11 essential accessories all mountain bikers should own
© Dan Milner/Red Bull Content Pool
Whether it's indispensable tools to stock in your home armoury or ingenious bits of kit that will come in handy on the trails, these are the must-have items for all mountain bikers.
Hitting the trails is one of the most fun things you can do on two wheels, but not all rides are the same. There are those days when nothing can go wrong, you land every jump and return home with a Cheshire cat's smile. But then there are the odd occasions where your bike becomes your number one enemy – be it because of a puncture, mechanical or, worse; a trail-side injury.
The latter doesn't have to be inevitable though, and it is possible to minimise these grey riding days by arming yourself with some essential mountain bike accessories.
From puncture-proofing your sessions to ingenious ways of storing kit on your bike, the below bits of kit should help transform your riding – whether you're dipping your toe in mountain biking for the first time or your a seasoned shredder.
1. Topeak Joeblow Booster floor pump
You can’t go riding without air in your tyres. If you struggle to get your tubeless tyres inflated, you should consider getting a specific floor pump like Topeak’s Joeblow Booster pump. This style of pump has a chargeable chamber that you pump up to pressure before flicking a switch to release the pressurised air when you are ready; this usually gives enough blow to get the tyres seated on the rim first time.
2. Schwalbe Airmax Pro digital tyre gauge
Have you ever thought your bike felt totally different from one ride to the next, only to remember you’d pumped your tyres up between outings?
You don’t have to be a racer to benefit from good bike setup and even the smallest difference in tyre pressures can completely change the performance of your bike. Make the modest investment in a digital tyre gauge and ensure that one variable is removed from the equation.
3. MTB Strap-on spares holder
Price: from £8.50
Enduro riders are masters at utilising the space on their bikes, and when not hiding tools in bar ends or fork steering tubes, they're strapping accessories to any free space they have on their frames.
Ditch weight from your backpack and improve your ride quality in one fell swoop by opting for this basic-looking strap instead. Although it looks rather simple, it can be used to attach a spare inner tube to your bike and wrap-in some tyre levers and even a small CO2 canister to ensure you are prepared for the worst on a ride. What's more, it'll help lower your bike's centre of gravity too.
4. Syncros MB Tailor bottle cage with tools and pump
Let’s face it. No matter how much mountain bikes have advanced in recent years, there’s never going to be a time when they become invincible to the rigours of the trail. Bolts are sometimes going to need tightening, chains fixing and tyres inflating. With this neat bottle cage, you are always prepared. Stashed in its little black box is a multi-tool and chain tool, plus it has a spot for a pump on the side.
5. Garmin Edge 830
While a bike computer might seem a bit excessive to be considered an 'essential', if you're a fan of gadgets, they don’t get much better than Garmin’s range. The Edge 830 not only has an excellent navigation function but also provides training plans, e-bike compatibility (for Shimano Steps-equipped bikes) and will even tell you how long you were in the air on that massive jump – perhaps a reality check you’d rather ignore.
If you don’t fancy splashing out on a computer, Strava or Trailforks are some of the best cycling apps for ride logs and trail information.
6. Genuine Innovations Tackle Kit
Tubeless tyres are one of the greatest recent innovations in mountain biking. The majority of punctures are a thing of the past, but even a tubeless setup with sealant inside isn’t infallible.
When you snag a tyre and the hole is too big for the sealant to repair, pop a repair plug inside and watch it seal straight away. This works for the majority of flats and might not only save your ride but also the cost of a new tyre.
7. Mudhugger Shorty X front mudguard
A decent front mudguard is a must these days, and most are now slimline enough to be left on at all time. Mudhugger’s Shorty X is a very practical moulded mudguard made from 100% recycled materials that will stop most of the muck flying off your wheel from hitting you in the face. For something even simpler and also recycled, Rideguard has a large range of fenders, while Greg Minnaar and many other world-class racers swear by Marshguard.
8. Buff Merino neckwear
Chances are you’ve already got a Buff of some sort. But if you haven’t, get one and put it in your riding pack. Aside from the zillion ways Buff says you can wear its garment, it’s amazing how one can be put to use: to keep you warm as you drop into a big descent; to keep the sun off your neck or head; to clean your glasses; or even as a piece of emergency first aid gear (although you should always carry a basic first aid kit at the very least). The Merino option is a bit of extra comfort.
9. Camelbak Podium Chill water bottle
For a little luxury in the heat of summer, hit the trails with this insulated water bottle. It’s amazing how gratifying a cool drink can be when you are sweating your way up a mountain with the sun blazing down. It won’t keep your water cold indefinitely, but it will remain cooler than a normal bottle and it holds more water (620ml) than some other bike-specific insulated bottles.
10. Trail-side DIY
Before you get carried away splashing cash on the latest technology, you might well profit from employing some of the oldest. Stick a small roll of Velcro and a few zip-ties in your backpack – they weigh next to nothing but can temporarily fix a surprising number of mechanicals. Wrap some electrical tape around your pump or handlebars and use that for quick fixes, too.
11. Lifesystems Trek First Aid Kit
Whatever your ability, there's always the chance of a minor scrape or injury to you or a riding buddy, so having a stocked first aid kit and some basic first aid know-how is essential. Lifesystems' Trek First Aid Kit is a great lightweight choice, with EVOC and Ortlieb offering more comprehensive packs for bigger adventures. Before emergencies happen, remember to have your 'in case of emergency' information stored on your phone, and for bigger trips, an emergency GPS locator or app can be a good call too.