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Do Mountain Bikes Need Reflectors?

do mountain bikes need reflectors

If you are in the mountain biking community, you probably know that mountain bikes typically don’t have reflectors. Even if the mountain bike comes with reflectors, most mountain bikers take them off. Does that make the bike less safe?

Do mountain bikes need reflectors? Since mountain bikes are driven off-road, your mountain bike absolutely does not need reflectors. Reflectors are mainly for street cyclists’ safety from cars on the road.

In fact, reflectors are destined to fall off, meaning that they pollute the area you’re riding in without adding any safety benefits to your ride. So, you don’t need reflectors, and you should probably take them off if you have them.

What’s the Point of Reflectors?

Before diving into mountain bikes and reflectors, let’s talk about the point of reflectors. Talking about this crucial piece of information will clarify most of the issues and questions concerning using reflectors on mountain bikes.

The point of adding a reflector to any bike is to make the riding experience safer. Whenever light hits the reflectors, the other person can easily see that the cyclist is there, helping the cyclist avoid getting accidentally hit.

Reflectors are a must for cyclists who want to ride on the road at night. The reflectors allow other drivers to see where a cyclist is so that they don’t get injured in the process. If you are not around vehicles or riding in dark situations, you really don’t need reflectors.

Why Mountain Bikes Don’t Need Deflectors

Now that we know the point of reflectors, we can better talk about why they are not needed on mountain bikes. Mountain bikes, hence the name, are designed to be rode on trails. These trails are typically far from vehicles, meaning that you don’t run the risk of being hit by one.

Additionally, very few people ride mountain bikes at night. Since you would be riding in more secluded areas, there aren’t artificial lights to help you see. This makes it dangerous to ride at night simply because you won’t be able to see rocks or animals laying in the way.

So, you don’t need reflectors on mountain bikes because you typically aren’t riding at night, and you especially aren’t riding around vehicles. The context for mountain biking really takes away the need for reflectors.

Why Do Mountain Bikers Take off Their Reflectors?

If a mountain bike comes with reflectors, you might think that there’s no point in taking them off. After all, they are not hurting anything, right? Wrong. Reflectors fall off mountain bikes, causing them to pollute the area. That is why mountain bikers take off their reflectors.

Mountain bikers like biking in the mountains for its beauty and seclusion from human interactions. The last thing you want is to pollute the beautiful area with reflectors. Given that mountain bikes go through a lot of wear and tear, it makes sense that the reflectors fall off.

To prevent this from happening, mountain bikers just take off the reflectors. They don’t serve any safety purposes, and they pollute the environment. As a result, reflectors do way more harm than good on a mountain bike.

The Outdoors
The Outdoors

Should I Take Reflectors off My Mountain Bike?

If you have a mountain bike with reflectors, you should definitely take them off. You are not putting yourself at any additional risk or hazard by removing them, but you are helping the environment. Not to mention, you’re helping other mountain bikers enjoy the outdoors just like you.

Just by taking a few extra minutes to remove the reflectors, you really are making the environment much more beautiful and cleaner, which is exactly what the great outdoors needs at this point in time.

What if I Ride My Mountain Bike Around Town?

If you ride your mountain bike around town or in areas where you might need reflectors, you might want to consider taking the reflectors off before you go mountain biking but put them back on before you go out in the city.

Though this may seem like a lot of work, it really is not. Removing reflectors is incredibly easy, and it only takes a few seconds to put them on or take them off. Taking a few extra minutes to do this will ensure that you keep the mountain trails clean and yourself safe when you are out and about. We talk about this more in the next section.

If your mountain bike did not come with reflectors, and you want them for city travel, we recommend this simple front and rear reflector kit. The front reflector mounts on the handlebar while the rear mounts on the seat post. They can also be removed with relative ease.

How to Remove Reflectors from a Mountain Bike

If you still have reflectors on your mountain bike, now is the time to remove them. Luckily, reflectors are super easy to remove. Really, all you need is a flathead screwdriver and eyes. If you intend to need reflectors later on, you may also want a storage location, like a small box.  It really is that simple. Here’s how to do it:

1. Locate the Reflectors

First, you need to learn about the location of the reflectors. On most bicycles, they will be on the wheels, pedals, seat, back of the luggage rack, and in front of the fork. Some reflectors will be permanently a part of the bike through paint. You don’t have to worry about removing those reflective materials since they aren’t going to come off.

The most important reflectors to locate are the ones on the wheel spokes. These will inevitably come loose and fall to the ground, polluting the environment for other mountain bikers to run over them.

2. Get the Needed Materials

Once you know where the reflectors are that you need to remove, you need to get the needed materials. In most cases, all you will need is a flathead screwdriver. To determine exactly what you need, simply look at whatever screw is holding the reflector in place. It will most likely be a screw with flat access.

3. Unscrew the Reflectors

Finally, all you need to do is unscrew the reflectors. Simply unscrew them until you hear a click and then remove them off the surface. It really is super simple and will only take a few minutes, if not seconds to finish. It’s a smart idea to keep the reflectors and screws in a place that you will remember later on.

As we discussed above, reflectors are definitely helpful if you use your mountain bike out and about. By keeping the reflectors in a drawer somewhere, you can easily grab them and throw them back on the bike whenever you want to ride it on streets or sidewalks.

Final Thoughts

All in all, mountain bikes do not need reflectors if they are being ridden on mountain trails. Keeping reflectors on your mountain bike isn’t a harmless thing either. Reflectors fall off the bike, allowing them to pollute the environment and mountain trails.

To keep the mountain trails looking beautiful, and to not look like a newbie, go ahead and remove the reflectors. It is super easy and will only take a couple of seconds to complete. These few extra seconds will make a big difference.

In case you anticipate riding your mountain bike somewhere else, don’t throw out the reflectors. Instead, store them in your garage, closet, or somewhere else where you can easily grab them whenever you go. Just as it is easy to take off a reflector, it is just as easy to put it back on.

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