A beginners guide to spending money as a cyclist

Dear Uncle Dave: How much crap does a newbie require?

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Jun 19, 2018

Dear Uncle Dave:

What else do I need starting as a noob?

  • Small backpack with camel back 
  • Pump 
  • Tools – which ones
  • Repair kit 
  • Cougar knife and maybe bear spray
  • Gloves
  • Pads – which ones
  • Bike shoes
  • Helmet – what kind

Thx old man

Dear Skeletor:

This is going to come as a shocking surprise to my loyal reader, but occasionally I get questions rolling in from people who seem to think that this is an actual advice column. I know! Crazy, right? But once every year or so, I feel obliged to keep this farce going with some form of semi-coherent “advice.” Today is such a day.

I’m going to make a few assumptions here before plunging onward. I’m assuming you are some kind of mountain biker, and I’m assuming you are doing some kind of all-around trail riding. Full on XC racers or DHers will have differing needs, but most people in-between will probably be able to make do with the following advice.

Overarching point #1: If you’re going to buy something, buy something decent. There’s no point forking out money for a disposable tool. At the same time, there are a lot of bells and whistles you don’t need, but buy something decent the first time, and don’t look back. You’ll pay more in the long run if you cheap out.

Riding Gear


The first rule in buying a helmet is to make sure that it fits your head. It doesn’t matter how fancy it is, if it doesn’t fit your head, it won’t work. Try to find something that fits somewhat naturally, without relying on too many gizmos to keep it in place. Fit gizmos should only help it fit, but shouldn’t make it fit, if that makes sense. (For example, you can make an XL fit a tiny little kid by cranking down on the fit gizmo in the back, but that doesn’t mean you should.)

Next, I look for straps that come out the bottom of the helmet (skate style) rather than out the top of the helmet (old school bike helmet style). I find that the latter leads to a helmet that sits on the top of your head rather than one that sits around your head.

Last, look for an adjustable visor with a good range of movement, held in place with bolts.

My Recommendation? The Troy Lee A1. I know… this is kind of a crazy recommendation for a beginner. But with the A2 out, shop around a bit and you can probably find an old colorway, non-MIPS version for a pretty good price, and the fit and finish on this helmet is really impressive.


In my humble opinion, if you’re just getting started, you should be on flat pedals. The ability to quickly put a foot down will help with your confidence, and you will learn good jumping/bunnyhopping habits by not being clipped in to your bike. Once your confidence builds, feel free to play around with clipless pedals (or not), but start with flats. And a good pair of shoes. And they should be 5.10’s.

I know. Lots of other companies make flat pedal shoes. But I have yet to try a pair that are as sticky as 5.10’s. If you own a shoe company and you disagree with me, I’m a size 11 and you can feel free to chuck a pair in the mail for me to try, but you will probably just disappoint me further. At $100US, the Freerider seems like a good bet.


A good pair of gloves is going to be critical for a newbie. No-gloves seems to be sweeping the nation, but until you build up calluses in the right places, and decrease the risk of hitting the ground on any given ride, gloves are necessary.

Look for simple gloves, with minimal seams and padding in the palms. I prefer a glove with no wrist strap or at least a very minimal one. The more stuff on your glove, the faster it’s going to fall apart.

These 100% Celium’s look like just the ticket.


Starting out, pads probably aren’t a bad idea. At a minimum, you should have a set of knee pads for when you start pushing yourself on downhills. I’ve had a set of Race Face Ambush knee pads for years and years. They last a long time, are comfortable and stay in place.

Next up would be elbow pads. I’ve never worn them, but I know in talking to other beginners, it is something that makes them feel a bit more confident. If you don’t feel like plunging in that far, a long sleeve shirt can provide a tiny bit of extra protection. Something like the Race Face Charge looks like it would offer some lightweight protection, but I have no personal experience with these.


Starting out, you don’t need to go too crazy with cycling specific clothing, but your next investment should be a good pair of shorts. I’ve never been much of a lycra/chamois kind of guy, but riding in non-cycling specific shorts will cause you problems. Things will bunch up in the wrong places and your shorts will fall apart really quickly. Not to toot Race Face’s horn too much, but their Indy shorts are a great, simple short that should do most people pretty well.

