Article on keeping hands warm in winter - somewhat spam- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Article on keeping hands warm in winter - somewhat spam

    I know this is a little spammy, but it contains solid information on keeping hands warm on a bike in winter.
    https://www.coldbike.com/2019/12/05/...ike-in-winter/

  2. #2
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    Decent, I would add foam grips and sealing your pogie holes with foam, I also find grip shift keeps my hand warmer (keeps fingers together more).

    For raynauds, we need some sort of Kickstarter often, that's why the chem heaters become so useful.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  3. #3
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    Never have an issue with hands. Always my feet. Bit the bullet and got heated socks.


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    Good article!
    High density foam grips (from Velo, Ritchey, etc) should be on top of the list.
    Added bonus is that they are ultra light.

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    Anyone here who still ventures out in the extreme cold try a heat exchange mask? I think that's the next item on my list!

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    I do, but I wrote the article. I do not have a personal low-temperature cutoff, though if I were to go to Antarctica, that might change.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonoff View Post
    Anyone here who still ventures out in the extreme cold try a heat exchange mask? I think that's the next item on my list!

    I use one for winter camping, but not when riding. Haven't seen a need.

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    Carbon fibre, the secret bike industry code word for ďreally expensiveĒ is, also, a poor conductor of heat, and has less mass than aluminum. Now in the winter cycling context, the really important part is the lower conductivity. Carbon fibre is somewhere around 0.3% the thermal conductivity of aluminum, so even if you buy the heaviest carbon fibre bar, the mass wonít matter. Shaving grams wonít make your hands warmer.

    Whoah, Those Carbon Bars are Pricey, and I Hear They Break!"
    So, question for ya. Context before question: I make carbon bars, custom ones. I try to do it economically. So far I haven't sold any because it's all been safety safety safety safety SAFETY TESTING OMG. They're pretty much ready now. However, I'm doing a test as we speak about making bars over-built for heavy and/or abusive riders (big people deserve biking too). My question after reading is this: is there a niche market for cold weather riders who would be more comfortable on an overtly sturdy carbon bar and their main motivation is mitigating conductive heat loss?
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

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    I would think that carbon bars would be the last resort, if nothing else solves cold hands.

    If you insulate your hands from the AL bars then there is no direct heat sink conduction from your body. I suppose if you are in extreme conditions, your AL bars connected to an AL stem and steerer tube could suck the heat out of the air in the pogies, but I don't think the rate of transfer would overcome the heat collected in the space. (no calculations, just gut feel).

    I am thinking in terms of flat bars since this was posted in the fat bike forum, but the more I think about it there could be some merit to carbon drop bars. Typically you would have less insulation between you and the bars with bar tape than available foam grips so a higher chance of heat transfer. This is assuming you're drop bar bike is used year round and not specifically tuned (double/triple wrapped bars) for winter riding.

    My hands are the first to go in cold weather from multiple mild cases of frost bite over the years. I can dress for the cold and keep the rest of my body comfortable whether moving or stationary but without extra consideration my hands can be ice cubes. Pogies on flat bars are the ticket for me in my winter riding conditions, but I've never experimented with cold weather drop bar riding.

  10. #10
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    Great article.

    I switched to Poogies about 3 years ago and wish I would have done it sooner.

    I also started riding in my winter boots and my feet are finally warm. In the winter for me itís not about how fast and how far itís about how warm my hands and feet are that allows me to have a blast in the winter.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    So, question for ya. Context before question: I make carbon bars, custom ones. I try to do it economically. So far I haven't sold any because it's all been safety safety safety safety SAFETY TESTING OMG. They're pretty much ready now. However, I'm doing a test as we speak about making bars over-built for heavy and/or abusive riders (big people deserve biking too). My question after reading is this: is there a niche market for cold weather riders who would be more comfortable on an overtly sturdy carbon bar and their main motivation is mitigating conductive heat loss?
    You mean like the 810mm Salsa carbon fiber bar?

    Well yes. Need to be able to support attaching things to it and minimize heat conduction.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    The market might be niche within a niche within a niche. There are some bars available that are good enough, and I think most of the people who want custom ones will want the other benefits of carbon like vibration damping. If you offer other benefits like bag mounting points, or a reinforced area for light and computer mounting, that might make it more compelling for winter bikepacking.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by solarplex View Post
    Never have an issue with hands. Always my feet. Bit the bullet and got heated socks.
    I use them as well. I find running them at a low level keeps my socks dryer even when it starts getting too warm for the big winter boots. I don't know why but my feet seem to sweat less.

    Sweat is also a problem for my hands. Too much clothing on my arms seems to make sweat build up and then wick into my gloves. If I'm working hard in deep snow or heading up a long hill I push my sleeves up a bit to help keep my lower arms dry.

