Pacific Northwest Deep Winter Gear Review - 10 Suggestions to Beat the Chill

Jan 11, 2013 at 0:07
Jan 11, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Words: Colin Meagher
Photos: Colin Meagher/Paris Gore


Winter riding cold dark and wet.

bigquotesMy true love is epic XC and AM rides, and my riding starts in late fall for the simple reason that, during the World Cup race season, I don't have much time to go mountain biking. My riding season really starts in November and I live in Seattle, which means cold, dark, and wet. This is not arctic weather riding - generally we're talking mid 30s to high 40s Fahrenheit (3 to 10 Celsius). Based on that temperature range, the wet, and the dark, I tend to keep my ride times around two to three hours. Consequently, the gear I've tested and suggested here is for these conditions.
- Colin Meagher




Endura Pro Skull Cap: $30

Pure and simple, you’ll lose more heat out of your head than anywhere else. Stuffing a wool hat under your helmet is not the solution; it’s uncomfortable and your helmet will fit so poorly as to be worthless. So do yourself a favor and invest in a skull cap. Sure, you may feel (and look) as if you’ve placed a condom on your head, but it’s basically invisible once your helmet is on and it will keep you toasty warm.

It may feel as if you ve placed a condom on your head but a skull cap is the best way to retain heat in cold miserable riding conditions.

Endura's Pro skull cap offers toasty warmth for one of the body's most oft-neglected appendage.



If there’s one piece you should have in your arsenal of bad weather riding gear, a skull cap is it. I particularly like the Endura Pro skull cap for its minimalist fit. There’s absolutely no bunching under the helmet. Additionally, the seams are flat stitched to avoid skin irritation. There are waterproof/windproof panels over the ears—a nice touch. These are mated to breathable Thermolite panels over your noggin, which allow for a near perfect balance between keeping you warm without overheating.
Endura





Ibex Woolies 150 Sleeveless Base-layer: $60

It only takes one frozen ride to realize that you need to layer up to stay warm out there. And it only takes one miserably wet ride with cotton to realize that cotton is not the item to layer up with. Artificial fibers will wick well, but get mighty funky in short order. A switch to Merino wool, however, will do you wonders: it wicks, it doesn’t stink, and it’s amazingly comfortable next to skin.

The Ibex Woolies Merino Wool baselayer is incredibly comfortable. Merino Wool is prized for its ability to wick most wool won t as well as it s next to skin softness--Merino Wool fibers are generally finer than 24 microns in diameter this allows the wool fibers to bend against the skin making for a luxurious and soft next to skin feel vs. coarser wool fibers that poke into the skin irritating it. Additionally all seams on the the Ibex baselayer are flat stitched to take advantage of the fiber s soft feel. The lanolin that naturally occurs in wool has proven anti-bacterial properties that contribute to a distinct lack of funk after a hard day s ride. Additionally Merino wool is durable with proper care a merino wool baselayer piece should last for a couple years.

Merino Wool is prized for its ability to wick (most wool won't). Merino Wool fibers are generally finer than 24 microns. This allows the wool to bend against the skin for a luxurious and soft feel.



Ibex is not the only manufacturer out there offering a Merino wool solution, but they are one of the few utilizing environmental responsibility throughout every step of their process, from sourcing the wool to manufacturing their products. It’s a sound investment in staying warm, and for any cool weather outdoor activity, not just mountain biking. I found the fit and performance of the Ibex wool base-layer to be everything I’ve come to expect in a merino wool piece. It never itched - merino wool is so fine that unless you have a raging wool allergy, it should never aggravate your skin. It never, ever got body funk stink, even on a multi-day riding trip where it was my only base-layer piece. In short, it was a perfect, “put it on and forget about it” piece.
Ibex





About Cold-Weather Gloves...

bigquotesBeing cold on a ride sucks. But having cold hands will make a sucky ride absolutely miserable: you can't feel trail input through your handlebars, which makes for clumsy bike handling, and having popsicles for fingers means you can forget about brake modulation. All it takes to change that picture is a good pair (or two) of proper cold-weather riding gloves. Not ski gloves, either, but gloves designed for lever and bar feel as well as cold and crappy conditions. I wish I could offer a single solution for happy digits, but sadly, I cannot. For the warmer end of winter riding conditions in the Pacific Northwest, I tested the Royal Racing Mercury Glove. For downright chilly conditions, though they simply weren't quite enough for the worst days, I opted to test the Dakine White Knuckle Gloves. Choose whichever you feel best matches the riding conditions you will face.



Royal Racing Mercury Glove: $45


Cold wet and windy The Royal Mercury makes a great riding glove for temperatures ranging from 40F to 48F 5C to 9C particularly when the wind is blowing. The water resistant windproof back is just enough while the silicon grippers on the palms and the fingers keep your hands secure on the brakes and bars no matter how sloppy out it is.

Royal Racing's Mercury gloves feel like performance gear while managing to fend off temperatures above 40F.



