What non-bicycling specific equipment do you run for riding?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What non-bicycling specific equipment do you run for riding?

    This is actually a snipped response I posted in the 'why is gear and apparel so expensive' thread, but I think it's a solid discussion in its own right.

    What stuff do YOU run that isn't marketed as bicycling gear, but you run because it's either better, cheaper, or more readily available in local shops (if not all of the above) ?



    For reference, this is the kit I use - not strictly because it's a ton cheaper, but mostly because it's usually far, far better for the task of biking (and in my case kinetically interacting with with the landscape)


    • Shoes - Skate Shoes. They work, and are tons cheaper. For my shoe size, spending more on larger footprint pedals does more, and I'm not a fan of my hiking traction with dedicated soles on MTB shoes intended for flat pedals. [Obviously SPD, this is right out]
    • Gloves - Tactical Gloves. These come with better knuckle protection, optional gauntlets, more durable materials, better gripping surfaces, and good ones allow use of touch-screen electronics without removal. Also cheaper, even with that full feature set. I punch cacti, so this is non-optional.
    • Jerseys - Soccer/Football Goalkeeper Jerseys. Come in all the same colorways, have built-in elbow padding, come with better sweat-wicking materials and equally good cuts for range of motion. Better variety available in local shops. Also cheaper.
    • Socks - Hiking and Trail Running Socks. No real cost savings happening but unless it's to rep a specific brand, there are straight up better offerings elsewhere.
    • Backpacks - Hiking/Mountaineering Packs, or lightweight military packs. These are lighter, have more storage, come in a wider range of sizes, offer better hydration system integration options, and are inherently modular. More expensive, but that also makes them more flexible, and lightweight is nice.
    • Eye Protection - Cheap generic first responder stuff (ISS stuff). Better protection, better coverage, comparably good optics, and comes in wider varieties of polarize/colors. Also better retention options, especially with full face stuff. Also cheaper, especially for comparably ANSI rated stuff.


    I do run bike-specific padded chamois shorts (the cheap generic kind - PerformanceBike Nevados are a great value), and obviously bike-specific helmet options, but TheClymb has such absurdly good deals on Kali Protectives stuff, I won't run anything less ever, especially as somebody with a history of destroying helmets to the benefit of my skull. Same deal, I use my biking knee protection for everything, including caving, construction work, and tactical applications (looks a touch odd with my gucci shooting kit, but they are better knee pads than what passes as tactical protection).

  2. #2
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    The cut just isn't the same for shorts and shirts. Especially shirts, they end up flappy or ride too high in the back.

    Since it's about cheap... The eBay Chinese jerseys are actually pretty nice! They're about 10 bucks too. Similar to any synthetic shirt, but they fit right.

    Bike clothes range from dirt cheap to insanity. Its fair to point out the full range. I think its cool that there is affordable options. Performance bike stuff is cheap and good too.

  3. #3
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    I run a few non biking things...

    Cheap safety glasses, orange lenses... they don't make it brighter - just as clear as the naked eye though. Tend to use them on descents (Winter mud)...

    On my flats I wear, converted turf shoes i.e. I've cut out/off spikes/tread from center third, meaning a flat rubbery surface on the pins + some reasonable grip for & aft when I need to dismount.

    For shorts I wear light weight swim shorts with their internals removed (sewn in, breathable undies) as they rub too much with their seems. They're very cheap and comfy.

    Socks, either my old football (soccer) socks... or, some cheap/thick/warm work socks.

    For winter riding I have a pair of XXL mtb gloves that were cheap and ordered by mistake... inside these I wear some cheap winter neoprene type gloves - keep my fingeez nice and warm.

    Up top long sleeve thermal under a synthetic sport type tee-shirt.

    As it was cold on last night's ride I also wore a beenie under my helmet that's made from Merino wool. Stays very warm despite it getting wet from sweat. Cost me a fiver at a pop up store.

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  4. #4
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    I really like the idea of a goalkeeper jersey for riding. I ate it this last week and I really could've used just a little bit of elbow/forearm padding. Plus, soccer jerseys are cut really trim now so it will definitely be slimmer fitting than a long sleeve bike jersey.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    The cut just isn't the same for shorts and shirts. Especially shirts, they end up flappy or ride too high in the back.

    Since it's about cheap... The eBay Chinese jerseys are actually pretty nice! They're about 10 bucks too. Similar to any synthetic shirt, but they fit right.

