Cold weather gear suggestions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Suckin wind like a boss
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    Cold weather gear suggestions

    For those of you who ride regularly when it gets below freezing, I am curious as to what you layer with. I know, first day of summer is here as are the 90+ degree temps... but this is a great time to pick stuff up on sale, and i dont wanna do jeans and hiking boots if i can avoid it.
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  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I wear Under Armour cold weather compression tights, Smartwool thick socks, a cold weather generic base layer, Adidas cold weather top layer, Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier shoe covers, Pearl Izumi softshell lobster glove, and a Pearl Izumi cold weather head cover. I picked up a generic balacalva or whatever you call it from Dick's Sporting Goods. That seems to work really well, but fogs my glasses up regularly.

  3. #3
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    I picked up a long sleeve tech shirt at Target (C9 or something), along with a short sleeve one for underneath that on colder days. I have a compression layer too, but don't use it often. I also picked up a jacket at Target in the same (athletic) section. I also have an Endura cold weather outer layer jacket that breathes a lot better than the Target one, but isn't quite as warm. I usually wear my long sleeve bike jersey under that on colder days. As far as legs, I use long john type undergarment, maybe a compression type layer underneath that on really cold days. Then I have a couple of pairs of Endura event pants. For socks, I usually do smartwool base, then a thick pair of wool socks. I wear a mid rise winter boot for footwear. I also have two pairs of gloves, one lighter weight and one heavy weight, both bike specific. I have bar mitts as well, but haven't had to use those since the heavy weight gloves work so well. I also have both a skull cap type of headgear that goes under the helmet, and a full balaclava, I think a Cannondale brand. Like the above poster, I can't wear my riding glasses with the balaclava without them fogging up.

    I know this is a lot of various gear, but it makes a difference riding in 5, 15, or 25 degree weather, and I dress a little differently for each of those temperature ranges. With practice, you check the temp, then just know which stuff to grab out of your closet to make for a comfortable ride.

    I got most of my winter gear during the fall closeout sales of a local bike shop chain (Erik's Bike Shop). Each fall I go and nab up some winter gear.

    I actually like winter riding better than summer riding, so you're kind of making me miss it already! Seriously, with the right gear, you will have a lot of fun! Here's an example of how I gear up for winter riding:


  4. #4
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    I wear a generic polyester base layer (tights and long sleeve shirt) over my short liner, a wicking shirt or jersey over that, then add a pair of Craft Storm Pants and a wind/waterproof shell up top. I have a pair of Specialized lobster style gloves that keep my hands super toasty, but there are others out there that will perform the same function. On my feet, depending on how cold it is, I will wear combinations of my MT-42s, Craft wind/waterproof booties (and I can't honestly recommend these...they were destroyed after one season, and had a tendency to leak anyway. Blocked the wind well, though) thin coolmax socks and/or a pair of medium weight smartwools. I own a Nordic Gear balaclava that has an extra flap of fabric up front that supposedly directs warm air away from your goggles/glasses, but in practice it doesn't work; best way to keep from fogging up is to learn to either breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose, or keep your upper lip in front of your lower, directing the air down when breathing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by big terry View Post
    For those of you who ride regularly when it gets below freezing, I am curious as to what you layer with. I know, first day of summer is here as are the 90+ degree temps... but this is a great time to pick stuff up on sale, and i dont wanna do jeans and hiking boots if i can avoid it.
    Wool, usually Ibex brand. Thin base layer, thicker mid layers as needed. Windproof shell if needed.

    I wear wool year round. Best temperature regulator fabric out there. Especially good for changing conditions. I tend to wear fewer layers than other riders in the cold and more in the heat, add or remove layers less often (usually not at all), and stay comfortable.
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  6. #6
    Suckin wind like a boss
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    cool, thanks guys. im no stranger to playing in the winter, but it was usually done with boots on and a pack on my back... and it seems that a lot of the same techniques and item layers hold true for riding as well as hiking. i was mainly worried about wind protection and core temp control, but it appears that i'll be able to recycle a lot of the same cold-weather hiking gear and repurpose it for riding.

