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From tools to bells, bottles and more, these are the mountain bike accessories we turn to day in and out to enjoy the trail more. Portable Outdoor Shelter
When you’re shredding down a mountainside, you want to know your mountain bike is performing at its best and you want to be prepared for anything—jumps, roots, rocks, mistakenly basing into a tree. Thankfully there are all sorts of accessories out there to make sure your bike—and you—can make it through to the end of the ride as unscathed as possible. These include tools, parts, personal safety gear and more and are the must-have mountain bike accessories that will make sure you have an awesome ride no matter what the circumstances are.
Practicality versus fun. We could write this piece up a hundred different ways: “Fun mountain bike gear for any ride,” or "The best safety gear for mountain biking,” or “Cool mountain bike gear for after your ride.” However, in this instance, we’re focusing on the essentials—the pieces of gear you should always have with you or use before or after a ride. So, while a lot of the gear is fun, we’re focussed on practicality here.
As such, we looked at the best protective gear both for the bike and the rider. We also considered the best tools for riding and fixing a bike as well as the best gear for making sure your bike is trail-ready.
Of course not all riders will need all the gear for every ride, so we considered the best use for each type of rider. For instance, a cross country rider won’t need the same gear that a serious downhill rider does. Similarly, someone who only rides in the day won’t need a light for riding on the trail at night—but for those that do, it’s essential gear!
We selected based on a number of factors. We used our own experience with many of these products, having used and tested mountain bike gear for years. We also considered roundups of other mountain bike accessories from Bicycling Magazine, Outside, and other trusted reviewers, such as Treeline Review and Outdoor Gear Lab.
The most important mountain bike accessory to have is a good brain bucket. With Mips certifications, helmets have advanced a lot in the last 5 or so years and the Sweet Protection Bushwhacker II MIPS Helmet is one of the best.
The helmet wraps farther down on the back of the head to provide extra protection in the event of a crash and incorporates a sliding motion to reduce a hard impact on the head. However, more coverage means it’s harder to vent the heat.
The Bushwacker II MIPS is one of the best since it balances protection with excellent ventilation and adjustability. The inner frame can wrap further around the back of the neck and the dial easily tightens it up.
Be the trail hero with this multitool. It’s one of the most comprehensive we’ve seen with spoke wrenches, all the common Torx and Allen wrenches, a chain tool and space for an extra link.
It also has some great tools you don’t always see on the trail, like a rotor straightener and a disc pad spacer and it has a tire plug tool and bacon strips—which often cost as much as this tool alone. We also love that the Swiss-army style tool is compact and well constructed and has a sturdy feel in the hand.
We’ve watched our friend’s dismay after chipping the finish on his brand new $5,000 carbon mountain bike. The best way to prevent that is with protective self-healing film stickers like those from RideWrap. You can buy a universal kit, like the above, or get a kit specially designed for your bike from RideWrap directly.
Either way, spending a little time protecting your frame will go a long way to assuaging your fears or guild that you’re investment in fun won’t get chipped or damaged the first time a rock bounces up scrapes the frame.
Mountain bikes don’t come with pedals. As such, you’re going to want a great pair of great pedals for riding. Our take: The OneUp Components Composite Pedals are the best. Composite pedals are lighter than aluminum pedals and are better at absorbing shock without getting damaged—they’re also cheaper!
The pins on these convex pedals keep your feet firmly on the pedal and make it easy to adjust your riding position while jumping or riding through tight switchbacks.
If you’re a biker who loves hitting the trail in the wee hours of dawn or after sunset, you need the Secca Race Light from Light & Motion. With four ultrabright LEDs, the Secca Race can shine up to 2,000 lumens on the trail.
Primarily a bar light, you can also attach it to your helmet if needed. Either way, this waterproof light and its battery can provide up to one and a half hours on full blast and up to 6 hours on low.
You don’t always want to ride with a mountain bike bell, but when you do, the TIMBER Mountain Bike Bell is the dinger we love. Trail bells are great, not just to warn other people you’re coming, but also to ward off animals, like bears and lions.
What’s great about these bells is you can set them to stealth mode when you don’t want to hear the constant chiming, and then set the hammer of the bell free to ring in high-traffic areas and those where you need to worry about wildlife.
Serious riding needs serious lube. The All Weather Bike Lube from mountainFLOW is the first—and as far as we know, only—plant-based chain lube for bikes. You might think: “Can this really hold up to petroleum-based lubricants?” From our personal experience, yes, it can.
We also know at least one bike/outdoor shop with stores across the country changed to using it and none of their customers have noticed a change. Also, it’s comparable in price to other chain lubes. mountainFLOW also continues to expand its line of plant-based bike and snowsports lines.
The majority of mountain bikes these days come with tubeless tires or are ready for them. We highly suggest making the switch as you can run lower pressures on the trail, which gives great traction.
Orange Seal seals holes and gashes rapidly and is the best-performing tire sealant for tubeless tires that we’ve seen—even outperforming the OG, Stan’s. Even better, Orange Seal uses what it calls an environmentally friendly solvent in its mix of proprietary latex tire sealant.
Even the best sealant can’t fix every tear, as we found out when we ripped an inch-long gash in a brand-new, $90-tire, on a downhill course at Winter Park. Heck, it wouldn’t even hold air when we placed a dollar bill inside the tire. In those instances, you’ll still need a spare tube. The Tubolito tubes are expensive, but they’re also the lightest and most compact available. Plus they’re orange, which is, well, orange.
Electric Mtb Mountain bike gloves both protect your hands and provide secure grip on your handlebars. These minimalist gloves from Dakine do a fantastic job of both while remaining breathable on hot days. Though you may opt for gloves with gel inserts, we like the feel and grip that these provide without the extra padding.