1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Bike, helmet, hydration, gloves. Good to go?

    Hey, I'm a MTB newb. I ordered a Rockhopper 2011 last week. Should be here in the next day or so. I picked up a helmet, hydration pack and gloves this weekend.

    Any other gear I really need? Or should I just go for a ride or two and figure it out?

    I haven't been on a bike in 15 years but I used to ride my bmx style bike on an off road my entire childhood. Plus I'm a good athlete so I think I'll have few issues. I plan to wear my regular sneakers and non-mtb clothes at first.
    Last edited by level4; 08-01-2011 at 08:51 AM.

  2. #2
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    There's a bunch of threads and I believe a Sticky on this too, but you should also consider carrying at minimum:

    -a multi-tool
    -a mini pump
    -a spare tube
    -tire levers

    If you don't want to carry a spare tube a patch kit will also work. Other than that you should be good to go! Enjoy it! A good pair of sunglasses is also good to have, but not required. You can carry much more, but that is what I would recommend adding to your equipment!
    STOLEN: '07 Banshee Viento - See Eastern Canada Forum for Pictures. If anyone sees it contact me ASAP!

  3. #3
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    ^this stuff, but I always definitely carry a spare tube, easier to mess with than a patch on the trail. I then patch the flatted tube at home.

    In addition, there would be other stuff I'd recommend, but I only added the stuff as I found I needed it. So my list would consist of what tpm7 said, plus:

    -chain tool
    -chain quick-link
    -derailleur hanger

    ...but again that stuff isn't needed right away. It really all depends on how and where you ride. But almost everyone benefits from flat tire tools.

  4. #4
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    +1 for all these items. If you don't need them maybe another rider will - that's good trail karma.
    '12 Giant Trance X1, Mavic Crossride Wheels, StansTubeless, SPD Pedals

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    -chain tool
    -chain quick-link
    -derailleur hanger
    Very good idea to have the above as well. If you don't have a hanger or need to buy one a good substitute until you get one is to just carry a quick-link and chain breaker, then, providing your rear derailleur breaks off or hanger bends you can remove your RD and shorten your chain and run the rest of the day single speed.
    STOLEN: '07 Banshee Viento - See Eastern Canada Forum for Pictures. If anyone sees it contact me ASAP!

  6. #6
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    for trails where it's very shady, i found sunglasses too dark. I recommend clear cheap home depot safety glasses. They look like sunglasses and I think 3 bucks? That'll save you from taking a branch in the eye.

    edit: also, a small hand sanitizer or neosporin spray and some bandaids dont take up much room and come in handy. small LED flashlight couldnt hurt and they are so small and weigh nothing these days.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobuu View Post
    for trails where it's very shady, i found sunglasses too dark. I recommend clear cheap home depot safety glasses. They look like sunglasses and I think 3 bucks? That'll save you from taking a branch in the eye.

    edit: also, a small hand sanitizer or neosporin spray and some bandaids dont take up much room and come in handy. small LED flashlight couldnt hurt and they are so small and weigh nothing these days.
    You can also get sunglasses with replaceable lenses. I pick up a pair of closeout Smith's every once in a while just to get a set that has a clear and dark lenses.

    What I take depends on how far I'm going. Short loops, I usually don't take the tube or pump. Long, out in the woods rides... some band-aids or first aid is a good idea. As are zip ties. And lights. And maybe a knife.

  8. #8
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    ... and if we just ...

    Quote Originally Posted by level4 View Post
    Hey, I'm a MTB newb. I ordered a Rockhopper 2011 last week. Should be here in the next day or so. I picked up a helmet, hydration pack and gloves this weekend.

    Any other gear I really need? Or should I just go for a ride or two and figure it out?

    I haven't been on a bike in 15 years but I used to ride my bmx style bike on an off road my entire childhood. Plus I'm a good athlete so I think I'll have few issues. I plan to wear my regular sneakers and non-mtb clothes at first.
    You will want some bike shorts, especially after your first ride. I carry a multi tool, allen wrenches, spare tube, and small pump in the truck.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the great feedback. Sorry if I asked a question covered in the stickies. I posted from my phone so it's harder to navigate and read everything. I was looking for the bare minimum to carry. I'm already in over $800 so I was looking to add stuff over time, but fairly cheap stuff I can add now.

    I think picking up a spare tube will be my first thing. I have a mini pump and I have dark Oakley's and actually those clear HD glasses for yardwork too (good idea on those).

    I probably wouldn't know what to do to fix my chain even if I had the right tools (which I'll look up). How often do chains break? I thought it was uncommon unless you are doing very technical trails or shifting when chain is stressed. I'll be on intermediate in central NJ for the near term.
    Last edited by level4; 08-01-2011 at 11:08 AM.

