Winter riding layering questions

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Winter riding layering questions

Viewing 11 reply threads
  • Author
    • #290600

      So fairly new to mtb( first full year down).
      What are the esstineals you need for winter riding setup?
      Are a wind blocking vest more valuable that thermal layer.

      This weekend started to get cold. And trying find so feedback to make a good winter kit.


    • #290604

      I usually ride till about 35-37 degrees. I wear shorts, long sleeve shirt (plaid/flannel), a wind shirt, gloves.

    • #290627

      I haven’t got it figured out just yet but my toes and fingers seem to be the hardest to keep warm. If I am riding my legs and arms and chest tend to warm up and stay warm. Windbreaker goes a long just cutting cold and holding body heat in. I would suggest good winter riding gloves. I have not discovered what works for me yet. Hope my fails help you find success.

      Recently had a discussion with the group I ride weekly with about what the cutoff temperature is for each of us. The consensus was that down to 40 is pretty easy to put an extra layer on and heavier gloves and stay warm. Below 40 is where you need a bit more. Not sure how cold it gets where you are. If it doesn’t dip much below 40 may not need much.

    • #290628
    • #290697

      I typically do not ride below 40F. When it gets cold, I wear minimalist gloves, and snug fitting thermal shirt a good fitting long sleeve wind/rain proof pullover. I always ride in shorts.

    • #290706

      Were I live, winter mornings  are about 15 degrees F at about 9:00 AM.  To ride at that temperature, I would be wearing thick socks, tights with chamios, tights without chamios, baggy shorts, 3 medium weight long john tops, wind breaker, heavy gloves, and a balacava.  As the day warmed up, I would be removing layers starting with the wind breaker and switching the heavy gloves for lighter breathable gloves.  When the temperature reaches a high of about 40 degrees F at about 4:00 pm I would be wearing only the socks, tights with chamois, 1 long john top and light gloves.  The key is to have multiple thin layers that you add or remove as needed so that you don’t get too cold or too hot.   For long slow climbs, I would peel clothes off.  For long fast descents, I would add clothes.

      The key is to only use the non-breathable layers, the wind breaker and the heavy gloves, when absolutely necessary.  At all times,  you want to avoid getting soaked with your own sweat.  So don’t hesitate to remove layers.  Wear the breathable layers as much as possible so that you stay dry.  Only add the windbreaker and the heavy gloves when you have every other piece of clothing already on (including the balacava) and you’re still not warm enough.

      Yeah, it’s a lot of gear and a lot of trouble!  But, having this gear allows me to ride year round.

    • #290708

      Like m.krupp, my biggest challenge is keeping my fingers and feet warm in colder weather (0-30°F).  The fingers are an easy fix.  I just wear a pair regular warm winter gloves and slide them into bar mitts.  Bar mitts are amazing.  For my feet I have to wear a warm pair of boots and warm socks.  Then I have to make sure that the circulation to my feet is in no way cut off.  For my legs I just wear a pair of warm bike pants and long or short spandex depending on the temps.  For the upper body, if temps are in the mid to upper twenties, I just wear a few wicking summer tees (one with long sleeves) and a windbreaker/rain jacket over top.  As temps get colder, I add on a true thermal layer and ultimately a coat.  For my head I vary between just a thin hood and ear muffs to a full ski mask.

    • #290716


      Here you go. Can’t go wrong with these guys. I have used their gear in minus 23 and felt warm

    • #290721

      Merino wool socks and shirt. Below 30 I wear a mid weight shirt, above light weight. The socks are essential, espically if anything is wet. Stepping thru a frozen stream my feet didn’t get cold. ALWAYS wear breathable layers if any hill climbing is involved.

    • #290815

      I would say wind blocking is more importing than base layer down to a point, then you really need both.  And the tips on wool socks, and breathable base layer are invaluable.

    • #291759

      I agree with Alvin about wind blocking being important. I know I’m a little late to the party here, but I’d like to offer up my strategy for staying warm…. (First should be noted, I ride in Texas, and I usually don’t ride below 35 degrees)


      1. If Its not a ride that needs knee pads, I really like insulated lycra biking pants. There might be a better name/term for them, but I basically went to the bike shop and that’s what I asked for. Anyway, keeps your legs warm through almost anything, but problematic if you wanna wear pads. If its not super cold, just wear normal biking pants and knee pads, and that will block most of the cold air from your legs.

      2. I like to wear a hoodie, obviously the colder it is the thicker the hoodie, with maybe an underarmor long sleeve shirt (like a rash guard), or some kind of moisture wicking shirt underneath. This combo serves me well for keeping me warm once the riding starts and my blood gets flowing.

      3. The rest is just obvious little things, full finger gloves, and cycling shoes that are insulated and water resistant. Full face helmet can help keep your face warm too 😉

      IMO, the really cold days are the best time to tackle the most physically demanding rides. You don’t have to worry about overheating, and if you dress right you can essentially recycle your own body heat.

    • #292005

      Keeping the core warm is the easy part. Digits, well, that’s another issue all its own, seemingly! Ugh…

      I have low blood pressure so digi-chill is a major concern.

      Layering is the way to go with balmy temps. (20f+) Keep the layers fairly light as heat buildup occurs quickly with moderate to fast pace riding

      Mitts: using full finger gloves is the way to go. Eventually, a collection of several pair turn up in the bin. Various insulation values is key.

      Toes! Freakin toes… Since I ride platform pedals exclusively, a pair of shoes with a little extra room for more insulation is good. Too tight, insulation cannot trap air and be efficient

      For clipless riders, Lake 303 or similar is a winter specific ride shoe used by lotsa fatbikers for very low temps. 45Nrth also has a lineup of boots but they are costly. (Think mountaineering boot price range)


Viewing 11 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.