Dry on the inside and protected on the outside - the perfect downhill clothing
When you're at a downhill event, the mountain bike course just streaks by. Falls at high speeds are not unusual. But thanks to efficient protective gear, severe injuries are seldom.
This include all-round protective gear for the cyclist. A downhill helmet and protective eyewear on his head. Body armour, elbow pads and downhill gloves on his body. The downhill cyclist protects his legs and feet with knee pads, shin guards and robust downhill shoes.
Ideal protection for downhill courses
Participating in downhill events without a helmet is unthinkable. A complete set of protective equipment is obligatory at bike parks. A downhill full-face helmet should always have a chin guard. A hard visor also protects the wearer from mud, rocks and branches. Naturally, this is also true for the eyewear. Cycling goggles fit snugly over the head and offer effective protection against sun, wind and shocks. Unlike sunglasses or other types of cycling glasses, they don't slip and provide optimum protection for the eyes even during falls.
For the upper body, downhill cyclists usually turn to protector jackets. Depending on their make, they are padded differently. Generally, though, the back, elbows and shoulders are entirely covered in foam pads and additional plastic guards. Some models also protect the breast and lower arms. One alternative for upper-body protection is a combination of back protectors and elbow guards. Protector jackets, however, have the advantage that the protective elements don't slip and everything stays right where it belongs without impeding the cyclist's freedom of movement. Thanks to modern materials, bike-protectors are very lightweight and breathable.
Knee pads are also a part of the basic equipment needed for downhill mountain biking. Models reaching from the knee to the shin are the best. The combination of cushioning foam and a hard plastic shell protects from shocks and abrasions. Another possibility is a combination of separate knee and shin guards. They are more adaptable, but are also more prone to slip.
Downhill shoes and downhill gloves
Sturdy shoes are generally recommended for mountain biking. Most mountain bikers like to use with flat pedals in downhill and wear cycling shoes with robust flat soles such as those from Five Ten. But click pedals are also used sometimes in downhill races, in combination with the proper mountain bike shoes.
Downhill gloves usually have long fingers and are made of sturdy materials. The right cycling gloves will help downhill cyclists keep a tight grip on things and also prevent blisters or abrasions on the hands.
Baggy shorts and downhill jerseys as an outer layer
Cyclists competing in downhill and freeride often wear a combination of downhill shirts and MTB shorts over a base layer and protectors. You will often see pros wearing long downhill trousers, both during races and in bike parks. Many cyclists, however, swear by the comfort and good ventilation of baggy shorts.
Downhill jerseys or downhill jackets worn over protectors offer a layer that is not only breathable and windbreaking, but also allows bikers to express their individual style. Downhill cyclists show their colours in the baggy and often colourfully printed downhill shirts by bike brands such as Pearl Izumi, Maloja or Endura. Whether in discreet shades of black or grey, a camo-look or flashy neon colours with oversize prints, there is an outfit out there for every cyclist.