MTB on a Budget: Where to Spend & Where to Save on Mountain Bike Clothing - Part 1

Jun 25, 2020
by Brian Park  
Neon Retro D.A.R.E. Fanny Pack


The MTB industry is seeing a major uptick in new riders right now. Whether it's 'rona related or just a general trend, the bottom line is that nobody can keep bikes in stock right now. That's great for the industry, and we're excited to see so many new riders out enjoying the trails.

If you're new to the sport, we're concerned that you're coming to Pinkbike and only seeing $8K bikes and $450 jackets being reviewed. Mountain biking is expensive, but it doesn't need to be that expensive. So we're starting a new series called MTB on a Budget. This first installment will cover riding gear and accessories. We'll look at where to spend and where to save when speccing your bike as well as tools and maintenance in future articles. Let us know if there are specific areas you'd like us to address.

First though, a note on why we do test expensive stuff. It's partly because we are gear dorks who love the latest and greatest, and partly because new technologies usually make their debuts on high end stuff—which means the tech we review on the $10K bike will be available on $3K bikes in a few years. But our testing of high end product is also because the cycling media's access to review products is dependant on companies taking a high-risk-high-reward approach to their marketing. When we get sent bikes and parts for testing, the brands are gambling that they'll get a positive verdict. I've been on the other side of it when I was in marketing, and a bad review can take the wind out of their errrr, sales. (sorry, I'm a new dad, can't help myself) So in order to increase the chances of a good review, brands are often reluctant to send lower priced products.

But just because we show you fancy stuff all day long doesn't mean that those things are required to have a great time on your bike (or perform on the race track). If you're on a budget, there are places it makes sense to spend money on, and places it doesn't. So whether you're new to the sport or you're an experienced trail rider saving for next year's summer road trip, here's where we think you should spend and where you should save on mountain bike clothing.





Mike Levy Trek Fuel EX 9.9 X01 Photo by Dane Perras
About as stylish as Levy gets.

Save on a Jersey

Typical Price: $60+ USD
Recommendation: $15 USD
Used: Sure why not


For most riding, a regular t-shirt does just fine. Despite the hyperbole that cotton kills, bro, you won't spontaneously combust if you wear cotton on most rides. That said, if you can find an inexpensive poly/cotton blend, that will keep your temperature a little more regulated on bigger rides and at higher pace.

We're not even going to give an actual recommendation here, literally any poly/cotton t-shirt is probably fine. Run what ya brung, relegate a shirt you spilled some BBQ sauce onto to riding shirt. Or get a 3 pack from a department store. And for cooler weather, a cheap merino from Stanfields or Costco is going to be great. If you've already got one of those fancy Lululemon tech t-shirts, those make very good riding jerseys too.

Plus, a t-shirt and long pants is the unofficial uniform of ultra fast riders saying "I'm just cruising today guys, not in race mode" before they absolutely crush you.





The Fox Defend Kevlar pant sees lots of WC action, but a tough pair of pants or shorts is a good call for most riders too.

Spend on Shorts and Pants

Recommendation: $80+ USD
Used: Not if they've got a chamois...


While the Denim Destroyer is out there making us look stupid, we think shorts and pants aren't a place to skimp.

There are hardcores who say "I only ride in Dickies," but they're just not that comfortable in our experience. We're also not fans of basketball shorts or running shorts. They're just not tough enough, and the fits can snag your saddle, etc. Even jeans with lots of stretch are sweaty and prone to chafing, especially if you're going for a pedal instead of a few park laps. They look sick mid run though.

So our advice is to pony up for a tough pair of shorts that should last a long time. A rugged pair of shorts should last for years, and be loads better than the alternatives. I'm a fan of the fit and feel of Fox's Defend shorts, but haven't used them enough to comment on durability. We've also tested lots of DH pants before.





Neon Retro D.A.R.E. Fanny Pack
This amazing and cheap DARE hip pack didn't have a very secure buckle, so it ended up coming loose and flopping around. But that's the price of fashion.

Save on Hip Packs

Typical Price: $100+ USD
Recommendation: ~$20 USD
Used: Yes


We're fans of hip packs, especially versus backpacks. They hold your stuff nice and low, and they flop around a lot less because they're attached to your hips instead of your shoulders.

But regardless of all the fancy padding, straps, fabrics, and buckles, most of them fit well and stay put decently—even some that would be more at home in the mall around the front of a Champion hoodie.

We don't recommend getting the cheapest fast-fashion options out there (see above), but there are tons of excellent non-bike-specific hip packs out there. Generalist hip packs from Dakine, Deuter, and lots more have excellent features and cost less than $20 USD. Look for bags with a little bit of structure to prevent flopping, and if you must have that Mickey Mouse print one from the thrift store just spend $5 on a new buckles.





POC Joint VPD Knee

Spend on Pads

Recommendation: $80+ USD
Used: No, just no


Another place not to skimp. We think you should wear appropriate pads for any kind of aggressive mountain biking. Pads that fit well and have the right level of protection for your terrain and riding style can cost a lot, but it's worth spending the money instead of being off the bike for months recovering from an injury. And, if they're comfortable, you're way more likely to be wearing then when you do crash.

I'm a big fan of the POC Joint VPD System knee pad. They're spendy and there are good cheaper pads out there, but these are the right balance of protection, flexibility, and fit for me. Find what works for you and then use them!





Helmet Check Out Photo of Aidan Oliver by Brian Park
Aidan was impressed with the $60 Giro Fixture MIPS helmet.

Spend on a Helmet (Kind of...)

Typical Price: $200+ USD
Recommendation: $100 USD
Used: No


When it comes to the health of your brain, protection is not a place to be thrifty, within reason. While some high end helmets offer more comfort, lighter weight, and better looks than cheaper options, it's not yet clear that they're much safer. In fact, buying several cheaper helmets that get replaced after each minor knock is probably safer than buying a $300 helmet and keeping it when you shouldn't.

Giro's Chronicle MIPS costs $100 USD and recently received a 5/5 star safety rating from Virginia Tech. Yes, the debates about the efficacy of MIPS and other slip-plane systems continue to rage, and yes testing methodology isn't as good as we'd like, but we have no hesitations recommending it against helmets that cost three times as much.

There are excellent options under $100 as well. See our round up of helmets under $100 USD here.

bigquotesI found the Fixture was the most comfortable of all the helmets we tested despite being a universal fit. The straps around your ears are not adjustable, but they were in a good position for the range of heads we tried. It not only looks much more expensive than its price point, but it also includes MIPS.Aidan Oliver, Pinkbike Social Media Coordinator

On the flip side, do consider how much time you'll spend in a helmet. If you're riding a lot, a helmet that's comfortable and doesn't stink is more important than say, a jersey. I'm a huge fan of my Specialized Ambush, and would buy a new one tomorrow if I lost it. For me it's worth it. But for twice the price it's not likely to be twice as safe as the Chronicle.

This article is focused on trail bikes, but we should say that we don't think you should try to save money by getting non-DH-certified full face. If you're riding stuff that needs a full face, get a properly certified one.





Is 275 next As the last guy to win a World Cup on 26 the first to take the overall on 275 and seen here boosting on a 29er Ratboy is probably wondering what all the fuss is about.
We're not sure what Ratboy is wearing here, but it probably isn't "performance" eyewear.

Save on Eyewear

Typical Price: $200 USD
Recommendation: $30 USD
Used: Yes


This one isn't that intuitive. Seeing is important, and we've gotten enough debris in the face that we consider eyewear to be safety equipment. But holy hell is it expensive.

The quality of Oakleys, Smiths, and other players in the very saturated high-end eyewear market is undeniably incredible. In fact, one of our favourite pairs of glasses are currently the fairly expensive Ryders Eyewear Roam, which have all the technology and cost a hefty $239 USD.

That said, we've had good luck with lots of glasses in the $30-50 range, especially in good conditions. One exception: if you live in a wet place like the Pacific Northwest and you ride year round, anti-fog technology is the best. I've had some luck with $20 glasses with a $10 anti-fog spray, but it's definitely not as good as my Roams.

You'll also want to avoid cheap gas-station safety glasses unless you're in a pinch. They distort what you're seeing to the point that it's a safety concern.





Lots of less expensive options out there.

Save on Gloves

Typical Price: $50+ USD
Recommendation: ~$20 USD
Used: Gross


Yes controls are important, but I don't think I'd spend more than $20 on gloves if I wasn't in the industry. While hand protection is important (especially in some locations), the difference between $20 and $60 gloves has never been a dealbreaker for me. If you're a concert pianist and really concerned about your hands, you should look into hand-guards rather than relying on just gloves for protection.

Dakine is a good value option for gloves, but lots of brands have fairly inexpensive options. Heck, even Mechanix Originals work just fine.

Actually I'd probably just do without gloves if I was being properly frugal—callouses are free and with good push-on grips I don't miss gloves much anyway.





Five Ten Hellcat Pro review
Clips or flats, how you stay attached to your bike is worth getting right.

Spend on Shoes

Recommendation: ~$100 USD
Used: If you can find them in decent shape


It's how you stay attached to your pedals. The wrong shoes can absolutely ruin a ride. Check our coverage of shoes here, try a bunch on, and get the right thing for your riding style.

If you're new to the sport, flat pedals are a good place to start—specifically good resin ones. And yes, skate shoes will work fine until you can afford to drop a C-note. But getting the right shoe setup is worth it.





