Welcome to the first installment of the SJMTB Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking.
We would first like to congratulate you on making the jump and joining our group. Mountain Biking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do to keep fit and healthy, and it's a whole lot more fun than sweating in a crowded gym.
So you bought yourself a mountain bike, now what? What sort of things do you need to really get out and ride? Which pieces of gear are essential and which are just filler? Do I really need that hydration pack filled with 3-liters of water and my entire tool chest packed into it? These are some of the questions we hope to address in this first installment. Along with what to bring with you on the trails we'll point you in the direction of some other important beginner information, such as our ride rating system and beginner trail recommendations.
Mountain biking is a great sport, that is relatively easy and inexpensive to enjoy. Now of course when you walk into a local bike shop (LBS) and see all the eye candy that costs as much as a decent used car it can be a little intimidating. Just because someone makes a bike that costs five thousand dollars, doesn't mean that you need that kind of bike to get started out on the trails. Many of us started with entry level bikes that cost less than a tenth of those super bikes you see. All you really need is a bike that is going to handle the rigors of trail riding without falling apart on you. If you've got that you're ready to roll... literally.
So what else do you need to go along with that bike?
The first thing would a good helmet. You don't need to go out and buy the most expensive helmet made by Specialized or Giro, but remember that you don't have a $10 head either. A higher end helmet is not only going to protect you more, but it will likely fit better and be considerably lighter weight. For your first helmet aim to spend somewhere in the $50 range. This will give you a helmet that has some adjustment to the fit as well as good ventilation and decent weight. All of the major brands carry helmets in this price range and will be easy to find at your local bike spot. If you plan to ride very aggressive trails, with rocks and drops then it's a good idea to spend a little more and get an actual “trail” helmet. The big difference between an entry level helmet and real trail helmet is the amount of coverage it gives the back of your head. Many of the downhill and free-ride companies have recently been getting into the trail bike protection segment, giving the consumer many different choices in this type of protection.
Good Entry Level Helmet Choices:
Giro's sport line (from $35.00)
Bell's recreational line (from $35.00)
Don't get too caught up on your first helmet. Find something that fits well, is well ventilated, and not too heavy. As you progress through the sport you can decide whether you need a different helmet.
There are two trains of thought with this one. You could obviously just use the water bottle and a cage mounted to your bike. It's easy, cheap, and you can use sport drinks without worrying about ruining your expensive hydration pack. Water bottles and cages come in many different sizes and shapes, so make sure you choose a combination that works on your bike. This becomes more of an issue if you ride a dual suspension bike. Your other option is to use a hydration pack, such as a Camelbak. A hydration pack will range in capacity from 30oz all the way up to 100oz+ allowing you to carry much more water, for longer rides. Both of these methods have their benefits and drawbacks so it's important to choose the option that fits your needs best. Remember, just because you can carry 100oz (that's 3liters) doesn't mean you need to or should.
Benefits of bottle/cage setup:
|Page title||Most recent update||Last edited by|
|Release of Liability||August 27, 2012 10:56 PM||former member|
|SJMTB Gear Guide for beginners||October 30, 2011 6:34 AM||David|
|Rider Expectations||August 31, 2011 5:54 AM||David|
|SJMTB Ride Ratings Guide||November 4, 2012 10:29 PM||David|
|About San Jose Mountain Biking||February 13, 2012 8:22 PM||David|