When it comes to the accessories there are some items that are equally important to purchase as is the bike itself. A beginner on a budget needs to add the cost of several essential items into the purchase price of the bike. There are accessories that are “nice to have” items and then there are “have to have” items. Following is a summary of the items that every beginner should purchase before hitting the trails.
The Helmet – This is the single most important accessory to purchase. Every mountain biker should never get on their bike without wearing one. Not wearing one can result in a very serious injury. Helmets are not very expensive but when it comes to safety they are priceless.
Eye Protection – Many beginners ignore this purchase at first. When they get ready to hit the trail for the first time is when the thought comes to mind to grab a pair of sunglasses. If the sunglasses are designed for sport and feature shatterproof lenses they are fine. But what if they are not or what if it is cloudy and overcast? A mountain biker needs to have as a minimum one pair of clear or near clear safety glasses designed for sport. These will cover all weather conditions, cloudy and sunny. They also protect the eyes from branches, bugs, and other objects. If the budget allows for a second pair then go for a pair of sunglasses designed for sport as well.
Mountain Bike Gloves – At some point you are going to crash and just about every time your hands are going to be in front of you taking the first impact. Without proper gloves the result can be rather bloody and further gripping of the handlebars will be painful. Gloves are essential to protect your hands and should always be worn.
Hydration – You are going to need to consume water regularly. Usually on the trail there is no place to buy it so carrying it with you is very important. As a minimum you must buy a frame mounted bottle and cage. These are very cheap. If the budget allows then buy a hydration backpack. These carry more water and also allow for storage of other items like energy bars.
Tools – Regardless of how well your bike is maintained it will encounter a breakdown on the trail at some point. Most likely it will be a flat tire or broken chain. Multi tools are available specifically for performing repairs on the trail. There are several ones and not all are the same. In addition to the normal hex keys and drivers found on all of them you should choose a tool that contains a chain break tool and tire levers. If not then you should buy these separately. Also you will need to have a tube repair kit and the necessary items to fix your chain. Ask your dealer for the link repair items needed based on the chains manufacturer. You are also going to need a frame mounted mini pump to refill flat tires.
First-Aid – Build a small first-aid kit and use a small zip-lock bag for storage. A roll of gauze, tape, first-aid cream, and some band-aids should be included. If you have the room, include a small 6oz squeeze bottle of hydrogen peroxide which will be great to clean the dirt out of scrapped up knees and elbows.
There are many other items that a new rider can be outfitted with but these items should be considered essential. You will need to use each of these items some day, that is a guarantee so don’t be there without them on the very first day.