The most important thing to keep in mind when stocking your hangers is the riding style (or styles) your customers most identify with. Enduro racing? Downhill? Casual rider hitting local singletrack after work? All of the above? Keeping this in mind will ensure that you’re properly outfitting your shop for success.
Jersey & Shorts
One of the biggest things to consider in regards to clothing is if the rider will be wearing pads, and if so, how the jersey or shorts will interact with them—we’ve all had those awkward tan lines where the pads stop and the jersey begins.
Another thing to keep in mind when selling riders on jerseys and shorts is the style of riding they do. A primarily cross-country racer will likely be looking for a tighter, more form fitting kit for race day and slightly looser-fitting clothes for training rides. Casual riders, on the other hand, might want to find something that they can wear to the bar for post-ride refreshments. Enduro and downhillers? Longer shorts and looser jerseys will suit their needs of extra protection and breathable, flowing material.
As far as undershorts are concerned, it comes down to rider preference. Bibs or liner shorts? What level of pad thickness, protection, and durability are they looking for? Base model baggy shorts often include a liner or undershort while higher-end baggies typically only include the outer shell. When buying a higher-end pair of baggies, a rider will likely also want a high-end pair of bib shorts or undershorts to go with them.
The era of big, bulky, protective pads is long gone, and the days of low profile, minimalist pads are upon us. For the most part, today’s protective gear is so comfortable and inconspicuous it feels like a pair of arm or knee warmers.
Products like the G-Form Pro-X kneepad are made out of a pliable material that hardens on impact meaning they’re comfortable enough to forget about while riding, but will still provide protection in the event of a crash.
Many pads can even be worn under a pair of jeans or a t-shirt for those spontaneous, radness-inducing dirt-jump sessions.
Keeping your customers safe on the trail, and unscathed should they crash, is critical. The best way to do that is by having recommendations for proper head protection. For a primarily downhill rider, a full-face helmet is the way to go. Enduro? A lighter weight full-face with good ventilation will keep a rider safe on the descents and comfortable on the climbs. A cross-country or more casual rider will place the most value on something that provides proper coverage to the back of the head more than anywhere else, making a full-face helmet overkill.
Helmet brands across all styles of mountain riding are increasingly going above the standard Consumer Product Safety Commission and Department of Transportation safety certifications and offering MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) versions of their helmet models to provide the rider with additional protection.
Different terrain requires different levels of protection on the hands. Enduro or downhill riders will find benefit in having knuckle protection on the backside of their gloves whereas that level of protection might not be as necessary for the casual or cross-country rider. Additionally, the length and style of the cuff usually comes down to rider preference, so covering your bases by stocking a few different lengths is a good idea.
One of the biggest considerations in regards to eyewear is how it interacts with a rider’s helmet. Enduro and downhill riders who wear full- or half-face helmets will benefit from wearing goggles, as the eyewear will stay in place more securely and will fit over the helmet.
Trail and cross-country riders may prefer a wider pair of sunglasses like the 100% Speedcraft line. These wide-rimmed glasses have a similar profile to goggles but work better with a trail helmet.
Another thing to consider is the rider’s face shape and how eyewear will fit. Having a variety of shapes, styles, and widths of eyewear on hand will ensure that your customers will be able to find something to suit their face shapes and riding styles.