So you’ve decided to get started with mountain biking to get more exercise into your daily life. Like any other sport, there are costs you can’t avoid to get started. The great thing is you don’t need to spend thousands on a bike and equipment. I’ll share how to get started without spending a fortune.
Is Mountain Biking An Expensive Hobby?
Entry into mountain biking can vary from $700 to $1200+ depending on the type of equipment, clothing, and bike you buy. Most people who get started, don’t want to spend thousands on a new hobby.
Well, the great news is you don’t have to. We’ll share what equipment you absolutely need and some accessories that are not as vital. You can then factor in your budget and get started with as much as you can afford.
To get started, you’ll absolutely need to purchase a mountain bike.
It doesn’t really matter what kind you get, as long as it’s designed for trail riding.
Mountain bikes will vary in price from $100 to several thousand. If you’re new to mountain biking, I highly recommend buying one for a beginner. This will save you money on the upfront cost of getting started and you can always upgrade your bike later once you know you’re going to stick with the hobby.
Buy A Second Hand Bike
If you’re on a tight budget, you can buy a second hand bike from Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You’ll likely have to do some maintenance to it before you take it on the trails. However, with today’s day and age it’s easy to buy bike parts and fix up a bike than buy a brand new one.
As long as the bike doesn’t require a lot of expensive repairs such as new tires, gear cables, and drivetrain, you should be fine.
Accessories And Equipment You’ll Need
You’ve probably seen YouTube videos with mountain bikers wearing all kinds of cool biking gear and clothing. Most people who do this for a hobby or exercise don’t spend outrageous money on gear and equipment.
Instead, average people like you and I who are just starting out buy the following equipment to stay safe.
Regardless of whether you’re riding your mountain bike on the street or riding trails, you’ll definitely want to invest in a good helmet. A bike helmet will protect you in case of an accident.
You don’t necessarily need a full-face helmet as the professionals wear, especially if you’re not going to riding terrains at high speeds. Everyone should invest in a helmet that complies with mandatory federal safety stands.
The prices will range from $35 to $160 for both adults and kid helmet.
Never ride any type of bike without a helmet!
While not completely necessary, a good pair of bike gloves can help protect your hands from getting sore and feeling all the bumps on the trails. A good pair of biking gloves can also protect your hands from getting callouses while gripping the handlebars.
A decent pair of gloves can cost less than $20.
Biking takes a lot out of you and it’s important to stay hydrated! You have two options, you can buy a hydration pack or a water bottle. If you get a water bottle, you’ll also need to install a bottle cage on your bike.
If you’re really on a tight budget, you can freeze a bottle of water (LeBlue, Deerpark) the night before your ride. Of course, you’ll still need a place to store the bottle while you’re riding.
There are some clothes that are essential for mountain biking, but for a beginner, you can use a pair of baggy shorts, old sneakers, and a t-shirt (preferably dry fit).
Once you become more advanced and you’re riding longer and more often, you can invest in a good pair of biking shorts with padding in them. You’ll be spending a lot of time sitting on the saddle, and padded shorts will help make the ride more enjoyable. Here’s how to make your seat more comfortable.
The cost will vary depending on the type of shorts you get, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $27 – $150. Once you know you love the sport, you’ll definitely want to save up your money so you don’t buy the cheapest pair. You can find them both for women and men.
There are two types of mountain bike shoes, one for flat pedals and cleats for clipless pedals. While important for an advanced rider a beginner and intermediate rider will be fine with a good pair of sneakers or skate shoes.
Make sure your shoes have good soles and plenty of traction so your feet don’t slip off the pedals. When you become more advanced or if you have trouble keeping your feet on the pedals, you can invest in mountain bike shoes.
Multi-Tool With Chain Tool
If you’re planning on taking your bike out on the trails, you’ll likely want a multi-tool to help you repair any minor emergencies you may encounter.
Most beginners will likely start on the easiest trails that don’t have a lot of branches, rocks, debris and etc that can cause problems. It’s always best to be prepared for the unexpected.
A good multi-tool can help you replace broken links on your bike chain, or make any minor repairs. You can usually get a decent one for $30.
Mini Pump and Patch Kit
You’ll be checking the pressure on your tires every time you ride. Riding with the wrong pressure will only make your ride harder and you’ll likely give up the sport before you start enjoying it.
Beginners shouldn’t worry too much about carrying a mini pump and patch kit with them, as you’ll likely be riding the easier trails. However, more advanced and intermediate riders know the importance of one.
A good patch kit will help you fix small punctures that may happen while riding the trails.
Optional Equipment And Accessories
A bike rack will make it easier to transport your bike from your home to the trails. Bike racks can be purchased for any type of vehicle from SUV’s, hatchbacks, cars, and etc.
It may not always be necessary to purchase one, especially, if you’re just beginning this sport. If you have a hatchback or SUV, you can fold down the back seat and put the bike in. I’d recommend laying down a blanket to keep your vehicle clean.
This isn’t the easiest way to transport a bike, but it’s a good way to cut costs on starting a new hobby. If you have a heavy bike or hate having to remove the pedals or wheels, you should check your local Walmart as they have some fairly cheap racks.
The downside to buying a cheap rack, is they don’t last as long as a good quality one.
There are literally thousands of mountain bike trails throughout the United States, you can some here. Depending on where you live, you may not want to travel to other cities or states.
However, many people (myself included) find themselves wanting to venture to other trails or riding parks with their family for a weekend outing. This means you’ll have other expenses such as gas, lodging, and meals.
Does It Cost To Ride Trails
Most mountain biking trails are free, but some may charge a parking or access fee. Parking can range from $5 for a one-time fee or you can save money by buying an annual pass.
The amount you spend on gas will vary on the current gas prices, type of vehicle, and the distance you’re driving. The great thing is most beginners usually start by visiting the trails where they live.
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that has a trail right outside your door, you’ll still be spending money driving to the trails.
If you’re riding locally, you don’t have to worry about lodging. When you’re visiting other areas in the state, you may want to consider paying for lodging so you don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to get back home after riding all day on your bike.
Lodging will vary depending on where you’re planning on staying. Some people save money by choosing to camp outdoors.
The great thing is that you never have to pay for lodging if you don’t want to. There are likely several riding trails within driving distance from your home.
All hobbies cost something to get started. The great thing is you don’t have to buy everything at once. I’ve given you a list of the accessories and equipment you will eventually need.
When I got started, I spent about $500, which isn’t much if you think about the benefits of this sport. As time went on, I found myself buying a bike rack, clothing, and other equipment I needed whenever I could afford it.
You don’t need to buy all the accessories and equipment just start!