This Fox Kit Was a Winter Mountain Biking Game Changer

Disappearing into the woods. Photo: IG @shadymcgrady89

When a package arrived from Fox in December, I came to a stark and sudden realization. I’ve been doing winter riding very, very wrong. In the past, I’ve gutted out sub-freezing temps with the same gear I wear in the dead of summer, plus maybe some tall socks and a sweatshirt. Doable? Absolutely. Fun? Hell no. That all changed when I laid eyes on Fox’s impressive new collection.

The system is anchored around the pants, which I’m reviewing along with several other pairs, but it also includes a jacket, long sleeve jersey, liner short, and cold weather gloves. If you’re tired of shivering but unwilling to put away the bike for the winter, read on.

Flexair Pro Fire Alpha Jacket

  • Polartec® Alpha® adaptable breathability
  • Intake vents on the chest and exhaust vents on the back
  • DWR coating
  • Zippered hand pockets
  • Cordura on wear zones
  • MSRP: $249.95 USD. Available from FoxRacing.com and other online retailers.

Fox’s Flexair Pro Fire Alpha Jacket uses the same Polartec fleece found in the Defend fire pants. It’s warm enough to really merit the “Fire” descriptor, and while the vents do a good job of breathing, it’s the full-length zipper that really helps you regulate your temperature. Unzipping is a must during steep climbs or any period of high exertion, and a quick zip back up will keep you from cooling off too much on descents.

Generous pockets offer room for fistfuls of snacks, full-sized burritos, or (if you don’t always think about food) you can bring the tools that usually go in your pack. If you’re wearing a traditional cycling jersey underneath the jacket, a side zip on the right will make it easier to access those back pockets, and it can also be used for additional ventilation on warmer days.

It should go without saying that the camo looks incredible, but there it is just in case.

Unzipped and ready to rip.

Defend Delta Jersey

  • Polartec® Delta™ fabric increases airflow to dissipate heat
  • Cordura™ knit sleeves for durability
  • MSRP: $89.95 USD. Available at FoxRacing.com.

The Defend Delta jersey is another garment powered by Polartec, whose Delta fabric is designed to wick moisture and dissipate excess heat. While nothing could keep me from sweating while pedaling a steep climb wearing the zipped-up Fire jacket, the Defend Delta did a good job of allowing moisture to evaporate during a quick rest at the top.

I haven’t had any major spills so I can’t really speak to the durability of the jersey, but the Cordura sleeves feel like they’ll hold up to some abuse. Whether that’s on the trail or in the washing machine remains to be seen.

Tecbase Liner Short

  • Pro chamois
  • Silicon thigh grippers
  • Premium 4-way stretch Italian mesh
  • Taped seams
  • MSRP: $129.95 USD. Available from FoxRacing.com.
Photo: Fox Racing

Out of all the assorted items from Fox, the Tecbase Liner short might be the piece of gear that most exceeded my expectations.

The Fox website says the liner shorts are made from “Premium 4-way stretch Italian mesh.” I didn’t realize the Italians were so well known for the inimitable quality of their mesh, but grazie to them because it feels incredible. Construction details like the wide, stretchy waistband and super low-profile seams help these liners take comfort to a whole new level. This isn’t just the most comfortable liner short I’ve ever worn — it’s the most comfortable undergarment, period.

I haven’t been able to test out the quality of the pad on an all-day death march, but initial impressions gleaned from two+ hour rides have been very positive. Well done, Fox.

Ranger Fire Glove

  • Water resistant suede palm
  • Brushed fleece interior
  • Silicon grips on thumb and first two fingers
  • Nose wipe on thumb
  • Touchscreen compatibility
  • Extended cuff
  • MSRP: $35.95 USD. Available from FoxRacing.com.
The silicone grip strips offer plenty of control.

Your hands play a big role in your riding experience. Whether you’re shifting, braking, or just hanging on, biking is a lot harder when you can’t feel your fingers. The fleece insulation in the Ranger Fire glove helps keep cold temperatures at bay, and the extended cuff makes it easy to eliminate gaps between your shell and the glove. Throw in a snot wipe on the back of the thumb and you’ve got pretty much everything you need in a glove.

It’s been a relatively mild winter here in the mountains of North Carolina, but the Ranger Fire gloves kept my hands plenty warm down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to brag, but I’ve got pretty good circulation. Keeping extremities warm can be a personal battle, so your mileage may vary.

Final thoughts

Thanks to some smart designs and quality fabrics, Fox has been able to put together quite a kit. I would rock it for the camo alone, but the truth is that these are technical garments. Each piece has a job, and they do it well. It might be difficult for some folks to justify the price tag, but an investment in this kind of gear largely depends on where you live. If you’re in a climate that gets cold but not quite frosty enough to dust off the skis or board, some winter riding gear could be a small price to pay to add months to your biking season.

⭐️ Find all this gear and more at FoxRacing.com.

Thank to Fox Racing for providing these items for testing and review.

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