Bags and Such

The trend these days seems to be to ride with less stuff, not more. See Cam’s piece for more on this. For hauling water, I really dig these platypus foldable bottles. They’re light and will fit into just about anything, and can be recycled when you’re done with them.

If you want to buy into the hip pack craze, Dakine makes some nice, smallish bags that look like they will haul most of the things that you need, but I have no personal experience with any of these (or indeed, anything like them)… and their website seems a bit messed up for me right now and I’m not going to bother digging for a link.

If you do want to go full pack, I have a Platypus bag that I really like. Their reservoirs are really nice, and the bag is really well done, with space for everything, and pockets all over the place.

Tools for Riding

Your next step should be to buy a few tools to bring along on the ride, or at least to keep in your car at the trailhead. And to learn how to use them. People seem to like to bag on Park Tools, but they make just about everything you could ever need, and I’ve always had pretty good luck with them.

You might not know what to do with them, but at the very least, when you crash and break your bike, maybe somebody riding by will be able to help you fix it.

A good Y-tool. Or two.

Your first step should be a good Y-tool. Or two. Maybe even three. Or a good multi-tool. Whatever. Something that is going to let you tighten or loosen all of the bolts on your bicycle.

The AWS-7, with a 4 and 5mm hex, and a T25 Torx, will let you do most things. Couple that with an AWS-3, which is a 2, 2.5 and 3 mm hex, and you’re probably golden.

The AWS-9.2 would be pretty good as well. It adds a flat blade into the mix and does away with the Y-format, which is a bit tricky to get into certain locations. It gives you no coverage on the small end of the hex scale though.

At the very least, you want to have the ability to adjust your seat height, brake position, etc. and any of the above should be able to let you do that.

I’ve also gotten a tremendous amount of use out of this really cheap set that I bought at the Co-op many years ago. Every time I can’t reach a weird bolt on my brake levers, or don’t have a small one for my grips, these seem to come in handy. I know… I broke my rule.

A mini pump

I’ve resigned myself to buying a new mini pump every 3–4 years. I hardly ever use them, but just bumping around in your pack for a few years seems to be enough to destroy them. I really don’t have a good recommendation here.

A spare tube, some plastic tire levers, and the knowledge on how to change a flat

The key thing here is the knowledge, but the spare tube and a cheap set of tire levers can be a lifesaver. If you’re feeling crazy, a patch kit can be added into the mix, but if you’re playing around with glue on the side of a trail, six times out of eight you’re probably just better off walking out to the parking lot.

For the tire levers, Pedro’s has been making them forever.

A good pressure gauge

This is getting a bit more advanced, but I like to have a good pressure gauge in my car for when I set my tire pressure at the beginning of a ride. I love my little brass accu-gage dial type… it’s not as accurate as a digital, but it definitely is close enough for my needs and will probably last as long as I do. Plus, you’ll look like you know what you’re doing if people see you fiddling around with your air pressure in the parking lot.

Shock pump

This is a bit of a dangerous one. Because the assumption here is that if you have a pump, you’re going to be screwing around with your suspension settings. And there’s a good chance you shouldn’t be. But at some point, you’re going to need a good shock pump. It’s a bit of a catch-22, really. Anyhow, a digital version is probably a pretty good bet here. The large range of a shock pump means a dial type gauge isn’t going to be very accurate.

Tools for home

Once again, the tools you need at home are really driven by the knowledge you have to fix your bike. Start with the basics – tools that will let you change a flat tire and make small adjustments on your bike. From there, it grows exponentially with all sorts of specialty tools for all sorts of specialty jobs. Welcome to the world of never having enough tools. These are the ones that come out of my toolbox the most often.  And judging by what Park puts in their “starter kit”, I’d suggest putting together your own kit is the best way to go.

A good floor pump

Since you’re buying new, I’d probably splurge for a floor pump with a built-in air canister, so you can quickly and easily seat the beads on your tubeless setup. Or you could do this. I don’t actually recommend doing that. But you could.

I’ve had my same floor pump for years, and it’s no longer made. Bontrager pumps seem to get pretty good reviews everywhere, and prices are reasonable. They were also one of the first on the scene with their air charger canister pumps as well. Probably as good a bet as any.

