You got the latest bike, your kit coordinates from helmet to socks, you’ve spent hours tuning your suspension to suit the conditions, and you’ve got backpacks to suit everything from a 2 hour trail ride to a multi-day Alpine epic. But you’re not a REAL mountain biker until you’ve at least partially ticked off this list of ultimate accessories.
- Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
- Poppy the trail dog - A compact, short-travel enduro hound
Okay, this list is just a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but if we're honest with ourselves, we'd quite like to have at least some of the following...
1. The van
#Vanlife is the ultimate goal of the true mountain biker. Well, it is for those who don’t have to worry about kids, bills, mortgages and real-life.
But if you can’t do it full time you can at least give the impression that you do with the right instagram pics - door open, sunset, bike in shot, cup in hand - and of course the right vehicle.
The classic VW is the ultimate choice, ideally with a bespoke makeover to turn it into the ultimate camper complete with bike storage in the back, places to hang your helmets, integrated bike wash - the works.
2. Or a pickup truck
Of course, if you live in a country where it doesn’t rain 300 days of the year and don’t need an indoor space to get changed, then you want the cooler of the 2 vehicular options - a pickup truck.
How better to show off your gucci new bike to everyone else at the trail hub when you turn up?
Slap a tailgate pad or filthy blanket over the back to protect your bike, and add a few decals of your favourite brands to the side of your truck, cos if you aren’t sponsored you should be, right?
3. Trail dog
As well as being an adventure companion, a traildog will also help you boost your Instagram and YouTube following.
Hell, you can even give your new best friend their own accounts. Who knows, you may get some handy dog sponsorship deals that’ll help manage the food and vets bills.
Once you’ve got your trail dog, you’ll need to consult with a vet about training them to run with you - ideally with a GoPro - so check out our how-to guide via the link in the description.
4. Action camera (or 2, or 3, or 4...)
Speaking of which: if you haven’t videoed it, it didn’t happen.
And we’re not talking about one GoPro. To get the right angles for your sick edits, you’re going to need several. Helmet, chest, bars, forwards, backwards, one of the rider behind you, one on the rider in front of you.
And a drone - you need those aerial shots.
And to edit the mountains of video files you’ll need a powerful laptop, a few terabytes of back-up storage and an indestructible wheelie-case to lug all this gear around in.
Joking aside, if you want our honest advice you’ll buy minimal equipment, learn how to use it really well and be selective about when you bother, or when it’s better to just ride.
5. IKEA bag
The ubiquitous blue bag from our favourite supplier of Swedish flat-packed furniture is a dead giveaway that you’re a dedicated mountain biker.
Big and easy to carry, they’re perfect for throwing soggy kit in after a wet ride or carting your bike gubbins between house and van...not to mention tough.
No matter how organised the owner, they’ll invariably contain about 5 multitools, the wrong sized inner tube, one lone and lost sock, a half-eaten protein bar and the leafy detritus of several trail centres.
And if you haven’t yet saved up for the pricier accessories in this list, the blue Ikea bag is the perfect place to start.