When most people think of mountain biking, they picture an adventurous cyclist carving their way down a challenging trail. While this is certainly one aspect of the sport, there are some risks involved as mountain bikes are usually ridden on mountain trails, single track, fire roads, dirt, and other unpaved surfaces. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you are properly equipped with the right protective gear before hitting the trail.  

Below we have broken down some essential mountain bike protective gear pieces and why they are so important. We have also answered some of the most asked queries from beginners and pro rides. This will give you a clear idea about different protective gear for the type of mountain bike you have.

Mountain Bike Protective Gear – Most Important Picks

1. Helmet

Mountain Bike Protective Gear - Helmet

Despite its low weight and comfortable fit, a helmet is one of the most important mountain bike protective gear. In the event of a fall, a helmet can help to protect your head from serious injury. Typically, helmets are made from an impact-resistant foam designed to absorb a collision’s force. 

They also feature a hard outer shell that helps to deflect rocks and other debris. Most helmets include vents that help to keep your head cool and prevent sweating. Some even have built-in visors that help to shield your eyes from the sun and obstacles on the trail. 

2. Chest Protector Mountain Bike

Chest Protector Mountain Bike

A chest protector is safety gear for bike worn by bikers to help cushion the impact of falls and protect the rider’s upper body from branches and other obstacles. Chest protectors typically cover the rider’s chest and back and may also extend down to cover the stomach area. 

Some chest protectors also include shoulder pads for additional protection. While not highly required equipment, a chest protector can be a valuable safety gear for mountain biking, particularly for those who ride in rough terrain or on technical trails. Just remember, when choosing a chest protector, it is important to select one that is comfortable to wear and fits well.

3. Mountain Bike Pads

Mountain Bike Pads

When you are out on the trail, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your knees are protected. That’s where mountain bike knee pads come in. Knee pads protect your joints, safeguarding against rocks, roots, and other obstacles. They also help to absorb shock, minimize vibrations and reduce the risk of injuries. And if you have a full suspension mountain bike, having knee pads becomes even more important.  

4. Elbow Pads for Mountain Biking

Elbow Pads for Mountain Biking


Elbow pads are an important piece of protective gear for mountain biking. They help to cushion falls and protect against rocks and roots. When choosing elbow pads, it is important to consider the level of protection they offer and their comfort and fit. Many elbow pads feature hard shells that help to deflect impacts, while others use soft padding for a more comfortable ride. Some pads are designed to fit under jackets, while others have straps that go over the top.  

5. Bike Shorts with Pads

Bike Shorts with Pads - Important ountain Bike Protective Gear

Bike shorts with pads, also known as padded bike shorts, are a type of bicycle short with cushioning material in the crotch area. This padding is usually made from a foam or gel and is designed to provide comfort and protection for the cyclist while riding. Padded bike shorts are often worn by mountain bikers, as they can protect from bumps and bruises on rough trails.

Padded bike shorts are not only for mountain biking; road cyclists and commuters also find them to be comfortable and helpful in preventing saddle sores. Padded bike shorts come in various styles, from form-fitting Lycra to baggy mountain bike style shorts. Most have an elastic waistband that helps keep them in place during rides, and some also feature reflective strips or logos for safety. 

6. Padded Bike Gloves

Padded Bike Gloves

Most people focus on helmets and pads, but gloves are also important bike protection gear. They help protect your hands from the elements and injuries in the event of a fall. Padded bike gloves are ideal for both road and mountain biking. They provide extra cushioning to absorb shock and minimize hand fatigue. 

These gloves usually have a thicker fabric in the palm area to protect against abrasion in case of a fall. In addition, many padded bike gloves come with a fingerless design, making them ideal for those who want to use the dropper seat post while riding without losing their grip.

7. Mouth Guard

Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is an important protective gear for bicycle designed for riding in mountains. When you are out on the trails, there is always the potential for a fall. If you hit your head, a mouth guard can help to cushion the blow and prevent damage to your teeth. In addition, a mouth guard can also help to protect your jaw from impact. If you are involved in a serious crash, a mouth guard can help to prevent your jaw from being dislocated. For these reasons, it is important to always wear a mouthguard when mountain biking. 

Some Last Words

Does not matter if you have the best mountain bikes, if you do not have essential gears, you are always at risk of injuries. So, protective gear is an important part of mountain biking, and you must choose the right gear for your needs. We have provided a guide to help you select the best protective gear for your riding style. Taking these simple precautions can help ensure that your rides are safe and enjoyable. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What mountain bike protective gear do I need?  

Before you hit the trails on your mountain bike, it’s important to make sure that you have the proper protective gear. This includes a helmet, gloves, elbow and knee pads, and shoes that are designed for pedaling. 

  • A helmet is the most important gear, as it will help protect your head in the event of a fall. Gloves help to protect your hands from branches and other obstacles, while elbow and knee pads help to cushion blows to those vulnerable areas. 
  • Dedicated mountain biking shoes and waterproof socks provide support and safety while pedaling, helping you to avoid fatigue on long rides. You can use the same gear for fat tire bikes as well. 

Q2. Why do mountain bikers wear baggy shorts?

Wearing baggy shorts is a mountain biker’s way of protecting themselves from scrapes and cuts. The extra layer of material helps to cushion falls, and the loose fit allows for a full range of motion when pedaling. 

Baggy shorts provide plenty of storage space for tools and snacks. Most styles have multiple pockets and loops or clips for attaching additional gear. And since they are made from durable fabrics, baggy shorts can withstand the rigors of off-road riding.

Q3. Should you wear pads while mountain biking?

Some riders feel that pads restrict their movement and make it harder to control the bike. Others argue that pads offer essential protection in the event of a crash. So, what’s the verdict?

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to wear pads while mountain biking is up to the individual rider. If you are new to the sport or tend to take a lot of spills, you may want to stand on the side of caution and invest in some pads. However, if you’re an experienced rider who is confident in your ability to stay upright, you may feel comfortable going without them. However, it is always recommended to wear pads for extra safety.

Q4. What are some best mountain biking accessories?

Here are some must-have mountain biking accessories:

Eyewear: Eye protection is essential when riding on rough terrain. Sunglasses or goggles will shield your eyes from the sun, wind, and dust.

Hydration pack: A hydration pack lets you carry water and other beverages with you on the trail. This is especially important in hot weather or when riding for long periods.

Repair kit: A flat tire can ruin a mountain biking trip, so it’s always wise to be prepared. Pack a repair kit with a spare tube, tire levers, and a pump so you can fix a flat quickly and get back on the trail.

Mini-pump: A mini-pump is a handy tool to have with you if you get a flat tire. Be sure to get one that is compatible with your bike’s tire size.

Spare inner tube: It’s always a good idea to carry a spare inner tube with you in case you get a flat tire. You can usually find these at your local bike shop.

Food: Bringing along some snacks or energy bars is a good idea, especially if you are taking a longer ride. This will help keep your energy levels up so you can enjoy your ride.

Q5. Do electric bikes need the same protective gear as mountain bikes?

Most best electric bikes need similar protective gear like mountain bikes. This includes a helmet, gloves, elbow and knee pads, and shin guards. 


I am Mike, a senior technical staff writer at O.bike. I have been a professional writer cum editor contributing to thousands of bike-related equipment, books, workshops, and a lot more. Apart from industry-related experience, I love bike hiking and giving workshops.