OutdoorGB Mountainbiking Guide

As a few of us here at OutdoorGB.com are pretty keen mountain-bikers, we thought it was about time we put together a guide to some of the best biking and cycling products we sell. Whether you regularly ride downhill trails or just use your bike for the daily commute, we have products to make your ride a whole lot better and more fun too. However we don't sell bikes, but we are assuming if you are into cycling, you will already have one.

Base Layers

Wearing a simple cotton t-shirt is fine if you aren't going to be pushing yourself too hard. But if you are going to be riding for extended periods of time, the cotton t-shirt quickly becomes a hinderence. Unless you are a robot or something, you are going to sweat. Sweating is good, sweating cools you down, its just not good when it comes to cotton t-shirts. Your simple cotton t-shirt will gladly soak up substantial amounts of lovely perspiration, the problem is, it just won't let it go. Very quickly you are left with a t-shirt that looks like it has just emerged from the washing machine. A t-shirt that will chafe you to bits. And once you stop riding, a t-shirt that will make you get very cold very quickly.

The answer is to wear a base layer. Base layers are thin garments designed to be worn next to the skin with or without other layers on top. Unlike your cotton t-shirt, a base layer will "wick" moisture. "Wicking" means instead of holding onto moisture like a t-shirt, the base layer will magically transport it from your skin to the outside world, where it evaporates.

An ideal base layer should sit unnoticed under your winter mid-layer and work in conjunction with the rest of your layering system. A lightweight base layer is an extremely versatile garment and should be standard wear in any cyclist's wardrobe. If you're an active, sweaty rider go for a base layer with good moisture management. If you like to ride at a slower pace, then warmth and thicker insulating base layers are more suitable, of course the best solution is to find a compromise between the two.

Short sleeves are more versatile and you can add arm warmers if extra warmth is need, if you get cold easily then go for long sleeves for more warmth. Long sleeves should go all the way to the wrist and should be a tight fit to prevent them rolling, bunching, or billowing.

Montane Bionic Short Sleeve T-Shirt

A good t-shirt style base layer to look at is the Montane Bionic. A high wicking, lightweight technical base-layer, the Bionic combines all the well-known performance properties of both Merino wool and knitted polyester. The Bionic rapidly moves moisture away from the skin for dry-to-the-touch comfort. The Montane Bionic can be worn underneath clothing or on its own.

The Montane Bionic is also available with Long-Sleeves.

The Helly Hansen Men's Longsleeve Crew Top is ideal for high-intensity mountainbiking, keeping you warm when stationary and dry and comfortable when working hard.

The Longsleeve Crew Top's utilises LIFA sport fabric to keep you dry by pushing moisture away from your skin and onto the surface for quick evaporation. Bacteria-resistant, the Longsleeve Crew Top also eliminates any bad odours that often occur after strenous exercise.

Mid Layers

Achieving a 5 star review in Mountain Biking UK, the Helly Hansen Stripe Men's Half Zip Top is designed to be worn over a base layer. Featuring Lifa stay-dry technology, sweat isn't absorbed by the fabric but transported through to the outside. Works well in winter when worn with a base layer underneath and a waterproof over the top.


In the UK, a good jacket isn't a seasonal accessory, its a year round neccessity. The right jacket can change cycling from being a tiresome chore into a warm, enjoyable experience.

The first thing to work out is what you want to use your jacket for as this affects fit, style and features. Will it be a multipurpose Sunday ride stalwart? Does it need to look good for the post-ride pub, or will you only ever pull it on for trail raids well away from the fashion police?


Montane Featherlite Vélo Jacket

Lighter than a apple and smaller too, the Montane Featherlite Vélo Jacket is ideal for stowing away in your pocket, saddle bag or in the side pocket of your rucksack. For its size, the Featherlite Vélo Jacket offers excellent water resistance, windproofing and breathability.

Loki Morf Hoodie

Probably the coolest hoodie ever, the Loki Morf is ideal for wearing when riding on chilly days or pulling on after a strenous ride. With a built in face shield and mitts, the Morf is perfect for when the temperature drops. Handily the Morf features a MP3 port for when you want to listen to some tunes as you ride, without getting tangled up in wires.

Vaude Mens Dundee Zip-Off Jacket III

Awarded recommended buy by MTB Magazine, The Vaude Dundee Zip-Off is a high performance wind breaker that has quite a few special features. Feeling a bit too hot? In no time at all you can zip off the sleeves to turn the Dundee into a vest, offering the ultimate in climate control.



Gloves are just one of those riding essentials, they stop your hands getting cold on bitter winter rides whilst also protecting your mitts too. In a crash it is human instinct to extend the arms, as a result, damage to the palms of cyclist's hands is common. A decent pair of riding gloves will protect the hands from abrasions and road rash, as well as providing extra padding to reduce uncomfortable vibrations and bumps. .


If you are after gloves that are waterproof and offer a great level of dexerity, look to the Sealskinz Mountain Bike Waterproof Gloves. Using Porelle SXT technology, these gloves are 100% waterproof and offer excellent breathability making them perfect for use in all-weather conditions.

