What to Wear Mountain Biking




What to Wear Mountain Biking

What to Wear Mountain Biking

When deciding what to wear for mountain biking, consider comfort, weather conditions, protection, and personal style. Typically, trail and downhill riders prefer loose-fitting shorts worn over padded Lycra shorts and loose jerseys, and cross country racers go with all Lycra. If you’re a beginner, the beauty of this sport is that you can wear whatever you have. More specialized mountain bike clothing may become more appealing as you advance.Weather and terrain will impact your clothing choices so be prepared!

Regardless of the season or location, some essentials are necessary for all riders:


A helmet is crucial for mountain biking given the higher risk of falls and collisions. The best mountain bike helmets have an integrated peak to shield your eyes from the sun, rain, and branches, and they provide better coverage around the back and sides of your head. For downhill and enduro riding, full-face helmets are the best protection, often paired with a neck brace for extra safety. MIPS technology is increasingly common, reducing rotational forces on the brain during impacts.

Glasses or Goggles

Protect your eyes with glasses or goggles. Mountain bike sunglasses with interchangeable lenses are ideal, allowing you to adjust for varying conditions. Clear lenses are suitable for low light, while tinted lenses reduce glare. Goggles are an alternative in muddy weather, providing sealed protection and a wide field of vision. They’re commonly used with full-face helmets for downhill riding.


Mountain bike jerseys are typically loose-fitting. Available in short-sleeve, three-quarter, or long-sleeve options, they offer varying degrees of protection and ventilation. Long-sleeve jerseys protect against the sun and trail debris, with some featuring mesh panels for breathability. Cross-country riders might opt for Lycra jerseys with rear pockets for carrying essentials.

Shorts and Pants

Choose padded shorts for comfort. Padded shorts, either standalone or as liners under baggy shorts, are recommended due to rough terrain. Baggy shorts should be knee-length, made from stretchy or tear-resistant fabric, and accommodate knee pads. For year-round riding, especially in wet climates, waterproof pants provide warmth, dryness, and protection from mud and debris.

Protective Gear

Knee pads are a minimum for most riders. Lightweight knee pads offer protection without hindering pedaling, while chunkier pads are available for technical riding. Additional body armor, like elbow pads and back protectors, is used for racing and more challenging trails.


Full-finger gloves are preferred by mountain bikers. They protect hands from crashes and undergrowth, with some gloves featuring palm padding for extra cushioning. Downhill or enduro gloves may have added protection on the back of the hands. Lighter gloves are available for summer and insulated ones for colder conditions.


Long socks offer protection and comfort, preventing scratches from undergrowth. Waterproof socks are best for wet conditions, while lightweight, breathable socks are ideal for summer. Shoe covers are also an option for added wet weather protection.


Mountain bike shoes come clipless and flat. Clipless shoes feature recessed cleats and a tread for walking ease, while flat pedal shoes resemble skate shoes with grippy rubber soles. Winter-specific shoes offer warmth and weatherproofing for cold conditions.


A good jacket is vital for varying weather conditions. Lightweight shells provide wind and rain resistance, hybrid jackets combine warmth and breathability, and waterproof jackets offer maximum rain protection. Look for features like vents, hoods, and pockets.

Waterproof Onesies

Waterproof suits offer ultimate protection in severe weather. Combining a jacket and pants, these suits prevent water ingress and are constructed with breathable, waterproof fabrics. They’re invaluable for harsh winter rides.

Remember: There are no bad days, just bad gear...

Mountain biking requires specific gear to ensure comfort, safety, and performance in various conditions. With the right kit, you’ll enjoy mountain biking year-round, regardless of the weather. Ride on!

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