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    Hey coldbike do you take weird requests? Like can you make a pogie with the absence of a physical seam where the two main panels are held in place by tiny neodymium magnets so that you can lift hard vertically during an endo situation and not have your hands stick? I'm a clumsy rider.

    I like pogies but I wish they were emergency frangible.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldbike View Post
    The market might be niche within a niche within a niche. There are some bars available that are good enough, and I think most of the people who want custom ones will want the other benefits of carbon like vibration damping. If you offer other benefits like bag mounting points, or a reinforced area for light and computer mounting, that might make it more compelling for winter bikepacking.
    I believed the salsa bar have is the Rustler? The other carbon bar I have is an old 785 answer DH bar, functionally very similar. Thereíd have to be an advantage with something else to drive me to it. I do feel the carbon bar makes a huge difference in the cold, having ridden back to back with aluminum. Aluminum is a crazy good heat sink. Vibration damping is not even on my radar, as Iím not riding 23mm tires on pavement. For my other bikes, itís the strength and stiffness to weight ratio. For the fatbikes, itís the lack of thermal conduction.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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    I get the theory that metal bars are heat sinks. I get that carbon bars are distinctly less so.

    In practice the only way I can feel any difference between metal or carbon bars is if I'm riding without grips, or with metal grips.

    Which is silly -- no one does that.

    I've experimented intensely with grip material over the past ~20 years of winter riding in temps of roughly +20*f to -50*f. I can feel substantial differences from rubber to foam to cork to neoprene.

    But I simply cannot feel any difference from metal bars to carbon bars.

    Doug, do you have any tangible proof to bring the theory into reality? I don't mean from your day job, I mean specifically with bikes ridden in winter?

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    My only evidence is anecdotal, but I do feel that I notice a difference, and I know the teenager complains less with the carbon bars. Tadhg has Raynaud's Syndrome, so he is way more sensitive to loosing heat in his hands than me.

    Where I notice it most, is after the initial bit of riding when I think the grips should be warm, they seem to stay colder than they should. It happens way more with lock-on grips, especially the Ergon ones that I love. I tried some 1990s foam slip-on grips, and with those, I cannot tell what the underlying bar might be. But I like the Ergon grips, and not the foam. I also notice it with my salsa grips that I bought a bunch of in 1998 when I found a box of them on clearance for $.50 per pair.

    If I insulate the grips like I talk about in the article, I cannot feel the difference.

    I understand your questioning my statement, and I'm not going to turn myself red in the face screaming that it isn't just a placebo effect. I may even revise the article.

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    I do sometimes do custom work, but in this case, I don't think I can make them work well enough to be happy with them.
    I have certainly done more than my share of crashing, and I cannot say that I have ever been trapped by my pogies unless I forget to let go of the bar.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldbike View Post
    I understand your questioning my statement, and I'm not going to turn myself red in the face screaming that it isn't just a placebo effect. I may even revise the article.
    My question wasn't intended to prove you wrong, nor to get you to turn yourself inside out. I was actually hoping you had data and could illuminate a real difference!

    I use carbon bars on my fatbike because there's a specific combo of rise and sweep that feels great on that bike, that is only (that I can find) made in carbon. If there was an actual, provable temperature benefit then that would just be gravy.

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    If you don't question it, then I won't think about it, so I feel it is worthwhile.
    I do own temperature measuring equipment, so if I can come up with a measurement technique that is reasonable, and applies to most conditions, then that may be data I can come up with. The hard part is that there are so few days below -20ļC, and electronics to record bar temperatures work so poorly at those temperatures.
    Even if the gain is marginal, I think it is worth it when it comes to Raynaud's sufferers and similar, if your rate of heat replenishment is practically nil, then what might go unnoticed by the average person might be very significant to then.
    You have piqued my interest in the data though.'

  21. #21
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    As I said, back to back on a cold single digit ride, there was a difference. I had built up an aluminum bike out of spare parts and intended to sell it, but went on a ride with my brother when he was in town. I let him ride my carbon wonder. Switched out several times and the difference was pretty dramatic. Of course, a lot of smaller things add up IME, so it's not just one thing. Foam grips, carbon bar, carbon brake levers or significant booties zip-tied (cut-off old glove fingers), grip-shift that allows my fingers to stay in contact with each other constantly, sealing off the pogie holes that result from the space between shifters and brake levers/perches. In mild conditions, these things can be fairly arbitrary, the colder it gets though, the more critical they become for me. I can feel a cold jet coming in to the pogies due to a small gap when it's down into the negative Fs. When I push an ice-cold control lever or have to grip it time and time again (brakes) it starts to affect my hands. I'm not sure what kind of "data" we could draw up for this, but I think these are additive effects and when you want to minimize heat loss, you do as many of these as you can. Even relatively stupid stuff like a carbon seatpost and frame when you have to push the bike or handle it for some purpose when it's real cold. Sometimes pushing gets you warm, but sometimes you have to handle the bike for some other purpose and your hands get cold soaked real fast, putting them into the pogies doesn't instantly "make them warmer" or fix the issue. The alu frame is like grabbing liquid nitrogen comparatively. Of course, you can do things like jump up and down and windmill to try and get blood back to your hands, throw on your mittens for a while, and so on, but it's nice to not have to go to extremes...and just ride. I'm not saying give up the aluminum bike, but minimizing heat transmission at your contact points makes a significant difference in my experience.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldbike View Post
    Even if the gain is marginal, I think it is worth it when it comes to Raynaud's sufferers and similar, if your rate of heat replenishment is practically nil, then what might go unnoticed by the average person might be very significant to then.
    You have piqued my interest in the data though.'
    Would be awesome to see some data.

