You know what they say – failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and that’s absolutely true in the case of enduro racing. The right equipment will keep you as safe as possible, should fend off all but the worst of mechanicals and should allow you to concentrate on – and most importantly enjoy – the task at hand.
Remember, the equipment needed for an enduro race is much the same as you’d require for any regular long distance ride. We’ve compiled a list of the essentials for you to tick off.
Full face helmet
It’s always a good idea to get the best lid you can afford. Full face helmets are increasingly becoming mandatory kit for the timed sections of many enduro events and as such you’ll likely need one in your arsenal. Each event is different however, so before splashing out be sure to take a good look at the regulations of the event in question. Be sure that your lid is up to scratch and don’t take any chances here as you never know when you’ll need it most.
Some riders choose to take a second helmet on their pack to swap into for the transfer sections between stages. These are normally open face models such as Bell’s Super or the A1 from Troy Lee Designs.
We recently pitched two of the most popular enduro lids on the market head to head: Bell Super 2R vs MET Parachute
It sounds obvious, and it is. You’ll need a jersey that wicks sweat well and, depending on the temperature, a base layer can be a good idea too.
Padded undershorts are great and will go a long way to prevent being saddle sore – we’d also recommend chamois cream for anyone who doubts the hardness of their behind.
The right footwear is important: clipless will give you a power advantage but riders who prefer the freedom of flats are now spoilt for choice by an array of grippy and stiff soled shoes.
As a rider it’s pretty damn important to look after your knees. Modern pads have come on a long way from the clunky offerings of old meaning that models offering significant protection can go relatively unnoticed, even on longer rides.
Goggles not only pair well with a full face lid but they’re usually cheaper than glasses and offer superior protection and security when required.
Riding gloves can protect you from painful injury and, when paired with the right set of grips, should prevent your hands from getting sweaty or torn up.
The weather often does a good job of catching out the weatherman, let alone us. That’s why we tend to keep a decent packable waterproof in your bag at all times.
Keeping yourself hydrated is a must, and well sorted hydration packs now mean that very few riders will have the faff of bottles and cages to worry about.
Many packs now include a spine protector, which adds useful protection without really impacting on comfort. Similarly, its good advice to think about the contents of your pack – be careful not to put heavy and solid objects where they could pose a risk to your body in a crash scenario.
Tooling and more
At least one inner tube is an absolute must – even if you’re running tubeless. Next you’ll need trusty tyre levers and a CO2 inflator plus a few cartridges. This combination should have you back on the trail as quickly as possible should you find yourself deflated.
A regular multi-tool should provide everything that you need to remove any bolted axles, nip up any loose parts and avert most mechanical mishaps. If you’ve got a crank or pedals that require an 8mm hex key then it’s a good idea to try and find one with this included also.
Packing a spare derailleur hanger can also save the day, and we’d recommend a replacement chain link should you snap yours mid-ride.
Bang a few cable ties in your bag too, because if it can’t be temporarily fixed with cable ties then it can rarely be fixed at all!
The Santa Cruz ‘Ard Rock enduro combines rugged off piste riding with beautiful scenery and a festival atmosphere. Every year the BikeRadar and Mountain Biking UK team make their way up to Swaledale in North Yorkshire to tackle some of the UK’s most unique riding and racing. It’s supported by some of the mountain bike industry's leading brands, which include Sweet Protection and Mavic. Full factory support is available from SRAM, and other leading companies such as Julbo Eyewear and Transporterland.com are supporters of the event. The ‘Ard Rock is the highest participation enduro event in the world, with nearly 2000 competitors racing over the weekend. If enduro isn’t your bag then check out the ‘Ard Rock MTB Marathon, which is a 40-mile adventure ride in the same area. Visit the 'Ard Rock enduro website for more information