A really good set of hex headed wrenches. Torx as well.

If you’re ever going to splurge on any tool for your bike, do it here. A good set of hex headed wrenches will pay off several times over.

I bought a set of Park P-Handles so many years ago and they still are going strong. The handles are a bit too large for a few jobs but other than that, they’ve been good. A few years ago I was gifted a new set of wrenches from one of the high-dollar professional brands that drive around in trucks to job sites. Let’s just say the ball ends of my Park wrenches have never snapped off.

Throw in a T25 as well.

That said… oh man, I’d really like a full set of theseOr these.


A good set of needlenose pliers is always useful. Buy a nice version at Crappy Tire (or some other bulk hardware store).

Cable ties

You’ll always have a use for cable ties on your bike. Try to find good ones with the metallic tang in the head… try electrical supply stores. The all plastic ones are probably fine, but I always feel better about that tiny little piece of metal.

A good set of cable cutters

Once you graduate to changing your own cables and housing, you’ll want a good set of cable cutters. I’ll bet these Knipex ones are amazing.

A repair stand

This is definitely one of those “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” areas. I’ve had my Park repair stand since 1995. I love it. The clamp could be more adjustable. And there is an argument to be made that it clamps too hard in this era of carbon fibre and dropper seatposts. But it's just so simple and rugged, I don’t care if there is something better. This is about the closest option now.

A large crescent wrench, or Knipex

I know you shouldn’t. But at some point, you’re going to need a big-ass crescent wrench. Maybe it’s just to hold your freehub tool. Maybe it’s because you don’t really care about the fork you’re running and you just need to get that top cap off. May as well buy a good one now. Or Knipex.

A torque wrench

If you own one and use it once a year, you can pretend that you follow manufacturers recommendations to always torque to their specified value. You’ll need hex head bits as well.

A good chain tool

You’ll probably use it, eventually. This Park version works pretty well on most chain widths.

Cassette removal tools

Chain whips are dope! You should buy one, and why not get a pedal wrench in the deal? I also find the guide pin style cassette removal tool works pretty well.

But I am hearing good things about the Pedro’s vice whip, as well.

And that will be a pretty good start.  Let the comments complaining begin!


Uncle Dave

Uncle Dave’s Music Club

This is definitely the second time we’ve talked about Kevin Morby.  But I’m feeling stressed for time, so here is is.

“1234” is a nice little tribute to the Ramones, in both style and substance.

“Crybaby” is a little more typical Morbyness.

And, just because I don't think you comprehended the awesomeness of Courtney Barnett last week...here is "Need a LIttle Time" for you again.  I could really listen to this song all day, right now.

Congrats Skeletor! This week's prize is a monogrammed prize pack from Lizard Skins. Well – the grips will be etched with the message of your choice (up to 14 characters). Also included is one pair of gloves of your choice and Lizard Skins frame protection. Send us an email and we'll get you hooked up!

MacAskill Grip

The MacAskill grip is my current favourite. It's slim with lots of bite and only one inboard locking collar. The grips also have a hard plug so they stay looking good when you ditch your bike like Danny. Lizard Skins' online store will let you custom etch whatever you like on the collars. What you see above is a mock up – it'll look more like the MacAskill you see on the black grip. You can choose between six grip colours and three different anodized colours on the collars as well. All this costs only 2.99 USD when you order online

Monitor line

Lizard Skins Gloves. Pictured left to right, the Monitor SLMonitor and Monitor HD

Looking to win a prize? Send a brilliant, nuanced and interesting question to Uncle Dave! Or just a stupid one! Or just ask him if he's healed up yet, maybe. 

Trending on NSMB


+2 Niels natbrown
Skyler  - June 18, 2018, 10:54 p.m.

I could complain about the list, but I can't say I disagree that it would be nice to have all those things. I will just add that toughness is a suitable alternative to being properly equipped. A bit of grit will suffice in the absence of having money. 

Sometimes you can have a clapped out bike, shitty tools, $8 pedals, wet sneakers, and chafed balls, and you still make it work.