As the name suggests, the Dakine Defenders are designed to protect. Equipped with composite reinforced knuckle deflectors and a palm skid pad, the Defenders soften the blow on contact with solid objects. The moulded ballistic nylon knuckle is ideal when you're thrashing through the undergrowth.

Hydration Packs

A hydration pack is a backpack that contains a plastic bladder for water, with a tube and a mouthpiece to get the water to your mouth.

In mountainbiking, waterbottles are old news, hydration packs enable riders to carry more water. Rather than carrying 1.5l of water in two waterbottles, a good hydration pack will enable you to carry 2 - 3 litres of water all contained on your back.

Fluid Capacity - How much do you need? This depends on how long you ride for, the temperature and how often you can refill. A 80kg rider is advised to drink 600ml water per hour in cool conditions, rising to 900ml water per hour for racing in hot conditions.

Straps and harness - Look for padded shoulder straps and possibly a hip belt or sternum strap. Where the pack sits on your back, look out for channels for airflow to help you stay cool.

Adjustability and fit - So you pack stays snugly on your back, you should look out for adjustable straps.

Care - Cleanliness is key. The hydration pack bladder should be emptied immediately after use and hung out to dry. A regular rinse with baby bottle sterilising fluid is good to prevent mould growth in the tube. Storing the bladder in the fridge will also keep it clean and mould-free.

A final note, we recommend you only use hydration packs for water as other liquids can be hard to clean out and will actively promote mould growth!

The Dakine Nomad is a solid built pack with plenty of storage space for tools etc, perfect for those wishing to carry larger loads. Awarded 5 stars on the Bike Radar website, the Nomad features a 3 litre reservior with aquaguard anti-microbial treatment.


For those who don't need to carry much except for their water of course, the Deuter Hydro EXP 6 SL is perfect. Allowing you to carry 2 litres of water, the pack capacity of the Hydro EXP 6 SL can be easily expanded from 6 litres to 8 litres. Features like the helmet holder and 3M reflectors saw this pack gain a What Mountain Bike Gold award.


Cycle Computers

A cycle computer is a must for some, while others feel absolutely no need for such a device to grace their handlebars. If you are in the "must" camp, continue reading, if not, get lost!

We find cycle computers are like normal computers, you have your real basic models right the way up to your complex er "supercomputers"! Basic models will give you a few essential features such as speed, distance, odometer and the time. While your complex computers will have additional features such as heart rate, power output, GPS functions and PC connectivity.

Basic functions

  • Current Speed - expressed in either miles per hour or km per hour
  • Average Speed -displays the current average speed by dividing the distance traveled by the ride time. Average speed readings usually update at specific intervals like 5 or 10 seconds
  • Maximum Speed - the top speed achieved
  • Trip Distance -how far you have travelled since the last reset
  • Total Distance - all of your trip distances added together
  • Ride timer - amount of time ridden for this trip

Advanced functions

  • Cadence - the number of times per minute the pedals go around
  • Dual Bike Settings - a dual bike computer holds 2 different calibration numbers, so you can swap the computer from one bike to another and change the setting at the press of a button
  • Speed Comparator - an indicator that displays whether the current speed is above or below the average speed
  • Programmable Odometer - allows you to set the odometer at what ever number you wish. For instance if you need to change the battery you can write down the odometer reading, change the battery, then set the odometer back to where it was
  • Altimeter - know how high you have climbed and more. Most computers equipped with an altimeter will have several altitude features like grade, total feet climbed and max altitude
  • Power - some advanced units will have a way to measure power in watts. Most require additional sensors, special cranks or special hubs.
  • Heart Rate- some units come with a chest strap to display heart rate while riding
  • GPS Function - more expensive models feature GPS recievers, allowing you to know your exact position at any particular time
  • Calories Burned - displays how many calories you have worked off when riding


The CicloSport CM 4.2 is an ideal entry level cycle computer. Current speed, average speed and total riding time are just a few of the features of this computer. With a optional transmitter belt, the CM 4.2 can also display heart rate (average/current/maximum) and calorie consumption.

More than just a cycle computer, the Garmin Edge 205 is more like a GPS-enabled personal trainer. Measuring speed, distance, time, calories burned, altitude, climb and descent, the Edge 205 knows where you are going and how far you have gone. Along with 204 other features, this computer has a high sensitivity GPS reciever that knows your position even in tree cover and canyons.


Bike Gadgets

Just a couple of gadgets we think make the ride even more interesting!

Satmap Active 10

With the optional bike mount, the Satmap is an excellent way to discover new trails and ride fresh ground. The Satmap is a revolutionary GPS device displaying OS maps in digital form. Waterproof and shockproof, this GPS is rugged whilst remaining easy to use whilst riding.


The GoPro HERO WIDE 5 Helmet Action Camera lets you relive your extreme action from the comfort of your own home. Film yourself riding every trail in TV quality, then go home and relive your ride.

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