For temperatures down to 40 or so degrees F (5 C), the Royal Racing Mercury Gloves were great. I found Royal’s fit chart to be bang on - the added bulk of insulation in winter gloves can frequently make the standard fit inaccurate; but the Mercury gloves had almost no bulk to them for a “just right” fit that allowed good blood circulation and great lever and handlebar feel. As a result, time and time again I found myself going for “just one more lap”. Additionally, the hook-and-loop closure was nice and secure, and Royal has thoughtfully added a molded Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) tab to assist in pulling on the gloves. Grip on both the bars and brakes was great too, thanks to silicone grippers on the fingers. The key ingredient for making the Mercury gloves worthy was the use of a windproof, water resistant material for the back of the hands and fingers. All in all, a great cool-weather glove for more moderate winter conditions. As for durability, I have used these gloves nearly every day for over a month with zero issues.
Royal Racing


Dakine White Knuckle Glove: $38

Dakine White Knuckle Gloves are perfect for when it gets just cold enough that you really really want something more than the Royal Mercury gloves. The key is the 100 grams of Thinsulate insulation.

Dakine's White Knuckle glove is a better choice for temperatures near freezing.



When the thermometer dipped below 40F (5C), I opted for the Dakine White Knuckle Gloves - the 100 grams of Thinsulate material used in these gloves did wonders for keeping my grimy mitts warm when the temps were too low for the Royal gloves. Another great thing about Dakine is that the designers are riders - a comforting thought when the trees are groaning overhead, the rain’s coming in sideways and you know it’s gonna be an awesomely miserable day. Overall, the White Knuckle gloves were solid performers. Like the Mercury gloves, the White Knuckle fit is accurate. They also feature a thin artificial suede palm for excellent handlebar feel and gripper silicone on the brake fingers. Durability wise, I’ve used mine intermittently since December of 2011 with zero issues.
Dakine





Royal Racing Signature Shorts: $120

Royal Racing has been around since 1998 when Steve Peat and Nick Bayless were both fed up over a lack of well-designed MTB clothing - it was all converted MX gear or lycra back then, and either too bulky or too fragile. In short order, Royal Racing was created, and to this day, the mantra of of “Made by MTB riders for MTB riders” holds true. Their Signature short is a key piece that saw 15 months of development - including input from enduro hard man Mark Weir. They wanted a bridge between a DH race short and a trail riding short: baggy, but not too baggy, long enough to cover knee pads, and durable enough for all-day riding in technically challenging conditions.

The Royal Signature Short this has quickly become the short for me. They breath well they have a bomber beltline fastener with snaps and a clip waist tab adjusters for a custom fit are water resistant yet breathable at the same time. Plus--knock on wood--they have as yet to hook my saddle in technical terrain or on steep trails.

The Royal Signature Short: this has quickly become "the" short for me. They breathe well, and they have yet to hook my saddle in technical terrain or on steep trails.



The heart of the signature short is a lightweight, supple-yet-robust fabric that breathes well and dries quickly. The waist can be custom fit with hook-and-loop tabs on the outside of the short. Further, they are bar-tacked at all critical seams to prevent blow-outs, and have a DWR treatment for keeping the elements at bay. There are five pockets - three of these zip shut, and one is a waterproof stash pocket for whatever needs to stay dry. Last, the shorts come with a removable chamois-liner short. Overall, the shorts are damn good. They fit well, are incredibly comfortable, weigh nothing, breathe well, and have kept me mostly dry. I’ve only been wearing them for six weeks, but so far they’ve been absolutely mint in everything from warm weather desert riding in Nevada to miserably wet riding in Seattle. The liner short is a bit looser than some I’ve worn, but the chamois itself is comfortable - zero chafing on multiple rides. They are another “put it on and forget about it” item.
Royal Racing





Race Face Ambush Knee Guard: $85

For technical AM and high speed XC trails on wet, slippery roots and rocks, I think of knee guards as cheap health insurance. Plus, they function like knee warmers to keep that vulnerable joint warm in the winter months - a time when my normally slippery roots and rocks are laced with water and ice. There are a number of knee guards available for trail riding, but the Raceface Ambush guards top my list, thanks to the thoughtful strap system that allows them to be put on without removing one’s shoes - a nice touch in winter. Raceface utilizes D3O padding in the Ambush, too - an impact-absorbing gel that remains soft and pliable unless struck. That gel does the bulk of the protection, but the guard has additional foam on the sides for some side-strike protection.

What makes the Raceface Ambush so good is the custom fit and being able to put on and remove the pad without removing one s shoes key in winter weather.

What makes the Raceface Ambush knee so good for sloppy riding is being able to put on and remove the pad without removing one's shoes.


I’ve found the Raceface Ambush Guards to be a great addition to my riding gear. The strap system and cup shape over the knee keep the guard in place when pedaling and whenever I’ve gone off the bike. The Ambush guards are surprisingly comfortable; even during long pedal fests in the rain, they never chafed. To be honest, they are so comfortable that I generally forget I have them on 30 seconds into my ride. Even more important, though, is that the D3O functions as advertised: they totally saved my ass in more than one crash. The only nitpick I can make is that they don’t ventilate as well as I had hoped, but given the comfort and the protection level, I’m OK with that.
Raceface





Sockguy Wooligan Wool Sock: $13

Wool socks are wool socks, right? Nope. The right sock for winter riding can’t be too thin (for obvious reasons) but even more importantly, you don’t want it to be too thick - cramming a fat foot into your shoe will impede blood flow, turning your feet into blocks of frozen tundra. And the sock has to be durable enough to withstand continual exposure to mud. That constant grind is like having little knives sawing away at the places where your socks meet your shoes.

Sock Guy Wooligan Socks. Low profile but just the right amount of insulation for all but the coldest riding days around Seattle and Bellingham.