EDIT: Socks, I forgot socks. Save your money. Why are socks THE industry thing? You don't need MTB socks to ride MTB. Personally I think regular Darn Tough wool socks are perfect (black, crew length, medium weight, no padding). They work great for riding, hiking, town, etc., they breathe well, don't slide around, and they seem to last a long time. But honestly, literally any tall-ish socks you already have will do.





Agree? Disagree? What did we miss? When it comes to clothing where do you think thrifty riders should be investing their dollars?

And what do you want us to cover next? We've got "where to spend and where to save on bike parts" and "where to spend and where to save on tools and accessories" in the works.


336 Comments

  • 323 7
 Some would pay extra for the used chamois
  • 20 2
 It's all about provenance & aromas when choosing or investing in used chamois. The gnarlier and more famous the previous owner in combination the last wash vs. usage date the better! Big Grin
  • 12 0
 @onlyDH: Are you asking for a friend?
  • 16 1
 Make me an offer
  • 81 1
 I just got out of the shower, but somehow after reading this, feel like I need to go back in.
  • 17 1
 Only in Japan, they already have those other...vending machines.
  • 6 0
 I sold 3 white bibs after i realized how see through they really were. The guy who bought them did seem a bit creepy though.

Did I make a mistake washing them before sale? Could I have got more if I had not washed?
  • 17 0
 @bman33: I heard a rumor that Nino makes a majority of his earnings by selling his race shorts on the dark web.
  • 3 1
 @unrooted: you don’t even need the dark web. This girl I was dating is a comedian and had a joke about a reddit forum where guys buy soiled panties from women.

If people are willing to buy women’s underpants with stained gussets, they’ll probably also buy chammies with brown ass pads
  • 38 1
 Buy one form an e-biker who hasn't broken a sweat
  • 1 0
 effin’ saddle sniffer
  • 5 1
 @Dogl0rd: Comment win sir. Kudos
  • 3 3
 Man...a chamois comes clean in the wash. For the life of me, I've not once worn the shoes of another person. The smell of any single pair of shoes that's been used at all is enough to scar a person for life. Used shoes are the equivalent of Rollshambolling your feet!
  • 3 2
 @unrooted: It's a lie! Nino is Swiss. He would never sell stuff on dark net. And that way avoid to pay his taxes
  • 3 0
 I agree cyclists are not immune to being creeps.
  • 2 0
 I'd love to buy a pair of Eddie Masters chocolate bar chamois
  • 4 1
 I suppose a sniff test is not outta the question. Just to be sure...
  • 1 0
 @BEERandSPOKES: haha so true! I actually thought that was a myth until I went to Japan.
  • 148 3
 Firstly, try not to buy
Secondly, buy used
Thirdly, by last year’s new stuff
Buy this year’s new stuff if the above isn’t possible
Please, buy stuff which is produced fairly
  • 26 1
 Amen brother!

Don't buy, buy used, buy fair and local.

Also, spend the money when things are going to last. $200 for item X might seem too expensive, but if it lasts and or is rebuild-able, its worth a whole mess of $50 items.
  • 12 0
 this article shouldve been an advert for PB for sale section. ive bought and sold a lot of gear on here throughout the years. love it
  • 16 0
 @ccolagio: The buy/sell section on this site is amazing. Have bought many, many, many great things on here that have saved me thousands and saved me from buying newly manufactured future garbage.
  • 4 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: It's a good place to find the right market for higher-end bikes and related. I wish the search/ filter / results were a little more functional and it could use a facelift. I've never tried mobile - do they have a more modern version?
  • 1 2
 Anyone else f*ck with tall white v-neck slim fit tees from Macy's? Then cut a pair jeans off just BELOW the knee for the true Haggard style. 100! 100! 100!
  • 8 0
 @youknowitsus: below the knee!? You f*cking maniac
  • 6 1
 This may be the most positive and inspiring PB thread I've ever seen.
  • 9 3
 I love old Dickies as riding shorts. I have no idea what Brian Park is talking about. They suck when they get wet, but otherwise they're fine.
  • 2 0
 @ProperPushIrons: This is a great compliment. I like you.
  • 6 3
 @TEAM-ROBOT: Who's Brian Park
  • 3 0
 @youknowitsus: I think Levy is his boss?
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: And they last so long. I can wear a pair of Dickies for everyday wear as well as riding for two or more years. Gucci riding shorts, maybe one season. If they don't wear out in the crotch, then the hips are toast. And don't get me started on their choice of colours. Fortunately the GF usually finds something on sale & gets something that way.
  • 1 0
 @gary-prime: And best of all, when they finally do wear out you can patch them. And then when they really really really need to be retired you don't have to feel stupid for spending $90 on them. Priceless.
  • 65 1
 This was a whole lot of words when the correct answer is “Buy last years model on closeout”. If your budget is really tight, but your gear on closeout from the moto shop, those fashionistas won’t touch anything that’s not current, gloves, goggles, pants, jerseys, dirt cheap. Bought 5 pairs of 100% gloves for $4/ea, and goggles for like $12
  • 8 0
 man i've even gotten a bike (top of the line) of the previous year, cheaper than a mid liner of the new year!!!
  • 4 0
 Fasthouse was having a big sale of all the 2019 bike stuff about a week ago and I managed to get a nice jersey and a pair of gloves for under $30.
  • 4 2
 Underrated comment. I don't personally understand the mindset needed to buy anything at current MSRP that isn't some seriously Gucci boutique stuff. How badly can one possibly need this year's new gear or a current MY bike?

As far as bikes go 90% of the parts I buy are used anyway but hell, I can build two to three bikes at last year/two discounted prices for the cost of one at this years. Insanity.
  • 7 0
 A good place to go is Sierra trading Post. Got a fox Jersey for $10 last year
  • 2 4
 Big one that drives me crazy is lights. I'm always amazed when there's a high-end-brand-x bike light that costs $200+ when you could go on Amazon and get a comparable one for much MUCH less. You are literally paying for a name, plus many of the cheaper lights have high quality CREE LED's. I see the same thing with older generations and off-roading who will only buy direct from the retail store and figure 'well it's the most expensive, it's gotta be the best'.
  • 21 0
 @coyotecycleworks: Mmmm... disagree on the lights. The cheapo amazon never match their lumen claims, have terrible light patterns, are short on battery, and get killed by environmental conditions.

When I started night riding, I was fully on board the el-cheapo "JUST AS GOOD" light train, and could never understand why people weren't terrified riding at night. Then I tried my buddy's Nightrider setup and it made a world of difference.

No, you don't have to shell out $500+ for a botique Lupine matching annodized set, but you do get what you pay for. Sure your next of kin might be able to get a refund on that 20 buck Ali Express 2000 lumen light that happened to die right before the corner at the cliff edge, but not really your concern.

Along with contact points, reliable lights are one of the few things I would advocate spending enough to get to at least the mid-tier with on bike stuff.
  • 31 0
 1. visit website of your online retailer of choice
2. pick the clearance / closeout tab
3. increase page size to max # of items
4. order by price, lowest -> highest
5. scroll through and open in new tab anything that looks interesting or like a good deal, regardless of what it is or what you need
6. check for sizing, fit. If even marginally close, "add to cart"
7. repeat until all pages scanned or prices get too high, whichever comes first
8. click "view cart"
9. be amazed at some of the sh!t you added
10. cull cart to "more reasonable" list of items
11. complete order
12. wait for delivery. forget what you bought
13. receive order. Christmas in July! (and usually Feb, May and sometime in the fall)


I kind of wish that the above list was more of a joke...
  • 1 0
 @tsheep: Agreed on lights, I finally bit the bullet and got a 1000 lumen Glowworm that absolutely blows my 2500 lumen Magic Shine out of the water. It's a mid range light for sure, but compared to my MS it's smaller, lighter, better spread, longer battery life, better mounting system, and noticeably brighter.

Now, a previous model year light from a reputable manufacturer on clearance? That's a good way to save a bundle. Bought one of Niterider's "all in one" lights for the road bike on sale for under $70, for a bright-as-hell 1200 lumen light that lasts a few rides before needing a recharge and mounts nicely to the underside of my Garmin, can't complain about that.
  • 6 0
 @plyawn: this is a lifestyle for me.
  • 1 0
 @plyawn: I can relate to this being located in Alaska where to buy anything that requires shipping takes eons to arrive. Every package is a surprise since it was ages ago that you ordered the thing(s).
  • 1 0
 @tsheep: kaidoman.com It's pretty much the only reliable source for Chinese lights.
  • 1 0
 Sry,tipo www.kaidomain.com and altought their battery packs are ok, I rather buy lights alone and order battery from enerprof.de
  • 2 0
 @plyawn: I get frustrated sometimes this isn't just the default filters on retailers sites. I only use price high to low when I'm bored and want a chuckle.

