No matter how experienced you are when it comes to downhill mountain biking, you want to wear protective gear. In fact, as you progress and get more comfortable on the bike, you will naturally start to go faster and take greater risks. Of course, this just means that it becomes a little more dangerous. You will need protective gear, no matter how good you get. This article explains the 3 most vital piece of protective gear for downhill biking.
Full Finger Gloves
Gloves are super vital when it comes to downhill mountain biking. First of all, the first thing that will break your fall in most crashes is your hand. Even a small, relatively tame fall can be dangerous on certain terrain. Rocks and debris on the ground can cut your skin even when you barely fall. Gloves are as vital when you are on a trail with foliage and/or single track sections. You knuckles can take a serious beating from branches and bushes. These painful branches can cut through your thin knuckle skin if you are not wearing gloves. Lastly, gloves will help protect against blistering. The last thing you want is to develop a blister on mile 3 of 20 mile ride.
Knee and Shin Pad Combos
You should also wear knee and shin pads. Look for a one piece product. This way there is no gap between separate knee and shin pads. Also, by just having one piece for each leg, you are less likely to lose any piece. These connected guards are also more comfortable than wearing 2 separate pieces. With knee and shin guards on you can take your turns a little harder. On sharper U-turns and banks you can even lean into the turn to the point that your knee (or shin) starts to scrape the dirt. You won't need to worry about injuries and (best of all) you don't need to slow down so drastically on sharp turns.
Over the Ear Helmet
Most people have a basic bike helmet. But, since the risk of falling is higher when downhill riding, you should definitely invest or rent an over the ear helmet. Some professionals wear full motocross helmets. These are obviously heavier but they offer much better protection. The can also be easily kitted with goggles for comprehensive eye protection.
With these 3 pieces of protective equipment you be able to ride safer and with more confidence. If you don't have access to your own equipment, keep these ideas in mind as you look at mountain bike gear rentals.