Skip to content
Home » Bike Gear » Biking Accessories » Enhancing Your Mountain Biking with the Right Mountain Biking Accessories

Enhancing Your Mountain Biking with the Right Mountain Biking Accessories

Bike Accessories

This page contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission if you use them. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Mountain biking brings images of riding fast down forest trails with the wind in your hair and a big smile on your face. While the main thrill comes from the rider, bike, and nature – the right gear can make the experience even better. From basic protection and add-ons to high-tech gadgets – many accessories are out there.

In this guide, we cover some popular and useful extras every mountain bike fan will want to check out. Some fancy add-ons may not be needed, but certain gear for safety could truly save your life. And things like clip in pedals and dialed suspensions let your riding progress if that’s your goal. Read on for key accessories you’ll want before your next dirt adventure!

Bike Helmets

Helmets are one of the most important accessories for mountain biking. A quality helmet can literally be a lifesaver in the event of a crash on the trails. When buying a helmet, look for a snug yet comfortable fit, good ventilation, and designs with multiple impact absorbing layers. Brands like Smith, Bell, and Giro make solid helmet options built to handle the rigors of mountain biking.

Many will attest that a good helmet has already saved them from serious injury during a crash. Having protection for the only brain we have is well worth the relatively small investment of a good quality helmet. Without a helmet, sometimes all it takes is one minor fall the wrong way for serious harm to occur.

It’s surprising how many seasoned mountain bikers you still see out on the trails lacking proper head protection. Don’t be one of them! Luckily, most areas now require helmets so peer pressure and rules are helping boost safety awareness. With advanced materials and designs these days, there’s really no excuse not to wear one.

MTB gloves

Gloves may be another accessory many don’t think about until they’ve done some mountain biking without them. But anyone who has ridden for any length of time gloveless on the trails and ended up with blister covered hands will realize their value. A good pair of mountain biking gloves serves several purposes.

The padded palms help reduce hand fatigue from all the vibration and impact of trail riding and ease the strain that can lead to numbness or nerve issues over time. Bike gloves also protect your hands in a fall so you don’t shred them on rocks, branches or sharp trail edges on the way down. Gloves with finger protection can also prevent your brake fingers from getting torn up in nasty spills.

Look for mountain biking gloves with durable leather or synthetic palms, decent padding and ventilation, secure velcro or elastic wrist closures, and touch screen compatible fingertips. Don’t go too cheap on gloves or they won’t offer sufficient durability and protection when you need it most. Some popular glove brands to consider are Handup, Fox Racing, and Giro.

Hydration Packs

Hydration packs have become very popular mountain biking gear that combines hassle free water storage with extra hauling capacity. The best hydration packs are designed specifically for cycling, with a slim tapered profile that won’t bounce around excessively while riding rough terrain.

They have dedicated pockets and compartments for essential tools, gear, and nutrition. While providing easy access to the main water bladder via the drinking hose and bite valve so you can sip throughout your ride without stopping. The hose can be run under or over your shoulder strap to keep it always within reach.

Staying properly hydrated is key for performance and just feeling good while exercising heavily on off-road trails. And having your water conveniently on your back sure beats carrying bulky water bottles on the frame. Leading brands like CamelBak, Osprey, and Evoc make excellent purpose built packs for mountain bikers.

With the right hydration pack, you can ride farther and more comfortably without worrying about bringing enough fluids or access to them. Plus you have room to stash extra gear like windbreakers, snacks, multi tools, spare tubes and other items that may come handy out on your adventures. Some even have integrated rain covers for when storms roll through unexpectedly.

Cycling Computers

Cycling computers and GPS units are very useful high-tech accessories for the modern mountain biker and trail rider. These devices allow you to track important ride metrics like speed, distance, time, elevation gain, heart rate monitoring, calories burned, and much more.

Many models record your entire route via GPS mapping for post-analysis. And have built in topological maps to keep you on track in unfamiliar zones. This data is invaluable for tracking your fitness progress over time, navigating new territory, dialing in your training, competing against personal bests, sharing ride stories through data uploads, and generally geeking out on the stats.