Sock Guy Wooligan Socks: Low profile, but just the right amount of insulation for all but the coldest riding days.



Sockguy Wooligan socks fit that perfect place between too thin and too thick - Goldilocks would approve. Plus, they have proven to be good for the long run. I’ve had a pair in regular winter use for two years with no issues. They are a low-key, no-frills sock compared to some of the other offerings by Sockguy, but winter riding is hard on gear, so it is the ultimate no-frills riding season in my book. Low key is fine by me. I found the Wooligans to be a great crap-weather riding sock. They machine wash just fine and the poly/wool blend means that they handle the dryer just fine, too. Mine are the originals, which feature a four-inch cuff. The new version, the ‘Mr Black Sox,’ offers a six inch cuff for a little extra warmth on your shins.
Sockguy





Bellwether Convertible Jacket: $90

Core body heat management is key in winter. Everyone tends to favor a different garment for this. Personally, I prefer a breathable outer shell with some water repellency, but I tend to avoid completely waterproof shells as I find that they simply do not breathe enough for my needs; after all, if it’s “raining” in my shell more than it is outside, what’s the point? Sometimes I favor a jacket, especially for descents, but more frequently, I favor a vest for its core heat-retention and breathability when pedaling hard. Bellwether makes a handy convertible jacket with removable sleeves that solves both needs.

The Bellweather Convertible Jacket weather resistant with a wind flap inside the zipper a snug fit and removable sleeves for those times when a jacket is too much but the jersey isn t quite enough.

The Bellwether Convertible Jacket, with removable sleeves for those times when a jacket is too much, but the jersey isn't quite enough.


The convertible jacket isn’t exclusive to Bellwether, but its lightweight shell - more a wind shell than a rain shell - is exactly the thing I’ve found to work for me. The fit in the shoulders of the size large was a hair snug with a jersey and a base-layer on, but not uncomfortable. The zip-on, zip-off sleeves were easy to use, but the only bummer was having to remove the vest to zip the sleeves on. Performance on the trail was pretty much exactly what I wanted, though, it breathed well, shed water adequately, and kept in just enough warmth that by the time I got cold, I was ready to call it quits anyway. The water resistance wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped for, but a quick treatment with Nikwax solved that. For most winter riding conditions, short of constant rain or a hard deluge, this is a great piece of gear. However, if you are riding in a continual downpour, you will be better served picking up a dedicated hard-shell.
Bellwether





Night Lighting Systems...

bigquotesFrom November to March, between either work or school, daylight riding generally means weekends only. So if you're jonesin' for dirt, an investment into a set of riding lights is the only way to go. And nowhere in bike gear is there a more obvious 'you get what you pay for' example than the disparity between budget and quality night-riding lights. A commuter light may get you around the trails, but it's a bit sketchy, to say the least. A set of quality riding lights, on the other hand, will not only last for years, but will provide enough light that sundown will never mean the end of your ride. Personally, I prefer both a handlebar mount and a headlamp. But since decent lights are not cheap, if I had to choose one or the other, I'd go with a handlebar light over a headlamp for the simple reason that, with a bar mounted light, I can see contours in the trail better. This means that not only can I see an obstacle, I can tell how big that obstacle is. I can't do that with a headlamp - when the main source of light is in line with one's eyes, it tends to flatten the landscape out, making it harder to determine how tall trail obstacles are. The downside to running only a bar light is that you can't look around tight corners. But if you combine the two, then you get the best of both worlds.



Light & Motion Lighting Systems: Seca 1700 Race - $469, Stella 300 - $149


Brighter than God the Light Motion combo of the Seca 1700 Race and the Stella 300. It s the ultimate night riding set up for the darker months. The lights are compact and both the lights and the batteries are easy to mount to bike or helmet.

The Light Motion combo of the bar-mounted Seca 1700 Race and a helmet-mounted Stella 300 is the ultimate night riding set up for the darker months.



I found that the bar-mount Seca 1700 Race system threw a ridiculous amount of light; I mean, it was nothing short of impressive. I barely needed the lower-powered helmet-mount Stella 300 for supplemental illumination. However, the Stella was a lifesaver on a couple of steep trails, allowing me to accurately negotiate tight switchbacks with ease. Additionally, the designers at Light & Motion have handlebar and helmet attachment dialed. I was able to have lights on my bike and my lid in five to six minutes. The Achilles' heel of night riding is run time - operating the systems at full power means only 90 minutes of play on a charge and a cold night out if you lose track of time. The Seca 1700 had three different power settings, allowing me to save battery power by running low illumination options on climbs (or just using the Stella 300), and then switching to max power for full tilt boogie descending. By mixing and matching power options during my rides, I never once ran out of juice - even on a couple of longer (three-plus hour) excursions.
Light & Motion





Osprey Syncro 20 Pack: $120


Osprey would seem to be the new kid on the block for bike packs, having started making hydration packs only in 2009. Owner/lead designer Mike Pfotenauer designed his first pack at age 16 and founded Osprey Packs in 1974 in Santa Cruz, CA. Now their headquarters are in Cortez, Colorado, where they have ready access to a plethora of trails for testing. The Syncro Pack from Osprey is lightweight, streamlined, and has a ventilated harness - just the thing for all-day trail epics. The pack comes in three variations based upon storage volume: 10 liter, 15 liter, and 20 liter. All three feature a 100-denier triple-Ripstop 'High Tenacity' nylon body, a Lidlock helmet clip, a three-liter hydration bladder, a variety of pockets for storage, and mesh side pockets for quick-stash items. Notable details are Osprey’s magnetic sternum buckle for holding the bite-valve, and an integrated rain cover that was a key selling point for me. I opted to test the Syncro 20, reckoning that while it has a LOT of cargo space, it also comes with compression straps, allowing me to streamline the fit of the pack in the event I wasn’t maxing its capacity. It has a main gear compartment, a smaller pouch for important gear like phones and wallets, as well as medium and a small-ish zippered stash pockets for tools, etc. The rain fly unfurls from its own zippered pouch on the underside of the pack.

