Video: Wet Riding Tips with Remy Metailler

Nov 20, 2020
by Rémy Métailler  

I guess it's winter now. Time to adjust the bike, the trail choices and the technique!

These are my best pro tips to ride better and safer during the slippery months of the winter.

Video by @influxproductions
Photo by @dylanwolskyphoto

Special thanks to James from Ride BC for coming along!


Photo by dylanwolskyphoto

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Author Info:
remymetailler avatar

Member since Feb 25, 2009
174 articles

  • 17 0
 Can I use REMY20 to get a training session with Remy?
  • 4 0
 No that would be rainy20
  • 9 0
 Remy - one of the best educational videos this year! thank you. I always struggle with the clothing part when I ride in the PNW or wet weather. Either I completely sweat out my waterproof gear or it seems to always get soaked through, even though it's 100 percent waterproof. Any tricks?
  • 2 1
 Basic advice is - have 3+ different clothes on/with you. Like good thermo base layer + thin windproof waterproof coat and change different layers between them like fleece long sleeve + warm vest. So you can cnange it during the ride. //sorry not exactly what asked
  • 80 0
 Ride naked, best ventilation+yourskins waterproof and the police give you a ride home after so you dont get your truck seats dirty
  • 22 0
 Don't attempt to stay dry, it's futile. The key is to choose clothing that will keep you warm when you're wet through. And Sealskins socks.
  • 10 3
 Wool for base layer.
  • 1 0
 I have some waterproof breathable pants and then layer up the wool on top with an old 70%wool 30% nylon thrift store flannel on top. This set up works great for drippy days with a goretex jacket in the bag for the odd downpour. I'd describe the set up as dryish. No way to escape the sweat in the full waterproof set up in my opinion. Also waterproof hi top shoes I got some 5.10s that look like LLbean hiking boots. Kook!
  • 8 0
 PNW rider here.

Still figuring it out as I go, but here is what works for me.

Huge fender (Mucky Nutz Mug Guard long for me atm)
Long sleeve breathable top (wool, those 32 degrees tops at costco, whatever) + a breathable T shirt over it.
Waterproof socks
"more winterish" gloves

I'm not too worried about getting wet, as long as I stay warm. So far thats worked well for me.

I keep a dry shirt, pants, socks, and shoes in the car, along with a towel. Since I'm wearing a chamois and the base layer shirt, I can peel off the dirty socks/shoes/shirt/shorts in the parking lot pretty easily, and get into something fresh/dry.

I have also started keeping a thermos type bottle of something hot (cocoa, tea, sometimes just water) in the car as well. So that way I can get some nice warm fluids in me once I'm all ready to drive home.

I'll admit to not having it 100% figured out though. On truly wet rides, the chamois gets soaked. Guess I need to find some shorts/pants that have a waterproof/more water resistant seat area. So thats what the towel is for (sitting on). And I've not found gloves I love yet. Still looking.
  • 1 2
 How about suspension tips? Do you run higher compression and slower rebound, or less compression etc.? Keep sag the same/more/less? Or if you had the choice between a short travel 120mm and mid travel 140mm, which would you ride "for the winter"?
  • 1 1
 @KingOla: sorry neg prop by accident
  • 2 0
 @kinematix: He answered the rebound in the video. Faster (as in less damping) rebound in the cold because the oil is basically heavier.

Same goes for compression. Less damping in the cold. Less damping will also give you more traction so since you're going slower in the wet anyway this works for that as well.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: great info, appreciate you writing this out.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: the TLD Swelter gloves have been working pretty well for me so far this season. Best during colder/drier PNW days I think. They sweated out on less cold/more humid days, although it wasn’t a big deal. Worn ‘em in cold rainstorms too. Hands stayed warm.

Overall, pretty warm without being a ski glove. Still have that MTB glove feel.

Check ‘em out.
  • 1 0
 Pnw rider here:

