Whether you like it or not (and I do not), winter is just around the corner, so it’s time to bust out your cold weather mountain biking gear. While some mountain bikers may swap their tires for skis or a snowboard, others (like me) consider mountain biking a year-round commitment.
But riding in colder weather and on muddy trails does require a few extra pieces of weather-resistant gear to keep you warm and snug out on the trails. Thicker gloves, long riding pants, waterproof shoes, and a breathable jacket are all great winter mountain bike gear additions.
So if you’re headed out on some cold weather rides, read on to learn more about what to wear to keep the chill away.
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An insulated yet breathable jacket is an essential piece of gear for cold weather mountain biking. You want the jacket to keep you warm, but not get all sweaty and gross as you’re pounding up hills.
The hood is helmet-compatible and the jacket packs down small and stows in a back pocket for when the winter sun breaks through the clouds.
More insulated mountain biking jacket options:
If you’ll be riding in cold and wet weather, you’ll want a good waterproof jacket. The Fox Ranger 2.5 Layer jacket (men’s version) is fully waterproof and it’s designed specifically for mountain bikers. It’s also great for keeping cold wind from cutting your ride short.
The hood is compatible with most helmets and the drop back protects your rear from slush and mud. It also packs down small, so you can stash it in your pack for those ‘just in case’ days.
More waterproof riding jacket options:
For really cold days, the Kitsbow Tempest Thermal Tights (men’s) are a great piece of cold weather mountain biking gear for your winter wardrobe. They’re made from soft merino wool, which wicks away sweat and is very breathable so your legs don’t feel like they’re suffocating.
These tights do not have a padded chamois liner – they’re meant to be worn over your regular chamois. This also allows you to use them for other cold-weather pursuits like running or hiking.
More cold weather cycling tights:
These pants are highly breathable, but they still keep you dry in harsh conditions. They’re designed with extra water-proofing and durable material over the knees, rear, and calves and they have elastic cuffs at the ankles to keep the wet out.
More winter mountain biking pants options:
Fingers are the first thing that get cold when I’m riding in winter conditions. It’s no fun (not to mention the safety hazard) trying to make your way down a descent with fingers that can’t even feel the brake levers.
Thankfully, there are some great winter mountain biking gloves out there that have thicker insulation for cold days out on the trail.
My personal favorites are HANDUP Cold Weather gloves, which have a fleece layer inside to keep your hands nice and warm. They’re also touchscreen compatible and have a neoprene cuff to keep wet and cold out. Most importantly, though, the thumbs are designed with a huge snot cloth (which you know you need).
Endura recently launched their redesigned super lightweight Hummvee Waterproof II Socks and they’re awesome! If you plan on riding in cold, wet winter conditions, these socks are essential for keeping your toesies warm and dry.
Made with three different layers to keep wetness out while still being breathable, they are warm, waterproof, and durable even in the harshest of conditions.
Winter Mountain Biking Shoes
There are fully waterproof mountain bike shoes out there, but I recommend the Ride Concepts Hellion (men’s) instead. This shoe has a synthetic upper, which is water resistant but they also dry pretty quickly if your feet do get soaked.
More waterproof & resistant winter mountain biking shoes:
Cold Weather Mountain Biking Accessories
Depending on what temps and conditions you’re riding in, these cold weather mountain biking accessories can make your ride that much more enjoyable:
- A buff: these are great for keeping the chill off your neck. They can also be pulled up over your mouth.
- Skull cap: fits under your helmet and can prevent that painful brain freeze sensation.
- Neoprene booties: for clipess riders, these can help keep your toes toasty
- Bike light: in case you run out of that short-lived winter daylight!
- Insulated hydration tube: If you ride with a hydration pack or fanny pack, using an insulated hydration tube can prevent your water from freezing.
I hope this post helps you gear up for the winter so that you can ride all year round!
Do you mountain bike throughout the winter months? What are your cold weather mountain biking gear essentials? Let us know in the comments below!