Mountain biking is a thrilling sport enjoyed by thousands of people worldwide every year. As with any other sport, there is equipment specifically designed to help keep participants safe. Perhaps even more important, mountain biking is often classified in the extreme outdoor sport category. Mountain bikers are often required to perform dangerous maneuvers and navigate hazardous trails. It is vitally important that riders wear safety equipment to reduce the potential for serious injury.
Perhaps the most important piece of safety equipment a mountain biker can wear is a helmet. Helmets are available from a variety of manufacturers, including Bell, SixSixOne, Giro and ProTec. There are two main types of helmet designs, open face and full face. Open-face models are preferred by cross-country, single-trail riders who need head protection and an open field of vision. Full face models are preferred by downhill racers who need maximum head and face protection because of the extreme speeds achieved and the increased possibility of a head first impact. Helmets range in price from around $30 to well over $150.
A good-quality pair of sunglasses is an essential piece of safety equipment that is often overlooked. The possibility for eye injury from slapping branches or even a fall from the bike is a real possibility. Glasses should be impact-resistant, provide adequate protection from dust and debris from all points, including the sides, and also provide UVA/B protection while allowing the rider to clearly see the trail. Glasses are available in a wide range of styles with different-colored lenses. These lenses will help filter light so that the rider can get an optimal view of the trail under varying conditions. Manufacturers of quality glasses include Oakley, Julbo, Smith, Bolle and Tifosi. Riders should expect to pay from around $50 up to $200 depending on the brand and features.
It does not take long for the average rider to understand the importance of a good-quality pair of gloves for riding. Gloves prevent cuts and scrapes to the hands from limbs and brush encountered along the trail and will definitely be appreciated during a spill. Unexpected exits from the bike are part of mountain biking. Having gloved hands will enable the rider to absorb the impact and avoid cuts and abrasions. Typically, mountain biking gloves also feature padded sections on the inside of the glove that are designed to coincide with contact points between the hands and bike grips. This padding can greatly reduce repeated shock from riding and even help prevent some repetitive use-type injuries. Glove manufacturers include Side Winder, SixSixOne, Specialized and Fox. The price for a pair of gloves will range from $25 to around $80, depending on the manufacturer and features.