I tend to warm up pretty fast so I leave home with a fleece neckwarmer, merino base layer and a thin waterproof jacket and then open the arm zips and remove my neckwarmer at the beginning of the climb. Still use shorts+knee pads (hate long pants) and that's it. Has worked for me for years. I leave in the same town where I ride mostly so no need to get into the car after the ride. I am only 4 blocks away from the forest! Just get back home, get undressed and have a cold showers (always cold to help the muscles)
  • 1 0
 @endurogan: awesome. Hahahaha
  • 1 0
 I find a Merino wool base layer is key. Even if it gets wet it still stays warm, it's also moisture wicking. A good pair of riding pants help too. NF Berzerker are a good mix of water resistant and breathability + they are still great to pedal in. Hope this helps!
  • 1 0
 I've found a spandex/compression top coupled with a Fly racing windproof jersey works well down to about freezing. Breaths well and the compression top feels nicer than wool or *shudder* cotton when you get wet. The wind proof keeps the evaporation effect down you stay warmer, but is breathable in the back for climbing. Mid-weight gloves and carbon brake levers are good for hand, don't have insulated palms though and keep them dry. Soft-shell pants are good, you're going to get wet so really it's just to mitigate wind chill from evaporation (and make cleanup easier). The one waterproof layer I wear is waterproof socks. Tried a bunch of companies but Showers Pass is the best so far. Bring extra light gloves for climbing so you don't sweat in the warm ones, and keep the warm ones dry at all costs (or bring two pair). If it's just cold and not wet, a light fleece vest that breaths is great, coupled with the windproof jersey.
  • 5 0
 If I see a pool of water on the trail and there are leaves or fir needles creating a dam, then I'll stop and kick a break in the dam. Its just like fixing gutters on a house, sitting water causes more harm then first realized.
  • 2 0
 Great video as always, even with all the paid content advertising. Best tip.... if its raining use a mudguard. Worst tip.... its faster to ride over roots... having ridden around Vancouver to Whistler and Scotland. You can do that over there, but not here in Scotland, pine tree roots are more slippery than ice haha!
  • 6 0
 True some of the tips where very much exclusively for this part of the world.
  • 1 0
 @remymetailler: Hey Remy! Sorry I can't make out the name of the mud guard that you use. What's the name of the one you have on the front?
  • 3 0
 @jptothetree: it is a mudhugger
  • 2 0
 I wish we had mountains, trails and trees like you have. Our country is just too small, too many little farms, has pine trees and mud.

But we do have the world champion because it rained for champs this year and those roots were slippery Smile
Reece called it a summer's day in Inners. Lol.
  • 2 0
 @remymetailler: Are you running 20 psi in the rear without tire inserts ? How's that possible ? I'm 162 lbs and I always ride 30 in the back or else I damage my rim
  • 2 0
 @remymetailler: Thank you! You're the man Salute
  • 1 0
 @remymetailler: I have one of those bad boys for the back and has been phenomenal for years despite the abuse!
  • 1 0

It’s a DH casing tire. That likely accounts for most of it.
  • 3 2
 Remy and I have very different experiences when it comes to winter riding. My tips: wear your warmest long underwear, stay out of icy ruts, ride a throw-away bike because it's impossible to keep it clean and clear, try stay inside and read PB while you wait for spring.

Prairie commuter dealing with snow since Sept.
  • 1 0
 @plyawn When u say throw-away bike...
  • 1 0
 Cool video. Top quality edit.
My definition of winter riding is slightly different: here in Québec, it involves some snow and below 0 celcius temperature.

His advices about lower tire pressure and lower suspension setup ARE A MUST for riding in the snow! Thanks for sharing your setup like that.

I'd say the trail I ride the most when it's still rideable (before we get more than 20cm of snow) is more manageable with 17psi front et 19psi back, suspension sag at least 30%.

BTW a href="">That's what the trail look like in the winter/a> (a short 650m long descent, 18% grade on average)
  • 2 0
 Here's the link to a video that show what winter riding looks like in my area :

a href="">MTB Raw- Winter riding/a>
  • 1 0
 @nicolassherbrooke: nice! Looks like that in my mountain, except it looks twice steeper.
What tires are you using for winter? In front I am pretty happy with the michelin wild mud for several years, but still looking for the perfect rear one. I tried a bunch but nothing particurily awesome.
  • 1 0
 @fautquecaswing: Asseigai 2,5 and Dissector - it does the job for those end of the season ride, but now there is too much snow so if you want to ride you have to go 26x4,8 if you know what I mean (fatbike) Wink

pas de miracle à faire, si ce n'est que rouler avec une insert Cushcore et basse pression avec ton pneu préféré. Et ne parlons même pas de la glace...
  • 2 0
 Ride non-flow trails. Maybe ride older trails that had a time to bed in. Proceeds to ride a year old flow trail lol
  • 4 0
 With the builder, for the purpose of the video. We rode the first part which very well bed in.
  • 2 0
 Pro tip for staying dry: Stay inside
  • 1 0
 Chris let's go ride bikes!
  • 1 0
 Wish I could ride that fast in the dry!
  • 1 0
 Remy N1
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