  10. #10
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    I've been riding since late last year. I ride 2 to 4 times a week and i have never seen anyone break a chain. (Mostly flats)

  11. #11
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    my friend had a flat yesterday...spare tube in my camel bak helped

  12. #12
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    I was riding with my friend a couple days back, both of us pretty new to riding, when we meet up with a couple older guys. We rode with them for a while when one of them got a flat. None of us had a patch kit or tubes... Luckily we werent far from the trail head. Me and my friend parted ways and finished the trail. By the time we were leaving the both showed up pushing their bikes with a flat tire each.

    Spare tube(s) are a good idea.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KEITH21 View Post
    I've been riding since late last year. I ride 2 to 4 times a week and i have never seen anyone break a chain. (Mostly flats)
    I've broken 4 chains in the last 3 years, and also helped out several strangers with broken chain with Powerlinks.

    It doesn't happen often but it does happen on certain types of terrain.

  14. #14
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    Fixing a flat is the most common repair you may need to do. I carry a tube AND a patch kit, just in case. After that... you have a crash, nothing's broken but your bar and brake levers are pointing in all sorts of wrong directions. A multitool, or suitable hex keys will fix those. (not overtightening some things may avoid breakage when the parts can move instead of cracking)

    I've broken a chain twice. Both were bad joints: one by me, one by LBS. Others have managed it by shifting under too much load.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by the.rebot View Post
    +1 for all these items. If you don't need them maybe another rider will - that's good trail karma.
    My friends joke about how I never need my own stuff, but people on the trail or friends do. I keep a few granola bars in my pack. Everyone loves it when I pull out snacks at the top of a trail on a long ride.

  16. #16
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    glasses are essential around where I live. The tree branches and shrubs are close enough on the narrow paths to easily hit your eyes.
    2010 GT Sensor 2.0

  17. #17
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    I always bring along a phone. I put it on silent so I can't hear when others call but it is ready to use in case of emergency. No one is gonna disturb me on my ride by trying to call me!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by level4 View Post
    Hey, I'm a MTB newb. I ordered a Rockhopper 2011 last week. Should be here in the next day or so. I picked up a helmet, hydration pack and gloves this weekend.

    Any other gear I really need? Or should I just go for a ride or two and figure it out?

    I haven't been on a bike in 15 years but I used to ride my bmx style bike on an off road my entire childhood. Plus I'm a good athlete so I think I'll have few issues. I plan to wear my regular sneakers and non-mtb clothes at first.
    if you plan to be doing anything steep single track or with jumps I would upgrade to

    1) hard shell elbow
    2) hard shell knee
    3) full face helmet
    4) armored gloves
    5) glasses but preferably goggles

  19. #19
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    The knowledge for how to use the tools! Seriously, practice changing a flat at home if you don't know how.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KEITH21 View Post
    You will want some bike shorts, especially after your first ride. I carry a multi tool, allen wrenches, spare tube, and small pump in the truck.
    +1 on the shorts , actually +1 on everything he mentioned above.

  21. #21
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    Read the "Mountain Bike Packing List" thread. Thanks to it, I was prepared during my ride this last weekend. I had a thorn puncture halfway into my ride. Thanks to my Topeak Alien II, patch kit, and mini pump I was able to fix it and finish the rest of the trail. First time fixing a flat for me. The practice recommendation is a good one too!

  22. #22
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    Bike shops will often cut you a deal on accesories when you buy a bike at the same time. 10% off is pretty standard. So you might ass well spend a bit more and get this stuff up front.

    Btw a chain tool/ breaker can also be used to fix a bike that's chain isn't broken but has jumped over a gear and wedged itself between the gear and frame under load. I saved another rider from a long walk with that one.

    Chain lube is good to have too so you can do your own routine maintanence (not that you would take it on a ride).
    Never be the path of least resistance.

    "You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel." -Simply Weasels

  23. #23
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    I try to also carry a 5 hour energy extra or a redline energy shot if I'm going on a long ride, helps if you get tired at all, or even before the ride, lasts a while and gives ya a bbig boost and taste better then most gels, at least the texture.
    I also try to get a few extra spokes (make sure you get the right size) and a spoke wrench.
    And mos def. a chain breaker tool and a quick link.

  24. #24
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    Rear lights and front if you plan to cycle to your trail location in the early morning. A 3L camel bak helps to store my multi-tool, spare tee and GU power gel. Tire repair kit goes under my seat and foldable pump on my bike frame.

  25. #25
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    needed: helmet, bike, water

    i also wear gloves and carry a minipump, spare tube, small multi tool with chain tool. these are not needed right away but in the semi rare event that you get a flat be prepared to walk the bike out. if you ride with someone with tools and pump, just bring a tube with you.

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