Top tip, sometimes equivalent stuff is cheaper/comparable in the normal section, not the clearance tagged ones. CRC used to be devils for this, but I haven't looked much recently.
  • 1 0
 @coyotecycleworks: I used to think this until I was lucky enough to get a very very good deal on some Exposure lights. A MaxxD and Diablo, to be exact. The were a game changer. They really are intelligent and learn you're riding style, switch to low power when you're climbing or on flat and power up when it gets steep and gnarly. I admit that they are a serious chunk of change but I wouldn't swap back now. I even sold the MaxxD for more than I paid for it and bought a Six Pack which is outstanding. We ride three nights a week through winter in rain, sleet and snow and they're invaluable.
  • 3 1
 Genuine question... what are 100% gloves? Are these gloves with 5 long fingers where you’re certain they’re gloves, unlike say mittens where there’s a possibility they may be mistaken as socks?
  • 1 0
 @NaturalSponge: 100% gloves are gloves from a brand that is named 100%. see the website 100percent.com
  • 1 0
 @jaredmh: Thanks, being old I spend what little free time I have riding now. Hence as I said it was a genuine question, hadn’t heard of 100% before. Happy weekend all.
  • 1 0
 @maxyedor: Got a BLF Q8 and some hardware to mount old gopros do the handlebar, some nice padding and a strap. The thing os rock solid in there and there are at least 5 thousand lumens in turbo mode from 4 XPL Hi leds. Bought from Aliexpress. If 4 18650 batteries are too much, there is the SP36 BLF that carries 3 18650, althout this one doesn't have the lanyard hole.
  • 57 0
 I literally look for the ugliest socks I can find to use them when riding. My current favorite have dinosaurs all over them, I strongly believe they make me faster
  • 16 0
 Those sound sweet actually
  • 9 0
 Costco wool socks. $20 for a six-pack.
  • 4 0
 I have a similar therory; I ride Vans hi-tops, I go for the ugliest (coincidentally the cheapest) so I don't use them for street wear and they last longer. Double savings.
  • 2 0
 This makes me miss my flamingo socks.
  • 7 0
 hahaha I purposely infuriate my riding buddies with my socks, my favorite is wearing a mixed set, one leg with hamburgers on it the other with hotdogs.
  • 2 0
 I forgot to bring socks to change into after office work one day. My super thin socks with cows on them are now my favorite ones to ride in!
  • 1 0
 @Brasher: that sounds like a matching set to me!
  • 2 0
 My friend has a bright blue pair with orcas on them, they are awesome.
  • 1 0
 @Skooks: used to love them, but then just bit the bullet and splurged on darn tough socks because of all the hype. I'm a convert now. Fit is a lot better and my feet doesn't get nearly as funky as with the Costco ones.
  • 2 0
 My current riding socks have Donuts on them. Previous pair had Hawaiian print.
  • 48 0
 T-shirt and jeans guy... always either a total newb or hucking doubles like nobodies business. Never just decent.
  • 5 0
 Got seriously humbled at Coast Gravity Park by a dude on an absolutely clapped Norco Truax who was boosting fully ~30% higher than me on the pro lines.
  • 9 0
 @N-60: lol... the dude hucking in jeans 10 times as hard as you always seems to be on an 8 year old bike too. Further proof you don’t need to have gobs of money to send it
  • 1 0
 Perty much sums it up... T-tank's, cut off jean jorts, take it to the next level baby. Your fully committed on those steep n' techy descent's (i.e. 4 foot vertical roll off into steep turn, with a big bolder right at the turn....). Wink
Add in $60 giro fixture, standard street skechers, basic wool work socks... Man, your in for one heck of a wild ride, just how i like em'.
  • 2 0
 @wcr: Agree on everything except the helmet, you know homie's wearing a cracked skate lid plastered with 2005-10 era stickers.
  • 5 0
 I am the exception to this rule. I like jeans and t shirts and I'm exceptionally average.
  • 2 0
 Been riding since 1991 and I bought my first actual MTB jersey about 6 months ago.
  • 1 0
 Bikepark rats always wear T-Shirt and jeans Wink
  • 32 2
 MTB Jersey are overpriced piece of junk typically; you can ride in any sport t-shit or so and have better ventilation fit and design for less
  • 11 0
 yep - athletic shirts from Target etc. work just as well.
  • 16 1
 True. But, the dropped tail saves exposing your back or crack, so worth it IMO
  • 6 0
 I have found that the "tech tees" from bike industry brands work really well for me. Much cheaper than a jersey, not fully cotton (cause I sweat), and fit designed for riding. Basically they're the happy medium and look the part.
  • 2 0
 Bought a bunch of UPF sun shirts last year, $15 closeouts, super breathable, long sleeves when things get a bit cooler, no need for sunscreen, super obnoxious colors, perfect!
  • 21 1
 DON'T BE A DINGUS - JUST WEAR YER FAVORITE BAND'S TSHIRT
  • 5 0
 @Boissal: There's a running store called RoadRunner here in southern california that has their own brand of UPF sun shirts that I use all the time for regular trail riding that are about $20 a shirt. Any shirt that's 'made' for MTB will easily start at $40. Glad to hear someone else has found how good/affordable they are!
  • 8 0
 But they don’t say Troy lee on them.
  • 3 0
 @coyotecycleworks: I was just down there this past weekend to stock up on running shoes at the clearance warehouse. They even honored my employee discount, even though I worked there for 6 months in 2014!

Anyway, related, I have a shit load of 5k/10k/marathon/etc race shirts that I just wear for work shirts and mountain biking. Unless I am in full XC race mode.

Also, I use my retire road chamois under a pair of shorts. Might have a hole worn through them, but under the shorts, you can't tell. The chamois itself still works fine.
  • 4 0
 And poly smells! In the PNW cheap wool baselayers year round, long in winter short in summer.
  • 4 0
 you can also just buy and wear MX jerseys which are the exact same for less.
  • 2 0
 Russell Athletic @ Walmart
  • 1 1
 @mountainsofsussex: size up. None of the athletic shirts I have from Target etc. expose my back/crack.
  • 5 0
 Absolutely! Where I live we have about ten discount stores (ross, tj max, Burlington, sierra trading post etc), as I'm sure most towns do. You can always find tech fiber athletic shirts on the running clothing racks for $5-$20 each. Sure they say Russell or Saucony or something like that and not TLD or Fox (which is a good thing imo). They work amazingly well and they're CHEAP!.
  • 2 0
 I do some 10k or half marathon and got a huge collection of technical t-shirts as gifts. I only wear those. Perfects in all conditions.
  • 1 0
 MTB Jerseys are such a ripoff. I just use t-shirts if it's warm, otherwise I use a flannel or wool shirt. The plastic jerseys also reek to high heaven after sweating a bit, cotton or wool is so much more comfy for you and those around you.
  • 1 0
 If you're a heavy sweater, like I am , over the long run a tshirt or cheaper quickdry fabric will either rot or smell worse than a high school gym bag left in the sun. High quality fabrics do not retain odor nearly as much, the ONLY reason to buy something not bargain bin... for Dh where the jersey is over pads and doesn't get soaked? Discount practice jerseys from whatever sporting store do the trick just fine!
  • 2 0
 @rocky-mtn-gman: Crikey, there's enough snobbery in this sport already over what's cool and what isn't (27.5 or 29, to backpack or not to backpack, why would anyone use a brand that i don't like? Etc).

Surely we don't want to get into which bands you're allowed to like and which ones are lame.