-1 IslandLife
Garrett Thibault  - June 19, 2018, 12:08 a.m.

My phone jumped out of my pocket on the third to last jump of A-Line while i was wearing the Race Face Indy Shorts.

I’m pretty sure my previous phone and keys fell out of those shorts when I laid down on the chairlift a few years ago too.

I’ve stopped bringing my phone in the bike park, but I also now wear shorts with zippers on all the pockets. One zippered fanny pocket isn’t enough.


+1 Bogey
Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 7:32 a.m.

This is the one shortcoming of those shorts.  But I've ridden with my ipod (yes...still) or phone in the pocket without too many issues.  The newer ones have two zippered pockets, I believe.  One on the leg, and one in the back.


+8 oudiaou Mammal Merwinn Adrian White RBWebb Endur-Bro natbrown Bogey
IslandLife  - June 19, 2018, 9:33 a.m.

You rode the Whistler bike park with your phone and keys in an unsecured pocket?? (Actually, you rode anywhere with your phone and keys in an unsecured pocket??) Twice?? Umm... how do I say this nicely... ah yes - "it wasn't the shorts fault."


grcgrc  - June 19, 2018, 12:12 a.m.

Loving the music. Not so much some of the tools, but that is personal. Thank you for taking the time to answer some of these pressing questions that so many need to ask.


0 Niels IslandLife
Adventurepew  - June 19, 2018, 12:20 a.m.

wow that's a lot of extra stuff to start out with, i would buy a multitool with chain breaker,  helmet, a backpack with a spare tube and a small hand pump. that should get anyone going for a long time while they are learning. you can hop by a local bike shop and spend some money while they use the few odd tools or help with repairs. 

five tens to start out? bike shorts are needed? maybe a while down the road but for a beginner?


+1 IslandLife
Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 7:34 a.m.

Ya.  I guess "needed" isn't really what this list is about.  I think it's more "these are things you might eventually need"....not really "before your first ride, this is what you must buy."

But yes, I think shoes and shorts would be pretty high up on my list of things that you should buy once you start riding.  Shoes, because sliding around on your flat pedals isn't going to help you very much.  Shorts, because a couple of rides with crotch-bunch and you're less likely to keep going.


Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 7:34 a.m.

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ZigaK  - June 19, 2018, 2:08 a.m.

A nice list. If not somewhat too rich for a beginner.

Protective gear is a must. After learning how to bike, you will not need it anymore. At least not so frequently :D 

Shelling out any kind of money for cycling specific clothing/shoes is not necessary imo. Just ride in what you got. If you get hooked, then go out and buy it. After riding for a while, you'll get the idea of what exactly you need.

A mini pump recommendation: Micro Rocket AL from Topeak. Light, small, cheap.

Carrying stuff on yourself: Why not just buy a roadie/xc jersey with pockets in the back. Sure you will look dumb, but hip pack looks even worse (atm - I'm sure if coastal crew makes a video with them that will change dramatically). And if you have space in the frame, just buy a bottle cage or two. No point in carrying water in a backpack. 

Oh and btw, road jersey can look preeeety cool if you ask me, just check this out:

cool road jersey


+2 LAT Troy
[user profile deleted]  - June 19, 2018, 9:08 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

+2 Niels Endur-Bro
Cr4w  - June 19, 2018, 6:09 a.m.

To really appreciate the value of some of that stuff you really need to go without. It's pretty easy to justify a pair of 5.10s over regular skate shoes or sneakers after a ride. Or getting some decent portable tools after you walk home with a flat tire. Just get out there with what you have, ideally with a more experienced friend or coach who can teach you some stuff. But yeah those are some good recommendations.


0 Lornholio IslandLife
Niels  - June 19, 2018, 7:03 a.m.

This. Just go out and ride and experience what you really need.

For a helmet, Canadian Tire sells a pretty cool looking Schwinn helmet for $33.99 that looks just like a $200+ POC. They sell good 'riding' gloves in the generic work gloves department too.


+2 Mammal IslandLife Cr4w Merwinn
Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 7:48 a.m.

No offense, but I'd rather pay 70-100 bucks for a closeout troy lee than 40 bucks for a Crappy Tire Schwinn helmet.  Same on the work gloves vs. cycling gloves.


