Here are some of the best upgrades you can make to your mountain bike kit, from $8 all the way up to $1,400. Check them out, and share your favorite Mountain Biking Gear Upgrades in the comments below!
Best Mountain Bike Gear 2019
Freshly Minted brings fine Italian materials and craftsmanship to socks designed for cycling. Aside from dress socks, it will be hard to find another pair of socks in your drawer that match the quality Freshly Minted brings to an often overlooked part of your mountain biking setup.
Thanks to the use of Filanca nylon yarn in the cuff and calf, Freshly Minted socks are guaranteed to stay in place even on the longest of rides. Last but not least these socks come with a very affordable price tag, you won’t find this sort of quality anywhere else. [Purchase: $20]
If you’re serious about staying on the trail a pair of mountain bike sunglasses are a must-have. What makes these sunglasses from Revant unique is the way the fit to your face. The SL2 is the sort of glasses you can trust to stay in place even after the heaviest of rides. With anti-scratch lenses that are ANSI rated for high impact and a nice snug fit it will be just about impossible to find a better pair of cycling glasses on the market.
Best of all Revant stands behind their products with a lifetime warranty. Be sure to keep this up and coming optics brand on your radar. [Purchase: $175]
For anyone who relies on a multi-tool for all their bike mechanical fixes, it may be a good time to consider upgrading to a tool kit. Pedro’s Starter Kit offers everything needed to make basic mechanical repairs or part swaps, and all tools are packed in a foldable “burrito” bag to save space. Extra spaces in the burrito bag allow for adding tools as your collection grows. [Purchase: $99]
How long has it been since you replaced your grips? Don’t know? Then it’s definitely been too long. Your grips are a really important interface between you and your bike, and they need to be totally solid. The ODI Ruffian is a low-profile grip that locks onto your handlebar so it won’t twist when you’re really cranking it. They even come in a SRAM version for locking onto twist shifters. [Purchase: $19.99]
If you want a quick way to improve your ride, think about upgrading your pedals, especially if you’re still using an OEM set. The Candy pedals are great because they combine the four-sided entry of the Egg Beater, making it easy to get clipped in, with the larger platform of a flat pedal, so you can generate enough force to get started even if you can’t quite get clipped in. You’ll appreciate it next time you need to get restarted while you’re going uphill. [Purchase: $59.99]
Rock-solid platform pedals give you both grip and freedom of movement—but you often pay the cost in weight. Alloy pedals can be remarkably heavy. Race Face solved that problem with these nylon-composite platforms. But the lack of metal in the body won’t reduce the grip, because each pedal has sixteen steel traction pins that are easily replaceable with just a hex wrench. Race Face opted for a fully sealed axle on this pedal, keeping dirt and grit away from the bearings—which means less maintenance (and less crunchy bearings) for you. The axle is Chromoly, too, so it’ll put up with all of the abuse you can dish out. Platform pedals might not seem all that exciting, but the Chester ups the game. [Purchase: $49.99]
The price of new brakes doesn’t exactly qualify them as a stocking stuffer gift; however, upgrading or replacing an outdated system can make a dramatic difference in performance. Shimano’s XT hydraulic disc brake system is one of the best available for the price. Shimano is no newbie to the bike component market—after decades of building and refining bike parts, they have learned a thing or two about what works. What makes these brakes stand out? Crisp and easy stopping power (even on the steepest terrain or muddy conditions), no annoying noises, and consistent and reliable performance. [Purchase: $126.99]
XTR is the gold standard of mountain bike equipment, and this crankset is no exception. The triple chainring gives you super low gears for getting up the steepest climbs you can find, and the HollowTech aluminum crankarms maintain stiffness without adding too much weight. The extra crankarm reinforcement on the Trail model as well as the titanium chainring teeth make this crankset a bombproof, enduro-friendly, trail-crushing necessity. [Purchase: $599]
The suspension in your fork saves your hands, arms, and back from taking a serious beating when you’re out riding, and an upgrade in your fork can make a big difference to the overall feel of your bike. The RockShox Pike sacrifices a little bit of customizability for smoother operation and less maintenance and will keep you on the trail long before you need service. And that means more riding. [Purchase: $875]
Want to drop a thousand bucks and make a huge difference in your riding? New wheels is definitely the way to go. SRAM’s Roam 50 will appeal to a wide variety of riders—almost as light as cross-country hoops but strong enough to stand up to trail riding, the Roam 50 is an all-around wheel that won’t break the bank like SRAM’s super-high-end offerings. Tapered and asymmetrical construction to add strength while reducing weight and a wide-angle rim for wider tires combine to make a wheel that’ll give you at least $1000 worth of performance at a non-totally-unreasonable price point. [Purchase: $1,398]
When it comes to lugging bike gear around a traditional backpack is not always what’s needed. Especially if you find yourself riding more XC style trails. With the lumbar pack design found on the Henty Enduro, the weight of the bag is evenly distributed throughout the lower portion of your back and up through your shoulders. This sort of design offers a more natural feel by moving the bulk of the weight toward your core instead of resting solely on your shoulders.