"Pick one of four thrash metal bands and be a d!ck about it"
  • 1 0
 I saw a guy at thunder mountain last weekend rocking a Bubbles #99 hockey jersey throwing down absolute nukes on Gronk. I think hockey jerseys might be the ultimate kit
  • 1 0
 Agree with everything stated, and more. It's surprising what you can dig up for pennies on the dollar, if you have a half a brain, and look around. I buy all my mtb/bike clothing discount/second hand, has worked great so far... Even picked up a Sugi full lycra suit, for less then 30 bucks last year. Thing is practically new, maybe worn once before shelving it.
You just have to be patient, keep sniffing through the clothing section, and you'll come across some great finds. If it has worked well so far, then i must be on to something, IHMO.
  • 2 0
 @yoimaninja: You said it! Heck, the moto shop was blowing out genuine Fox gear, for pennies compared to new mtb gear. For peat sake, it's exactly the same stuff as there mtb lines, just remarketed for big bucks. Even sport check (the big multi-sporting good store here in Canada) was blowing out fox tee's for $10 a pop, even ones with the classic tan graphics.
Being a smart shopper pay's off dividends, that goes for everything in life!
Smile
  • 1 0
 @wcr: ya I don’t get how costs in the mtb industry, like for gear in this case, are justified sometimes. MX jerseys, gloves, goggles, all the same if not better quality for less.
  • 1 0
 @DidNotSendIt: Eh! Slayer?
  • 1 0
 @DidNotSendIt: I thought only guys who were insecure about their masculinity listened to metal???
  • 1 0
 @rickybobby18: Old Navy has some good "workout" gear and their shirts are killer for riding and never more than 15 buck. I get dragged in there by my wife but always end up with riding gear.
  • 1 0
 mons royale wool jersey is the first and last tshirt you need
  • 25 0
 The only thing I would add is: dont buy your helmet online. I know its a lot easier to find a good price online but a helmet that fits well is critical. There's really no way to tell if a helmet works well with your head shape unless you try it on.
  • 4 0
 100% agree. Same goes for shorts, knee pads, shoes, and gloves tho... Of course, poor fitting clothing is just a nuisance, but a poor fitting helmet can be more of a safety issue. clothing is the only mtb thing I don't buy online. which sucks cause my nearest bike shop is 90 miles away.
  • 4 2
 whenever I see an ill-fitting expensive helmet, it's pretty obvious it was bought online or on closeout. Expensive helmets are a status item.
  • 12 0
 I bought my current two helmets online, you just have to be willing to send them back if they don't fit.
  • 1 0
 It's more difficult for helmets, but I bought my last 3 pairs of sports shoes (track running shoes, sprint spikes, mtb all mountain shoes) online because I know my size and all of them fit exactly like i wanted them to. If you have the right foot shape it works.
  • 1 0
 Don't really have a choice, especially for full face helmets, measure twice and pray it has the right shape for my head. Been lucky so far, same goes for shoes too.
  • 1 0
 The alternate here is buy all of the sizes that might fit and return the ones that don't (assuming returns and return shipping are zero cost...works with Amazon and a multitude of other large retailers).
  • 7 10
 Go to bike sop, measure few models, buy online on sale
  • 1 0
 Well, i keep getting lucky ordering helmets online. As long as you know your head size/shape, you can luck out if you know what your looking for. For me personally, i've had great luck with Giro... My previous lid was the Bishop, loved that thing, till i cracked it last year at the bike park. 40 bucks down the drain for a year worth of mtbing/cycling was totally worth it.
This article is de-'ja-vu for sure, my current lid is the fixture, luv the thing. Comfy, well ventilated, and MIPS... for $65 blowout and sport chek this spring. Same thing with gloves, got a pair of DND's XL's for $27, regular $38. There holding up great, after a real beating so far this season. I can go on... I perty much try to buy all my cycling stuff discount/secondary market. And i love to re-use old jean's, chop off the legs, and wa'lah, jort's for 5 bucks Big Grin . Wearing them as i speak...
Same story with shirts... I ride Nike/Fila's that i purchased from discount/second hand shops. Never payed more then $10 shirt, and still awesome performance. Same story with pant's/jackets, cheap $5 athletic works (walmart) jim shorts work fine (can't say the same about there tee's/tanks). Also picked up a pair of new balance and lulumon basketball shorts, for under $10 each. Lycra lined, comfy, and super breathable. I can go on...
Moral of the story:
You don't have to spend a boatload to be stylish, comfortable, and have lots of fun. All it's takes is some brain power, and patience Smile .
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh: went to the local trek dealer, tried on helmet, noted price tag. Came home, found same helmet £20 less on trek website, free pick up from previously visited local trek dealer. I nearly did it, so tempted, but it was reasonable home delivery charge so I saved my time and it came to me.
  • 1 0
 Until you've found something that fits well enough, then stock up. I've got a big head and above all, a lot of hair. The On-One Enduro helmet fits me perfectly and it doesn't bother me one bit to dispose of one once it has cracked in a crash. They typically sell them for somewhere between 10 and 15GBP. Some colors under the On-One brand, others under the Carnac brand (through the exact same shop). The advantage of sticking with one single model is that over time you collect a couple of sets of padding (from cracked/disposed helmets) so you can cycle these a bit through the laundry and put a fresh one in after a particularly sweaty ride.
  • 17 0
 After using a chamois and cream for 11+ years I just bought some synthetic boxer briefs, and I have to say they're MORE comfy than using bibs. You don't get all swampy and as long as their seams aren't in the wrong place AND you have a good saddle you won't chafe. I started with Ex-Officio at $25/pair and then tried Fruit of the Loom "Breathable Micro Mesh" undies (NOT the cotton ones - the polyester/spandex ones) and I actually like those better than the Ex-Officio's. They're like $19 for a pack of 4.

You can also wear cotton shirts on hot days - I know they don't breathe as well, but they stay wetter for longer once you get sweaty, which IMO leads to as much cooling as breathable fabrics that dry out fast. They also don't get stinky - you can walk indoors with a sweaty cotton shirt on after a ride and not knock everyone over with your odor.

So yeah...I went from wearing $100 bibs, using cream, and MTB-specific shirts to my shorts being the only MTB-specific thing I wear, and haven't looked back. Saving a lot of money, more comfortable, stink less.

I think I'm gonna try using Prana Zions / Patagonia Quandary / etc. shorts next time I buy shorts too - I think they might work just as well as MTB specific ones but you can wear them off the bike without looking weird too.
  • 1 0
 Good info...thanks
  • 3 0
 I had a crash recently where I connected with the stem. And yes, ouch. Had I not had a chamois, I reckon I'd have split "myself" in two! Now I know why the aubergine/eggplant emoji is that colour...
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: yeah I'm sure having an extra layer of fabric over your junk would help in a crash. It's a tradeoff. I have elbow pads but rarely wear them even though it would be nice to have them on if I crash on my elbow, because they're hot to wear. It's personal preference on the tradeoff between comfort and security. You could always ride with a protective cup on right? Wink
  • 3 0
 I've been using the "hybrid" quick dry style hiking shorts from a few sporting goods stores with great success. Mine aren't name brand but for $15 a pair I've gotten several years of use out of them.
  • 7 0
 I spent the $$ on a good seat, haven't worn a shammy in over 10 years.
  • 1 0
 @DesertFox94: Which shorts are those?
  • 2 0
 I second this. After finding a good saddle and underwear (also Ex-Officio) that has seams in the right places I haven't worn a chamois in 5 years.

For a shirt I wear a white Marmot sun protection t-shirt, not super cheap, but less than a jersey. Being in the desert white in important for me, and it's really hard to find white bike clothing anyway.

For shorts it's my one Zoic (no chamois) pair for more serious rides, or Eddie Bauer Guide shorts (which don't really tick the cheap box either but that's what I've got)
  • 2 0
 I would say the problem with using like a Prana Zion or a similar short is the gusseting in the crotch. I have a pair of those shorts which I have casually biked around in, boulder in, hiked in and they are a really comfy and well constructed short- but for more technical rides where I'm moving fore and aft on the bike around the seat prefer a bike specific short with a higher crotch gusset to keep it out of the way. Some climbing shorts have really high cut crotches but at that point you minds well just buy a bike specific one.
  • 1 0
 @snl1200: Going to try those fruit of the loom undies! Thanks
  • 4 0
 OR you can save even more money riding commando
  • 3 0
 @me2menow: Seniors beware. While feeling the breeze through the twig and berries can feel great. At a certain age the berries will hang out the bottom of your shorts. No one wants to see that.
  • 4 0
 @fabwizard: I do suppose a scrote-lift costs more than a pair of briefs
  • 1 0
 Nobody buys fruit ut loom anymore.
  • 1 0
 @rickybobby18: I just started riding in my Prana Zion shorts and they’re freaking great. My favorite pants too. Also been going chamois-free in ex-officios, thanks for the tip on the cheaper ones!
  • 1 0
 I’ve used lightweight stretch cordura Prana climbing knickers extensively and they work great! Good freedom of movement, quick drying and super durable.
  • 1 0
 FOTL dude here! I really like the standard boxers, nice 'n comfy, with awesome freedom of movement... Maybe should try out those stretchies, sound's like a good investment in comfort, if there even better then the basic ones.
  • 1 0
 @DidNotSendIt: Did you know that scrotox actually makes your nuts hang more? Dont ask how I know that
  • 2 0
 @me2menow: I did not know that. But at least they'll look smoother than Kojac on date night.
  • 1 0
 @leadsledpaintrain: recommends Prana on a budget-themed article. Aren’t they’re shorts as expensive as mid level pearl chamois?


And if you haven’t tried them yet, Saxx is hands down the best undies ever. Ultimate comfort design and they are remarkably durable.
  • 1 0
 @pourquois-pas: haha touché, I’ve found the shorts for around $40 though so generally cheaper than mtb specific ones, and more versatile
  • 15 0
 I would not reccomend new riders to go without gloves, I see them as being as important as knee pads or helmet for beginners crashing. Usually beginner crashes are slower and they put their hands down...hands are probably the most likely thing to get scraped up for this rider segment.

Also you mentioned getting a properly certified full face helmet. What are those certifications? Certainly DOT is one you want to specify as not being appropriate for cycling.

I personally, despite having been a rider for 25 years and industry person almost as long, still choose to ride in basic synthetic casual or slightly stretchy shorts that are a lot like board shorts. I get them at ross or sierra trading post for $15 a pair, and they have lasted almost as long as my ungodly expensive cycling specific shorts. That being said, I do pony up on my chamois. I get a road chamois and wear it under whatever shorts i choose for the first month, and then just for longer rides after a month of riding.

I am also a fan of a Camelback. It doesnt need to be cycling specific, walmart or costco or Sierra trading post have great $20 options. Around here its bloody hot with no trees, and lots of icy water is something a hip pack or bottle wont do for me. I've got tools and a spare tube. Bonus for packs are they act as a form of spine protection....and I am 100% confident that I have witnessed them save lives in this capacity. Both mine and my wife's. She still broke 2 bones in her back...but would've been dead or paralyzed without it....
  • 1 0
 regarding full face helments, there is the downhill specific standard ASTM 1952 to which higher level helmets comply. note that having deeply searched for downhill helments, some of them, even coming from well respected brands, comply only PARTIALLY to such standard. so pay attention on wether they are fully certified or just complying to a standard..... there is a big difference there!
  • 2 0
 +1 on gloves as important as knee pads. Trivial crashes destroy palm skin that wouldn't even be scratched with the thinnest gloves on. Noobs would look pretty stupid with fcked up hands after a 5mph crash, or scrubbing gravel out of the road rash with a toothbrush.
  • 15 0
 So...what you're saying is, most stuff is overpriced?
  • 12 0
 Phone ringing off the hook with PinkBike sponsors losing their marbles with rage....."How dare you wake our consumers?" they all yell in unison.
  • 3 2
 Its just another ad disguised as an article.
  • 3 3
 There is nothing worse then looking like you don't belong on the trails. Don't be fooled into buying cheap un-branded things ( or last years model) as you will be mocked at your first group ride and nobody will give you their spare tube ( or even wait for you) if you get a flat on that ride. If you can't afford to take it up properly stick to riding your cruiser back and forth from the coffee shop. We don't need you on our trails or at our favorite bike shop.
  • 9 0
 Good recommendation on the Giro Fixture. Not sure if I’m the only person out there with a 6k bike and a $60 helmet but I love mine. Unfortunately I think they’re pretty sold out right now.
  • 2 0
 Same here LOL. $6k bike and a Giro Fixture.
  • 1 0
 Same here ($2000 bike Wink ).
  • 1 0
 Tried every helmet (money no object) at my well stocked and high end LBS. Criterea of a) comfortable fitting, b) white or grey c) compatible with Exposure helmet light mount. Was pleasantly surprised by the low cost of my chosen Giro Fixture.
  • 8 0
 Anyone else remember going through the D.A.R.E. program in school?