    To the end of milking the last bit of warmth out of any bar/grip/pogie setup I'll share this, written a few years ago when my sweetie was heading up for her first crack at the ITI. Note that I snipped the ending so as not to impinge on your quasi spam!

    * * * * *

    We've already discussed core temps and feets. Hands are the last, most critical, and potentially most difficult. The foot system previously described does well because it's set and forget, and because you don't have prehensile toes: You aren't taking your shoes off to do fine tasks with your feet.

    Not so with hands -- you're using them constantly, and it's not possible to do every fine task (brushing teeth, changing a flat, replacing headlamp batteries, cinching straps -- to name but a few) with gloves or mittens on. Sometimes you have to go barehanded, and if the wind is up or it's just plain cold, that means your hands are numb before the task is complete.

    Often way before the task is complete: Pat Irwin and I learned this lesson repeatedly at -55* to -65* on the Yukon River, when our tubes kept cracking (not being cut, punctured, or pinched -- definitely cracking) from the cold and failing, and we kept having to stop to change them out.

    Our solution was to take turns: One person would stop and drop, pulling the wheel out of the bike, then starting to work the bead loose from the rim. By that time, because we were handling bare metal, our hands were already numb. So you'd hand the wheel to the other guy, then *run* 100 yards up the trail, and back, to generate some heat. By the time you'd returned *his* hands were numb. Then we'd switch, over and over, until the deed was done and we could start to move forward and generate some lasting heat.

    The problem was that even once moving again, we'd not really anticipated this problem, thus we had pogies on our bars but our grips were cold sinks: Pat had cheap kraton rubber grips. I'd taken the time to wrap my rubber grips in cork tape, but out of fear that the cork would come undone in the cold had wrapped that in hockey tape.

    Note to self: There is nothing warm, or insulative, or isolative, about kraton rubber *or* hockey tape. The hockey tape even developed a sheen of ice over the course of the trip, from when my infrequently warm hands perspired onto it. Awesome.

    After each extended break to fix a flat, our grip temps measured the same as the outside temp, and *nobody* has circulation good enough to push back -55* with just the blood that's making it to their hands.

    When that trip ended I knew I had other, bigger fish to fry riding in cold places, and I knew I had to develop a better system to keep hands on-line in the worst an Alaskan winter could offer. If I could keep my hands warm there, then I knew they'd be warm anywhere.

    After too many complicated and prone to failure (battery powered heated grips, anyone?) fits and starts I realized that the solution had to be simple. And what I came up with was, and is, simple: Neoprene.

    I've tried neoprene gloves and socks in both my riding and paddling career, and when used against my skin learned that they do two things simultaneously:

    -they make my extremities sweat profusely, and
    --they make my extremities colder than with almost any other material.

    Learning that was liberating, as it removed one potential option from the pile.

    But neoprene is such a good insulator, and when configured right (i.e the right kind of foam and backing) it doesn't absorb or transmit moisture. So instead of using neoprene gloves that I'd have to take off to do fine work anyway, I sewed a few crude grip covers out of neoprene foam I found in the scrap bin at a fabric store (see attachment below):


    Note that I even have a sleeve over the (cold!) rubber cover on my shifter. Also note that my brake levers are carbon. You don't use your brakes that often in the ITI, but when you *do* need them, if they're made out of metal, you'll emphatically notice how cold that metal is as your braking fingers go numb.

    Carbon doesn't transmit the cold -- but carbon levers aren't always possible. If you can't get carbon levers, then at least find a way to insulate them with neoprene.

    To this day, that's what I use. I used them on my self-supported trips in 2008 and 2010, and again on the South Route to Nome in 2013. Those are my grips pictured below, but Jeny has sewn herself a similar set and I think I saw her installing them yesterday.

    So that's what's *inside* my pogies.

