The Scandinavians have a trusted saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. This mentality can be transferred to outdoor adventures, with most terrain and trails being conquered with modern equipment and gear. Mountain biking has come a long, long way since it’s early days of rigid frames, v-brakes and lycra-clad riders. Advancements in material technology and geometry have allowed us to ride trails that the pioneers of mountain biking could only have dreamt of.
Here we take a look at some of the best and most essential gear needed for some backcountry mountain biking. Having a suitable bike for the terrain, and your riding style is of utmost importance. We’ll also be looking at essential safety equipment and gear.
Every year there is a new trend in mountain biking. The once laughable 29-inch wheels have now become a must-have for aggressive trail riders and enduro racers all over the world. Here we take a look at enduro, trail and hardtail bikes and discuss the benefits of each for backcountry mountain biking at Tyax Lodge.
Enduro Bike – Commencal Meta
The Commencal Meta is one of the most popular enduro bikes on the market right now. Whistler local Yoann Barelli races this bike in the Enduro World Series, and it’s easy to see why he chose this bike.
With 160mm front and rear Rockshox suspension and 29er wheels, when this bike gets up to speed to plow through whatever obstacles that are unlucky enough to be in its way. Commencal has chosen to make the frame from triple-butted aluminium rather than carbon. This gives the bike an extra bit of hardiness, which is perfect for the trails here at Tyax Lodge. While the Commencal Meta is a monster on the downhills, it’s no slouch when the trail points upwards either. The SRAM Eagle 12 speed drivetrain allows for a massive range of gearing which lets you spin your way to the top of your climbs.
Trail Bike – Santa Cruz Hightower
Santa Cruz has been making some of the most beautiful and critically acclaimed bikes for a number of years. And with the Hightower, Santa Cruz has created one of the best trail bikes on the market. Trail bikes differ from enduro bikes as they generally have shorter suspension travel and a more well-rounded geometry. Trail bikes are designed with epic all-day rides in mind, which is perfect for getting out into the wilderness at Tyax Lodge
With it’s 135mm of travel and shockingly light carbon frame, the Hightower is a whippet of a bike. It, like the Commencal Meta, also has a 12-speed drive train and adds carbon cranks to the build as well. This thoughtfully specced bike keeps the weight down in almost every department, while still being sturdy enough for an all-dayer out in the backcountry.
Aggressive Hardtail – Chromag Surface
The Chromag Surface is the do-it-all mountain bike from the iconic biking brand Chromag. Designed and hand-built in Whistler by a team of hardtail aficionados, the Surface is a favourite amongst seasoned riders through BC and Canada.
With its aggressive geometry, steel tubing and masterful welds this bike is ready to handle any of the trails here at Tyax Lodge. Despite the lack of rear suspension, this bike is more suited to backcountry adventures than you’d think, thanks to its slack than usual geometry and build. A massive benefit of no rear shock is that there’s a strong rear platform to use while pedalling uphill.
The Chromag Surface is also finished with the equally well made Chromag kit. The handlebars, pedals, saddle, and grips are all made by Chromag and can be regularly seen on bikes across the globe.
Helmet – Oakley Drt5
A good helmet while mountain biking is an absolute no-brainer. Here at Tyax Lodge, we value our visitor’s safety, so we highly recommend that everybody wears a helmet that is in great condition and that fits them properly.
Oakley has recently entered the helmet market and their Drt5 is a fine example of a well-made, modern mountain bike helmet. It features the MIPS Brain Protection System, which is a floating, rotational layer between your head and the helmet exterior. During impact, this layer helps prevent rotational damage to the brain. The helmet also features a BOA fitting system and a sweat guard.
Knee Pads – Race Face Ambush
As every mountain biker knows, the part of our body that’s first in the firing line during a crash is our knees. It’s no wonder why in most bike shops you’ll see a wide selection of kneepads. Most kneepads offer either high protection and low manoeuvrability, or low protection or high manoeuvrability. However, Raceface offers a knee pad that has high protection and high manoeuvrability.
The Ambush kneepads feature the revolutionary D30 foam. This foam is used by soldiers, NFL players and even in phone cases. During low stress, the foam is soft and malleable, however, during impact, it becomes rigid and protects the user. Perfect for a big day in the saddle!
Backpack – EVOC Neo 16L
On a long day of riding in the backcountry, we advise that you bring everything that you may need with you. Tubes, brake pads, tools, first-aid-kits, food, and water are all must-haves. In order to bring all these things with you, you’re going to need a backpack.
EVOC has been making backpacks for a number of years now and have established themselves as one of the industry leaders. Their newest backpack for mountain bikers is the Neo 16L. As well as the near-perfect fit that we’ve become accustomed to, EVOC have added a shock absorption back protector and a ventilation system.
Now you’re up-to-date on everything that you need to make your backcountry trip a success. Mountain biking in the South Chilcotins is one of the most sought after trips in the world, so get in touch with us today and book your visit!