Also, those POC knee pads are no joke awesome. Really pricey but worth it. So comfy I forget they’re on.

...I should probably wear them once in a while.
  • 8 0
 Where else would 9 year olds learn how to smoke drugs?
  • 8 0
 yeah it was awesome. someone asked our DARE officer what his biggest drug bust was and he said he busted a guy in a local park with a 'guitar case full of drugs' which was probably some local yokel with some weed in his guitar case. He was a bodybuilder and in the first DARE class showed us glossy pictures of himself posing in a damn speedo. He showed us his taser and I right away went home to try and make my own and my mom saw what I was doing and threatened to take me out of DARE. Good times.
  • 5 0
 D.A.R.E. is how I found out that stealing pills is the most effective way for a youngster to combat boredom apparently.
  • 10 0
 This is why I only go fullendurbro. Cut off jorts and tanktops are hella cheap.
  • 2 0
 Preach it man! Big Grin Denim dude here too... Join the club boys, all riders welcome (even if you look like a session Wink ).
  • 7 0
 Fuck the DARE program in entirety. I fully support keeping drugs away from kids, but keep that shit away. What a scummy manipulative group. Worth noting that not only did DARE force kids to make a pledge they had no real understanding of, that didn't help them, but in doing so they introduced kids to drugs they normally would not know about. The entire program was a farce.
  • 7 0
 The video we watched literally had instructions explaining how to make crack from cocaine and common kitchen ingredients
  • 12 0
 @pmhobson, do you have a link? Asking for a friend.
  • 3 0
 @pmhobson: if they let you listen to the 10 Crack Commandments too, they would have had a full class ready to go
  • 1 0
 @sjma: can’t upvote this enough!
  • 6 0
 I like me a cheap shirt, or at least not paying too much for a fancy name, but I'll always opt for long sleeves. Maybe it's western Washington thick'n'wet forests, or my bad riding, but I'm forever getting scratches, branches, nettles, what-have-you in short sleeves. A breathable/wicking long sleeve is worth it to me.
  • 2 0
 Yep, long sleeves all the times! Where I live temps rise up to 35c/95f in summer, even then I have a full sleeve top. If it's under 20c/68f I wear long pants as well. It kinda gives me a feeling of safety.
  • 9 2
 Dickies Flex 11" inseam Slim Fit. Best riding short I've ever owned. $22 USD. Fit is comparable to the urban giro line with out the price tag.

www.dickies.com/shorts/flex-11-slim-fit-work-shorts/WR849.html
  • 9 0
 Do they come with that pleat or does your mom have to iron it in?
  • 5 0
 @mattsavage: they come with it but my mom would do it if I asked.
  • 1 0
 Great tip. I've been riding (and working) in Dickies for a long time, but didn't know there was a flex version.
  • 1 0
 Another awesome option is wrangler's retro slim. Have three pairs of these pants (purchased on uge discount).
Super comfy, stretchy jean's, that breath really well, great all round pant.

Looks like then make a line called ATG, water repellent, and moisture wicking/cooling. Definitely going to look into those.

www.wrangler.com/shop/atg-by-wrangler-mens-flap-pocket-utility-short-NS935.html?dwvar_NS935_color=NS935BN
  • 2 0
 @shotouthoods: Missed the opportunity for a "your mom" joke.
  • 3 0
 Wear these shorts with the typical mid calf black socks and you will look like you wandered out from a retirement home.
  • 2 0
 @Ryan2949: yup that’s the first thing I though but went for the kinder gentler Pinkbike. Sign of the times I guess
  • 1 0
 Dickies are alright quality and a great price. I opted to try the Eddie Bauer Guide Pro shorts for $35, I'll let ya know how they ride.
  • 8 0
 Some times a good work glove from hardware store is as good or better then a name brand bike glove and when on sale much better price
  • 3 0
 Grab a pair of clear safety glasses while you're there, and a $3 metric folding multitool.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: As they said in the article, cheap safety glasses are great, but only if they're clear lenses. Otherwise the cheap polarization could actually hinder your vision. +11 for MechanixWear original gloves, they are better quality than a lot of MTB specific gloves.
  • 7 0
 The recommended prices in the article add up to $445. My wife and two kids ride too so that adds up. I still need to cover the cost of four bikes and the $1000 Kuat rack so I better get back to work...
  • 7 3
 You have a spare kid. I hear you can get pretty good coin for one on the dark web. You would reduce expenses and have a boatload of cash. win win.
  • 5 0
 Quick hip pack tip: I bought at $10 pack on Amazon that fits a bike bottle perfectly and sewed some elastic loops on the bottom to carry a pump. It fits everything I need (multi tool, tire lever, tube, spare hanger, spare cable, quick link, food, etc.). The zipper levers are crap quality and break right away, but the fabric is fine. I even use it on longer rides by pre-mixing some Aquamira in a tiny bottle and purifying my own water along the way from streams.

Link for those interested
smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NNRK9C6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • 6 0
 Mechanix gloves FTW. Destroyed every single biking gloves in a year, no matter the brand, but my Mechanix is still holding up after 2 years now. If its good for the Special Forces and the Army, its good for you too.
  • 2 0
 I went through two pairs in my first 8 weeks in basic...
  • 1 0
 The Mechanix Vents are the best if you ride somewhere warm. Like them better than my Troy Lee Ace's that didn't make it through a single season.
  • 1 0
 I've been using the same pair of IRONCLAD Gel Palm gloves since part way through the 2014 season. That's something in the order of 5000 miles. They're holding up well, but there are several spots where the outer layer is wearing. But they have already outlived any other gloves I've tried by a wide margin. (Including Mechanix, Impacto, etc)
And because they're made from synthetic leather (clarino?), they can be washed.I try to wash mine every few rides, if they're clean, there's no dirt to grind them into dust.....
  • 9 0
 I only ride in Dickies.
  • 5 0
 And vans.
  • 9 0
 @GBeard: And a 100% cotton Descendents T
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: @ddspaz: @GBeard : @Jetmo :

Here is the scoop on eyewear. Please don't share this with too many people. You can get a dozen pairs of Locs (cholo shades usually sold at gas stations) for $30 or less in all kinds of loc'd-out Foo styles. Here's the link. You could go into business reselling these as they come individually packaged in s loc'd-out display box. As seen on Foos Gone Wild (if not, they should be).

www.olympiceyewear.com/sunglasses-brands/locs-sunglasses.html

Some Ben Davis shants and a white tank top and you're rollin hard, FOO.
  • 2 0
 @endlessblockades: Had to go look if shipped to UK & they DO!
Now wondering what import duty would be?
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: No idea about that, but the company I linked are in Florida, I believe, so if Covid hasn;t done them in yet, the shipping to hop em over the Atlantic shouldn't be too bad. Even if you pay a 100% duty they're still under USD $6 a pair! The optics are good enough, too - full UV etc. Anyway, I lose or break expensive shades all the time and now I have theses stashed everywhere - never without Locs

FOO

-Edit they have a whole bunch of non-FOO styles too.

www.instagram.com/p/CB3hx1ipP7n
  • 3 0
 @endlessblockades: Now THIS is some core min-max beta.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: Ben Davis shorts ALL DAY! Don’t know why everyone is on Dickies tip so much. Way to plasticy and nothing stays in those stupid side entry pockets. Plus yeah, way more cholo factor than Dickies
  • 2 0
 @lightsgetdimmer: Yes! I even snag old UNION MADE Ben's pants off eBay and have em made into shorts.

"The higher the socks, the downer the FOO!"
  • 4 0
 Indiana has Goodwill stores. Shop in the rich areas of town and they give away crazy stuff...Fox shorts. Nice shirts, brand new Yakima Hitch rack for $10, Maxpedition bladder compatible bag for $7, etc. I still buy new bladders and helmets. I even bought a boat there once (okay fine, a paddleboat, but it was still fun!)
  • 4 0
 Anybody else just buy roadie bike shorts with padding and just wear them under regular shorts? I usually get some fairly strong but light hiking shorts that are cut just tight enough to not snag on the saddle. Durability's never been a problem.

Protective gear and shoes are where I won't skimp, everywhere else I'll save as much as I can. The only thing I really disagree with in this article is the recommendation to ride without gloves - rocking up to work with your palms cut up from a stupid crash is no fun. One glove feature I really like these days is the conductive material they add to fingertips so you can use your phone without taking them off. Other than that, comfort over price.
  • 1 0
 I used roadie shorts like that for a few years. Ultimately they were too hot, too long to be used with knee pads and the chamois happened to create a duck tail that would sometimes snag to the tip of the saddle in tricky situations.

