How to Dress Properly for a Mountain Bike Ride

How to Dress Properly for a Mountain Bike Ride

Mountain biking is a form of fitness that combines many different activities, movements and skills, especially when you actually ride trails. Wearing the proper clothing is crucial to the success of mountain biking, since it has a direct impact on how you perform.

For example, you need to keep your body temperature down on your mountain bike ride, so you can’t wear too many layers (unless you are one of the fabled few who go winter riding). Furthermore, there are safety aspects involved, for which you need to wear protective gear such as a helmet and even shin and knee defenders.

This post will cover some of the more essential items of clothing that you should wear when you hit the trails and rip it up.


Starting from the bottom, your trousers will be some of the most vital items of clothing you wear to decide how comfortable you are. Mountain biking is an enjoyable experience, but if you are wearing tight-fitting jeans that absorb every molecule of water that they touch, you’re going to have a bad time. Apart from the evident painful crotch area, they will be generally uncomfortable, and you won’t enjoy it.

Therefore, when looking for the best trousers for mountain biking, there are several factors you must consider. The first is that they must be comfortable. This means they should conform to your body and have enough flexibility in them that you can freely move your legs. Moreover, they should have enough stretch to accommodate your shin guards if you prefer to wear them inside.

Knee/Shin Protectors

Most people skip this step, but if you have ever fallen off and knocked your knee, or know the unbearable pain of pedals smashing into your shins, you will already know how useful these can be. The pain can send your head spinning, and if you have a severe enough accident, it could cut your ride short and ruin your whole day. Although they are an optional choice, the fact remains that they are a sensible option.

man wearing mountain biking clothing


Before moving to the upper body, it is a good idea to finish going over your lower half. Shoes are another essential aspect when choosing the correct clothing for mountain biking. Depending on how serious you are, you can opt for some serious, professional shoes that attach to your pedals and allow you to increase your efficiency per cycle.

However, these can be on the pricier end of the spectrum and are not the most comfortable to walk in. Therefore, if you are biking casually, you might decide to go for a clipless variety of shoes. These won’t provide you with the same power that clip-in shoes do, but they should be perfectly adequate for most people.


Moving onto the top half of the body, you arrive at perhaps the most important item of clothing that all cyclists will know: the helmet. Choosing a helmet can be overwhelming due to the wide variety of types and styles available. However, there are a few vital factors to consider when searching for one: 

  • Material: The materials used must be lightweight but highly durable. The idea behind a good helmet is not to remain intact but rather to disperse the impact energy over as much surface area as possible. In many ways, it works similarly to the crumple zone of a car, i.e., to dissipate the force rather than focus it.
  • Comfort: No matter how many safety features it has, it must be comfortable; otherwise, you will hate wearing it. Therefore you should try before you buy and ensure the straps fit well and the helmet is snug on your head.
  • Ventilation: This is often built-in to the weight-saving aspects, but you must check that there is enough ventilation to keep you from overheating.

Style: You can opt for a full-face model if you are biking serious off-road trails or the more conventional XC type if you’re planning to tackle a range of routes.

Related article: Top Best Mountain Bikes Helmets 2024


Just like your trousers, your jersey must be durable, lightweight, and sweat-wicking. It should also allow you to stay cool when working hard. Typically, you don’t need to worry too much about colder weather because the best option is to layer, but your jersey is crucial because it will be your first and last layer.


mountain biker wearing gloves

Last but not least, you need some decent gloves. They will not only protect your hands in case of an accident, but are also more comfortable and reduce chaffing from the handlebars. Depending on your preference and weather conditions, you can opt for full or half-fingered gloves.

Related article: Top 18 Best Mountain Bike Gloves Reviews 2024


Getting your clothing right when mountain biking can be equally as important as the bike itself. Although you don’t have to go overboard and buy the latest and greatest gear for your trip, there are a few items like trousers, jerseys, and helmets that are not only essential but will also make your trip that much more enjoyable.

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