If you spend long days in the saddle this sort of design will feel best. Along with a ton of pockets to hold all your tools, snacks, keys and more. Last but not least, the Henty Bag comes also comes with a built-in 3L HydraPak reservoir that’s easy to swap in and out. [Purchase: $129.95]
For when the shit hit’s the fan you need some slime. Anyone that has ever gotten a flat tire in the middle of nowhere can attest to how darn important a bike repair kit can be. These kits can easily be tossed inside your backpack without taking up much room or adding weight. With the Slime self-sealing tube, you can worry less about flat tires on the trail. Slime makes an entire line of products most of which are under $20.00. Think about how much money you have invested in your bike, shoes, and such.
Now would be a good time to buy some small repair kit items. [Purchase: $9.95]
You won’t find a more unique way to capture your mountain bike riding than by using a Rylo Camera. Why is that? Rylo shoots in 360 degrees with 2 camera lenses built into the single unit. When mounted to your handlebars you get the sick POV action shot looking down the trail, plus a bonus view looking back up at you from behind the handlebars. Talk about unique. And when it comes to putting the footage together at the end of the day the Rylo App gives you the ability to merge both clips together.
If you get really creative you can even mount the camera to a pole and have it sticking out of your backpack for even more unique angles. Keep in mind this camera does really well for skiing and snowboarding too, so the Rylo is a true year-round action camera. Looking to use the camera underwater? Rylo has you covered with their Adventure Case which makes the camera waterproof up to 3 meters. [Purchase: $499]
There are only three places where you’re in contact with your bike: your handlebars, your saddle, and your pedals (and you’re often not in contact with your saddle). That means your shoes form up to 50% of the contact you have with your bike. Five Ten understands the importance of a stable, grippy shoe for maximum control of platform pedals. The Stealth rubber soles provide extra-sticky traction, and suede uppers protect your feet from the inevitable impacts of freeriding. Laces give a more solid fit than other closure systems out there, so the Freeriders will fit your foot like a sock. And they look really good doing it. What more could you ask for? [Purchase: $137]
Need more shoe options? Take a look at our picks for the top mtb shoes of 2019.
The right pair of shorts can turn a grueling, chafing ride into an easy, pleasant pedal (okay, maybe not to that degree, but you see what I mean). These shorts will keep you comfortable on the mountain and off. The baggy-but-not-too-baggy fit makes them great for any type of mountain biking, but they’re just as capable on a commuter or even a road ride. Zippered and unzippered pockets make it easy to stash your keys, money, and small tools. The ripstop fabric will put up with a lot of abuse. And tagless labels and taped seams prevent chafing even on long rides. The removable liner is easy to wash separately (or to wear with other shorts), and the hook-and-loop side tabs let you customize the fit. [Purchase: $80]
MIPS has made a big splash in the mountain bike helmet world, and for good reason. While traditional helmets will protect you from a crash, they’re best for straight-on impacts. MIPS protects your head from rotational forces and angular impacts that can do serious damage. This technology is integrated into the Switchblade, making it a great choice for anyone doing some downhill riding. The combination of MIPS tech and full-face protection provide maximum safety. But you don’t need a full-face helmet all the time, which is why the Switchblade’s chin bar is removable. Use it for getting up to the top of the mountain, during enduro races, or on your cross-country rides. This helmet does it all. [Purchase: $250]
Looking for even more mountain bike gear? Check out some of our favorites below