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What to wear cold weather riding

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What to wear cold weather riding

Old 12-05-21, 01:32 PM
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Stateguy
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What to wear cold weather riding

What type of garments does everyone use for cold weather riding 10-30 degrees
Top and bottom for mountain bike riding
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Old 12-05-21, 06:22 PM
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Lots of info on this over in the Fat Bike sub-forum.
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Old 12-05-21, 10:50 PM
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Layers, layers layers. There is a big difference riding between 10 degrees and 30 degrees. For every five degrees colder I would adjust layers in some way (hands, feet, legs, torso, arms) with the outer layer always being wind resistant.
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Old 12-06-21, 05:53 AM
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I usually wear gloves, thermal underwear, a windbreaker, and a balaclava.
My position is to wear fewer layers of clothing
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Old 12-06-21, 08:58 AM
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Hands down the best bang for the buck in cold weather cycling pants. You will not find a better deal than these. They are warm, they are durable and they are a quality product. No need to spend $200 on pants. Just make sure to cross reference the size before ordering.

I own 3 pairs and 99% of the folks I fat bike with in the winter have the same pants. They are that good.

https://www.amazon.com/4ucycling-Win...s%2C206&sr=8-5

I have these two jackets. Which one I wear depends on the temperature.

https://www.amazon.com/ARSUXEO-Softs...8802787&sr=8-2

https://www.amazon.com/ROCK-BROS-Cyc...8802858&sr=8-8
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Old 12-06-21, 09:15 AM
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As many layers as required.
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Old 12-06-21, 11:30 AM
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The primary advice I have is that once you are dealing with below freezing temps, getting sweat moisture out is far more important than preventing water from getting in. I also find that I am wiling to give up some wind-proofing if it means moving more sweat out. Unless I am worried about it going above freezing and raining, hard shells are a big NO for me, I far prefer soft shells.

For a jacket, I use a Patagonia Softshell I have from my snowboarding days. It is un-insulated, and that is the only kind I want. I use layers for warmth.

For pants I really like my Endura Singletrack Trousers. Again, very breathable. Form fitting enough to not be flopping around, but roomy enough to wear thermal tights underneath if I need them.

When it gets that cold I also lose the clipless and go with flats as the shoes keep my feet warmer.
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Old 12-06-21, 01:55 PM
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Experimentation and ideally a selection of options to choose from... I thought I has a system nailed down while gravel riding and now MTB'ing I find I'm overdressed for the same conditions.

For me, the speeds are lower and exertion levels are a bit higher... so having windproof materials is less useful (generally hotter/sweat'er) and dressing less.

I have a mix of:
  • base-layer shirts (sleeveless, short sleeve and long sleeve) in poly and a short sleeve in wool
  • socks (thin poly, thin wool, medium wool)
  • bibs (undershorts, shorts, thermal tights and windproof thermal tights)
  • MTB over-shorts
  • long and short sleeve poly jerseys
  • long sleeve thermal jerseys
  • cycling jacket (thermal and windproof front/arms)
  • headband and skull cap
  • gloves (thinner, medium, windproof, etc..)
  • platform and clipless shoes
  • toe covers for clipless
So far the coldest I've ridden is 27-32* on a night gravel ride... what I wore: clipless shoes with toe covers, med wool socks, thermal bib tights, MTB over-short, wool short sleeve base, cycling jacket, headband, light/windproof gloves.

I was still getting a bit sweaty on my back and my toes started to freeze after 1.5 hrs. The clipless shoes are ventilated and very thin, so a whole shoe cover would have been better. That outfit, for me, I think would get me down to 15* MTBing with MTB shoes instead, skull cap vs. headband and windproof thermals tights.
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Old 12-06-21, 02:10 PM
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yeah riding in the upper 20s really isn't that bad but once you get under 20 is when I find I need to really prepare. Most of my winter riding gear is just close out winter running gear. For me the big thing is my feet, bad circulation. I have some lake cx145 winter shoes and I still use thick wool socks and chemical toe warmers. Start cold because once you start putting in some effort you heat up rather quickly, one of the few times of the years I'm happy to start with a climb. I have a couple pairs of merino wool thermal shirts of varying thicknesses, windbreaker, and a jacket and two pairs of thermal tights/pants, my legs really don't need much to stay warm. Most of the times I just get by with one or two of the thermal shirts and the feet stuff and maybe the light tights if in the lower 30s. Sometimes I'll throw on the windbreaker and take it off once I warm up, the jacket is thicker and annoying to stash in my pack than the windbreaker if I get too hot.
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Old 12-07-21, 10:08 AM
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For me, the key is making sure my feet are warm which means Red Wing boots (obviously flat pedals) and a balaclava and / or some form of cowling to keep my neck warm. Then, as some have said, layer with wool garments for my upper body.
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Old 12-17-21, 08:52 AM
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Fleece tights, long sleeve wool Jersey, wool socks, fleece vest, helmet liner under helmet, warm gloves.
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Old 12-17-21, 12:33 PM
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you might go down more often in the winter. when I was looking at protective equipment & clothing I saw that there are MTB shorts w/ hip padding. thought long & hard about those, cuz I'm getting older & I'm winding up on the ground more ... hehe

