Mountain Bike Parts And Accessories

Gadgets that add to mountain bikes and how to enhance your ride.

There are so many gadgets for mountain bikes that they make a bar you can attach to your handlebars to fit all the extra devices. These attachments can help you navigate, give your vital signs, speed, mileage, just about anything you would need to know, including stock market reports and the score of your favorite sports team. Most of these attach to the bar with plastic ties and their sensors can pick up all the information they need to give you a constant readout.

The most basic, the one just about everyone has, is the bike computer. They have LCD readouts and now, audio readout, so that you don't have to look down at the computer. Depending on how many functions and how much money you're willing to spend. They will tell you the speed you're going, the altitude you're at, your average speed; including the gear you're in and heart monitoring abilities, just about every function that can be monitored, all in one very small computer. The important functions, the one's you will usually use most is speed and altitude. Many of these computers can download onto your home computer to keep records on all the data collected.

If you are training, or just want to know, a heart monitor is a valuable asset. You can set your maximum aerobic threshold and it will beep when reached. The heart monitor will give a constant readout of pulse and you can set a number of other functions for it as well, to tailor your training needs. There are location sensors that transmit to satellite locating devices and give your location as well as a route to where you want to go, a valuable tool if you have no sense of direction, or if you're in an area you're not familiar with.

Lights are a great asset, especially in an emergency and out on a trail where the only light is the night sky. The latest arc lighting, with powerful batteries that last for hours, give out as much light as a car's headlights. With one set on your handlebars and another designed to wear on your helmet like a spelunker, you can mountain bike trails in the deep of night, perfect for someone wanting to ride after work and not having enough daylight to do it. By attaching glow tape to your frame and wheels, your mountain bike will reflect any light cast upon it, making you quite visible on the street at night.

Fenders are great too in keeping the splash and mud off you and most of your bike. You can add racks for Panniers (saddlebags) to spend time in the backcountry or go shopping. With an insulated rack trunk, you can keep a cool drink and sandwich, along with a camera, book or extra clothing.

In Holland, bells are required on all bikes, and along the canals and streets you hear the gentle ring of bicycle bells. If you use your mountain bike on bike paths, such as at the beach or park, a ringing bell signals others that you're nearing them. You can get bike bells in all shapes, colors, whatever you have a fancy for, there's a bell for you. Some people collect them from the different countries or regions they visit with their bike.

If you're worried about having enough water, you can buy water bottle cages that fit behind your seat. Some will attach to the handlebars with a tube for you to suck water. Like the hydration pack you wear on your back. Bar ends will allow another hand position for you on the mountain bike. They attach to the end of the handlebar and can be positioned up or down. They're used mostly to assist in climbing.

If you have the space on your handlebars, there are handlebar extensions to stretch out and give a more aero dynamic position for you on the bike. It's difficult to use bar extensions for dirt riding but they are a handy asset when faced with a head wind on the streets. Have problems with your chain falling off? They make guards for both the inside chain ring and outside chain ring to prevent the chain from coming off the front gears. If you commute and wear long pants, a chain guard will keep oil from your pants. They make chain guards that attach on the rear chain stay to keep the chain from nicking your frame when slack forms when shifting.

A variety of mirrors can be attached to the end of the handlebar and on your helmet, depending on how you prefer to see what is behind you. If you still have any room left, you can attach a pump. Mountain bike tires take more air due to their large volume. A number of different pumps and inflators can be attached to your bike.

When using your mountain bike as a stationary bike, you can attach a trainer that will monitor your bike just like being on the road. It will increase or decrease the resistance to simulate hills or set up a program for a cardio workout. With a computer program you can ride along in a race with other riders on your monitor, watching the scenery and as you reach a hill, the trainer will increase the resistance, giving you the feeling that you're actually climbing the hill on the screen in front of you. You will want to attach a sweat guard on your bike to keep the frame clean and dry and a fan on the handlebars to help cool you. You can buy a bookstand to read that attaches to the handlebars, a low-tech investment.

The one thing I don't recommend is a baby carrier attached to the back or front of the bike. If you want to bring babies or small children, get a trailer that attaches to the rear of the bike. The reason is this. If you should fall and your child is strapped to a carrier on the bike, as behind your saddle, the fall will affect the child more then you. They are high up, higher even then you sometimes and don't have the advantage of being centered on the bike with a lower center of gravity. This causes the child to suffer a harder fall then than you do. If you have a trailer and you fall, the attaching devise allows the trailer to stay upright even if the bike is on its side. They also have a canopy to protect their sensitive skin from sun and bugs and they're big enough for two small children. Big enough so they can lie down and nap, while you pedal along.

A lock added to your bike frame will let you secure your bike when at the coffee house for a latté fix. If you want your child to get some exercise, there are third wheel attachments to turn your single mountain bike into a tandem bike. Oh, I forgot, dice that screw onto your valve stems and as you roll along life's highway, they always turn up a lucky seven.

© High Speed Ventures 2011