur (apologies if so), elbow and knee pads might go under the very useful category.

    Can be expensive like every item in mountain biking but certainly don't need to be. Even the chicken wing types would be better than nothing if money is tight, and also serve to keep your elbow & knees warm, which I recently learnt is vital in cold weather (double cramp in both thighs at the same time in the middle of Dalby Red, ouch!).

    My other suggestion is energy bars - not to eat every time necessarily (although food might want to go on the list!) but more for that ride when you hit 'the wall' which is funny in hindsight but can be dangerous on red/ black grade trails. Usually a £1 each.

    What do you think?

    PS - Great list by the way mate - excellent idea.
    "If you think straight enough, you can see round corners"
  • Papa Smurf wrote:
    I'm thinking knee protection could be worth adding, something like 661 Kyle Straights.

    Can obviously protect very important parts and keep the knees warm too... Not nice riding in cold weather, warmed up but with the wind changing that pretty drastically.
    And best of all, they're comfy enough for long rides without any irritation!

    To fit with above post...
  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    ....for this time of year, don't forget lights. Surprising how easy it is to get caught out.
  • BlackSpurBlackSpur Posts: 4,228
    I've been away for a while, I will add some more when I have some more time :wink:
    "Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling." ~James E. Starrs
  • cjw, I'd defo still take a mobile - Even if you think you never have a signal, calls to SOS numbers will lock onto any available network so you might not be able to call home but you might get through to HELP! :)
    GT Aggressor XCR
  • I would suggest eye protection as being pretty well essential-mud/grit/flies etc being sprayed at your eyes is not fun!
  • Good post :wink:
    better late in this life than early for the next
  • Spare cables would be usefull too. Brake cable if still using 'V's and a gear cable. You might not have the knowledge to change them but somebody in your group probably will.
    ................"It`s a madhouse"................
  • eykoeyko Posts: 68
    easyg wrote:
    My other suggestion is energy bars - not to eat every time necessarily (although food might want to go on the list!) but more for that ride when you hit 'the wall' which is funny in hindsight but can be dangerous on red/ black grade trails. Usually a £1 each.
    .

    For a cheap and tasty alternative to energy bars, buy jelly. Seriously a block of supermarket jelly can cost anything from 8p to 13p. Cheap and packed full of sugar. They work fine for me.
    FCN 7
  • Got a bike What else???? .............. you forgot a decent pair of legs to pedal it with (something i'm in desperate need of!!) :)

    Great List by the way :D
    On One Inbred 456
    On One Inbred SS
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