    Bike clothes range from dirt cheap to insanity. Its fair to point out the full range. I think its cool that there is affordable options. Performance bike stuff is cheap and good too.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one! I own several eBay/AliExpress 3-pocket jerseys, and 2 'real' jerseys that were expensive (one to rep my local shop, and one Drunkcyclist jersey). There's no reason to drop a ton of cash on what is effectively a tight synthetic t-shirt with a zipper and some pockets for general riding.
    My only gripe is you have to actually do some measurements to get the right size. I wear a medium in most clothes, but either a L or XL in the eBay kit.

    I will say this: Never skimp on the chamois. Find the good stuff on sale, and just pony up. Buy nice, or buy twice!

    Like Targnik mentioned, swim trunks/board shorts with the liner cut out make surprisingly good baggies, and come in about a trazillion colors. I have an obnoxious electric blue pair with cargo pockets I wear sometimes.

    I've used Home Depot mechanics gloves in a pinch. Not quite as good as my Fox Ranger gloves, but also about 1/2 the price. I'd ride in them again if I lost my usual gloves.

    Socks are socks. wear what you like. They don't have to be 'bike' socks unless you're looking for a certain logo or something.

  6. #6
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    I work, run, and ride all in the same basic socks, ankle height black. Anything much taller tends to cut into my legs leaving big "indentions" when I take them off. And I don't see the need for anything taller running/riding and I don't care what the latest fashion is.

    I used shatterproof workshop glasses for a long time as I don't want tint in the woods nor a branch in the eye. Since I also road bike, I finally started buying interchangeable lens bike glasses.

    In colder weather, I just wear a long sleeve dri-fit shirt under my short sleeve jersey, I don't own a long sleeve jersey. I have a bike jacket I'll wear when needed.
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  7. #7
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    Socks are the only non-cycling specific apparel I wear, nice wool ones though.

    I need a snug jersey with rear pockets, and once you ride with decent bib shorts for awhile there's no going back.

  8. #8
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    I go to Ross on a weekly basis to pick up shorts for riding. I can always find swim-like shorts for around $10 that fit great and are light weight. I always get ones with cargo pockets too so I can put my phone and keys in!

  9. #9
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    Yep, togs with the liners cut out and sometimes with the legs tweaked to be less baggy.

  10. #10
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    Also, Thor MX gloves.

  11. #11
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    In the cooler months I just wear wind pants with a ski strap on the bottom or soccer pants as they're a slim fit at the ankles so they don't catch on the chain.

    For gloves I buy some slim fitting work gloves, at home depot for $10 and they work great, I go through 2-3 a season so I rather just buy cheaper pairs.

    Actually opposite. I use one of those light weight cycling wind breakers as a wind shirt when I go backpacking. They're super light and cheaper than all of the hiking specific wind shirts.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNKER View Post
    I really like the idea of a goalkeeper jersey for riding. I ate it this last week and I really could've used just a little bit of elbow/forearm padding. Plus, soccer jerseys are cut really trim now so it will definitely be slimmer fitting than a long sleeve bike jersey.
    I wear a Storelli Goalkeeper jersey over an Underarmour compression tee and a Champion double dry tee over top.
    The Storelli is a tight fit and difficult to remove when sweaty ergo the compression tee.
    Get's a little warm but that goalkeeper jersey has saved my boney shoulders and elbows more times than I can remember.

  13. #13
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    Bike lights are stupidly expensive. After mt third breakage/loss of a $30-50 light, about five years ago, I bought a dozen little rubber thingys designed to attach a AA sized flashlight to handlebars with velcro loops. I can't even remember the name of the website now, but it was $10 for a dozen of them. I then started keeping my eye out for closeout AA sized LED flashlights, and I bought some Eneloop rechargeable batteries at Costco. Just in the past couple of years LED flashlights have gotten to be *really* good and *really* cheap. I am running a couple of 4AA "tactical" lights on my handlebars, one I set to flash while on the road, the other steady. If both are solid, I can see the trail fine. I paid $6 each for the flashlights, as opposed to $30-50-100 for a "real" bike light, and I always have a backup in case of batteries going dead or whatever. The mounts work great, you just hang the flashlights under the bars, and they do not move because the rubber is sticky and the velcro is really good.

    I'd give you a link to the rubber thingys if I had it, but I honestly can't find it.

  14. #14
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    I couldn't agree more on the flashlights - the bike ones aren't that ruggedized, so the chinese Cree driven units with solid mounting are way better. Unless I'm bolting it to a high impulse object [where I'll shell out for SureFire or Insight/Wilcox], putting together those rechargeable-tactical setups on budget things are higher output for the weight. I've also found that headlamps with red filters can serve as phenomenal universal backups (as well as work lights to repair stuff), so taking my old PrincetonTec Quad or Petzl Tactikka out with me can be a backup for every one of those, and they can replace the functionality of a back or front light.

