It’s time to get off your road bike and grow a pair – Mother Nature’s orders. For those seeking the highest order of adrenalin via two pedals, you can’t go past the sport of mountain biking.
This is not your average Sunday ride though. Besides knees made of jelly and a head full of steel marbles, mountain biking demands something more to help you become the king of your dirt trail. The right mountain bike gear or as we like to say, slick trail riding apparel.
Sacrificing nothing in both function and aesthetics, these are the top brands every mountain biker needs to get down and dirty.
One of the most trusted names in mountain biking apparel is Endura. It has to be since it was founded way back in 1992 in Scotland by a keen club cyclist called Jim McFarlane. The man originally spent a short stint in Sydney where he had entered the cycle portion of team triathlon events. At one particular event his kit was stolen, leaving him no choice but to search for another one. Nothing on the market would suit his needs at the time so a disappointed McFarlane returned to Scotland and vowed to produce cycle clothing of his own caliber. It was here that Endura was born with a defining ethos of function and longevity without cutting corners on material and construction.
With terrain rougher than Caitlin Jenner’s face, a man on his mountain bike needs the right gear to back him up. Yeti is one brand that throws two middle fingers to the corporate hierarchy muscling in on the sport with an ethos of absolute inclusion. That means a collective of hardcore riders designing the apparel along with the continual input of those in the field who use them. From downhill to enduro to some of the world’s most challenging environments, Yeti apparel has been there. It’s this collective experience that makes Yeti a household name well worth looking into.
The pursuit of mountain biking gear that can outlast you stops at Alpinestars. MotoGP, Motocross, Formula One, WEC, NASCAR, mountain biking and surfing, you name the extreme sport on wheels and Alpinestars has been there. It’s an old company too having been founded in Italy by Sante Mazzarolo in 1963. Since then it’s taken the sporting world by storm and sprouted dedicated design studios both in California and Italy. Given the brand’s extensive experience in motorcycle sports, you can expect no less in their quality mountain biking gear which offers extensive levels of protection and their signature ‘wild child’ designs.
Dirt, wood and mud in your face is Dakine’s playground. Rob Kaplan founded the name back in 1979 in Hawaii with a focus on sportswear for alternative sports. Think surfing, skiing, snowboarding and of course, cycling. Today the company is based in Oregon where it continues to push the boundaries of high-performance, trail-ready apparel with a casual everyday look perfect for parlaying a bike ride into a brew stop.
Odd name but don’t be mistaken by the roots of this serious Japanese cycling sports apparel brand that was founded in 1950. What started in Tokyo quickly spread its wings into the U.S with the help of Stan Mavis & Hugh Walton who grew the footprint of the brand globally. As a Shimano-owned company, Pearl Izumi continues to produce some of the most aesthetically pleasing mountain bike gear that will get the job done without destroying your budget. Oh and the name is derived from the gem “pearl” and an area of Japan known for its clear water “Izumi.” Literally translated, the name means, “fountain of pearls”.
If you’re going to go hard on the trail and risk life and limb, you need one of the most trusted names in the game. POC’s motto says it all: To do everything we can to possibly save lives or to reduce the consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes and cyclists. And with that, the Swedish company that was founded in 2004 has quickly risen as a household name amongst the most extreme thrillseekers on two wheels. It started with helmets and now punters can also pair it up with POC mountain biking apparel backed with technical solutions, quality construction and signature Swedish design.
The name may sound familiar and that has everything to do with Keith Bontrager, the man who forged a reputation from building indestructible mountain bike frames in his NorCal garage in the 1980s. Since then the brand has merged with Trek but the founding principles are still there and this also extends to their apparel. Design it, build it, ride it, love it. Share with the world.
The story of Specialized is a truly a special one (sorry). It’s one of the most recognised names in high-performance cycling today and it all started with the sale of a Volkswagen bus for $1,500. The year was 1974 and Mike Sinyard of California decided to palm off his car so that he could fuel his love for cycling Europe. He bought handlebars and stems made by Cinelli to take back to the US before importing Italian bike components that were difficult to find in the States. By 1976 though, Specialized began making its own bike parts starting with a touring tyre. Today they’ve extended that footprint with finely tuned and advanced engineered mountain bike gear with a quintessentially refined American look.
High performance cycling apparel and components is what Race Face does best. The company which hails from Burnaby in Canada has been providing this stuff for 20 years and today they sponsor some of the world’s most recognised athletes with their proven gear which includes mountain bike gear and apparel.
Another Californian outfit-making impeccable mountain bike threads for obsessives is Kitsbow. Given that cycling apparel is all they do, you can expect some of the most innovative and premium stuff on the market designed to work. Their successful line of mountain bike gear is of course driven by those who ride and test them in the midst of the mud, rock and great outdoors.
Air time is not for the faint of hearted but if you’re betting on chasing it on a mountain bike, Fox has your back. And head. And anything else that could potentially break. Founded by Geoff Fox and Peter Fox in 1974 California, Fox Racing has quickly become a global leader over 40 years of keeping those in action sports alive. Given their extensive experience in motocross, moving into mountain bike gear was a no-brainer. Their threads feature the signature loud Fox designs without compromising on safety credentials and rider functionality.
San Francisco-based Mission Workshop produce some of the most beautiful looking mountain bike gear we’ve come across. The designs are certainly minimal and monotone, but they exude premium and luxury, and are manufactured from materials to back up those claims. The full apparel range allows you to move freely while being safe in the knowledge you’re wearing water-repellent gear to protect you from mother nature.
Prefer the pristine paved roads instead? Check out the road cycling apparel brands we love.