Holiday Gift Guide 2013: For The Beginner Mountain Biker

Holiday Gift Guide

So, you bought your first real mountain bike and you’ve been watching Red Bull Rampage and Danny McAskill videos on YouTube during your entire “work” day. You’re amped up and jones’ing to hit the dirt. You are SO ready. Or are you?
Every beginner mountain biker would do well to pay attention to the items suggested on this page, to help ease the pain of what can often be a steep learning curve in this thing that we call “mountain biking”. Learn to avoid the bumps, bruises and itches or at the very least, be better prepared for them, with this list of gift suggestions for the Beginner mountain biker

BetterRide Skills Clinic

You have to take driver’s training to learn how to drive a car. You have to take a safety course to learn how to ride a motorcycle. But you don’t have to take any kind of training to hop on a mountain bike and do your learning at the school of hard knocks. But what if you didn’t have to learn the hard way to keep your weight back on those steep drop ins? What if there was somebody that could tell you and show you how to be a better mountain biker? Well, there is! Gene Hamilton is a professional mountain biker and Olympic coach and he has shown hundreds of bikers, from the complete beginner to seasoned pros, how to improve their bike handling skills. The price for a 3 day skills camp might not sound cheap, but if you factor in how expensive an ambulance (or helicopter) ride is, brushing up on your own skillset will pay off in the long run. You will learn a lot and have fun doing it!

MSRP: $618 to $749 for a 3 day skills camp
More Info: www.BetterRide.net

Spare Tubes

Getting flats suck, but it happens to all of us sooner or later. Patch kits are good, but nothing beats a fresh tube to get you back in the flow as soon as possible. I carry two tubes and a patch kit at all times. But don’t throw those old tubes out! Patch them at home and use those as your spares. Patched too many times? Take them to your local bike shop and see if they will recycle them. You can get ultralight tubes or heavy duty tubes or just standard tubes. I recommend standard tubes, but your tastes and needs may vary.

MSRP: $3.99 – 14.99
Where to Buy: Your Local Bike Shop

TecNu Poison Oak and Ivy Cleanser

Besides crashing and getting flats, poison oak is one of the most common banes of mountain biking. Be sure you read Mtbr.com’s Guide to Poison Oak – Photos and Remedies so you know what to look out for. If you end up touching it, or even if you think you might have touched it, you will want to have some TecNu cleanser available. TecNu is an effective cleanser that can remove the harmful oils of poison oak, ivy and sumac before the rash starts. Early usage is key, so having some in your CamelBak or in your car is important. You can purchase TecNu at most drug stores like Walgreen’s and RiteAid. However, if you do have a bad outbreak, don’t hesitate to see your doctor who can prescribe topical or oral steroids to help ease the itch and speed up the healing process.

MSRP: $8.00 for a 4 oz bottle
More Info: www.teclabsinc.com

A Quality Helmet

A quality helmet is a must and is required on many trails. Quality doesn’t necessarily have to mean expensive. Some high end helmets can be well over 2 Benjamins, but don’t get sucked in to thinking that expensive necessarily means more protection. At the same time, don’t go too cheap like certain models sold in many big box stores. Giro, Bell and Lazer all make great helmets right around the $100 mark that will serve you well and look stylish too.

MSRP: Giro Hex ($90), Bell Sequence ($90), Lazer Rox ($115)
More Info: www.giro.com, www.bellhelmets.com, www.lazersport.com

Good Full Finger Gloves

Since we’ve already confirmed that good gloves are a must for virtually all mountain bikers, the beginner should pay special attention to gloves. And we don’t mean those short, half-fingered gloves that you may see road riders using. Crashing is a part of riding and when you go down, you will want full finger coverage. Some of our favorite include the Alpinestars Aero glove and Mavic Single Track gloves. Fit is a must for gloves so go support your local bike shop and try some gloves on and show them some love.

MSRP: From $30 to $50
Where to Buy: Your Local Bike Shop

Lightweight Knee and Elbow Armor

Along with a quality helmet and good gloves, the newbie rider will want to invest in set of good, lightweight armor for additional crash protection. Since you most likely aren’t doing shuttle runs yet, you will want armor that is not too big and bulky and that you can still pedal in. Some of our favorite include the Alpinestars Morzine, the Fox Racing Launch and the Aazis from Kali Protectives.

MSRP: Alpinestars Morzine Knee Guard ($54.95), Morzine Elbow Guard ($44.95)
Fox Racing Launch Pro Knee Pad ($59.95), Launch Pro Elbow Guard ($39.95)
Kali Protectives Aazis Soft Knee Guard ($65), Veda Elbow Guard ($49)
More Info: www.alpinestars.com, www.foxhead.com, www.kaliprotectives.com

2013 Mtbr Holiday Gift Guides:

Digital Cameras For Cyclists »
For The Beginner Mountain Biker »
For The Tech Geek Rider »
Gifts for that Special Angry Singlespeeder in Your Life »
Mtbr’s All-Mountain Brown Friday »
POV Video Cameras and Electronics »
Stocking Stuffers for Mountain »

2013 RoadBikeReview Holiday Gift Guides:

Cold Weather Warrior »
Cyclocross Fanatic »
Digital Cameras For Cyclists »
For The Cyclist Who Has (Almost) Everything »
Gear For The Endurance Junkie »
Gear For the Gravel Grinder »
Great Gear For Under $50 »
Presents for the Urban Jungle »
Repurposed Gifts for the Green Cyclist »
The Newbie Road Rider »
Type A Crit Racer »
When Money Is No Object »

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato has been the Site Manager of Mtbr.com for over 12 years and enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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