Definitely a pack for wet weather The rain fly works well and the pack itself is capable of swallowing as much gear as you are willing to carry. The magnetic clip on the sternum strap keeps the hose exactly where you want it.

Definitely a pack for wet weather! Osprey's rain fly works well, and the pack itself is capable of swallowing as much gear as you are willing to carry.


The Syncro 20 is a great fitting, great performing pack. It swallowed all of my regular riding gear and begged for more. However, for such a voluminous pack, it didn’t present itself as large or unwieldy. Rather, it fit snugly to my back. The rain fly kept the contents of my pack dry during multi-hour rides. It deployed quickly and easily, yet it still allowed ready access to the pockets when needed. The magnetic bite valve holder works surprisingly well - I kept expecting the hose to break free and start flopping around on aggressive trails, but it never did.

I used this pack in the sun-drenched deserts of the American Southwest as well as the rain soaked forests of the Pacific Northwest and in all conditions, the biostretch harness and airspeed suspension worked to keep me well ventilated. I deliberately stuffed the proverbial kitchen sink into the Syncro and found the harness up to snuff, even when charging more aggressive trails with ledgey drop offs or extended root lines. I can only make two nitpicks on this pack: First, the 20-liter version will be too much pack for most riders. The 15-liter version is a much more practical pack as the 20-liter offers the kind of cargo space typically required for adventure racing, overnights, or for trail-guides on an all-day gig. Secondly, Osprey offers convenient stash pouches on its Zealot pack's shoulder straps that are missing from the Syncro. A similar stash-pouch would allow access to tools and food without removing the pack - and would make an otherwise great pack into a nearly perfect one.
Osprey


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114 Comments

  • + 122
 This is awesome! pinkbike should focus on more specific reviews like this instead of product picks (which are still good). They could do one for hot weather riding, or bike parks or long rides. I think it would please a larger crowd.
  • + 27
 $30 for a skull cap? Robbing bastards. I paid £2 for mine from decathlon. I wear it every day at work and on the trail (yes it gets washed) its mint, my heads always warm and you forget it's there!
  • + 10
 I got a free dmr bikes beany with MBUK a few months ago - happy days !
  • - 14
 OK, now cut the budget in half (forget the lights) and give us something regular people would actually buy.
  • + 12
 @halforange, this is just giving you ideas. Skull caps are very effective, you don't have to buy that exact one. Same for the merino wool base layer, I recently picked one up half price, which is surely cutting the budget in half like you suggest? Shop around?
  • + 1
 I use a camelbak nomad. It's mint, no movement and the fit is perfect
  • + 5
 I agree PB should do more area specific product reviews.
  • + 1
 I totally agree, was gonna suggest a Phoenix edition of this article in 6 months!
  • - 2
 Anything else you want to half?
  • + 13
 The number of rainy days in the PNW?
  • + 3
 Bet we have more.. :')
  • + 6
 I want a product review for riders under a tight budget. I call it the "bang for your buck budget". Spend as little as possible to get a decent quality.
  • + 0
 Actually Seattle averages more precipitation than London... Cool to see more specific reveiws! Those royal signature shorts looks sweet.
  • + 8
 You know it's funny, just an observation here: People moan and groan about the price of gear. They want reviews of less expensive stuff. But when it comes to parts... the budget stuff gets slammed, we want reviews of the cream of the crop. The best thing I ever did for my riding was learning to invest in being properly dressed for it. Good shoes, good pads, good helmets, comfortable shorts and moisture wicking materials... make me a better rider. Even down to the socks I wear. I ride just about all year long and I live in New England so it's not always a simple task. Invest in this stuff. It will transform your experience.
  • + 2
 If anyone is looking merino kit is very cheap on On One at the moment, just got a top myself and its awesome

www.on-one.co.uk/c/q/clothing/merino_2013
  • + 1
 Also the Mountain hardware windproof beanie with a thin line of fleece type material around the edge works well too, its only $18ish...
  • + 1
 I can't give enough praise to what Ibex are doing and how well their gear performs. They constantly have a fresh lineup, AWESOME sales on their website, great discounts for customers, no questions, lifetime return. They source much of their wool from humanely treated sheep, they are moving wool manufacturing on shore as we speak (mostly in NZ atm), most of their range is quality made in the U.S.A., Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, Fiji, Indonesia. When it comes to wool, you get what you pay for. Good wool is expensive. However, it will last forever, you barely ever have to wash it (seriously, weeks can go by, wearing the same shirt and underwear. I've been in the bush and done this). It feels f*cking awesome on your bits (balls and fanny), you don't get chaffed and sweaty, you don't reek after a ride. Anyway, you get the point. Please check out Ibex, their mission, and if you agree, try them out.
  • + 2
 @wavo that's London, there's not much good biking in London. Try average rainfall in Wales/Peak District/Scotland then see who comes on top Razz
  • + 3
 London isn't 'the uk'. Unfortunately London is well below the national average for rainfall. I say unfortunately because those of us based anywhere north, or west, of the midlands generally gets soaked on a regular basis. I can't remember the last time I got a ride in up here where I didn't need to hose the bike and myself off after!

