We've brought together our must-have products that will allow you to enjoy each ride that little bit more and maximise your time on the bike.
Meet the essential upgrades that will make the biggest difference to your time on the bike. Here at MBR we often get to test some of the nicest and most expensive kit in the world of mountain biking. However, the question we get asked the most is which pieces of kit do we actually use day-in, day-out?
To come up with this list, we kinda reverse engineered it. We looked at our bikes and thought what items we’d choose to give up last if we were forced to. Surprisingly, this resulted in a list that did not include suspension (front or rear), for example.
These eleven relatively simple upgrades will last for ages, so are well worth investing in.
1. Dropper post
The biggest game-changer in modern era of mountain biking. What took us so long? Raise or lower your saddle at the push of a button: no QR faffing and no climbing with the saddle too low. Dropper posts allow you to get your central mass in the best position for dealing with any and every trail you encounter.
2. Short ‘n’ wide cockpit
Short stem (sub 60mm). Wide handlebars (760mm minimum). A good bar and stem gives you better steering control. Being able to load up the front end without inducing an endo or jack-knife is just a great thing. Where are long stems better? Nowhere. That’s where.
3. Good front tyre
Forget expensive suspension forks, start with a good front tyre and dramatically improve grip and cornering speed. Go for a good all-weather tyre (Schwalbe Magic Mary, Maxxis Assegai) , then buy a mud tyre for winter duties if you can stretch to it.
4. Track pump
Hit the tyre-pressure sweetspot with a decent track pump with an accurate pressure gauge to ensure consistent bike performance.
5. Shock pump
Not many riders use a shock pump anywhere nearly frequently enough. Factors change. Body weight. Kit weight. Suspension seal stiction. Extreme temperatures. Keep an eye on your suspension pressures every month or so, otherwise even the most expensive of bikes can drift off into the realm of poor set-up.
6. Good shoes and/or pedals
Mountain bike shoes have stiffer and stickier soles that your old trainers, for better power transfer, more grip and extra protection from impacts. Having said that, getting proper flat pedals and flat pedal shoes is a costly affair, so if you have to choose one, go for decent flat pedals.
7. Strong brakes
There is no such things as brakes that are too strong. There is most definitely a thing as having a ride ruined by weedy anchors. Great disc brakes mean you can ride faster and/or steeper terrain.
You will crash. For the sake of other people (riding buddies, family members, innocent bystanders) if nothing else, wear a helmet.
9. Inner tube or puncture repair kit
You will have a flat tyre at some point.
9. Good mini pump
If you don’t have a multi-tool on you, you will need one. It’s called sod’s law.