    I've been experimenting with some dollar store socks - diabetic socks at $1/pr are hard to ignore, but so far they are highly effective plant debris collectors in addition to being working socks.

  15. #15
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    Mechanix original gloves. They're less than $20 a pair, they fit my hand exactly how I like, and I can't stand any stitching on my palms when I ride. They do get warm on 80+ degree days, but not unbearable. Colder weather I wear some older Ringer's insulated for the same reasons.

    DVS skate shoes. Hate them for skating because the soles are so stiff, but that's the exact reason they work great with my tiny Wellgo M138s.

    Miller (welding co.) 'Slag' safety glasses in clear or smoke. Less than $10 a pair straight from Miller's web site with black or white frames.
    92.7% of statistics are made up on the spot.

  16. #16
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    For a while ROSS was selling Tevas after they stopped making mtb shoes, so I got lucky and got a couple three pair. I think what they carry depends on location, so check them out. They also have skate shoes for like $25. And I also get their running shirts for cheap, and some Under Armor compression shorts... Dang, I think my whole kit is from there.

    Oh yeah, I got some Pearl Izumi gloves too!

  17. #17
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    Smith & Wesson shooting glasses from Tractor Supply. $9.99 Yellow lenses are great for morning or late afternoon rides.

    Smith & Wesson Equalizer Glasses, Red Frame with Amber Lens - For Life Out Here

    Firm Grip mechanic gloves from Home Depot. Padded and sturdy. Sick of my Fox gloves falling apart!

  18. #18
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    -I have done pretty well with low budget safety glasses (clear, yellow, amber).
    -So far, my Firm Grip "General Purpose" work gloves are being used for biking and my longest finger hasn't poked through the tip (like every pair of cycling gloves I've ever owned) so those are doing well. Also no fatigue issues for having slightly less padding than the old (shredded) gloves.
    -Lots of cheap wicking shirts. I use a Coleman hydropack most of the time, although I have been able to use a fanny pack when it's hot, so jersey pockets are not needed.
    -Any socks that dry quickly seem to work fine.
    -I can't do without proper riding shorts, but I found some nylon Wrangler cargo shorts to wear over that are really tough and stay out of the way. They need a belt, though.
    -For the cold I found some cheap boots for fatbiking - they are warm, but not heavy, and easy to walk in.
    -I have some big cheap gloves to wear over liners that work for most any cold that I care to tolerate (0F). They aren't great for wet, but they actually dry pretty fast. My snowboard gloves were not cutting it.
    -I've been wearing nylon zip-off pants for early morning rides. They keep me clean before going to work. They shed dirt and dry very quickly as well.

    Must-haves are decent riding shorts and my Headsweats skull cap and Giro Hex helmet. ...and real rain gear. Everything else can be improvised.

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  19. #19
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    Salomon Fellraisers. I trimmed the lugs where the pedal makes contact. But, still plenty of tread for a hike a bike. They have good grip, but so far, not really any marks from the pedal pins. They are comfy, light, airy and are holding up very well. They also clean up very well in the washing machine.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arebee View Post
    Smith & Wesson shooting glasses from Tractor Supply. $9.99 Yellow lenses are great for morning or late afternoon rides.

    Smith & Wesson Equalizer Glasses, Red Frame with Amber Lens - For Life Out Here
    Any lens distortion?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    Any lens distortion?
    Not that I have noticed.

  22. #22
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    Good thread.

    I use Bald Eagle work gloves from the hardware store too, $12, leather palm, vented back, they hold up well and are cool enough.

    In the summer I wear button down shirts from the thrift store. Got a nice Donald J Trump series shirt this year, long sleeve, white, nice light fabric. A few nice Hawiian style short sleeve ones too. Loose fitting works for me when it's hot.

    I use 5.10 approach shoes with flat pedals, can use them hiking or mountaineering as well. My wife has a pro deal hookup on them so I get them pretty cheap.

    Good padded liners with whatever shorts I can find at the thrift store.

    Colder weather I just use the same wool layers I use for skiing with a light rain jacket if needed.

  23. #23
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    Shoes: Salomon XA Pro in summer and Salomon 3D GTX have been my go to for several years..not really cheap though and hard to find on sale. The lacing, durability, weight and venting are definite bonuses. Protection and sole stiffness may not be enough for some.