Then I bought some Endura liner shorts which are super comfy and very affordable (like 40 euros local). In general Endura kit seems to be of good value.
  • 1 0
 @tiaalto: Do not buy on sale Endura stuff as do not fit well!
  • 5 0
 The Osprey hip pack with water bottle holders is around $50 IIRC and a great option that can hold all your stuff and bottles when needed. Love mine!!
  • 3 0
 Same. Spent a couple hundred with other packs (backpacks and even the larger osprey bladder hip pack) before settling on this one as my go to. Got it for $30 on sale at REI.
  • 1 0
 One thing I always look for in any pack is a large sturdy zipper. Might add a little bit of weight, but it'll last way longer.
  • 1 0
 Same! Own it and love it, got it 20% from REI too.
  • 1 0
 I bought a 2 liter hip pack with 2 bottles and holders for $8 at menards, my only problem is that it is too big so I usually use a smaller one.
  • 4 1
 I admit I spend money unnecessarily on bike clothes, but the Fox Defender pants have been a great investment. They fit really well, they're not nearly as hot as I thought they'd be due to some well placed vents, and my legs don't look like hamburger meat after a park day. I could never find them on sale. If you have a favorite brand, hit up their brand ambassador for a discount code and you may be able to score some of this year's gear at close to last year's prices.
  • 1 0
 Do they come with free skid marks, or is that extra?
  • 2 0
 Fox make great stuff but their prices are getting out of hand. The jersey and pants seem to increase in price every year. In reality, they can charge whatever the fck they want for their products and people will continue paying for it. Honestly though, I too have the Defend Kevlar pants, and they are awesome.
  • 1 0
 @markcorrigan: I don’t think I’ve ever bought a Fox item I was happy with, it either started unraveling at the seams within a few rides (sometimes the first), got terrible runs in the fabric the first time it came close to Velcro, or didn’t breathe any better than plastic wrap. I almost exclusively buy Troy lee, Alpinestars, or Chromag now.
  • 1 0
 I double that, the Defender pants are really good, wear them even on hot days. I'm also very happy with the Defender gloves.
  • 3 0
 Darn Tough socks are the best, they're expensive but they have a no exceptions warranty program that I've personally used multiple times. Do yourself a favor and buy one pair of their hiking socks, I promise you won't be disappointed and if you don't like them send them back.
  • 2 0
 Darn Tough socks changed my life. I did not know how uncomfortable all other socks were until my first pair of Darns, so I'm slowly transitioning my entire sock drawer over to them. When I'm done I'll have a $200 sock collection, but I'll never have to purchase another pair of socks in my life. One of the best discoveries ever!
  • 7 0
 Honestly, in the end, this is a First World problem.
  • 3 0
 Looks like I am the only nerd who likes a nice jersey for my rides. Good MTB jerseys breathes better than your standard cotton/Under Armor shirt, have useful pockets and a proper fit. Not a huge deal, but worth splurging $40 on imo. Also SockGuy socks are super comfy and feel better than your standard athletic socks, imo.
  • 1 0
 I wear a jersey if I need some padding or I need the pockets. Most of the time its clearance athletic shirts I bought for a couple dollars. Other than them riding up in the back I much prefer a regular shirt over a jersey.
  • 2 0
 I actually like MTB jerseys so much that I wear them even when not riding. I just buy lots on discount and wear them instead of t-shirts. Perks of working from home these days.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-sf: hey, if grown ass adults can wear soccer jerseys with some dude's name on them, why not mtb jerseys? Especially as the designs have gotten much better and less EXTREME lately.
  • 4 1
 Man, small world... I feel like that's Cody Phillips' old DARE fanny pack. Is it? I coulda sworn he was at the Oregon Enduro Series events that Colin was shooting, and there can't be many of the DARE packs floating around!!! And who in the heck remembers stuff like that? I must be weird.
  • 4 0
 Just be aware that *some* of the really cheap athletic shirts breathe very poorly and you're better off with a regular t-shirt.
  • 3 0
 200% agree
Not all polyester is created equal.

I have purchased cheap old navy and costco technical shirts and they end up being just as wet and soaked at the end of a ride/work out as a cotton tee. And no where near as comfy.
  • 2 0
 I think this article is pretty much bang on but I would add a couple of things. -never buy a lid from another country as there is no crash replacement. -If you ride regularly you dont need chamois. A decent pair of Under Armour or similar long boxers is way more comfy as it wicks moisture away from your skin. I fact, short of a permenantlyseated road ride, I never wear bibs regardless of distance - and NEVER in winter where cold muddy water gets in there......
  • 5 1
 Guess it depends on one persons ass, and how you define "regularly". Friend of mine races 24 hour events, even has a national TT record (500 miles?). Still wears a chamois. I ride over 20 hours a week, still wear a chamois.
  • 8 0
 @ilovedust, I'm a fan of the no chamois program too. Ditching the padded diaper is the way to go.
  • 5 1
 @mikekazimer: I don't own a single pair of underwear... Gotta go with the stretchy shorts for riding otherwise the beans wind up squished on the saddle.
  • 2 1
 @JSTootell: I too have no idea how people go on long rides without a chamois. They must have more built in butt padding or something. I don't even want to think about the saddle sores I'd get taking this advice.
  • 5 0
 @mtb-sf:, it's all about picking the right seat.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: In the past few years have acquired at least ten seats from different brands and tested them exhaustively, as well as test rides with even more options. I've had my butt measured using several different companies methodology. There is literally no avenue I have not explored looking for the right seat.

I'm now on a Chromag Juniper (I actually got for free) that is comfortable enough that I mostly forget about it and don't get saddle sores on long rides, at least if I wear my chamois. That's as good as it gets unless you have a magical bottom.
  • 1 0
 Just don't sit. Stomp on your pedal, not on your saddle.
  • 2 0
 Can't argue with most of this.

I have a few MTB-brand tops which i only bought because they were on sale. Otherwise you can easily get tech (for running, teaining, gym etc) tees* by Nike, Under Armour or Adidas etc for £10 or less. They work just fine for me and no way would i pay full price for the MTVB-brands when i don't need to.

Agree that there's no substitute for MTB-specific shorts. Although how much you need to pay for these is debatable. I was fortunate to get TLD ones on sale but lesser brands might be adequate enough.

*Pro Tip: Instead of paying £10-£15 for tech tees in your local sporting goods emporium (or one further away for that matter), sign up for running races and quite often you can get a tech top AND a medal as part of your race/finish pack for the same price. And it's leg and cardio training! Having to actually run is literally the only downside to this. Also, don't wear the medals while riding.
  • 2 0
 Check the Mechanix M-Pact Framer. Your thumb, index, and middle finger are exposed for tactile ability, while the rest of your hand is protected. The thin palm pad that designed for repeated percussion. I've used these primarily for the past two seasons. They are tough, comfortable, and reasonably priced. www.mechanix.com/us-en/durahide-m-pact-framer-impact-framer-gloves
  • 2 0
 Adding moto stuff - look for a motocross supply store and you can get a few normally pricey items cheaper because of their larger market. Specifically things like moto jerseys, especially for downhilling. Also goggles - moto goggles start pretty cheap and are essentially the same thing as mtb.
  • 2 0
 Meh on getting MTB specific shorts. Get a set of Nashbar road cycling shorts or cycling specific underwear (the kind with the chamois in them) and just wear a regular pair of shorts over the top.

Honestly, for most short rides, non-boxer underwear does a perfectly serviceable job of keeping one's junk from rattling to the point of soreness. I mean, many of us learned to ride in underoos, and it didn't keep us from becoming fathers.
  • 1 1
 Speak for yourself, it doesn't take many rides to realize weather or not ones junk is truly under control. I'll go for a cruise in normal shorts, but real MTB...chamois nonnegotiable. I also learned to ride on tiny plastic pedals with reflectors, you wont catch me on those either.
  • 2 0
 Easy answer don't buy cycling specific clothes.
I get brand new shorts for 50$
New Jersey 30$
New shoes in skater style 30$
When you hit them streets a running
And try and meet the masses
Go get your self some cheap sunglasses.
Mechanix gloves 25$ for two pairs.
Thank you MEC and thank you Walmart !
  • 2 0
 Hardware store gloves with a thin fabric palm, hardware store safety glasses with anti-fog treatment, wool socks and synthetic shirts from Costco, riding shoes and shorts on close out, and a helmet from a shop where you can try them all on to find one that fits right.
  • 3 1
 Great real world article, but I disagree about spending money on shorts. Spend money on good Bib shorts and wear cheap stretchable cutoffs over them. I've given up on regular mountain bike shorts with the pad in them.
  • 1 0
 Amen! My go to is Gerry Venture shorts from Costco for $14. Good bib/chamois underneath and total cost is half of what fancy MTB shorts cost.
  • 1 0
 Wore dickies for the first 15 years, then got a gift certificate and decided to pull the trigger on my first pair of expensive "riding" shorts from fox for $120. Felt great comparatively, but the taped seams fell apart within 6 months. Never pay more than $45 for riding shorts now, on sale.
  • 2 0
 Glasses get every bit as sweaty as gloves or a chamois, so not sure why it gets a pass for a used recommendation; especially any glasses with rubberized parts (nose, ear bridge, etc).
  • 2 0
 My guess is because you can wash glasses and return them to their original state. After awhile my gloves and chamois just have a stank that I cant shake no matter how much I wash them.
  • 4 0
 @mtmc99: For the most part, the plastic frames are fine, but the rubberized sections are still made from soft silicone which actually absorbs sweat; it's why the 'rubber' parts breakdown after a couple years.