Leading manufacturers making robust GPS enabled cycling computers perfect for trail riding include Garmin, Wahoo, Polar, Cat Eye, and Lezyne. With models at various price points, there’s something for every budget. Just make sure any computer you get has good shock and water resistance to hold up to the demanding mounted conditions mountain biking presents. Then let the good times and data roll!

Cycling Sunglasses

Sunglasses may not seem critical given all the more exotic gear technology out there, but they really do serve important functions for the off-road rider. From protecting your eyes from errant branches and fast flying debris to enhancing trail vision, a quality pair of shades is crucial gear.

Not only do sunglasses shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, glare, dust and particulates – many models are designed specifically for cycling. Offering enhanced safety, optical clarity, sturdy/lightweight construction and comfort for long hours in the saddle.

Leading brands like Oakley, 100%, and Smith make excellent sunglasses purpose built mountain biking with easily interchangeable lenses. So you can switch lens tints and types for changing light conditions. Getting sunglasses with durable yet flexible frames and arms will help them survive the inevitable rock strikes and crashes.

Clipless Pedals

Clipless Pedal Systems take some initial adjustment from traditional flat pedals, but they provide significant performance advantages once mastered. Clipless pedals connect your feet directly to the cranks for maximum power transfer energy savings. Allowing you to pedal in smooth circles and pull up for added torque.

This pedaling efficiency can really pay dividends climbing technical uphills or when leg strength starts fading near the end of a long epic ride. Clipless pedals also keep feet properly positioned on the pedals at all times for optimal bio-mechanics and control. Reducing the risk of slipping a pedal or losing position suddenly.

Leading clipless pedal brands for mountain biking include Shimano, Crank Brothers and Time. Match pedals with compatible mountain biking shoes for complete function and performance benefits. Start easy on beginner friendly trails until clipping in/out becomes second nature.

MTB Lights

Bike lights are must have safety gear for rides extending into dawn or dusk hours. Quality LED lights can turn night into day, greatly enhancing visibility and reducing chances of accidents after dark. Handlebar mounted and helmet lights project bright beams optimally illuminating the trail ahead. While red flashing taillights alert other cyclists and vehicles approaching from behind.

Weather riding in true darkness through single track trails requires serious lumens, or cruising paved paths at dusk – dialed lights make all the difference. Top brands producing mountain biking lights include Niterider, Light & Motion, Cygolite and Cateye. With today’s LED output, lithium batteries and efficiency – affordable, compact, blindingly bright bike lights abound. Stay safe and extend your adventures by shedding light along the way.

Don’t forget the chamois cream for comfort “down under” on long epics! And with this array of protective and performance enhancing accessories, you can push your mountain biking to the next level. Just don’t forget the smiles along the way!

What MTB Accessories Do You Need?

Some other popular mountain bike accessories to consider include flexible fenders for keeping trail debris off, durable phone/gps mounting systems, secure under seat bags or on frame storage to stow your stuff, comfortable saddle upgrades, stylish cycling jerseys, lightweight flat fixing tools, mini floor pumps, handlebar end plugs and protective grips/tape. The accessories list is almost endless and part of the gear geek fun!

But focus first on that snug helmet, grippy gloves, the shades and hydration gear for core essentials. With basic safety and key utility accessories covered – Start getting into fancy cycling computers and speed playing clipless pedal upgrades. Then layer on gear gadgets expanding the functionality and style of your trail machine. Part of the mountain biking addiction for many is all the cool stuff!

Yet none of these accessories will ultimately substitute for core conditioning, skill progression and just getting out on the dirt. While the right gear can certainly enhance and extend rides – don’t let it become a crutch or barrier either. If all you have are bike shorts, a rigid hard-tail and some flat pedal Vans – you can still taste mountain biking joy on the trails.

Accessories shouldn’t become immobilizing gearhead overkill that prevents actually using the bike. Find the right practical/aspirational balance for you and your riding style/expectations. Safety first of course. But performance and flash bonuses should remain secondary to core enjoyment of nature, freedom and flow that mountain biking offers in its purest form!

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed