We’re autumn optimists. Rather than view fall as an ending of fair weather, we prefer to think of it as a final hurrah. Fall is a reason to look forward to the end of summer, not to wallow in warm-weather nostalgia. Besides, milder temperatures make this season ideal for getting out and at ’em, especially when doing so involves two wheels. Yes, fall, with its changing leaves and early sunsets, is the best time of year to go mountain biking. So here you’ll find everything we’re riding with — from apparel to bags to a bike — until the first snowflakes fall.
POC Resistance Ultra Tee
Jerseys are great, but we prefer to take to the trails in a tee. POC combined the best of both in the new Resistance Ultra Tee — it’s casually loose fitting but still has those ever-handy pockets on its back. Three drop-in ones, plus a fourth with a zipper, to be exact.
Velocio Trail Short
Velocio is perhaps better known for its premium road cycling apparel than mountain bike clothing. But that know-how plays into its excellent trail short — Velocio made it with stretchy, lightweight Italian-milled fabric and thoughtfully hemmed it to prevent chafing behind the knee. Its zippered pockets aren’t at the waist like your everyday shorts; instead, Velocio put them down on the side of the thighs where they won’t become annoying when stuffed with a phone, wallet or snacks.
Kitsbow Haskell Pant
We don’t often ride trails in pants, even on the chilliest days. But we do sometimes ride our bikes in town, and Kitsbow took that into account in designing its Haskell Pant. Styled like a chino, the Haskell is made of lightweight and slightly stretchy fabric with a casual look that belies its techy functionality. The pants have six pockets, and the legs roll up and snap in place to both reveal a reflective detail and get out of the way of your chain.
Hestra Ergo Grip Enduro Glove
Technically, gloves are an accessory. But they’re also essential, and Hestra, with all the expertise it has earned making some of the best winter gloves around, created the ideal pair in the Ergo Grip Enduro. These gloves are minimal enough not to intrude on handlebar control while providing plenty of comfort.
Smith Wildcat Sunglasses
Unlike cheap throwback shades following current ’90s revival trends, Smith’s Wildcat shades are built to perform. The frames are the same thermoplastic polyurethane that Smith uses in its snow goggles, and the cylindrical lens is water- and oil-resistant. It also uses Smith’s contrast-accentuating ChromaPop tech, which works well for discerning trail obstacles before they bite. And here’s a bonus: the Wildcat comes with a clear lens for riding deep in the forest.
Giro Tyrant MIPS
The Tyrant is the first mountain bike helmet to integrate MIPS Spherical, the rotational impact protection system that Giro used in the award-winning Aether MIPS road helmet. (Instead of using an insert, Spherical consists of two layers of foam that rotate against each other like a ball and socket joint.) That’s not the only element that sets the Tyrant apart though; it’s full-cut, chin bar-free profile emphasizes coverage for rowdier riding while keeping things lightweight and stylish (in a moto cafe racer sort of way).
Mission Workshop Axis Waist Pack
We’re fully on board with mountain biking’s full embrace of the hip pack. The Axis is a reasonably minimal take on the category — it won’t hold a hydration bladder — but still packs enough volume for a multi-tool, tire levers, spare tube, snack, extra layer, gloves and the random items in our pockets. It’s weatherproof, has a small internal zipped pocket, and its waist strap is comfortable and unobtrusive.
Henty Enduro 2.0
Alternatively, the Enduro 2.0 is as feature-laden as hip packs get, nearly crossing the line into backpack territory. The pack’s unique design has enough space for everything you need on long rides, including a three-liter water bladder, spread across its various pockets and storage loops. Its pack straps help support an extra-full load, provide a perch for a drinking hose and allow for a mesh pocket that’s perfect for stashing a lightweight layer.
Quantum Energy Squares
Snacks are essential, and when we’re headed out for pre-dawn rides ahead of punching the clock for work, so is caffeine. Quantum Energy Squares contain unroasted coffee along with other whole ingredients like almonds and pumpkin seeds to provide an espresso shot’s worth of energy that the body absorbs slowly. Plus, they’re small enough to fit in a saddlebag along with a spare tube.
Trek Fuel EX 9.9
Of all the mountain bikes we’ve been eyeing for fall riding, the new Trek Fuel EX sits high on the list. Trek recently updated what’s become its most popular do-it-all trail bike. The new models follow recent mountain bike trends: they’re longer, slacker and feature deeper suspension (140mm up front and 130mm in the back). The top-line Fuel EX 9.9 boasts Trek’s RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft shock, which is built to reduce lag as the bike responds to obstacles on the trail. Other things we love about this model: 29-inch wheels, an adjustable geometry, a 1×12 drivetrain and a handy storage compartment in the downtube.
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