Help needed with getting started!

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    • #192038

      I’ve been riding bikes for a hobby for many years, both mountain and road, but I finally pushed myself to get into off-road mountain biking.
      I’m not sure what equipment to buy and I don’t want to just go to the top brand and pay the most money for the names.

      I’m still a college student so I don’t have tons of money to put towards this right now.

      I currently have:
      -MTB Trek Helmet
      -Trek 4 Series Bike
      -Bontrager MTB gloves

      I’m currently set on buying:
      Crankbrothers Mallet 3 Pedals.
      A Trek Downhill Bike next year.

      I’m lost on where to go when it comes to pants, shirts (I’m not into the tight roadie style), shoes, etc.
      I’ve started getting on sites and the options and opinions are spreading too fast to keep up with!

      I’d greatly appreciate the help anyone can provide me with!

    • #192053

      Hi Gregory and welcome.  Crankbrothers is good stuff. Go with  Baggy shorts with under liner or you can get the chamois built in.  I prefer the under liner with baggy shorts for mtb. I also ride road and prefer the tight shorts with built in for that. Jersey is up to you. I like mine to have at least 1 zippered pocket and loose fit. I got some on ebay and some from sierra trading post. Check nashbar and jenson also. My first shoes came from the lbs and are Bontrager. They have been in use for the last 4 years and still are good. That being said I have bought 2 other pairs 1 from jenson and 1 from nashbar and they are fine. Liked the help getting fitted from the LBS for my shoes. Make sure the cleats for crankbrothers fit the shoes you get.  What kind of shape is your helmet in? Has it taken any major impacts? If not real good shape consider a new one.  It is a good idea to keep up on your helmet IMHO.

      Good luck!

    • #192059

      search amazon, jenson, chainreaction, and internet in general for mtb shorts.. I found Canari and Cannodale shorts on sale for under $30, and both came with padded undershorts.  For shirts, I live in Florida so I prefer ones that zip all the way down to get air when it it hot,   this is the jersey I usually wear,,  I don’t like them skin tight so order them large.

    • #192060

      you don’t need special clothes, just a helmet and a bike

    • #192063

      Hi Greg,

      You don’t need anything special to start enjoying your rides. I started with a bike, and a borrowed helmet. I then bought my own helmet and some gloves. I had a fall going over a log, and smacked my knee on the ground. So, I bought some knee pads, and elbow pads to add to my collection. As I ride roots and rocks quite a bit. I then bought some liner shorts from Endura, the Hummvee shorts. I like them a lot because they are on the long side and a bit baggy. They fit over my knee pads. Now that summer is here and I needed more water, I bought an Osprey Raptor 14 hydration back pack. Just add to your collection of riding gear as your budget allows. I am so psyched I am mountain bike riding these days. Enjoy yourself and “Live Life.”

      Take care,


    • #192094

      Thanks for getting at me with your experiences and opinions everyone!  Those equipment sites you’ve provided are really nice to have so I can compare brands, styles, and prices!  I actually have all of them open right now trying to find the right place to buy from… haha!

      I’m hearing a lot of, “it’s up to you” when it comes to pant styles, but it seems like almost everyone prefers the baggy shorts…haha.  I guess I’ll give those a try.

      I think I’m going to follow the padding idea since I’m trying to get into the more advanced stuff as quickly as possible.
      Any suggestions with that area of equipment?

      Are the crashes usually part of the fun?
      People I know are calling me crazy, but I’m loving it when I’m get into a crash!  I see it as a marks to show off while telling the story and a new challenge to overcome.

    • #192135

      It depends on the outcome of the crash. I have broken 3 ribs, 1 vertebrae, compressed 1 vertebrae, broken tailbone in 2 places, torn ligament’s  and tendons in both hands and sprained a shoulder and  none of that was fun. They were painful at best! There have been a few funny crashes I have had but for the most part not fun.


    • #192289

      Hi, Greg! Welcome back to sport. I’m not sure what Trek 4 series is look like but if it has pedals and two wheels, you’re good to go. Most important is to keep it in good working shape.

      About clothing, you don’t have to buy any specific stuff. Stay away from cotton and look towards synthetics. Although a pair of good padded shorts will extend your trip and save rear end.

      Id recommend to invest into hydration pack. Some guys ride packless on shorter rides, but it’s nice to have all your accessories in one place. And fill that pack with pump, spare tube, patches, tire boot, multi tool and quick link for your chain. Maybe a headlight too, if you ride in remote areas. You never know when you slash your tire and how far to push back to car.

      Depends on where you ride, you can always stash an extra layer into your pack, or sandwich, or both.

      Good luck.

    • #192334

      What kind of riding do you do fishboy?
      It’s awesome that you’re not letting the challenge beat you!  Although, even though I’m an adrenaline junky, I would probably back off a little bit if I got hurt that bad.

      Hey stumpy,
      That’s a good idea to put everything in my hydration pack.  I have a small trek pouch on the back of my bike right now, but I’ve worried about breaking it off or it hurting me in a wreck.  I have a decent size back pack with a 1.5L water pack, but I’m not sure if all of that will fit into it.
      Would a pump that straps onto your top tube be more of a nuisance?
      I also have thick bontrager tubes and tires, so my fingers are crossed that they can hold up against the stuff I’m starting with!

    • #192335

      I am a big fan of Camelbak Lobo hydration pack. Seems to be just enough space for extra gear but not so much you overload it. I also like the idea of “always” wearing a hydration pack as basic spin protection. Full finger gloves are nice and to start with basic shorts and shirts. After a while you will start wearing shirts that fit the season, weather etc. More and more I have been wearing road bike shirts for the fit and zipper fronts. Shorts are a problem. I currently wear mostly baggy but I don’t like them. I used to race road bikes and all the extra material blowing around and getting caught on my seat drives me crazy. I wish there were some hybrid shorts with some hex padding on the hips. I used to have a pair of super cool climbing knickers I would wear mt biking and they were awesome. A little warmth and a little knee protection. Seriously, when was the last time your caves got cold. I also wear Troy Lee Designs KG5450 Shin / Knee guards.  I don’t find them to be very hot and I can ride most of the winter wearing them with shorts. I like the idea of protecting my knees and they are comfortable and don’t ride up or down. I hate wearing elbow pads but talk myself into every now and then, especially on night trail rides. Helmet is a must I don’t wear a full face but have thought about it. I also use 5.10 shoes which are so freaking sticky I swear I am clipped in sometimes. I think once you get started you will tweak your clothes to your style and your environment. Having said that….at a minimum, I would say, helmet, hydration pack and full finger gloves.
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    • #192340

      Hey Jim,
      It’s kind of  funny you leave the comment about the knee guards today.  I was out tonight and got in a small wreck and have a scratched up knee because of it.  Haha!
      I totally agree with you with the pack.  I purchased a Deuter Race X Air for hiking, but it’s working nicely for biking as well.  I love the airflow I get on my back while still having the water, storage, and some protection!

      I just ordered Crank Brothers Mallet 3 MBT Pedals, Pearl Izumi X-Project 3.0 MTB Shoes, and some Nashbar Stealth 2 Baggy Shorts.  I bought some Bontrager full-fingered gloves and used them tonight.  I loved that I didn’t have to put nearly as much focus on my hands slipping!

      I’ve seen the knee guards and the the shin/knee guards, and the shin ones always seem to be kind of bulky.  I’ll have to look into that some more while I save for my next purchase.

    • #192343

      I still like my camelbak, You pay a bit extra but they really last.  I’ve had mine for 10+ years and it’s still in great shape.  Just have to replace the bladder every so often.

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