Off-road starter kit

Cycling Weekly - - FITNESS -

No cy­clist turns down an ex­cuse to in­dulge in more kit — so if you don’t al­ready have an off-road wardrobe, now is your chance… Firstly, you don’t need a top-end bike; an en­try-level hard­tail moun­tain bike, cross bike or gravel bike that can dou­ble up as a win­ter com­muter are per­fectly good ways to get started. Sim­i­larly, for cy­clo-cross, just check out any lo­cal level race and you’ll see plenty of peo­ple on ba­sic, rudi­men­tary ma­chin­ery. What­ever bike you ride off road, there are a few es­sen­tials you’ll def­i­nitely need…

Dual-sided off-road ped­als

You clip and un­clip much more fre­quently while rid­ing off road, es­pe­cially if you race cross. Dual-sided ped­als are a good idea. Look for ped­als de­signed for mud clear­ance, to avoid them clog­ging up.

Moun­tain bike shoes

You’ve got the ped­als, now you need the shoes. Moun­tain bike shoes have re­cessed cleats, rugged soles for grip when you are off the bike and deep lugs for mud-shed­ding ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

hel­met AND Glasses

The chances of hit­ting your head are much higher off road thanks to low-hang­ing branches. Glasses are es­sen­tial, as twigs and bram­bles can eas­ily catch your face.

rain AND MUD pro­tec­tion

Cy­clo-cross rac­ers pre­fer a skin­suit or nor­mal bibs and jer­sey, but for train­ing and gen­eral rid­ing, a de­cent wet-weather jacket and some water-re­sis­tant shorts can help prevent an ingress of grind­ing paste of water and grit into your chamois. Mud­guards are op­tional.

Gloves

Long-fin­gered gloves that will grip even when wet and dirty make a real dif­fer­ence to your bike con­trol. They’ll also pro­tect your hands from bram­bles on nar­row tracks and in crashes.

run­ning trail shoes

You’ll need run­ning shoes that of­fer added trac­tion. A de­cent run­ning shop will pro­vide the ad­vice you need to get the right com­bi­na­tion of grip and cushioning to suit your needs.

CW rec­om­mends: dhb Aeron Tempo Wa­ter­proof 2 Jacket £90

CW rec­om­mends: 100% Brisker Cold Weather gloves, SRP: £19.99

CW rec­om­mends: Spe­cial­ized Comp mtb shoes, SRP: £150

CW rec­om­mends: Adi­das Zonyk Aero Mid (with vario lens), SRP: £199

CW rec­om­mends: Shi­mano M540 SPD Ped­als £59.99

CW rec­om­mends: Scott Su­per­trac RC, SRP: £130

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