MTB Essentials #1 | Doddy’s 5 picks

May 13th, 2016

By Andrew Dodd in Features

Doddy’s top 5 MTB Essentials

This is the first part in a new series on Factory Jackson where we ask industry friends and riders about a handful of bike related things they literally can’t live without. The folks we’ll be including range from photographers and bike testers, to suspension tuners; professional riders and marketing managers.

Expect a huge variety of interesting kit; plenty of things you might not even know existed and a few things that everyone universally recognise as true essentials.

There are a hell of a lot of must-haves out there, but it’s all down to personal preference.

Kicking off part one, is yours truly. Here are 5 of my very favourite MTB Essentials…


Mavic Crossmax Charge XL 2.4 tyre

MTB Essentials - Doddy

The Mavic Crossmax Charge XL is one of Doddy’s MTB Essentials. It’s one of the first things that gets fitted to a new bike, and it works in all his local conditions. The thing he likes best though is how predictable it is – there’s a lot to be said about a predictable tyre than another option that excels in a certain condition.

Tyres are such a personal thing, and living in an area with such notoriously slippery conditions I’ve spent a long time trying to find the best solution.

Out back I switch around a lot, and tend to prefer a faster rolling tyre in all but the worst conditions. But upfront, for the way I ride – there is only one tyre that does it – the Mavic Charge. It is simply brilliant locally, and I’ve not found a place anywhere else where it doesn’t play ball. What I look for is all round predictability over something specially good in any one condition – and the Charge does it for me.

The large volume and tough casing offer a stable ride, and the simple open tread pattern offers a lot of grip and clears mud well. It also has good square shoulders for cutting in when cornering.

The 40a compound helps make this tyre exceptionally good though. Although the Charge isn’t the fastest on firmer surfaces, and can be a touch demoralising on tarmac transitions, the fact it seems to find grip on any surface makes it one of my MTB Essentials.

I bloody love this tyre.

The Mavic Charge tyre costs £47 and you can get them from Mavic UK


Wingnut Gear Hyper 2.5 riding pack 

MTB Essentials - Doddy

The Wingnut riding pack might look odd, but it’s bloody amazing. And old enough that it looks like a brand new design…

Although I’m normally the prepared one with a first aid kit and spare parts in a pack, I actually hate riding in them, and whenever I can I will ditch them completely.

The Wingnut pack first landed in my hands back in 2009in my magazine years. And I’m still using that same pack – it genuinely is one of my absolute MTB essentials.

Based on a military webbing style design, it sits on your hips like a bum bag, but is a much more useable size. There are webbing shoulder straps to keep the bag in place, but they don’t transmit the weight to your shoulders – giving you the feeling of a bum bag, but without having to crank it up to constricting levels round your waist.

The side pockets are cavernous, and easy to access too whilst riding – and twin elasticated rear pockets easily carry water bottles if you don’t want to use a bladder. It’s also made of water proof, rip stop sailing cloth material and has waterproof zips.

The things I love best are that the pack just doesn’t move when jumping and moving about, doesn’t snag on low branches when ducking under them and of course allows more air to circulate avoiding the dreaded sweaty back.

They cost £72.99, and you can get them from Rough Ride Guide


Renthal Ultra Tacky Lock On grips

MTB Essentials - Doddy

Contact points on a bike are MTB Essentials for most riders, but these astonishingly sticky grips from Renthal are Doddy’s all time favourite.

When it’s warm enough, I love riding bare hands. I love the way the bars feel, I love the wind on the back of my hands and I even love the buzz from the odd nettle sting.

Weird? Yes, I know. But I’m sure I’m not alone.

Until this grip, my all time favourite was the ODI Ruffian – but pretty much as they were about to wear through. At that point they become enormously sticky, and feel incredible. The Renthal Ultra Tacky grip is like that out the box.

Sweaty hands? No problem. Raining? No problem. Just phenomenal grip – you barely have to hold on too, so your hands fatigue less.

Brilliant grips.

£24.95 from Ison Distribution. Full Review and details right here


Troy Lee Designs A1 helmet

MTB Essentials - Doddy

The Troy Lee Designs A1 is an excellent design with a lot of protection on offer. With a perfect fit and ultimate comfort, it’s on Doddy’s MTB Essentials list.

I’m not sure how the research team at Troy Lee Designs achieved their mean measurements to make the A1 helmet from, but no helmet that exists fits me as well as a Troy Lee A1. And it’s something I constantly hear from other riders too. My head isn’t especially big – quite thin actually, but its quite long.

A bit of a horse head, if you like.

Which puts me between sizes, most of the time. A medium Giro is too tight, and a large is a bit loose; the same with POC and many others. And in the past I’ve often had to internally ‘adjust’ my lids* to get the optimal fit. Genuinely, the only helmet that’s fit me perfectly first time is the A1.

Sure, it’s on the hot side, and heavier than the similar fitting (and better ventilated) Specialized Ambush – but quite simply, it’s the comfiest thing I’ve ever put my head in.

And even when pissing with sweat, it’s still comfy. If they ever change the design, I’ll have to stockpile a supply.

*I don’t recommend doing it, but needs must, and all that…

£129. Full details right here.


Lezyne Micro Floor HV drive pump 

MTB Essentials - Doddy

The Lezyne Micro Floor Drive pump lives in Doddy’s riding pack, and has done for nearly 8 years. Tough, and effective. Sold to the man with the big nose.

I’ve had this pump since about 2008, and it’s still going strong.

The Alloy construction is tough; it’s easy to pull apart and service and it inflates large volume tyres easily thanks to the mini – floor standing set up.

OK, so it hurts my hand a bit in use and the screw on chuck has pulled out tubeless valve-cores on occasion  – but I’ve not found anything better that lasts.

And I’ve tried several similar pumps from other manufacturers.


Yep, I’m aware there’s a new model out with a load of bells and whistles – but I don’t need it. This one works as well now as the day I first used it – absolutely one of my top MTB Essentials.

£34.99 from Upgrade Bikes.


What did you think of Doddy’s 5 favourite MTB Essentials? 

What would be on your list of 5 things?

Let us know below! We’d love to hear from you…




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