    shiggy- im a big fan of wool too, but i have never heard of ibex, or for that matter seen any thin base-layer type wool clothing. going to have to look into it, thanks for the heads-up.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by big terry View Post
    shiggy- im a big fan of wool too, but i have never heard of ibex, or for that matter seen any thin base-layer type wool clothing. going to have to look into it, thanks for the heads-up.
    Look for Icebreaker or Smartwool, too. I prefer Ibex, but with a girlfriend who was in NZ, I got a number of Icebreaker gifts, and Smartwool tends to show up on sale more often. Regardless, merino wool is the key. It's not your old-school scratchy wool. Imagine backpacking for a week, wearing one t-shirt and not stinking (much). I'll never wear polypro again.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Look for Icebreaker or Smartwool, too. I prefer Ibex, but with a girlfriend who was in NZ, I got a number of Icebreaker gifts, and Smartwool tends to show up on sale more often. Regardless, merino wool is the key. It's not your old-school scratchy wool. Imagine backpacking for a week, wearing one t-shirt and not stinking (much). I'll never wear polypro again.
    Merino is great stuff, and I agree that it's key as a base layer. But I have been very happy wearing regular wool sweaters (I prefer quarter zip for ventilation) as a mid layer. These can be found super cheap at second hand shops (usually every spring), they breath great, much better than polyester fleece. If you don't mind the itch and don't have the scratch (see what I did there) for merino, normal wool is a great performance fabric.

    My set-up for commuting last winter was bib-longs, long sleeve merino base layer (250 weight I think), quarter zip wool sweater, some sort of over-shorts, and an outer layer depending on the cold: sometimes a wind vest for sunny, "warm" days, sometimes a softshell fleece jacket, sometime a rain shell, and when it got to -15 F I wore all three!

  9. #9
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    Wear a lightweight merino layer above 25 degrees, any colder and I'd use medium weight. I'm a slim Tucsonan so not hard to get me cold but I ride in a merino lightweight shirt and don't even use a vest till about 45 degrees, when warmed up. Have a cycling vest and any packable jacket and you're good to about 25 degrees.
    A great head cover I found was the Icebreaker Pocket Beanie 200, for wearing it under a helmet. Good to about 25 degrees.
    A balaclava works best when it's really cold, or a merino hoody. Balaclava is basically a non-attached hood and neck cover. Light weight of cycling. A fleece one would be for below -10F.
    I have SWOBO merino tights but living here it's really not cold enough to need them much but I do use my Ibex merino knee warmers more than poly tights.
    Merino glove liners are the best I've ever found, as a skier. My ass always froze on a wet ski lift till the day I wore Ibex long johns, not anymore. Wear merino socks all winter, no matter what I'm doing. My Ibex Zephyr shirt is my all time favorite cold weather shirt but a bit heavy for cycling above 25 degrees.
    agmtb

  10. #10
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    As others have said, Merino is great for layering. Comfy and no stink. I've ridden through
    many winters in the Northeast and would also recommend the following:
    Sidi Storm winter boots. Goretex shell/fleecy lining. Changed my life. No more cold toes ever! Booties suck for off road riding. Size them big enough for thick wool socks.
    Pearl Izumi Amphib bib tights. Wind/water resistant, fleeced on inside. No drafts up the back.
    Also good for winter hiking, cross country siding etc.
    A quality softshell type jacket with hood. They are quieter than a typical shell and breath a lot better as well as offering some insulation.
    A thin polypro type skull cap or balaclava for frigid temps
    I like some of the cold weather cycling gloves for fit and function but if it's much below freezing I just put on the Goretex/ leather ski gloves.

  11. #11
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by big terry View Post
    it appears that i'll be able to recycle a lot of the same cold-weather hiking gear and repurpose it for riding.
    Most likely.

    What you need will depend on how much below freezing it gets and what sort of riding you do. On trails, I don't have extended climbs or descents, so my effort and speed remain relatively constant. That means I easily overheat even when the weather is a bit chilly. For long climbs and descents you'd probably need to carry an extra layer to put on at the top.

    During lower effort and higher speed commutes, the first things that seem to get cold are my hands and feet.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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