4. Shoes (and Pedals)
You probably started out riding flat pedals with sneakers. Now that you’re an ‘official’ mountain biker, it’s time to graduate to proper pedals and shoes.
Unless you’re riding a lot of North-shore-type trails with lots of stunts and aerial features (for which being able to dismount quickly is a must), SPDs/clipless pedals are a great investment– you’ll feel more “at one” with your bike, and your pedal stroke will be more efficient.
Of course, SPD pedals will require the appropriate shoe. Get a pair with a nice stiff sole to make your pedaling more efficient, but make sure they’re still comfortable.
COST: $250 for pedals and shoes
5. Protective Glasses with Removable Lenses
You’re riding with glasses, right? Please tell me you ride with glasses!
If you shelled out for just a basic set of glasses with clear lenses, now you can upgrade to a set with removable lenses. Multiple lenses will allow you to a) select different style/colour lenses for different lighting conditions and b) replace lenses that are scratched, fogged or dirty so you can see again. Get a set with polarized lenses.
6. Night Lights
Mountain biking is awesome. Mountain biking at night is even more awesome. The trails are way less busy, everything’s quieter, and everything’s just a little bit cooler.
Don’t ride at night with just a $30 headlamp – you won’t see well enough and will likely tag a tree or two along the way. Invest in a good set of lights. A few things to consider:
a) brightness (how many lumens)
b) how long the battery lasts
c) how quickly the batteries recharge
d) if you want a headlamp add-on (in addition to the bar mounts)
e) does it offer different brightness modes?
COST: $300 for a decent set
7. POV Camera
Now that you’re shreddin’, you want to capture all your awesomeness on film. GoPro and Contour make two of the best cameras on the market, and get a chest mount to go along with your camera (helmet and handlebar-mounted footage is usually pretty shaky).
If you’ve been using a chainbreaker as part of a multi-tool, you know by now that they’re usually pretty crappy. Investing in a good quality standalone chainbreaker will make those trailside emergency chain fixes way easier and quicker.