Have you tried adding one cup (~250ml) of white vinegar into your laundry (in addition to detergent)? It will kill all the bacteria. It's one useful secret from the roadies.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator: guess I learned something new today.

Thanks for the tip on the vinegar Ill give it a shot.
  • 5 4
 If you really care about saving money then I’d suggest finding one of the many bike shops that seems to only employ those guys who refuse to look up from the computer to properly greet the customers and just start stuffing your pockets full of whatever is laying about, they’ll never notice, and if they have cameras they can’t prove it was your wearing a blue mask.
  • 1 1
 Not suprised you're from California... I'm sure you have a lot of that there. Hopefully you're not involved
  • 1 4
 @takeiteasyridehard: you don’t to be from CA to enjoy free shit...and I have taken stuff from stores in most states, including yours.
  • 4 0
 @unrooted: That's not something to brag about right?
  • 1 0
 Yes did wonder how long it would be before some one robs a bank wearing covid mask?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=95cTtIOs8yA
  • 1 0
 My recommendations for affordable gear. I got some nicer stuff now on good deals but this is what I wore for 2 seasons and nicer gear hasn’t made me a better rider.

Whatever athletic shorts are on clearance at dept
Store
Thrift store t shirts
Non slip work shoes of the sneaker variety
Typical halfshell skate/bmx helmet
30 year old Cincinnati zoo fanny pack
Thrift store rain jackets
Home Depot safety glasses

Honestly other than better shoes/helmet this is still what I ride in 99 percent of time
  • 2 0
 www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PUWBKTI/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 These make for great casual riding jerseys and fit good. Material seems to be the same as some dakine jerseys I have.
  • 1 0
 Up until recently I would just wear a pair of road shorts under a pair of baggies with lots of pockets.. for my stuff. I decided to splurge and bought a pair of Fox shorts with a liner. Within two months of riding the snap had fallen off.. very disappointing for an expensive pair of shorts. I've gone back to my old road chamois with my baggies. Has anyone else had poor experience with MTB shorts?
  • 1 0
 I like cotton shirts because I can actually wipe sweat with them. Also, A lot of performance athletic wear from thrift shops, A++! Bike specific gloves and Mechanix gloves aren't terribly different. Vans work well as entry level riding shoes too.
  • 1 0
 Costco is a great place to pick up technical shirts. They are usually $15 or less and routinely you can grab them on clearance for under 10 bucks. They might not be the same quality as high end Nike ones, but I found them to be much better than the technical tops at Old Navy for example, and at a fraction of the cost.
  • 1 0
 This article surprises me a little. If you want to ride mtb but the costs of the latest glittercrap is keeping you from doing so, do you even really really want to ride mtb? Sure for safety articles like helmets and padding you are going to figure out what matters and what doesn't. But as for clothing, really? If you have never broken a sweat in life to learn whether or not a sweaty shirt is a big deal or not, then first of all just get off the couch and actually start moving first! Sure your cotton shirt gets sweaty but so what? I've been riding for nearly 20 years, nearly always in a simple T-shirt with the sleeves cut off (so body armor with shoulder pads always fits and if you aren't wearing that, it helps loads with ventilation). Sure it gets wet, dirty, torn and whatnot. If you are properly having a blast, you'll only notice this once your back home. It won't (or shouldn't) stop you one single bit from riding that bike.

Same with all the other stuff. Just use what you have or what you can just about afford and ride with friends to help you out when you really run into issues (like because the foldable allen key set you already have from the hardware store doesn't come with the T25 tool to take off your bent disc brake rotor) and you'll decide for yourself what you think needs to be replaced or added and what doesn't.

Finally, harden up. You can be a roadie with a million layers and strip and add for every different section of trail or time of day. But the body is truly amazing if you allow it to be. I can easily ride in a T-shirt in 0degC up to well over 30degC. I do bring a windbreaker on cold longer rides only to put it on when I need to stop for a repair, because then it sucks when you're wet. But other than that I'll be fine, even when wet.
  • 1 0
 I’m cheap...sometimes. Trick to getting riding shirts for little money? Find an expo or a promotion. Sometimes free shirts are given out and some are 50/50 poly cotton mix or full polyester.

I built a t-shirt wardrobe like this for free or just the cost of admission (even better if you can expense this)
  • 1 0
 Soccer slip on shin guards if you wear flats and want to protect your shins- or the scabs on your shins from the last ride. Or, get shin-covering knee pads. I am still waiting for someone to make mtb socks with a bi-layer to slip in some thin plastic sheets for shin and calf protection from flats- think Marsh Guard thin flaps, soccer style...
  • 1 0
 Cut proof socks, hockey players wear them. I have never tried them though, but interested to know how someone would get on with them...
  • 2 1
 This is obviously geared toward summer riding, which is fine. Winter riding (sub 32F/0C) is a whole different game. If you want to deck yourself out head to toe in 45NRTH, your kit will likely be more expensive than your bike. Totally unnecessary though.

For me, the most import part of winter riding is the socks. A good pair of alpaca or merino wool socks will keep your feet dry and warm, more so than the fanciest boot. After that is gloves, which need to be matched to the expected conditions. I rotate between Mechanix insulated and puffy 3-finger gloves, depending on air and hand temps. Pants, jacket, and underlayers? Just grab whatever you got and figure out a layer count that works for you. Merino is nice, and make sure nothing is too billowy.
  • 1 0
 Don't do drugs. Honestly. No tolerance. I hate the fact that there's so much light made of it. It's 100% NOT a laughing matter. The first time I did cocaine, all my joints started to click, and still do. They can f*ck right off.
  • 1 0
 How about an article on where to spends vs. save on improving your MTB skills in general? It could be a sort of wrap-up article after apparel, parts, tools, etc.

One of the most interesting insights from the Downtime Podcast is one of the questions he asks every interviewer: If you had $200 to spend on improving your performance on a bike, what would you spend it on? This segment is always rich with good insights.

Save on apparel, spend on tires.

Save on "latest and greatest" tech, spend on skills lessons (you could even look into the pros and cons of in-person training vs. online platforms).

Save on that trainer setup for off-season, spend on a gym membership.

Obviously this is all very subjective, but if there's a new surge of folks getting into mountain biking right now, giving them insight to the best bang for the buck for improving their enjoyment of the sport as a whole would go a long way!
  • 2 1
 In my MTB formative years, starting in 1986, I rode in whatever T-shirt I happened to put on that morning, a pair of jeans, and Converse Chuck Taylor’s. I was 17. About two weeks ago a friend of mine’s son of that same age Everested on dirt, on a full sus in something like 17 hours, AND did wheelies on the ascents. Thirty out and backs of two miles and 1,0000 vertical feet. My point you ask? With proper clothing I coulda been a contender!!!
  • 1 0
 In the UK, and some other countries, the Aldi supermarket sometimes stocks cycling clothing that is functionally pretty decent. For skate shoes (which are fine in dry weather) TK Maxx sometimes has bargains

Having said that I managed about 6 months after I started without buying any mtb specific clothing, other than a helmet. The winter weather and getting into more remote places prompted those purchases. If you're a beginner technically, or physically, you don't get that much benefit from proper clothing. It can be considered optional

Nice to see this article BTW
  • 1 0
 Aldi sells a lot of great gear really cheap. Primark too. I wish Aldi would bring their mountain bike shorts back. I am still using a pair I bought about 6 years ago for £15 and they show little signs of wear. Way better than the ones from Fox I used before which cost 4x as much. If I'd known they'd be discontinued I would've bought more.
  • 1 0
 I actually go to winners for my shirts and jackets (not sure if winners is in America).I have moisture wicking dry fit shirts that I spent $10 each and 2 waterproof jackets that actually keep me dry for $24 each. They look like biking jerseys too!
  • 1 0
 No winners here in America. Lots of whiners though!
  • 1 0
 @lightsgetdimmer: we have those too!
  • 1 0
 buy quality bike with good second hand value. never sell the complete bike. update frame and fork/shock or othe components when needed, u can buy barerly used from posers, work on your own bike including wheels and shocks/fork.

buy quality helmet but dont buy any bike specific clothing whatsoever.

dont do any other activities than mtbiking, let the only equpment you buy and use be bicycle equipment, the more u ride your bike the more its worth the cash.
  • 1 0
 Another good and cheap eyewear option for those north of the border: MEC Logic II. For $36 CAD and 4 different interchangeable lenses with different colour options ($9 each) you can’t go wrong.

www.mec.ca/en/product/5058-441/Logic-II-Sunglasses
  • 1 0
 Perhaps I'm just a tight Northerner but..... I don't scrimp on protection - that shit is important. The rest of my kit is generally last years line on clearance, so big discounts - you normally pay the price in that the only colours left in your size are usually pretty bold. I never ever match when I ride, its always a complete mash of bright clashing colours. But that's one of the joys of MTB, I just don't care.....
  • 1 0
 Im not too sure about this article. I am thinking that most of us "middle age" riders grew up wearing tennis shoes and jeans on a bike ride. All of the sillyness that people wear these days is mostly to show off their wealth. (or mommy and daddys)

Buy a good helmet and go ride your bike. If you are sending DH, buy some pads. The rest is luxury. (IMHO)
  • 3 1
 What about full face helmets? What's the difference between a 500$ and a 150$ one other than being purposefully less cool looking (both in shape and colors)?
  • 1 0
 sometimes it is the weight(couldn't be just marketing ) of the helmet.