    On my hands I wear basic summer riding gloves down to about -10*f. Below that I have a cheap ~$9 pair of gas station fleece gloves that keep my hands happy down to any temperature I've yet encountered in the Alaskan Interior in February. So to say, -60*f or so. Nothing else needed, as long as you have good pogies...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Article on keeping hands warm in winter - somewhat spam-screen-shot-2019-12-08-8.40.40-pm.jpg  


  23. #23
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    If you don't question it, then I won't think about it, so I feel it is worthwhile.
    I do own temperature measuring equipment, so if I can come up with a measurement technique that is reasonable, and applies to most conditions, then that may be data I can come up with. The hard part is that there are so few days below -20ļC, and electronics to record bar temperatures work so poorly at those temperatures.
    Even if the gain is marginal, I think it is worth it when it comes to Raynaud's sufferers and similar, if your rate of heat replenishment is practically nil, then what might go unnoticed by the average person might be very significant to then.
    You have piqued my interest in the data though.

  24. #24
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    Iím having good luck with silicone rubber brake lever covers. Had to adjust reach position of the levers a bit and get used to the different feel. Plus they are relatively inexpensive to buy and removable/reusable.
    I like bikes

  25. #25
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    I like ESI Extra Chunky grips on my fat bike in the winter. When I ride other bikes with thin hard grips they feel colder. I also use insulated lobster style mitts with heater packs and wool liners when it gets colder. Pogies would be easier system.

  26. #26
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    These brake lever covers help keep my brake fingers warmer (I have metal brake levers not carbon)

    https://www.amazon.com/Miles-Grips-B...0747T6GMX&pd_r

  27. #27
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    I was aware of that post, and I have referenced it several times. I had been wrapping my bars with heat shrink and insulation before that, but the an eye opener for me was when I re-floored my basement and noticed the difference between standing on the foam/plastic underlay and the concrete. It was then that I switched from neoprene, though it is well into the good-enough realm.
    That entire series is probably the best information that has ever been shared about the ITI. Just this weekend, my daughter and I slept out under a tree at -24ļC (-10ļF) very similarly to the system you describe in that series. I'd go so far as to encourage everyone to go look up "Jeny and the race". I feel my article is more general, and perhaps less applicable to racing. My upcoming foot article has a direct link to your "feets" section because in it you give a rock-solid set of instructions for any winter bikepacking over 3 days.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    . Of course, a lot of smaller things add up IME, so it's not just one thing. Foam grips, carbon bar, carbon brake levers or significant booties zip-tied (cut-off old glove fingers), grip-shift that allows my fingers to stay in contact with each other constantly, sealing off the pogie holes that result from the space between shifters and brake levers/perches. [snip]. Even relatively stupid stuff like a carbon seatpost and frame when you have to push the bike or handle it for some purpose when it's real cold. Sometimes pushing gets you warm, but sometimes you have to handle the bike for some other purpose and your hands get cold soaked real fast, putting them into the pogies doesn't instantly "make them warmer" or fix the issue. The alu frame is like grabbing liquid nitrogen comparatively. Of course, you can do things like jump up and down and windmill to try and get blood back to your hands, throw on your mittens for a while, and so on, but it's nice to not have to go to extremes...and just ride. I'm not saying give up the aluminum bike, but minimizing heat transmission at your contact points makes a significant difference in my experience.
    This plays into what Mike talked about in his article, I can see how even something as non-obvious as carbon rims or a carbon QR lever could help if you had to change a tire in serious conditions. And of course, there is always pushing, and often you can't keep your hands in pogies for that.

  29. #29
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    It got somewhat cold here the other day, subzero F temperatures with no wind. This thread has been in the back of my brain lately. I've been making some carbon tubes lately that are not related to bicycles. These tubes are thinner than what I'd use on a bike part. I let them chill (literally and figuratively) on the non-insulated part of my shop, I figured I'd give em a squeeze and compare it to a metal bar.

    Ok -- yes, there is a difference. However, cold is cold. What they both felt like was cold. With that in mind, I find the neoprene lining argument the most convincing, you want to interrupt that conductivity. I'm now convinced that the notion of marketing my carbon bars as inherently "cold bonus" doesn't feel honest enough for me to look someone straight in the face about it.

    What follows is a spammy question, if no one answers my feelings will go on un-hurt. Would anyone find it beneficial to have a bar that has a grip area that is deliberately undersized tube diameter such that the added thickness of neoprene insulation would reach a total of 22.2mm? Let's say you wanted 5mm of neoprene thickness, you'd double that figure and subtract from 22.2, meaning, a 12.2mm diameter grip area specifically at the hands, while transitioning to 31.8mm diameter at the stem. For such a small grip area to work and be strong, I imagine the carbon there would be more like a solid rod than a hollow tube.

    The reason I ask is that hand volume in a pogie is a finite thing, and while I like the neoprene idea I also dislike adding diameter. My hands are average sized, I merely have a preference for a lot of finger overlap.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

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