Guest blog: I can’t live without my mountain bike kit
Guest blogger and rider Damien knows his mountain bike kit. He knows what he loves and he reckons he knows what will be big in the mountain biking world in the coming year. Here he reveals a few of his mountain Bike loves and predictions.
Try a 29er Mountain Bike
I predict that 2012 will officially be the year of the 29er bicycle. Big wheels are all the rage and for good reason, too. Increased traction, low rolling resistance and a super smooth ride have made more and more riders consider buying a 29er Mountain Bike over a standard 26” bike.
Giant are leading the pack with their lightweight Talon 29er model, which features an ALLUXX aluminium frame and a RockShox specific 29er suspension fork.
Tempted by a 29er? Why not give the big wheels a blast and see if they help you carve the singletrack faster than before. They are great if your favourite track is particularly bumpy and I guarantee that those woodland paths with their exposed roots will suddenly feel like a breeze.
It might seem obvious but a helmet is pretty much an essential item of kit for mountain bikers. But if you’re thinking: “Oh no, not that heavy piece of plastic on my head to make me sweat,” you’d be very wrong. Very wrong indeed! Todays’ helmets of choice combine lightweight designs with superb impact protection.
Check out brands such as Giro, which make some of the best helmets in the business. For me, one of the best, is Giro’s Xar All Mountain Helmet, which offers exceptional airflow, robust protection and excellent comfort thanks to their Roc Loc secure fitting system.
Tackle the bumps
Suspension technology has made a huge contribution to the sport of mountain biking over the last 20 years. Suspension forks and rear shocks provide an amazing range of options in terms of adjustability and control. There is no better way to tame the trail than with a sorted full suspension mountain bike or fork.
The majority of suspension forks and rear shocks use air compression damping, which makes for a lightweight and highly adjustable fork. The rider simply inflates the fork with a shock pump and sets the correct air pressure in relation to their bodyweight and the recommended sag settings.
RockShox have been making suspension forks and shocks since the 1980s and they are still pioneering great new suspension technology today.
Grip the trail
A good mountain bike tyre provides the rider with speed, grip, and a suitable tread pattern for different riding conditions. Tyre width also plays a pivotal role in the rider’s armoury – a wider contact patch on the ground results in increased traction (grip). This will enable the rider to remain in control and push the limits of off-road riding.
Mountain bike tyres use a variety of compounds that provide unique qualities in terms of grip, shock absorption and durability. Soft compounds provide greater levels of bump absorption whereas medium and hard compounds offer greater levels of protection and increased power transfer.
The Maxxis High Roller Single Ply Mountain Bike Tyre is one of the most popular and versatile tyres available, in my opinion!
Cope with the ups and downs
If you’ve not used a fully adjustable bike seat post you’ll have no idea how fantastic they are. Adjustable seat posts (also known as Dropper Posts) have revolutionised mountain biking in recent years. With the flick of a bar mounted lever, a rider can lower the seat post when tackling steep terrain. This allows for enhanced body positioning without being obstructed by an upright seat post.
Adjustable seat posts can be cable actuated or hydraulically controlled with fluid. By allowing the rider to get lower on the bike they provide for a safer and more controlled ride, which ultimately enhances ride performance on the trail.
The KS Dropzone Suspension Seat Post provides 5 inches of height adjustability for the rider and will ensure the rider has the optimal pedalling position for any kind of terrain.
Do you have any favourite items of mountain biking kit?