As for gear, Darkstar is on the money; people bemoan the lack of cheap product reviews but complain when they actually get put in and instead long for the high end product reviews! There's a balance to be struck, but sometimes it can be difficult because so many riders want something specific to them. With such a diverse range or riders, riding and locations, it's definitely a challenge as you're never going to please everyone.

As for gear, while some riding clothing is good despite being cheap, it's very much a case of you get what you pay for in so many situations. Look at any sport and the best costs exponentially more than the cheap, but nothing makes your sport more pleasurable than the right gear! Riding in 30C+ with the right breathable layers can be a breeze, as can -20C night rides, but you need the right gear, there's no escaping that unfortunately. My average winter riding gear is certainly not cheap, but it means that I have no qualms in heading out on the bike, no matter what the weather.
  • + 1
 I'm sure no one would moan and groan if you labeled it correctly. Something like "a review of equipment for those with a shoestring budget..." I love reading about the latest and greatest equipment. I'm not complaining. I enjoyed this review and other reviews of high end products but as long as people are putting in plugs for reviews they want to see, ill put in mine as well.

I completely understand the "you get what you pay for" or how you have to 'invest' to get the right equipment for the job. But at the same time if I can save some money by buying something heavier that performs well, or durable but a little ugly or something along that lines, Ill cut my losses and move on. The key is knowing where to invest and where to sit back and that's individual. I think we all do that to some extent.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Nitpick:

It is a myth that you lose more heat through your head than anywhere else.

Certainly, if looking to stay warm, covering as much of your body as possible is important. Also, the brain is less tolerant to operating at extreme temperatures than other parts of the body.

However it simply isn't true that more heat is lost through the head.
  • + 5
 Eg If you stick your hand in a freezer in a relatively warm room, you're gonna get pretty damn cold.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 RC - I'm not sure if you are aware but there are now numerous cheap lights out there with high power outputs as an alternative to the branded options you suggest. In my opinion the 'you get what you pay for' comment is incorrect.

I have 2 lights - 1 is a British made light that retails at £275, the other made in China and currently retailing at less than £30. Both outputs are relatively similar (theoretical 900lm I believe) - more than enough for night riding. Yes, the British light is better made and the light quality slightly better, but it is not 9 times better. When I last looked you can now get Chinese lights rated to a theoretical 3000lm for £35, so more powerful than the L&M lights you recommend.

Yes, the cheap lights will eventually break, but at their current prices I can buy many more and still save significantly. I genuinely want to buy local (in my case UK) but can't afford/justify the premium.

One tip I have is that you do need 2 lights or at least a cheap torch as a backup - if you do break a light in the middle of nowhere it'll be a tough trip back in the pitch black. It doesn't half get dark under tree cover!
  • + 4
 Just to clarify - more expensive lights are better, but the low increase in light and build quality makes the huge price hike difficult to take... Oh, and I forgot to say run times are similar to - 3hrs on full whack.
  • + 1
 thank you, could you give me the link for the made in china light? i can't(and don't want to) pay 400$ for a freakin' bike light Smile
  • + 2
 I got mine from www.dx.com although I'm pretty sure other places exist - takes a few weeks for delivery. If you can't wait they seem to pop up on eBay fairly regularly...

Loads of people use torches too.

Here's a link to their bike lights section:
dx.com/c/flashlights-lasers-999/bike-lights-947
  • + 0
 Type 3600 lumens into eBay like I did. £25 job sorted apart from the 5 week shipping time!
  • + 2
 www.amazon.com/Ssc-p7-Bicycle-Light-Torch-Waterproof/dp/B004T6S698/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357917282&sr=8-1&keywords=p7+light

