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Our Favorite Summer Mountain Biking Gear of 2016

our favorite summer mountain biking gear of 2016 version 1497975040
Tearing up single track is one of the best adrenaline fueled adventures around. From alpine trails in Colorado, to mountain biking pump tracks and slopestyle courses in the Pacific Northwest, trail riding is gaining popularity all over America. Next time you’re heading out to turn your cranks for a few miles, take along some of our favorite mountain biking gear to make the trails even more fun.

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Dakine Seeker 15 $225

Dakine Seeker 15
Everything about this pack is built for all day rides. The hydration bladder is built to sit in a pouch at the lower portion of the pack, helping both stabilize your load, and providing a little extra comfort. The main pack body has separate compartments for your essential trail tools for on the fly repairs, extra layers, snacks, and race gear. What sold us is the excellently designed roll top closure. On our first ride we had a brand new DSLR stashed in the pack and got caught in a downpour. Not a drop of water got into the pack, saving our camera. Dakine hit all the high notes for the perfect pack for epic rides with this one.

POC VPD 2.0 Knee Pad $120

POC VPD 2.0 Knee Pad
We’re not as young as we’d like to think. That means looking for some extra protection around vulnerable joints – especially when riding in terrain that you’re going to crash in. We love the VPD 2.0 Knee Pads because the work with zero problems. The fit is dialed in so that sit on your knees while you pedal without slipping or having to cinch them uncomfortably tight. The VPD foam is soft to the touch, but hardens on impact for great impact protection. If you’re planning on riding all day long, you can strap them to your pack to avoid sweaty legs on every uphill.

Smith Optics Squad MTB Goggles $60

Smith Squad MTB Goggles
We were never sold on riding with full goggles until putting on pair of the Squads. Like Smith’s snow goggles, the Squads feature three layers of foam to wick sweat and provide comfort around the frames. However, Smith opened up the top of the goggles for extra venting – perfect for hard cranking on summer days. On an extra dusty day crushing laps in Grand Junction we were thankful for the extra protection and crystal clear vision.

Zoic Ether Shorts $80

Zoic Ether Shorts
Bike shorts need some padding for comfort and that’s it right? Wrong. You can ride your mountain bike in the same spandex as your roadie friends rock, but for serious trail riders a little extra comfort and style goes a long way. The Ether Shorts from Zoic provide some extra organization on short rides, stashing your keys a snack, and your phone with ease. They have a detachable liner with a luxurious chamois, and a comfort waistband that sits well under a pack and on the saddle.

Brooks England Femto Lights $22

Brooks Femto
It’s light, it’s fool proof, and it’s cheap. The Femto light is one of the few bike accessories that we stash in every single pack we own. Pushing on the lens cycles it through different modes. The Copper body calls back to a more civilized ideal of bike riding. It’s not quite as bright as some spot lights out there, but at $22, you can buy two and still have a spare hundred bucks for beer money.

Five Ten Kestrel Clipless Shoe $180

Five Ten Kestrel
In a world of neon and faux leather cycling shoes, the Kestrel is understated excellence. Boa closure ensures a perfect fit. A hybrid sole features both Five Ten’s Stealth C4 and MI6 rubbers for power transfer and grip when hiking your bike, and on large platform pedals. They also feature two-hole cleats for standard mountain biking clipless pedals.

Bell Super 2R MIPS Helmet $220

Bell Super 2R
The Super 2R is our favorite biking helmet ever, full stop. The full coverage fit of the helmet is both cool on the way up, and has extra protection in vital areas for your trip down. The MIPS liner has been shown to reduce impact forces by up to 30%. A detachable face guard is perfect for the budding enduro rider or bike park rider, without the investment of a dedicated full face helmet.

Editors' Recommendations

Stay Dry on the Trail with Mountain Hardwear’s Rainshadow Backpack
waterproof backpack

There's nothing worse than getting halfway through a 12-mile hike only to be caught in a downpour. If you don't have the proper waterproof gear, the rest of the journey will feature soaked socks, feet verging on the edge of trench-foot, drenched gear (including your travel towel), and general misery.

For our readers who come from sunny, dry places like the Southwest, this may not be an issue, and for that we congratulate you and your regular backpack with only the slightest hint of jealousy. For those of us living, working, and playing in the Pacific Northwest, however, we require a bag that can stand up to the long, rainy days of an Oregon winter as well as any unexpected fair-weather rainstorms. But how to choose? Do you go for the super-expensive 100 percent waterproof backpack that could sink to the bottom of the sea and be found thirty years later, still containing a dry pair of underwear within? Or do you go super-cheap and buy a water-resistant backpack that lasts a season and then loses all semblance of water-tightness, rendering it about as useful as a wet blanket?

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The Best of Outdoor Retailer 2016
the best of outdoor retailer summer 2016 show

Twice a year, the entire outdoor community descends on Salt Lake City to sample, test, and gawk at the finest gear that brands can design. We were on the floor at the Outdoor Retailer 2016 Show this time around to not only pick our favorites, but also to launch our new Best In Show awards. Whether you're a die hard climber, thru-hiker, or trail runner, this is the must have gear that will be hitting retailers soon.

Related: Outdoor Retailer Winter 2016
Outerwear: Columbia OutDry Extreme ECO Shell

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How To Choose Your First Mountain Bike
Choose a Mountain Bike

Summer time should be filled with long days on the trail (and cold beer afterwards). If you're lucky enough to live somewhere with an extensive trail system, you've probably seen a few mountain bikers getting rowdy on downhill trails and cross country epics. Maybe you've caught the mountain bike bug after a few rides yourself, or want to test the waters of a new sport. No matter your motivation, whether you're a new biker or seasoned trail rider, choosing a new bike can be a daunting task; simply walk into your local bike shop and you'll be inundated with complicated jargon and bewildering tech specs . We've put together this simple guide to help you navigate getting your first purpose-built mountain bike (or help educate you if you need a little brushing up for your next bike too).

Related: Rip Serious Singletrack with BULLS Bikes | 2016's Best Mountain Biking Gear 

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