    Gloves: Mechanix Gloves for mild winter riding. Just work good and durable.

  24. #24
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    Some stuff I wear:

    Shirts: 1 UA loose fit heat gear T
    1- Champion tank. Russell hoodie in the winter, North Face rain shell in the wet.

    Gloves: pearl Izumi fingerless in the summer,
    Mechanics classic in the fall and winter

    Pack: Teton gravity 2l hydration pack

    Shorts: I do wear dedicated MTB shorts. In the colder months I wear a set of roadie shorts under a pair of EMS ascent tights

    Socks: asics running socks. Smart wool in the fall and winter.

    Shoes: I'm clipless so I'm stuck on that one, but I've worn Merrill hikers and Adidas sambas with flats no problem.

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  25. #25
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    Nemesis Safety glasses, they give them away at work.
    A Tee shirt, since I don't race for a team sponsor I don't have to fly anyone's brands.
    Under Armor 'sport' socks, buy them buy the six pack at Amazon.
    MX gloves, or the Mechanix gloves they used to give away at work, still have a good supply.

    I have used DC skate shoes, but have switched to 5 10's last year.
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  26. #26
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    In the fall I ride with a Hoodie and Jeans. I think it's great when you blow by someone on the climb who is dressed in a team kit.
    The one thing I ride with a lot is my I-pod.

  27. #27
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    I occasionally use worn sailing gloves for riding. The pad that helps with rope grip wears out a lot faster than the rest of the glove. They protect fairly well and the grip is still fine for handle bars.

  28. #28
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    I am glad I found this thread as I have been recently bashing up my elbows and was considering the Goalkeeper jersey. It really seems like the best option between a long-sleeve shirt and the typical armor/pressure suits.

    Gloves: Harbor Freight antivibration fingerless gloves - The leather in the palms could probably handle a motorcycle wreck and they have very thick velcro straps at the wrist that make you feel like you have the wrist protection of a good pair of lifting gloves.

  29. #29
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    For gloves, I'm loving my Mechanix M-Pact Gloves. They get a little hot, but overall they fit better than expensive MTB gloves I've tried.

    Found them on Amazon cheap here.

  30. #30
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    As far as the non-protection gloves go, the M-Pact are really hard to beat. Every once in a while, LAPG has them for really cheap.

  31. #31
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    $2 harbor freight construction knee pads

    What non-bicycling specific equipment do you run for riding?-image.jpeg

  32. #32
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    I wear this in spring and fall. the torso is a very breathable/wicking stretchy material, and the arms and shoulders are sturdy ripstop. it is one of my favorite pieces of clothing (riding, or just around town). Its great because it keeps the torso cool, but protects the arms from pricker bushes, thorns, and abrasions. torso is form fitting, with great arm freedom and room

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    What non-bicycling specific equipment do you run for riding?-61nos-inekl__sx522_.jpg

  33. #33
    Hi There!
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    i have some champion powertrain vapor shirts that are great down here in the south florida heat. i don't usually wear biking specific jerseys so i don't know if they are better but that champion is definitely nice.

    on the other hand i have an under armor heat gear shirt that is hot as heck. i double checked that heat gear was supposed to be for the heat and not for the cold. stay away.
    NTFTC

  34. #34
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    Shirts- im in east texas so for summer I wear at least a tech shirt. I like targets champion ones, they aren't too expensive and work well.

    Shorts- ive actually found that Crossfit/weightlifting type shorts with 4 way flex work great. They are breathable, flex plenty for riding. They are expensive but you can find deals. They have a tie off on the waist and Velcro closure. Love them. Plus they are pretty rugged and will take a beating.

    Socks- Same Crossfit type athletic tall socks. Probably find something much cheaper in a plain design. But that's not as fun

    Shoes- Flat pedals, Again I use Reebok Crossfit lite lo tr. basically this is a flat weightlifting shoe, they have hard soles so you can feel the floor when lifting. Really wide and wide toe box. They work really well. I think reebok discontinued them Nobull has a shoe that looks very similar. I have EE to EEE wide feet with no arch so its hard for me to find any shoes that are comfy.

    Pack- I use a small camelbak tactical pack, I don't remember the name. Works good enough for me.

    Gloves- crappy bell gloves, probably going to switch to mechanix, I used these when I was in the military all the time and they worked great.

    I guess I lucked out from doing crossfit for several years I had most of this stuff and just repurposed it for riding.

    Cool Thread! Nice to see others do the same rather than buying a full get up slathered with bike companies. We called those guys Geardo's in the army


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