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7 MTB Accessories You Didn’t Know You Needed (But You Do)

By Martin Atanasov

Rushing down a steep slope with your mountain bike rolling over sharp stones, slippery roots, and elegant curves is all there is to mountain biking, right? Well… not exactly. Yes, basically, that’s the main point but before we get to the punch line, there are a ton of other things we must consider, all of which are far less interesting and at times even tedious and boring compared to the actual downhill. Nonetheless, they are an integral part of the experience, and all we can do is make them a bit more comfortable and less demanding in the long term.

That’s precisely what MTB accessories do. And while many of them are considered to be just unnecessary extra weight, some accessories are a must-have if you wish to spare yourself from some headaches in the long run. We prepared a list of 7 such accessories, which you didn’t know you needed – but you do.

MTB trail
Yes, accessories may add some extra weight but they are invaluable for a more comfortable ride. © Profimedia

Dry bag

We mountain dwellers are a strange breed. Rain, snow, hail, stones, the comet that killed the dinosaurs – no matter what falls from the sky, we are out there, on the slopes. It’s so glorious to splash with full speed through a muddy puddle and to emerge on the other end like some kind of Cronenberg monster. We are more mud and clay than people at the end of a full day ride but we still have huge smiles stuck on our faces. That’s until we remember that all of our phones, lights, instruments and changing clothes are just as soaked as we are.

That’s where the dry bag comes in handy. No matter the weather conditions, no matter if you fall in a river or a lake or even the ocean, you will have a dry pair of clothes to change in, your phone won’t be crying literally and figuratively, and your lights’ won’t leave you in the dark. Having dry clothes is essential, especially during winter rides when you can freeze really fast if you stay soaked without moving.

Hydration bladder

One thing that bothers a lot of riders during their climbs, especially on hot summer days, is drinking water. So you have three options to hydrate yourself during the climbs. One of them is to have a bottle stuck to your bike. That’s a fine option until the gradients become in the negative double digits. Then, the vibrations may eject your bottle at an undetermined trajectory and in the best-case scenario, you will simply lose your water and your bottle. The worst-case scenario is it will fall under your wheels.

The second option is to have bottles of water in your backpack. Then you must stop ever so often to drink, which will ruin any chance of gaining a rhythm and making your climb a bit easier.

The third option is what we suggest. Take a hydration bladder and enjoy your ride. It’s essentially a water bag with a hose, and it stays in your backpack. It’s easy to maintain, and when it’s empty, it’s effortless to store. Moreover, you can use it for hiking and even jogging, if that’s your thing.

Bike bonnet for your head

Of course, we are not talking about the coy French hats worn by artists but about the full mask many bikers wear under their helmets. If you are not insane enough to go down a slope with a half helmet that roadies and commuters use in their rides, then a bonnet is a must-have. The bonnet is like a ski mask but far thinner. Its function is not to keep you warm but to soak your sweat. Your sweat won’t stream into your eyes, making everything blurry and increasing your chance of crashing.

MTB goggles

MTB goggles
Protect your eyes on the ride. © Profimedia

Speaking of your eyes, did you know that almost every insect thinks of them as a mausoleum? For some unknown reason, it’s their dream to visit your pupils in a crashing manner and make it their final resting place. Maybe your eyes are the insect Valhalla or they are just that beautiful. We won’t take sides in this academic dispute but you will be the one to suffer either way.
A nice pair of bike goggles will make sure that all bugs living on the trail you are speeding at will have to change their burial plans. Not to discourage them but getting into your goggles is practically impossible.

The goggles will protect your eyes from much more than insects. Stones, dust and other rubbish that the rider in front of you may eject will impair your vision, which is a considerable risk when you are riding down a steep slope with a speed more appropriate for a plane taking off.

Tyre levers

These simple tools will make your life much easier when it comes to repairing a punctured tyre. If you ever tried to take your tyre out of your rim, you’d know that’s not as easy in practice as it is in theory. Tyre levers, on the other hand, make it a piece of cake.
Moreover, if you decide to take off your tyre by hand or with some branches or god-forbid stone, you may damage your rim, and they are far more expensive than any tyre lever set (well, if they aren’t golden and diamond-encrusted but we haven’t found these on the market).

Zip ties and duct tape

OK, OK. These are not MTB accessories but rather office supplies. Nonetheless, zip ties and duct tape are the perfect repair kit for any vehicle, be it a scooter, a bike, a motorbike or a space shuttle. They are light, don’t take much space and are invaluable when you are going for a long ride. True, taping a part is not like welding something but it will take you to the nearest city. The same goes for the zip tie. So, don’t be an idiot and just take a couple of zip ties and a roll of duct tape for your ride.

Ultrasonic dog repeller

If you paid attention in your biology classes, you might remember that forests and mountains are inhabited by something more than a bunch of crazy two-wheeled speeding fanatics. Yes, shockingly, there are animals in the mountains. Although they avoid designated bike parks, since animals tend to avoid being crushed by anything, let alone a maniac speeding down a rocky mountain slope, if you are out there exploring, you will definitely need some kind of protection against animals.

Shepherd dogs are usually the most dangerous creatures you will meet in the wild, and sometimes they are truly vicious. It’s definitely not OK to kill or injure a dog, and we stay firmly against animal cruelty when there is a more humane way of dealing with the problem. Just take an ultrasonic dog repeller and use it if you hear a dog near you.

Using accessories is not adding extra weight

Yes, accessories may add some extra weight but they are invaluable for a more comfortable ride. They will improve your MTB experience, with less time wasted on non-essential activities. It will make the downhill safer and help you feel more comfortable afterwards. With just a little investment, you can find that mountain biking can be even more fun, and that’s the whole point, isn’t it?