Winter riding gear

As much as I hate to use the ‘W’ word, I’m trying to figure out what kind of gear to have for winter riding, specifically for my legs. After finally breaking down this year and buying padded biking shorts I realized how awesome they are and how crappy things like jeans are for riding.

So, what should I look at getting?

I wear winter running / cycling tights under my normal mtb shorts.

Also I have a thermal long sleeve shirt that I got from Marks. As the weather gets colder I start adding layers, jerseys and fleece.

By February, I have long sleeve shirt, jersey, fleece sweater and wind breaker. And a buff around my neck or under my helmet.

I wear some “sport” long johns from marks work wear house and any pair of shorts. up top i wear a wife beater, a wool jersey and an outer wind layer. does me fine to about -5. after that i just huck another inner layer on. leave the house chilly. you’d be suprised how little you need. it only really sucks if you are on a ride with folks that take lots of breaks, you get cold as hell waiting for them.

you can also buy a pair of dickies work pants, cut them off to knickers and line them with flannel.

As you can tell this post was not sponsoered by Assos :slight_smile:

For the bottoms I picked up a fleece lined pair of rain pants… good at keeping the wind out. If really cold, a pair of long johns underneath does the trick.

I agree with the other posters about the upper body… layers of good synthetic (or wool) wicking material.

Hands are another issue to consider… there was a test review on the old site for heated handgrips but I like a good fleece glove.

Do you guys still wear your chamois/padded liner under all that?

Good topic. I would have been wondering the same shortly, but wasn’t ready to give up on summer yet…

What do people do for shoes and socks?

For shoes, either break down and get fancy winter cycling shoes or switch to a warm low cut hiking boot.

For me, hands is the biggest deal. Get a very nice pair of warm gloves, or do like me and buy heated gloves. Mmmmm

MEC “Lobster claw gloves” are awesome.

I second the layering, you can add and remove as necessary to be comfortable, sweating is a big problem if you’re out for a long time and it’s cold.

When I was commuting 365 days, I started with cycling shorts and added layers of long underwear or cycling tights with shorts over top or cycling rain pants for the worst days. My favorite long underwear, (I guess people call them ‘base layers’ nowadays) are Stanfield’s ‘superwash’ merino wool, if you go to the Stanfields factory in Truro they are only $10 instead of $50 at the stores.
I used my normal SPD shoes with a thin wool sock inside and added an “over the shoe” sock made by DeFeet and MEC rain booties for the most extreme cold, a good trick is to not do your shoes up as tight as you would in warm weather, it helps the circulation and allows you to wiggle your feet to warm them up.
For the body I used layers of cycling jerseys, long underwear tops, thin wool sweaters and a wind shell with lots of venting zippers.
I like the MEC lobster gloves too, but when it gets really cold I switch to snowmobile lobster gloves.
For the head I used all combinations of balaclavas and headbands and ‘dickies’ all made of synthetics, and I always carried a couple extra to change into when the ones I was wearing got too wet or iced up. Having a beard was good too.


This is a good tip too, if you’re warm before you start you’re going to be soaked with sweat in no time. I used to figure if I was cold for the first 10 minutes of riding I was dressed about right. But Always have an extra layer yo add just in case. Plus riding on the streets is almost always colder than being in the woods because of the wind.

For footwear I switch to flat pedals and wear my hiking boots. I’m not concerned about speed or efficiency as I am about keeping my feet warm, and dry. An added bonus is that I can get off and walk without having to worry about getting my cleats full of snow and ice.

That’s two votes for hiking boots. Flat pedals are cheaper than winter cycling shoes, so I’ll give that a shot. Thanks!

I have winter cycling shoes for my commuter / road bike. I could use them on a MTB as well as they are SPD, but I like the freedom of the flats a bit better than being clipped in, when on the icy paths.