Lots of people swear by this little light. I just got one but I haven't had any riding time on it.
  • - 1
 +1 on the Light and Motion setup. I have an older Seca 700 (so, 1000 less lumens) which I thought put out a lot of light. This one would be insanely bright. They are not cheap however their background is SCUBA lighting so the build and durability are second to none. My experiences with their customer service both for repairs (for an older HID model) and new products was good - they really seem like a bunch of action sports enthusiasts down there in Monterey CA. I would even get a cheaper L+M with less lumens over another brand with more, they are a solid company.
  • + 3
 Same, I have a 300 lumen branded light which cost me 160euros and a chinese light that cost me 30... The branded one is better built, lighter and has no cables... But it's now my backup light as the chinese one lights up wayyyyy more trail. I would strongly recommend buying 2 chinese ones, for 60 quid you get well over 1000 lumen and can use one on the bars one on helmet which would allow you to pretty much ride as fast as during the day. Plus if anything happens to one light then you have a spare. The fact that the light + mounts + battery pack + rear red led costs the same as a beanie really says it all.
  • + 0
 the Magicshine 900 is spotty and I find...../uselesson a trail. I bought the MS 4 led 1600 lumen and it was 200bux. I love it. It has been used about 300 times for commuting and trail rides. Def an an alternative.
  • + 1
 @Mathhhh check out a company called Gemini Lights, they are a Canadian/chinese company. Meaning they out of Victoria B.C but do all of their manifacturing in China. Great costumer support, and releatively low cost. I currently have two of their XERA lights. each one is rated at 800lm (optimistic truth be told) but more then enough light for trail riding. the 2 cell version works great on the helmet with the battery attached! and the 4 cell fits on most stems. Plus you would have an easier time with any issues then if you went ebay. I have had no problems in the almost 2 years I have been running these lights.
gemini-lights.com
  • + 2
 I can confirm the china lights are bang on for the money. I'm using on on the bars and one as a head mount. I have also bought a wide angle lens for one of them witch turns the beam from a 'O' shape to a wider '--' shape. Spot on and getting over 3 hrs use from both of them.
Here's a link to one on eBay.com
www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-1600LM-CREE-XML-XM-L-T6-LED-Bicycle-Bike-Head-Light-Lamp-Free-Shipping-/200830934954?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec274dfaa
  • + 1
 www.magicshineusa.com
Best Bang for your buck... GET LIT
  • + 1
 weren't magicshine batteries exploding and causing fires in people's houses when charging. that sounds like it could be more expensive than just buying a well made light to begin with.....
  • + 1
 £30 for 1800 lumens, the battery life is good and it seems really well built to be honest I cant fault it.
www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1202209
  • + 1
 Thanks guys. Thoses CREE XML T6 on ebay seem to be a nice bargain at 30$. I will order one, and maybe one more for my helmet!! cant wait to ride in the dark.
  • + 1
 Magicshine solved the exploding battery and covered us all with replacements Lithium and water is explosive. CREE LED's are used by them giving the amazing shine.
  • + 4
 I bought a smart charger to make charging as safe as can be. Various forums suggest putting batteries in an old biscuit tin (or similar) as they are charged to minimize risk, but we are talking about the odd faulty battery here and there. I'm sure if we did a web search on all our frames there would be hundreds of people complaining how crap they are when they break, but the reality is that 99% of owners are happy and have no problems.

As I said, expensive lights ARE marginally better, but they are massively overpriced when compared to cheap imports. Yes, you may be unlucky and your light may break but you you can afford 8 or 9 of them for the same price.

I also wanted to show people interested in night riding that there is a cheap option - many may have been put off by the idea of dropping a large amount of money on a quality light set when they don't know if they will really like the experience. I bought a cheap light, got into it and bought a quality UK light to see what the difference was - it's not big enough in my opinion to justify the price hike, although I do like knowing I've supported British business. If money was no object I'd go straight to the posh lights, but sadly this is not the case for me like many...
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  • + 8
 $469 for lights?! LOL! Magic shine from deal extreme, circa $75 for 1000 lumens and around $200 for 3000 lumens. Here is your answer!
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  • + 4
 Does anybody have experience with shorts with a waterproof back section so all the water/mud that your rear tire kicks up doesn't soak into you? I know that these Royal shorts have a DWR treatment, but I'm not sure how well that will hold up to a constant barrage of water. I have sombrio waterproof shorts, but those things are SO baggy that it catches on my seat a lot when jumping/dropping.
  • + 2
 I found the easiest way to combat that is to wear my normal shorts, but underneath wear under armor compression shorts. Wick away the moisture and keep warmth in, Although after this review i might look into Merino wool for base layers now instead of synthetics.
  • + 0
 As a base layer the Merino wool is better than synthetics when it comes to insulation and comfort, however it can't beat them when it comes to weight. I personaly choose merino wool anytime. The outer layer from my experience is always a big trade off. Unless it isn't pissing bricks, it comes down to you to choose whether you want to get wet from outside or from inside - from rain or from your own sweat. The only way is ventilation openings in the material as no water proof material is breathable to a degree that stops you from getting really wet from sweating on 1h+ ride.

Goretex only minimizes the "pain" that will be there anyways, and their more breathable E-Vent is too fragile for biking, you will wear it out in a year to a point of not being water proof, so you may choose something cheaper instead right away.The worst outer layer material for MTB ever is Soft-shell, companies should be shot for using it in cycling jackets. most often accompanied with light fleece it provides poor waterproofness + absorbing wateer and moisture= weight, finaly virtually no breathability.
  • + 2
 scott do a goretex paclite short, been using them for a few weeks,, they're AMAZING!!!!!! undershorts only and then these, no need for normal shorts,, can't rate them highly enough,, only niggle is the waste tightening is elastic drawcord, could do with belt loops, but i've solved that with some fashionable braces.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I was looking at that short! It seems like mtn bike shorts have all sorts of features, panels, and tech fabrics... it wouldn't be hard to just slip in a "splash panel" on the seating area. That way it's only where ya need it and you won't sweat up a storm. Till then, I'll check out the Scott paclite shorts or the Endura Superlites. Both have excellent reviews.
  • + 1
 If you don't want mud/water up your bum, I would recommend a rear fender; as a bonus they are a heckuva lot cheaper than those shorts...I have used fenders on my 4" travel bike as well as my 6" travel bike; just make sure to get one that doesn't contact the tire during full suspension movement.
  • + 3
 Royal has a couple of different offerings with a waterproof back panel; Turbulence short and Drift short. The Domain short and pant are fully waterproof and fully breathable.
  • + 2
 Seen some waterproof shorts in Evans cycles I think they are endura. £65 tho....
  • + 2
 I have a pair of Drift shorts from Royal. I just did a ride in snow/slush/mud, and even though the back of my shorts had plenty of grime up the backside, none of the wet got through. Highly recommend Royal's stuff for wet weather.
  • + 2
 The gore-tex paclite kit is amazing. I wore a set of the trousers when it was pissing down and they kept me dry, they is no weight to them and they are rediculously breathable. I wore them home in the car to try and get a sweat in them but nothingSmile ill have to get a set of the shorts for riding.
  • + 3
 I've had the Endura Superlites for a couple of months of Vancouver Island riding and I've been loving them so far. No need for a rear fender that will bounce all over the place.