+2 Merwinn ZigaK
Niels  - June 19, 2018, 9:24 a.m.

None taken. I would too, but I'm not a beginner and I know I'd use them multiple times per week for years to come.

But for a beginner who doesn't even know if they'll like the sport, they still need a helmet. All helmets have to meet the same safety standards. Haven't tried that Schwinn myself but it looks like any other current trail helmet and if it fits and feels comfortable, why not? I only mentioned it because I saw a guy wearing one at Coast Gravity this weekend and it looked like he was having a great time. You don't need high-end expensive gear to enjoy mountain biking. We don't see it a lot in the Sea 2 Sky mtb fashion bubble but go to the island, the ss coast, the interior and you'll see lots of people using low-end and/or old gear having a blast.


+1 Niels
Perry Schebel  - June 19, 2018, 9:41 a.m.

the homeless despot work gloves (~$15) i've used over the years have worked pretty damn well. comparable build quality at a fraction of the price. though they don't make the thin, minimalist type of glove that i prefer for summer use.


fartymarty  - June 19, 2018, 7:48 a.m.

I rode with Vans for years before getting 5.10s.  They do the job quite well but there aint nothing like Stealth rubber for all out grip.


+3 boomforeal Niels ZigaK
Lornholio  - June 19, 2018, 10:09 a.m.

I'm firmly of the "get by without the fancy stuff" when starting out opinion too.  My first summer of real riding was on a second hand €600 Ragley steel hardtail, Dickies shorts, normal t-shirts, old DVS skate shoes and a Protec skate helmet.  I bought a new old stock Dakine bike pack, mini pump, multitool and levers and was set.  The money saved went on lift passes and road trips.  In its own way that was one my the most fun summers I've had on the bike and helped shape how I ride today.


+2 Niels Bogey
Cr4w  - June 19, 2018, 1:05 p.m.

On one hand I agree. But once you cycle through a bit of gear you realize that buying the right thing once, even if it's a bit more expensive is actually cheaper in the long run. If it fits and works better it'll be better to use and you'll be less likely to want to replace it prematurely. The cheapest option is to buy once and run it into the ground. But you need to go through this process a few times to really appreciate it.


+2 Niels ZigaK
Lornholio  - June 20, 2018, 2:40 p.m.

Yes, "Buy nice or buy twice" is true, but my point is that you probably already own stuff that will work fine to start out, avoiding the need to buy anything at all.  "Bike specific" clothes, shoes, helmet, etc are all nice, but if you're starting out and already own safe and usable versions of these things then you can save some money and spend it on riding and travelling more.


Lornholio  - June 20, 2018, 2:40 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Bogey  - June 21, 2018, 4:23 p.m.

Totally agree with this one but it depends on your budget I guess. 

I've known too many people that bought crappy gear (bikes, skis, etc) and had bad experiences because of it. I'd rather have them buy a good helmet and sell it if I don't like riding than buy an ill fitting helmet. The cheapie helmets might look similar but do they have the same fit and comfort?


+4 IslandLife Cr4w Niels Troy
Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 7:41 a.m.

Just to make this absolutely clear, rather than replying to each of the comments.

All of you saying "you don't need all of this stuff as a beginner" are totally correct.  I sort of got swept up in the spirit of the question.  I think this list is more "this is the stuff you're eventually going to want to buy as you get into it".  The helmet is obvious.  Then I'd move into the gloves and pads.  Shorts and shoes wouldn't be too far behind.  Maybe a way to hauls some water and other crap along.  A little ways down the road, you can start to get your mobile toolkit going.  And then your home kit.  But yes, totally agree and not suggesting that you need all of this stuff before your first ride.


+2 rvoi Merwinn
db79467  - June 19, 2018, 9:19 a.m.

I read it as most to least important. Go down the list til you run out of money. Seemed like a pretty good list.


Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 9:41 a.m.

Yes...that's kind of what I was going for.


+1 Niels
rvoi  - June 21, 2018, 7:31 a.m.

yep, I ran out of money halfway through that list and ten years ago... hasn't stopped me from having fun on my bike!


natbrown  - June 19, 2018, 10:26 p.m.



