Mountain Biking with Kids
1 March 2021
Kit Essentials for Mountain Biking Kids
An interview with Frog Bikes own MTB enthusiast
We know how much kids love mountain biking, so we’ve interviewed our very own Marketing Executive, Josh, a Mountain Biking enthusiastic, who has given us insight into the best MTB kit essentials. With these protective items, kids will be ready to hit the trails with confidence.
What kit is most important when mountain biking?
The most important thing to remember when mountain biking is protection. A helmet protects riders from hazards that can be found on trails - as they have more surface dangers and trail irregularity. It’s not the same as road biking, trails tend to have sharper, steeper climbs and rougher terrain, so it’s essential to be safe and comfortable and to have the most enjoyable and efficient riding experience. You should never leave home without a helmet! and even if it takes a mild blow, it’s worth replacing it!
Which helmets would you recommend?
There are two main categories of MTB helmets: full-face and open-face.
Open-face helmets are often used for less aggressive riding, where jumps and drops are limited. Open-face helmets include a visor to keep the sun out of the rider's eyes, with some extending further down the back and side of the head for greater protection. Open-face helmets are often cheaper than full-face helmets and provide better ventilation when riding for longer periods of time.
Full-face helmets offer the most protection for full-on mountain biking, whilst also being light, ventilated, and stylish. Riders can pair full-face helmets with goggles to help shield themselves from upflung dirt and dust. These helmets are often more expensive and offer unrivalled padding and protection, but riders can easily get hot inside.
What other safety items would you suggest for MTB riding?
Whilst helmets are the most essential part of MTB riding, there are a variety of other protective items to enhance safety and improve confidence.
Knee and elbow pads are now commonplace on trails to protect riders from scrapes and cuts. They are specifically designed for comfort and protection and do not restrict leg, knee, or arm movement.
Also, the other thing to consider is wearing strong and secure shoes, not only to protect feet but also to keep riders safely planted to the bike.
Are short-sleeves or long-sleeves most suitable for MTB riding?
For MTB trail riding a baggy jersey or shirt offers a better range of motion and can be more comfortable than tighter lycra options.
Long-sleeve tops will provide greater protection against branches and dirt, but are less compatible with elbow pads unless they are worn outside the shirt.
Short-sleeve tops allow for better ventilation, allow for elbow pads to be taken on and off more easily, but are less effective at protecting the lower section of your arm and hands (Unless gloves are worn).
Generally speaking, long sleeves are worn when it’s cold or extremely muddy and short sleeves are worn in warmer weather and more relaxed trail sessions.
There are many children’s MTB jerseys and shirts available, but these are my favourite brands:
Are shorts or trousers better for MTB riding?
Shorts are a great option if riders want more freedom to move and better ventilation, but they provide less protection against potential scrapes and cuts. Shorts for MTB riding are generally made from extremely strong and durable fabrics, to keep riders dry and shielded from mud and water.
MTB trousers were originally only worn by serious downhill riders, but times have changed. With more options becoming available, there are more effective and affordable solutions. The trousers tend to be fashioned from robust material, often offering integrated padding and protection to withstand the constant splatterings of mud, water, and debris.
There are numerous brands that offer quality shorts and trousers for kids, but these are my top 3:
- 🤟 Trousers -Fox Clothing Youth Defend Pants, 100% R-Core Youth Trousers, Troy Lee Designs Sprint Youth Pants
- 🤟 Shorts -Endura MT500JR Short with Liner, Fox Youth Defend Shorts, Troy Lee Designs Sprint Youth Shorts
Which shoe types are available for MTB riding?
The key point to consider when purchasing MTB shoes for children is whether flat shoes or clip shoes are best. Flat pedal shoes allow children to practice skills and often provide a better range of motion. Having said this, clipless shoes are great if your children have developed their skills on a mountain bike and are keen on racing. The majority of shoes available are both durable and water-resistant, which helps to maintain a good grip when racing down a trail.
Before purchasing MTB shoes, it’s worth remembering they are not a requirement and that trainers or sports shoes that have rubber soles function just as well.
Here are my top 3 MTB shoes for children:
- 👟 Five Ten Freerider Kids Flat MTB Shoes
- 👟 Northwave Hammer Junior MTB Shoes
- 👟 Ride Concepts Vice youth series
For keen outdoor riders, there are many MTB kit options, with helmet and knee and elbow pads being top priority. It’s best to focus on the items that offer the greatest protection and the most comfort.
Looking to start MTB riding?
If you’re thinking about MTB riding, but haven’t decided on a bike as yet, take a look at the ‘Push the Limits’ mountain bike range from Frog Bikes. There are three lightweight models suitable for 8-14yrs+, all with lockout and compression control suspension forks that work in line with the rider’s weight in order to achieve the best performance!
Head over to your nearest Frog Bikes stockist to get help and advice on sizing and to see the range.