Whether you're just getting started on a mountain bike or you're well accustomed to grinding up earth, navigating narrow passes and performing double-jumps, these mountain bike performance accessories can greatly increase the quality of your riding.
There are plenty of options when it comes to mountain biking shoes, but spending a little extra on high-performance shoes with carbon fiber soles will provide for better heel-hold on the pedal, increased support and more efficient pedaling.
Riding over debris, rocks and especially broken glass is standard-issue mountain biking, and it leads to plenty of punctured tubes. When you get tired of replacing your flat tube for the thousandth time, you may want to upgrade your tire, which protects the tube, with a Kevlar tire. Kevlar, a synthetic fiber that is five times stronger than steel, can be used to provide your tire with an armor-like sub-tread. Riding over shards of glass and craggy rocks with a Kevlar tire won't result in the frequent blowouts that occur with regular tires. Some riders report going a year or more without any flats, meaning these more expensive tires will pay for themselves down the road as you have to replace fewer tubes. But best of all, when you face a daunting stretch of jagged terrain, you'll be able to push forward with the confidence that your tubes will live to see another day.
If you don't have Kevlar tires, you better get your hands on a trail repair kit. When you bust a flat, this essential accessory will come in handy quite often as you use some of the kit's standard components -- spare tube, pump, patching kit and a multi-functional tire tool.
Fenders cover the tops of the wheels and keep water and mud from splashing, spraying, soaking and blinding you as you disobey your mother's lifelong demands by playing in mud puddles
While not the most exciting accessory, you can't forget to re-energize yourself during your ride by packing along some energy bars. On average, a 145-pound rider can burn upwards of 560 calories per hour of hard riding, so you'll need to reintroduce nutrients and calories to your body to maintain peak performance capabilities.
Now that we're comfortable and performing at high speeds on poorly marked trails, we should learn a little about some of the safety accessories featured on the next page.