in general I strive for layers & venting. zip necks & pit zips are so helpful. it's a delicate balance protecting myself from the wind & cold but not overheating & making myself wet. if I get it right, I can sense the air movement thru my garments w/o feeling chilled. when I stop, I zip everything up until I get going again
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Old 12-17-21, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by OldRailfan View Post
As many layers as required.


but this is my max I actually strive for fewer. lately it's been 4. the last layer is a thin wind vest

Last edited by rumrunn6; 12-17-21 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 12-17-21, 01:22 PM
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Cotton tshirt, windbreaker, shorts, ski gloves down to 20F or so. Balaclava under 30. Once you get going you generate plenty of heat.
Hard part for me is feet. I've done the neoprene cover over mtb shoes, double socks. Bought a set of Shimano MW7 winter shoes, looking forward to trying this year.
I don't have much experience under 20.
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Old 12-21-21, 03:20 PM
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I agree with everything above EXCEPT...no cotton, particularly directly against your body. If you sweat at all, and you likely will a bit, it gets wet and stays wet which will make you colder. A quality base layer is important.
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Old 12-22-21, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Stateguy View Post
What type of garments does everyone use for cold weather riding 10-30 degrees
Top and bottom for mountain bike riding
good socks. i use wool blends plus wind protection
​i have shoe covers as well.
cover face, good gloves....gotta break the wind.
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Old 12-26-21, 08:02 PM
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[QUOTE=prj71;22330374]Hands down the best bang for the buck in cold weather cycling pants. You will not find a better deal than these. They are warm, they are durable and they are a quality product. No need to spend $200 on pants. Just make sure to cross reference the size before ordering.

I own 3 pairs and 99% of the folks I fat bike with in the winter have the same pants. They are that good.

Thank you for this recommendation. I am new to the sport and just getting equipped. Ordered a pair of the pants from first link to Amazon. Found them to be very well-made, warm and comfortable. And a good bit less expensive than other bicycle long pants I've seen. Note: The item description said to order one size larger for looser-fitting pants, which I did and worked out perfectly.

Edit: Someone sent me a PM asking what kind of pants they were, I couldn't post the link and couldn't respond to the PM since I'm new. This is item description off of Amazon:

4ucycling Mens Fleeced Windstopper Cycling Pants for Casual Outdoor and Multi Sports


Last edited by jcbadabing; 12-27-21 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 12-27-21, 08:47 PM
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If you don't have a merino wool neck gaiter and arm warmers, you should get them. They're probably the most-worn items in my winter riding wardrobe, whether it's 50 or 15. After that, it's all about layers and wind blocking. For both, I'm a fan of Smartwool -- tights, shirts, socks, beanies, gloves, etc.
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Old 12-28-21, 09:43 AM
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I can't wear 4ucycling brand clothing. tops or bottoms. I think they are made for a different body type. I have a "Dad bod". their materials felt nice, but the fit? nope! not on me!

if I recall bought double & triple XL tops & bottoms?
the pants fit but they were high waisted and the Islamic waist was weirdly too tight
the jacket fit but it was too skin tight around my belly & the elastic at the bottom was weirdly tight

Last edited by rumrunn6; 12-29-21 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 12-29-21, 12:19 AM
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No cotton, cotton is a poor layering choice. You want moisture wicking clothing not stuff that soaks it in because those layers will get cold as they got soggy from sweat and other moisture and potentially freeze leaving you colder. Layers are always important just leave the cotton for casual encounters not active wear. Also make sure you have layers that are easy to get off or vent especially towards the outside full zip stuff is nice so you can more easily get it off. If it is wet out spare gloves and socks are real nice and if you carry a saddle bag or something similar carry some surgical gloves with you not to keep the hands clean but to block wind and moisture from getting to your hands should you be in a situation where they will get real wet.
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