www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=19369
  • + 4
 If you only were able to own one short (or 3/4) this would be the way to go no matter what the weather. Wet, dry, whatever. I've owned these for a while and they keep me dry on wet days during the winter and cool in the summer.


www.endurasport.com/Product.aspx?dept_id=112&prod_id=467
they make a shorter version too...
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  • + 7
 how bout beat the heat? bloody hot in australia
  • + 8
 Fuuuuuuuuu
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  • + 4
 That's a good combo for wintertime riding. Too bad that it costs around $600 without those lights (an additional $618 ). And that is a lot of money just for one set of riding gear.
  • + 5
 However, for those of us that live in the PNW, this is the gear we use for 5-7 months of the year. So... it's necessary.
  • + 3
 ...and worth it.
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  • + 3
 Awesome reviews! As i live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon i've found that preparing for the cold and wet accordingly has made riding through the winter a pleasure. The wet, soupy, muddy conditions adds a new, techy element to my regular trails. Thank you and i'll have to check out some of the gear you suggested.
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  • + 2
 Great idea for review! And for the peeps that don't have access to the items listed (or the money) for the clothing options, as mentioned above, take the rationale of each item to a local used gear shop and make it work. You could probably have a similarly functioning group for 80 bucks.
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  • + 2
 Great article for these winter riding days. Sealskin products are great for UK weather, waterproof thermal socks have changed my life. Arm warmers fold into the bottom of the pack and make a big difference when the temperature drops at the end of the day too!
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  • + 2
 I love a good full set up gear review. As for the discussion of the hydration pack, the reviewer hit the nail on the head, 20 liters is a little large, however if it comes with proper compression straps, as Osprey packs do, then you can just cinch it down when you don't need the space. I prefer a larger pack cinched down, that way you can use it in its full capacity for other uses.
  • + 1
 I've been using a Platypus Duthie 17 for a few months a love it. Lots of compressability (good, because this pack is huge) and it has the best water bladder in my opinion. The water resistance of the shell seems very effective as well. I like the hip belt tool-carrying capacity of recent packs, and the Platy does the trick for me. Check one out in a shop - you can stow the pockets too, but still retain the hip belt function. Very clever.
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  • + 2
 Great review of highly functional gear for this time of year, especially in the NorthWet. I would definitely add or replace the Royal Mercury and Dakine Whiteknuckle gloves for Royal Minus Gloves. These gloves just came out and I have been happily riding them in the wet and cold 30-40 deg temps as of late in NW Oregon and perform excellent with just the right amount of insulation and top side of hand waterproof layer for effective waterproofing while hands are on the bars with thin palm for great dexterity and bar control. Basically they feel just like regular biking gloves while riding on the bike with excellent weather control for 30's to ow 40's degrees F* temps. I own the Dakine Whiteknuckles and have found they don't really offer much more warm than regular full finger gloves even though they have some thinsulate to it. I would also add Endura MT500 spray baggy or knicker shorts to the list for colder, mucky/wet riding and Endura Superlites for riding in regular/heavy rain as they breath well for what they are and still over great waterproof protections while still fitting let regular long baggies.
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  • + 2
 Picked up a pair of last years model Dakine White knucks on the cheeeeap! I live in PNW and they do wonders. The coldest I've ridden with them was in slight drizzly rain/snow mix at about 27 degrees(f), right near their offices in Hood River (Post Canyon to be exact.) Anything over 40(f) and you will probably start to sweat.
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  • + 2
 Marino wool is by far the best performance ware you can purchase.I can use it over and over soaked with sweat hang it up and let dry, toss it to my wife and ask if it smells clean ,and no stink.It also wiks very well.Now polyester, will smell funky after one ride.Works great and worth the money.
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  • + 1
 I have also been running the cheap knock-off lights from China and they have been great. So bright and they last for many hours, especially when on the lowest setting, which is what I use 75% of the time (when climbing). I paid under $80 (This includes all taxes and shipping right to my door) for two sets of lights plus a good helmet mount (way better than what comes with the Chinese lights) made by Magic Shine. I use one set on the the bars and one on my helmet. Look for Cree LED lights on Ebay.
  • + 1
 Concur. I've been using Cree lights from dx.com for two years without any drama. The low price allowed me to play in the dark - impossible if the lights were +$400. I'll bet the knock off lights have opened up night riding to a lot of folks who would otherwise be stuck just surfing PB at night. Thanks, my efficient Chinese brethren!
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  • + 1
 A solution some of you might like, its kind of a one and done but you can reuse them, is were rubber gloves under your riding gloves. Your hands will stay super warm because the rubber blocks the windchill. The problem is they get sweaty, I never notice it while riding, but I usually do when I stop and definitely when I take them off. Give it a try, next time you head out in freezing cold, steal some rubber gloves from you tool box and head out.
  • + 1
 I went for a ride with Gary Klein once. This was a trick he used in the winter.
  • + 1
 Thanks cause it works!!!
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  • + 1
 In that temp range I find even a thin skull cap too hot but I do use a "duff" tube around the neck which I find very good even when wet. Bought it for summer uv protection as advertised but its too hot except for mid winter use.
  • + 2
 you can get merino versions of those tubes now too Smile
  • + 1
 Thanks for the info. Will look at merino as the poly does get quite funky.
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  • + 3
 any news on the shimano packs? the top of the line hydration one looks interesting (if it does look like you stuck a condom over your normal pack)
  • + 2
 Ninja Turtles!!!
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  • + 2
 You forgot to mention the shoes he's wearing. They look to be Shimano MW80 or whatever the current model is. Awesome footwear for bad conditions.
  • + 1
 Totally agree. I've had a pair that have survived 4 years of year-round commuting where it snows 7 months of the year and the mercury ranges from -35 to +35 and they are still keeping my feet warm and dry. Best rough weather shoes on the market.
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  • + 2
 Hey Colin, great article. Don't forget the Mavic or Shimano goretex lined/cuffed wet weather riding shoes. So nice to have dry warm feet.
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  • + 4
 All it takes is one crash to end up with a pair of wet gloves.
  • + 7
 Try not to crash! But on the plus side you still have skin on your hands if you do.
  • + 4
 Neoprene...
  • + 1
 tried pipe gloves?
  • + 2
 Pfft, I just coat my hands in rubber cement before a ride. No wet hands for me and the grip is OUT OF THIS WORLD!
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  • + 3
 An extensive review of various mud tires, for different types of dirt and conditions, would go well with this
  • + 1
 Second that.
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  • + 1
 I like this type of write up! Im still on the trails here in South Korea and its -12! 3-10 sounds like summer to me right about now. LOL
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  • + 3
 deep winter gear? 5 c? that's spring weather!
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  • + 2
 Good write up. i look forward to a similar how to beat the heat while wearing armour article.
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  • + 1
 With regards to the base layer he is wrong about no one else making merino sinlets, Ground Effect New Zealand make a windproof merino singlet which works really well.
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  • + 1
 If it's cold why wear shorts !?- apart to be a fashion victim. I ride in what ever I rock into work wearing which 99% of the time iss my Dickies work pants
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  • + 2
 Gemini lights. It's good to have 2 lights, bar mount for flood light and helmet for spot light
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  • - 1
 I need new gloves and I have a pair of SixSixOne Frost gloves that have been my below 50 degree (Farenheit) go to glove for everything down to 10-15 degree Farenheit. They have wind-resistent liner and thin bit of insulation. I didn't read that the two options above from Dakine (Thinsulate but no wind resistance for if you do a road ride?) and then windproof but not insulated Royals?