When you crash a heavy helmet will wrench on your neck more than a lighter one.

If all things are equal, go for the lighter one.
  • 1 0
 Usually more expensive helmets are lighter, and more comfortable.
  • 3 0
 I'm a fan of the full face helmet. I've got TLD's non-downhill model (I can't remember the name), and it's fine for summer morning rides in Texas (not sure I'd wear it at high noon). The extra money seems immeasurably preferable to either: a.) getting concussed in the woods and trying to call home on a rattlesnake; or b.) the cost of replacing lost teeth.
  • 1 0
 @rodeostu: "getting concussed in the woods and trying to call home on a rattlesnake" - I laughed HARD at that one!
  • 2 1
 Unless your doing an xc ride or your our for hours, playing in woods or trail centres etc 'athletic' jeans you can get now with a bit or stretch built in are awesome for feeling casual but also having crash protection
  • 1 0
 Yeah a lightweight pair of jeans really helps keep the skin on especially for downhill shuttles or if you are just starting to learn and ride harder
  • 1 0
 Orienteering socks work great. Theyre light, dry fast and usually have a bit of padding in the front so you wont care about the little rocks flying from the front wheel to your calves.
  • 1 0
 Spend on helmet and shoes.
Buy safety glasses from the hardware store.
Wear your normal clothes, wool preferably.

Donzo. Bonus, you don’t look like a kook with all the gear and no idea.
  • 1 0
 i'm a big fan of the cheap snug mesh undies with the attached thin chamois, any old shorts over top. if you don't have some junk retention happening you risk them hanging low and getting catastrophically sat on.
  • 1 0
 These “typical” prices are not accurate IME.
I am no stranger to buying nice stuff, but apparently I’ve never spent “typical” money on anything bike-related (except a jersey).
  • 2 0
 PB: tech we review on the $10K bike will be available on $3K bikes in a few years...

Reality: tech on $3K bikes will be available on $10K bikes in a few years...
  • 1 0
 try looking for gear in similar sports. I often find pants, jackets, socks, etc. in the hiking, running, or hunting aisles. they have the same characteristics (waterproofing, tough materials) without the cost of bike brands.
  • 3 1
 I personally like having a decent riding shirt, but usually try to find Club Ride or POC stuff on sale.
  • 3 0
 I only buy last season's Demo Chamois
  • 1 0
 bikecloset.com has been a great source of random gear/accessories for our family. Been very pleased with some of the deals we've gotten.
  • 1 0
 Really?? Perhaps all these new riders might be a trend?? Did notice they're all riding 26'ers! Maybe the industry will cater to that!
  • 1 0
 Gloves, I go to the local motorcycle accessory store and buy from them. Usually they have a sale and sometimes are less than MTB versions. Same with goggles.
  • 1 0
 Another piece of advice. Buy out of season for the biggest savings. Buy shorts in winter on sale, buy rain pants in summer on sale. etc.......
  • 2 0
 Splurge on the chamois. Cheap chamois' are worse than none, but a good taint pad is worth its weight in gold.
  • 1 0
 I cant help but think that all the anti chamois folk have never worn Assos. They dont need to feel like a diaper.
  • 1 0
 I use my retire road chamois under a pair of shorts. Might have a hole worn through them, but under the shorts, you can't tell. The chamois itself still works fine.
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure I'm down to last dingy Dirt Magazine subscription T-shirt.... Frown RIP
  • 1 0
 X-tiger sunglasses on Amazon. $30 gets you a tinted lens, black lens, and clear lens and a case and stuff. If you can get past the 90s XC vibe, they're great for the money.
  • 3 1
 Wish Dot Com for a $15 jersey!
It takes a few weeks, but they look good, and do their job.
  • 2 0
 I am building up a singlespeed hardtail under £250, and I really like this series
  • 2 0
 Socks , Marks Workhouse Dakota ankle height work socks. So comfy , and keep your feet warm when wet.
  • 2 0
 i wear hightop basketball shoes that i find on closeout. I've been rocking a pair of red jordan's for 3 years now.
  • 1 0
 Dissent Semenuk socks -> worth it. I never thought socks (of all things) would / could make a difference.. these socks do. I feel naked without them.
  • 1 0
 Buy good lightweight bike shorts that don’t have logos splattered all over them and you can use them as boardshorts, gym shorts and hiking shorts.
  • 1 0
 I cannot stress enough that the Giro Chronicle is THE helmet to buy. For trail riding there is zero reason to look beyond this option unless the fit is not for you.
  • 3 0
 The goal being to save enough money to buy $150 chain lube.
  • 1 0
 mechanix fast fit gloves, lee or wrangler technical cargo shorts, ufp 50+ t shirts, fruit of the loom dri fit knee high sox.....but shimano m200 shoes and tld helmet
  • 2 0
 What I learned from my D.A.R.E. class in fifth grade was Drugs Are Really Expensive.
  • 1 0
 $25 for the Mechanix Vent gloves. They are super durable, breathable, and come with a sweat wipe thumb. Easily my favorite riding gloves and work gloves ever.
  • 1 0
 Bro sock dopeing is a legit thing and isnt something that should be tossed aside. The coolness of your socks directly correlates to how much steez you have.
  • 2 0
 Hits the nail on the head
  • 2 0
 Kudos to this series, I think the recommendations are pretty spot-on!
  • 1 0
 I know of a few good things that are inexpensive for clothing, but got to have the right bike gear.
  • 1 0
 The slogan "D.A.R.E. to keep kids of drugs", has always appeared as a self-contradiction.
  • 3 3
 'rona rated?? Mmmmm, doesn't sound very pwc (post waki correct). like,would you write (a)'ids related?? As a comparable _ Asking for a friend..
  • 1 0
 My outer baggy shorts were like $12 off Amazon. They're not great but good enough (-:
  • 1 0
 Riding a Giro Feature for years, tried Fixture and yes, it's so comfy, great airflow, great pricing, way to go
  • 3 1
 Other than a helmet, you really don't need any bike-specific clothing.
  • 2 0
 I shop at department stores found a Nike tech shirt for 2.99 steal.
  • 1 0
 Spf fishing shirts are awesome. 32 deg cool shirts and similar...3 pack ~ $20. Champion frm target
  • 2 0
 Yes! This is the type of content real people need. Go Pinkbike Go!
  • 2 0
 Congrats @brianpark for being a new dad!
  • 1 0
 Costco's house brand Gerry makes amazing shorts for like $15 that people need to stop sleeping on.
  • 1 0
 The problems I have with them is that the smallest size is medium which is too big for me and I have to wear a belt and they are not nearly as rip resistance to rock or tree grazes as mtb specific shorts I own. They are however a good deal for $15, even better when they were on sale for $12.
  • 2 0
 @hkenshin: wear a nice brown leather belt and knee high black socks and you’ll blend in with the men at the retirement home.
  • 2 0
 Flex Dickies are where it's at.
  • 1 0
 What's the deal with hip packs? A cycling jersey does just that and better thermal regulation than any other t-shirt.
  • 1 0
 Anything not lightweight will cause the pockets to sag and move around. Anything hard ie multi tool will hurt if you crash on it.
  • 1 0
 If anyone has one of those DARE bum bags they don't want I'll happily take it .
  • 1 0
 What about Jackets? Love my Marmot PreCip
  • 1 0
 I always just use my oldest/most beat up rain coat since it’s going to get muddy every ride and eventually it will tear in a crash.
  • 1 0
 Buy last year's gear and save on everything. Problem solved.
  • 1 0
 bike helmets all pass the same safety tests, right?
  • 1 1
 How much did Lululemon pay for the plug? Bueller? Bueeeeeeeeeeeelllllllller?
  • 1 0
 Ride in ya pants.. Save all the money.. Be millionaires by Christmas.
  • 1 0
 Grips, tires and seats are the best upgrades
  • 1 0
 Buy gloves, and jerseys on ebay. Got some Troy Lee gloves for 5€.
  • 1 0
 Not saying I should spend $150 on chain lube?
  • 1 0
 Mechanix brand gloves ftw. At $10-20, you can afford new ones.
  • 1 0
 Save on jerseys, gloves, pants, socks, got to Aliexpress :-)
  • 4 3
 3$ Auto shop glasses FTW
  • 1 0
 HANDUP and DARN TOUGH!!!
  • 1 0
 "Privateer kit"
  • 1 0
 and skip gloves
  • 1 2
 In really hot environments, I prefer a straight cotton shirt.
  • 3 0
 No, you don't. Unless the humidity is 0% that cotton shirt will be 10lbs of sweat by the top.

If I had only one piece of proper gear it would be a quality technical fiber jersey.
  • 2 3
 @DirkMcClerkin: Yeah...a piece of wet cloth on you evaporating straight off your skin and keeping you cool like sweat is intended to do.

When people overheat, medical personnel don't say "Get me a wicking cloth, stat!"

If your clothing is wicking the sweat away from your body, it's evaporating off the cloth, not your body. If you're someplace where getting cool at some point is an issue, that can be useful.
  • 4 0
 @Explodo: good for you living where sweat evaporates
many of us live somewhere else.
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