+2 Shoreboy Ceecee
bmak  - June 19, 2018, 8:05 a.m.

Cougar knife..? lol


Shoreboy  - June 19, 2018, 8:38 a.m.

Thats a very specific blade Im guessing...


IslandLife  - June 19, 2018, 9:36 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Endur-Bro  - June 19, 2018, 9:31 p.m.

Some type of wine or gin likely.


0 Andrew Major IslandLife
OldManBike  - June 19, 2018, 8:37 a.m.

Beginners crash. Advising them to buy a helmet that is designed mainly to look cool, with literally nothing to reduce concussions vs. any $20 Walmart helmet, is idiotic. Sorry.

An infinitely better choice would be a Kali Alchemy, a thoroughly modern helmet for 100 bucks MSRP.


+3 IslandLife Merwinn Troy
Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 8:50 a.m.

That's a whole lot of speculation.

A1 Mips for $83US.  You can prove to me definitively that the Kali protects better than this one?


I'll take the one with the adjustable visor, good strap system and "premium" materials, thanks.  Nothing against Kali.


0 Andrew Major IslandLife
OldManBike  - June 19, 2018, 9:02 a.m.

Okay, but if definitive proof is your standard, then you should buy a $5 yard sale helmet for your next park day because MTB-helmet-safety definitive proof doesn't exist.

So either you can buy a helmet that made no effort to incorporate any features to reduce concussions but which comes in a pretty shade of blue, or you can buy one for about the same price that has two of the most promising concussion-reducing safety features (dual density foam and LDL) that heretofore you could only get on top-dollar helmets. Not a toughie.

Beginners, I'm an internet rando and he's fabulous Uncle Dave, but on this one you should listen to the rando.


Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 9:40 a.m.

Oh, I think you'd be way better off listening to the internet rando on most things.

Two counterpoints:

1 - I'm still not fully sold on how important all of this stuff is on a half shell helmet.  In all of my years riding, I've blown up precisely 3 helmets.  All full face.  All involved me skidding along on either the top or the side of my head.  I honestly am not certain if a half shell would have done much for a couple of those, or if it would have stayed in place.

2 - I tested a couple of Kali helmets a few years ago.  I thought they were pretty good.  I thought the straps were a bit convoluted, with the front coming off the bottom of the helmet, and the rear connecting at the top.  For me, skate style straps feel a hell of a lot more secure, and stay in place on my head a lot better.  For me, that is a bigger feature than any number of fancy technologies.  And for whatever reason, it seems like you have to pay at least 70 bucks to get a helmet with straps like that.

Okay.  Wait.  3 counterpoints.

3 - Actually...I did skid along on my head on an old Giro Semi with skate style straps.  It stayed in place.  I'm not sure if it prevented a concussion.


OldManBike  - June 19, 2018, 9:58 a.m.

I've owned a few helmets, including the A1 you recommended and a higher-end version of the Alchemy I recommended. I've never noticed any difference in stability and security based on how the straps were mounted. (If anything, I've found the fixed-mounted straps you prefer less comfortable because sometimes they rub against my ear.) And I've never heard anyone suggest that as a helmet-safety feature. But, okay, sure, I agree that if a particular helmet doesn't fit securely you should keep looking.

Still, "I haven't crashed much so I don't think beginners need safer helmets" seems suspect.


+1 OldManBike
Dave Tolnai  - June 19, 2018, 10:15 a.m.

I don't know...I think the ability of the helmet to stay on your head is a pretty key part of it functioning as a piece of safety equipment.  For me, I really, really don't like old school style straps.  They're finicky to adjust and if you get it wrong, you're way more likely (for me) to have a helmet that doesn't really stay put on your head.  You're right, I shouldn't write off that style of helmet completely, I just find them to be much easier to adjust and I find they stay put on my head a lot better.

Your last comment is ridiculous.

skidrc  - June 21, 2018, 10:37 a.m.

Neither the $5 crappy tire helmet or the $200 troy lee helmet is going to do much to prevent a concussion. This has been studied. Now- as for reducing head trauma, Concussion Doctors seem to be pointing us to the POC mips helmets fwiw (on the ski hill).