Can't figure out from this review how these two are meant for opposite extremes in temps. Both sound compromised...explain?
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  • + 2
 Where ever deep chill is for these photos, I want to be there! we need ice spike tires here! lol!!!
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  • + 1
 That was one of the best gear articles on pink bike. Probably going to grab those dakine gloves as a result.
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  • + 1
 Nice lights but do people really pay over $600 for lights...should get one or the other
  • + 1
 I don't. Mine were £8. Work fine.

I think paying so much is like a tax on idiot fashion victims.
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  • + 1
 I wish winter was like that around here!
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  • + 1
 i love it but i think osprey meke the backpacks too big!
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  • + 1
 now all i need is 2000 dollars and ill be set!
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  • + 1
 Great write up, definitely like to see more of these
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  • + 1
 600$ for bike lights? not sure if serious.
  • + 1
 Haha, look into niterider lights. Over $600 in just ONE light. That's ridiculous.
  • + 1
 many people pay well over $600 for a ski season pass that is good for a few months, while these lights should last years and years. sounds like a great value to me. but what do i know, i suppose you could just duct-tape a flashlight to your head....
  • + 1
 Most of my riding (both mtn and commuting on the road) is done in the dark. A killer light makes a huge difference. I've ponied up for lights from NightRider for the past 15 or so years and feel that every penny has been well spent. We ride the trail featured in the recent Jill Kintner video all the time at night. Don't know that I go much faster in the daytime than I do at night.
www.pinkbike.com/news/Galbraith-Winters-With-Jill-Kintner-Katie-Holden-video-2013.html
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  • + 1
 loads of equipment. looks very constrictive.
  • + 1
 How so? Our riding here in Washington is pretty demanding, so light protective gear is de rigeur.
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  • + 1
 In Britain this is how we prepare for summer.
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  • + 1
 gloves seems nice and the price is quiet good Smile
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  • + 1
 $600 lights, $120 shorts and packs, but not a Crudcatcher in sight.
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  • + 1
 Great article. Ended up buying a set of the Dakine gloves Smile
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  • - 3
 hey i dont knw if youd heard of it you stupid idiots but there these things called park gloves for skiing that are th same shit as those stupid gloves there and most of em are waterproof
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