Essential Mountain Bike Gear

Helmet

POC Trabec Race Helmet

POC Trabec Race Helmet    Photo: Courtesy of POC

Talk about reassurance: POC's lightweight (just 12 ounces) Trabec Race helmet is wrapped with a Kevlar-like material called Aramid, which is commonly used in bulletproof vests. $180; www.pocsports.com

Mavic Stratos Shorts Set

Mavic Stratos Shorts Set
Mavic Stratos Shorts Set   Photo: Courtesy of Mavic

Proving that baggies can be as luxurious as a high-end bib, Mavic's Stratos shorts set matches intricately patterned outers with a stretchy mesh inner that's stitched to the best chamois we've seen in mountain shorts. Shorts, $100; liner, $80; mavic.com

Pearl Izumi Elite Gel-Vent Gloves

Pearl Izumi Elite Gel-Vent Gloves

If you struggle with tingling hands, pick up a pair of Pearl Izumi Elite Gel-Vent gloves, with gel padding in the palms that alleviate pressure on the nerves in your forearms. $45; pearlizumi.com

Light & Motion Stella 400 Dual Light

Stella Light and Motion   Photo: Courtesy of Stella

Though Light & Motion's Stella 400 Dual light looks dinky, each of the gumball-size heads throws 200 lumens, one with a broad flood reflector and the other a bright, narrow spot. Between the two, we had ample light for rallying our curvy, cactus-laden winter singletrack circuit. $300; lightandmotion.com

CrankBrothers Candy Pedals

CrankBrothers Candy Pedals
CrankBrothers Candy Pedals
Because they're easy to maintain and light and sturdy, CrankBrothers' Candy pedals have long been our go-tos. Thanks to a redesigned spindle, this year's iteration of the Candy 11s are even tougher. $375; crankbrothers.com

Rapha Wind Jacket

Rapha Wind Jacket
Rapha Wind Jacket   Photo: Courtesy of Rapha

At less than six ounces, Rapha's Wind Jacket is the ideal just-in-case shell. The fact that it looks so stylish and perfectly tailored (almost) justifies the price. $260; rapha.cc

WTB Stryker TCS Cross Country Rims

WTB Stryker TCS Cross Country Rims
WTB Stryker TCS Cross Country Rims
WTB's Stryker TCS Cross Country rims are gossamer (1,470 grams for a 26-inch pair) but are strapping enough for all-mountain riding, and the new deep-set grooves kept the tires' beads firmly in place, so we never burped our tubeless setup. $1,050; wtb.com

Bronson TCS 2.3 Tires

Bronson TCS 2.3 Tires
Bronson TCS 2.3 Tires
We set up our WTB rims their new Bronson TCS 2.3 tires ($70), which, thanks to a chunky, widely spaced lug pattern, burned up almost every trail we rode, from sandy S turns to alpine loam and shale. wtb.com

Sidi Sierra Shoes

Sidi Sierra Shoes
Sidi Sierra Shoes   Photo: Photo by Jens Mortensen

In an effort to lower the price of admission, Sidi's Sierra shoes are made from a cheaper (but still pretty damn tough) upper materialthan you find in its higher-end shoes. But you still get Sidi's trademark aggressive tread pattern, stiff sole, and finely tuned fit. $150; sidiamerica.com

Vaude Cluster Air 10+3 Pack

Vaude Cluster Air 10+3 Pack
Vaude Cluster Air 10+3 Pack
Vaude's Cluster Air 10+3 pack has one of the best suspension systems we've ever tested: a tensioned mesh back panel separates the load from your body, and the foam shoulder straps adjust to fit any length torso. $110; maguradirect.com
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