OldManBike  - June 21, 2018, 10:50 a.m.

The new POC helmets with Spin look promising, similar to technology in helmets by Leatt, 6D, Bell, and Kali. But the cheapest POC Spin mtb helmet is $220 msrp, and most of the competition is expensive too. That's money well-spent even for a beginner, in my opinion. But I think the reality is that Kali's Alchemy is the only one that most beginners would consider, given its dramatically lower price ($100).


OldManBike  - June 21, 2018, 10:53 a.m.

I'm a skeptic about the real-world effectiveness of v1 MIPS (the yellow plastic liners, not the Super MIPS that's in Bell's convertible Super DH). But, to echo a point made here and elsewhere, there's no good data either way.

+4 Niels oudiaou Merwinn Bogey
Mammal  - June 19, 2018, 8:43 a.m.

"I’ve never been much of a lycra/chamois kind of guy"

This is what shocked me most. I have absolutely no clue how people ride for more than an hour without a proper chamois. Helmet, gloves, chamois, skate shoes and a water bottle/cage would be my list (chamois capitalized in bold red letters).


-1 Bogey
Cr4w  - June 19, 2018, 1:06 p.m.

If your saddle is the right width and shape you shouldn't really need a lot of padding.


+2 Niels Bogey
Merwinn  - June 19, 2018, 1:18 p.m.

Agreed. Other than a mechanical, nothing ends my ride faster than an angry saddle sore.


kekoa  - June 19, 2018, 9:59 a.m.

Why no glasses? Never understood how people ride with bare eyes. That seems to be a trend outside of 'merica. Being a contact wearing and getting something stuck in my eye when I was a kid....


OldManBike  - June 19, 2018, 10:37 a.m.

I agree with most of this, other than the helmet recommendation. Lots of sound advice.

On shorts, my advice for beginners would be to start of with just a pair of decent chamois liner shorts that you can wear under whatever gym shorts you already have. I'd recommend Troy Lee's for under $50 but Pearl Izumi's are popular and  around $30. Or you can splurge for Patagonia's for around $80. If you upgrade to MTB-specific shorts later, you can still use these liner shorts with them, and you need more liners than outer shorts anyway.


Esteban  - June 19, 2018, 3:26 p.m.

Was the question "what do I need to set up my bike shop?"

You really only need (a bike) a portable multitool, a minipump / tube, an hydration backpack or under the seat bag and a water bottle, gloves, a helmet and some decent shades, preferably with interchangeable lenses.

Oh, and minipumps last years, if you do simple and proper maintenance on them every half year or so.


0 Niels Esteban
Dave Tolnai  - June 20, 2018, 7:46 a.m.

You realize your list isn't a whole lot shorter than mine, right?


Esteban  - June 20, 2018, 11:54 a.m.

More than twice as short as your list is a whole lot shorter.


PoCo_Rider  - June 20, 2018, 12:19 p.m.

Don't cheap out on the safety gear. Buy a good helmet in particular. Mountain biking isn't inexpensive.


Tehllama42  - July 3, 2018, 11:32 a.m.

Gloves - I feel like there's a sound alternate path.  I would highly recommend a set of Mechanix, or surplus Nomex flight gloves.  Not because those are the best biking gloves (although I adore the latter), but they provide adequate protection at a low price, and critically are useful for other things and are this a solid investment even if MTB riding with gloves isn't the eventual goal.

Jersey - ditto on alternative stuff.  I have discovered that even a basic goalkeeper jersey is better than all but the nicest dedicated MTB jerseys - Sarson are cheap, have elbow padding, breathes well, and meets the colorway criterion for way less money, plus screen printing is straightforward.

Shoes - definitely possible to get by with less.  Even my garbage by comparison Harsh Arabica skate shoes can hang, paired with some nylon pedals it's hard to ignore that overall value.  I know I should just invest in better shoes to match my carbon-everything bike and RF Atlas pedals, but it works and I'm a lot more willing to cycle through these shoes.

Good helmet, working pump, multitool, tire levers, tubes, water & tool carriage is all that's needed.  Shoes, shorts are top priority, followed by the rest of the stuff (to include tubeless conversion stuff), anything else is probably overthinking it.


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