Mountain biking is a popular recreational activity. More and more people are choosing it as a form of exercise instead of running or going to the gym. It allows you to enjoy nature and fresh air while exercising. Cycling offers many health benefits, such as relieving stress and anxiety, improving heart health, strengthening your whole body, protecting your joints, improving balance and stamina, and it’s a group activity, which means building new friendships.
If you’re planning to change your life for the better by becoming a mountain biker, you need appropriate clothing which will be comfortable, enable you to move effortlessly, and keep you warm or cool, depending on the weather conditions.
What Clothing Do You Need for Mountain Biking?
A Fast-Drying MTB Jersey
Many think of jerseys as more expensive regular t-shirts. But the t-shirts that we have at home, usually aren’t made from materials suitable for cycling. Although cotton is our first choice for clothes, it retains moisture and doesn’t dry fast. This means that you’ll stay in your sweat while cycling for a longer time. For this reason, you need a quality mountain cycling jersey for your next cycling adventure.
These jerseys are made from materials that let your skin breathe, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool. They’re moisture-wicking fabrics, which means that they draw sweat from your skin. In this way, they regulate your body temperature and don’t let you overheat or cool down too much. Most MTB jerseys are made of polyester because it’s breathable and dries quickly. Just like nylon, it’s a synthetic material that’s engineered for specific weather conditions. If you want a natural material, go for merino wool. It’s good for keeping you warm in the colder months but it’s more expensive and not affordable for everyone.
The sleeves of the MTB jersey can be short, long, or three-quarter sleeves. Which one you’ll choose depends on the weather and different conditions. Long sleeves offer more protection from the sun, thorns, and branches but short sleeves keep you cool.
When you’re buying a mountain cycling jersey, always think about the position in which you’re riding. The jersey shouldn’t feel tight when you’re sitting on the bike and your movement shouldn’t be restricted. Most of them are loose-cut with a shorter front part. This keeps your back covered and there isn’t any excess material in the front when you’re bent over.
Some mountain bike jerseys have zipped pockets for keeping valuables, shoulder grippers for backpacks, and elasticated cuffs for keeping long sleeves in place. For warmer days, you might want to look for ventilation as well. That’s when the jersey has lighter fabric on the back and underarms.
Protective MTB Trousers and Shorts
Mountain bike shorts are made specifically for mountain biking. Baggy shorts protect you and don’t restrict you. They’re waterproof, have padding, and will last long. They’re longer to protect you from falls and branches on the road. Their materials are stretchy and wick away moisture to keep you dry. Bike shorts need to have pockets with zippers to keep your things safe.
MTB trousers or pants are a great replacement for shorts in chilly or rainy weather. They’ll protect you from wind, water, and mud. The fabric needs to be durable so it doesn’t tear easily. They may consist of stretch panels in some areas that require more movement but quality trousers are made from 4-way stretch material that offers overall stretch.
MTB Base Layer for Keeping Warm
The base layer consists of the bottom pieces of the multi-layer clothing system. You’re probably going to wear a base layer on all days, except for the very hot ones. It sits close to your skin and wicks away moisture. Just like jerseys, they can be made of synthetic or natural materials. It keeps you warm if it’s a thick base layer, but for hotter days a light mesh fabric can keep you dry and comfortable.
The base layer can be sleeveless, short-sleeve, or long-sleeve. If your jersey is short-sleeved, you wouldn’t want the base layer to be long-sleeved.The best thing that you can do is keep the base layer simple. It’s close to your skin so you don’t need many seams or zippers causing you discomfort.
MTB Jackets to Protect You from the Weather
If you’re appropriately dressed, no weather condition can stop you from cycling. Jackets can be lightweight that are easy to pack when you don’t need them. They can be kept in the backpack if you expect a change of weather. They’re water-resistant but breathable.
Hybrid jackets are warmer but still waterproof and breathable to some extent. They have more padding and need more room for packing.
A proper waterproof jacket is hard-shell. It can keep the rain away from hours. You need a looser fit for all the other layers underneath, and pockets and vents are always welcome.
Don’t Forget the Extras – MTB Gloves, Socks, and Warmers
Gloves aren’t just for the colder months. They can be short-fingered if you feel too warm on hot days. Full-fingers are preferred because they offer full coverage and protect you from the cold, wind, cuts, and crushes. They can have extra padding on the palms or more protection on the back of the hands. Also, the grippers on the gloves, if properly designed, help with grip and full control of the handlebars and brakes.
Socks will keep your ankles and shins protected, and your feet warm and dry. Synthetic socks help with sweating and cotton is not recommended. Waterproof socks are great for warm feet when your shoes get wet.
Leg and knee warmers are worn under shorts for additional warmth and protection. The former one goes from the middle of the thigh to the ankles, and the latter is just for the knee. They allow for easy change when you prefer shorts but need that extra warmth in the morning. Warmers shouldn’t be tight and need to allow free knee bending.
Arm warmers have the same function and cover your arms from the upper arm to the wrist. They’re a great addition to short-sleeved jerseys.