Have you watched mountain bikers hurling themselves down the steepest of mountains? It is magical and exhilarating at the same time. Bikers love to leave their fans in awe as they fly high on their bikes amidst ululation and chanting.
Much as it is fun, remember mountains are usually made of rocks. So safety is paramount. You want to make it to the final stage or even come back the next season/competitions in one piece. Therefore, you need protective gear to withstand the high speed and falls, if any and make it intact.
Are you wondering what protective gear to buy? Well, fret not. We have compiled a list of the gear you need below. Keep reading.
This is number one on the list for a reason-you need to protect your head first. You have probably seen downhill racers using scaled down motocross helmets and wondered ‘what the hell?’ Much as they look pretty hardcore, when you are riding at high speed down a steep and rocky mountain, you need maximum protection.
Most helmets cream of the crop are lightweight and woven from carbon fiber. However, they are usually pricey, so you might want to look around for better prices before you zero-in on one. In case you have a low budget, you might consider cheaper composite options yet offer the same safety.
Also, try on before buying so you get a helmet that fits. An oversized helmet or undersized one might not offer the protection you need as they can easily jump off.
Note that the inside of the helmet gets hot and therefore you are bound to sweat. Hence, you will need a washable liner to keep you and your bicycle helmet clean by absorbing sweat. D-ring strips are also crucial for fastening the helmet.
You will need single lens goggles to provide eye protection. Some riders might opt for cycling glasses but remember the speeds in downhill racing are high and therefore loose rocks, earth, mud and dust might hit you in the face.
Therefore, you need a well vented lens and you will need to clean them often for clear vision. Therefore, carry your goggle bag with you. Note that most goggles give little to no UV protection, in case you are riding in hot countries.
When a biker falls, the first reflex is to stick their hands out. If they are bare, they can get hurt by rocks, sharp stones/rocks, loose earth, etc. Therefore, you want to protect them all the time as you ride.
Then also, gloves give you a firm grip of the bike hence better control. Look for best fitting ones because you don’t want your hands sagging in the gloves or ‘suffocated’ because they are big or small.
Some bikers love wearing body armour while others don’t. Therefore, armour is a personal choice. For new bikers, it is recommended you wear elbow and knee pads for protection. Sock-style, up and over pads offer fastening at both ends and avoid slipping hence are ideal.
When buying armour, look for pads with removable protection as they are easy to have them washed. Note that Armour offers extra protection to your chest, ribs and back and therefore should be a priority too.
There are specific shorts for mountain bikers that offer a wide range of movement and re-enforcement in the areas where you want a little staying power. Downhill specific shorts offer stretch panels and harder wearing fabrics that are great for warding off abrasions in case of a fall.
Downhill biking is fun to watch and even more to partake. However, just like any good thing, you need to take precautions, short of which the consequences can be terrible. You need to protect your head first with a helmet. Also protect your eyes with Goggles.
Your hands are also better off in gloves for protection and to give you a firm grip. Shorts and armour will also come in handy in case of a fall.