Cycling in proper mountain bike gear increases your comfort and improves your safety. This particular article will comprise of a guide to picking the right cycling shoes, helmet, gloves, shorts and jackets.
Mountain bike cycling shoes guide
If you are a serious cyclist you definitely know the difference between the cycling experience when you use regular shoe and when you use special cycling shoes. Below are some factors you should consider and the features you should look for in a biking show before purchasing it.
Perfect fit- Cycling shoes should fit you perfectly to avoid hurting your feet when you are cycling. The pair of shoes should neither be too tight nor too loose to prevent excess movement of your feet to prevent generation of friction that causes blisters. However, it should be a bit loose because you can always fasten the shoe laces according to your preference.
Cleat compatibility- Study the pattern of your pedals for you to buy a comparable cleat to mount on your cycling shoes. Note that you have to purchase them separately and mount them on the shoes on your shoes because shoes don’t come with the cleats.
Ventilations- I would advocate for any mountain bike cyclist to invest in two pairs of shoes, one for the winter season and another one for summer. Winter shoes should have minimal ventilation to prevent penetration of water and a higher level of insulation to keep your feet warm during this cold season. The other pair meant for summer should have maximum ventilations to allow free circulation of air to cool your feet because too much heat is trapped inside the shoes when you are cycling.
Straps, buckles or BOA cord fastenings? Cycling shoes come in with any of the three means of fastening. Choose any from the options above depending on your preference and budget. It should be very comfortable, easy to adjust on the move, provide a firm grip, reliable, light-weight and relatively strong.
The sole- Mountain biking shoes should have a very flexible sole to achieve maximum power transfer when cycling in different types of terrains. It should be too high to ensure that you are very comfortable when riding your bike.
How to choose gloves, helmet, shorts and jackets for mountain bike cycling.
Helmet- Choose a helmet that is made of a strong and durable material to ensure that it will keep you safe. It should fit you perfectly hence not too tight or lose because it might fall off when you are on the move. Apart from that, it should have ventilations to allow free circulation of air to keep you cooler hence comfortable. You should also note that the more the ventilations the lighter the helmet.
Some helmets come with a visor that blocks the sun rays but it relatively adds the weight of the helmet and are resistant to the wind. This slows you down a bit. The straps should be comfortable when you fasten them on your neck and should also be easy to buckle and unbuckle. Lastly, some helmets are designed with a hair port that accommodates ponytails hence you don’t have to stick all your hair inside the helmet which can be very uncomfortable.
Gloves- Check the breathability of the gloves to ensure that they allow the sweat to evaporate. This prevents blockage of the moisture inside the gloves thus your hands remain very dry hence confortable when cycling.
They should also be strong enough to offer your hands with maximum protection in case you fall on a rough trail.
Most gloves are crafted from leather or synthetic palms to improve the grip on the handlebar. This prevents your hands from slipping off the bike when you are cycling.
Lastly, they should be water proof yet breathable to prevent moisture from penetrating during the rainy or snow seasons.
You should consider purchasing two types of gloves. One pair for the winter season should be insulated to provide your hands with maximum warmth. When your fingers are frozen holding to the handlebars becomes a struggle. The other pair meant for the hot weather should not be insulated to avoid generating too much heat.
Cycling shorts- This shorts are basically designed to provide maximum comfort when cycling. They are perfectly padded to reduce chaffing between your body and the seat. These shorts are made from materials that increase breathability and block the excess heat from the sun rays to reduce absorption.
Most professional cyclists prefer the ones that come with shoulder straps instead of waistbands that keep sliding down.
Cycling shorts come in different inseam lengths. Longer inseams prevent chaffing of the inner thigh against the saddle and ensure that the short stays in place.
Last but not least, they should be waterproof and tight enough to ensure that you remain dry regardless of the weather condition.
Cycling jacket- Most jackets are made from synthetic materials like nylon or polyester hence they are both wind and water proofed. A good cycling jacket should also be breathable to avoid accumulating too much heat. It should basically allow free circulation of air to regulate the temperature.
Being wind resistant, the jacket ensures that the wind doesn’t slow you down by pushing you against the direction you are cycling to. The pockets are usually water resistant too so you don’t have to worry about damaging your phone in case it starts raining and you don’t have a back-pack.
The color should also be visible from a far to make it easier for other cyclists or drivers to notice you thus it prevents you from being run over. The waist band should be tight enough to provide a firm grip.
Lastly, they come with hoods that zip away perfectly hence you can take it off when you are cycling on a downhill. Hoods tend to slow you down when it is windy thus you can unzip it and store it until you need it.