Ultimate winter apparel for truly arctic rides

Right gear has more in common with traditional ski/snowboard wear

Apparel Helmets Shoes Winter Guide

Specialized RBX Dri-Release Merino Long Sleeve Jersey

Specialized RBX Dri-Release Merino Long Sleeve Jersey

This 84% polyester-11% merino wool jersey is a nice lighter weight long sleeve layer underneath all the heavy artillery outlined above. We like the understated (Rapha’esque?) look; there’s just one small Specialized logo on the back. It also has ample storage, including a small zipped breast pocket, three large rear pockets, and a rear zipped pocket with sweat-proof liner and media holes for a headphone cord. Fit is on the loose side, so size down if you like the snug look. Price: $160 | More info at www.specialized.com

Bar Mitts Extreme Mountain Pogies

Bar Mitts Extreme Mountain Pogies

I honestly prefer gloves when riding, but at a certain point a good set pogies is the only way to keep your hands warms. The Bar Mitts Extreme Mountains mount easily and do an amazing job of keeping your digits toasty no matter how cold it is. My hands have honestly been borderline hot even on sub-freezing days when wearing just a thin liner glove underneath. (You can unzip for a little ventilation.) The added benefit is that your ability to shift and brake is not compromised by thick mittens or gloves. One thing to be wary of is that in order to mount these Bar Mitts you must insert an expander plug into the end of your handlebars. However, many of today’s grips are one piece without a removable endcap. Best to keep a back-up set of grips with end caps on hand so you don’t have to cut a hole in your other grips. Price: $125 | More info at www.barmitts.com

Scott Tyrant Goggles

Scott Tyrant Goggles

Rare was it cold enough to justify goggle use during our test window, but in truly extreme weather situations they’re a great way to avoid a frostbitten eyeballs. The Scott Tyrant does that, plus it has an adjustable nose guard that adds a little more protection from Jack Frost. It’s also spec’d with what Scott calls RAM (as in revolutionary air management). Hyperbolic title aside, the over-lens opening helps keep these goggles from fogging up when you start to heat up. The lenses also have an anti-fog treatment, are impact resistant, and provide 100 percent UV protection. A silicone lined strap keeps everything in place and optics are tack sharp. Price: $72 | More info at www.scott-sports.com

Lazer Z1 Helmet with Aeroshell

Lazer Z1 Helmet with Aeroshell Cover

This is obviously not the intended use, but the hard plastic Lazer Aeroshell that fits overtop this Lazer Z1 helmet does a great job of keeping you warm by blocking wind and water. It also comes in a bunch of fun colors, including neon green, yellow and pink. And hey, who doesn’t want to be more aero when they’re fat biking. Price: $20 (Lazer Z1 helmet $270) | More info at www.lazersport.com

Bontrager Old Man Winter Shoes

Bontrager Old Man Winter Shoes

Last, but certainly not least, is our arctic footwear of choice. And while we loved the fit and performance of the Shimano MW7 Gore-Tex shoes featured here, when it came to staying warm and comfortable nothing else we tested came close to Bontrager’s Old Man Winter shoes (more like boots, actually). Perhaps our only issue is putting them on, which is a multi-step process that starts with pulling on the removable fleece lined bootie (which makes a great walk-around slipper if you end up at a backcountry hut). Next comes the shell, which has a taped and sealed zipper, two hook-and-loop Velcro closures, and a cinch cord at the ankle that collectively conspire to keep warm in and cold/wet out.

The middle-of-the-road 6 stiffness index means walking around is no problem. Heck, I even drove my manual transmission car with these on a few times. The one thing they are not, though, is light. Single shoe weight for a size 44 is 639 grams compared to 505 grams for the Shimano MW7 and 543 grams for the Specialized Defroster Trail featured here. But on days when the mercury is so low your water bottle freezes 10 minutes into your ride, warmth, not weight is the top priority. Price $300 | More info at www.trekbikes.com


About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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