2017 Fall/Winter Gear Guide - 7 Men's Kits Tested

Nov 20, 2017 at 21:15
by Colin Meagher  



Well, it’s that time of year again: the skies alternate between a postcard-perfect robin’s egg blue with that bit of a crisp chill in the air, and soul-sucking gray with arctic winds driving sleet sideways. No—this isn’t Quebec cold, nor even New Brunswick kind of cold. But let’s face it, the vast majority of wintertime mountain biking happens in areas that don’t have conditions akin to the Rebel Alliance hunkering down on the planet Hoth. That’s not to exclude the denizens of fat biking, but that particular offshoot of mountain biking has its own particular needs that differ radically from the gear reviewed here. If you’re rolling on 5" tires in the wilds of Minnesota, Lapland, or the frozen North, this review of “winter” mountain bike clothing probably won’t be your cup of tea—just complain in the comments as per the usual and then look elsewhere.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk fall/winter mountain biking apparel, shall we? We have kits from Endura, Maloja, Pearl Izumi, Dainese, Fox, Specialized, and Alpinestars to keep your off-season to an absolute minimum.

The path to enjoying a fine and pleasant misery begins simply: a wicking base layer. Then a mid layer that insulates a bit and breathes/wicks as well. Finally a softshell or hardshell outer layer (a softshell will repel water and is generally windproof/breathable; a hardshell is waterproof/windproof/breathable-ish). Top that 3-scoop sundae off with accessories to keep digits from turning into popsicles, and then add sprinkles as necessary: winter shoes, skull cap, vest, arm warmers, knee warmers, etc.

This review is primarily focused on the double scoop in the sundae of winter riding: the outer layers. And since conditions can vary anywhere from pleasant if brisk autumn riding to “baby, it’s cold outside” with biting wind and a hearty dash of snow where I ride this time of year, just about anyone who wants to slap some rubber on the dirt from now 'til April in the Northern hemisphere can find something below that’s ideal for where they live and ride. Except the fat bikers. Sorry.

Colin Portrait
About the tester: Colin Meagher stands 5’9”/176 cm and weighs 165lbs/75 kg with a 32-33”/82cm waist, a 40”/101cm chest, and a 30.5”/77.5 cm inseam. He typically wears a M or L glove, depending on the manufacturer, and a size M helmet.




This Scottish based company needs no introduction to anyone who’s ever contemplated winter riding and actually shopped for proper gear. Endura may not have the sexiest looking designs out there, but the sheer functionality of their garments is without question. But then again, they are based in a country that gets hammered with weather off the North Atlantic, and that kind of crucible as a testing ground will breed excellence.


Endura Singletrack Jacket II and MT 500 Waterproof II Short
Endura Singletrack Jacket II and MT 500 Waterproof II Short

The Endura Singletrack Jacket II and MT500 Waterproof Short II, shown with the Giro Pivot 2.0 glove and the Shimano MT7 Gore-tex winter boots.

SingleTrack Jacket II
$170
Sizes: S-XXL
Colors: Claret, Camouflage (tested), and Navy

Tested in 42°F and heavy rain.

The SingleTrack Jacket II is (ta-da!) and update over the venerable SingleTrack Jacket (which is currently still on offer on Endura’s website for the exact same price as the SingleTrack Jacket II. Go figure). As near as I can tell, both jackets are cut the same and share the same construction details: relaxed fit, a roll away hood that fits over the helmet, pit zips, adjustable cuff and hem, reflective bits on the backside for low light visibility, Napoleon pocket with a media port, and hand warmer pockets. They differ only in that version II breathes better: it’s constructed of Exoshell20™ 3-layer fabric with a waterproof/breathable rating of 10k/20k; the original uses a 2.5 layer fabric that is rated 10k/10k.

Details of the Singletrack Jacket II a stowaway hood that easily deploys over a helmet a plush micro fleece collar a well appointed drop seat and pit zips.
Details of the Singletrack Jacket II: a stowaway hood that easily deploys over a helmet, a plush microfleece collar, a well-appointed drop seat, and pit zips.

I test drove this jacket in size M. The fit was perfect—roomy enough to add a layer but not so roomy as to flap like a tent in a hurricane at high speed. The pit zips were easy to reach and the hood deployed without having to futz around much. It wasn’t really cold so I can’t comment on the hand warmer pockets other than they are easy to get to. The Napoleon pocket is waterproof so your electronics are safe there.

When I tested the Endura clothing it was raining hard enough to consider loading up the Noah’s Ark play structure at the local church. I’m really not sure how hard it was coming down other than heavy enough that I felt like a salmon going upstream on the climb trail and the two creek crossings—normally pedal deep at most—were deep and fast enough that I opted to connect the dots with some rocks to cross rather than ride through them. Overall, the jacket kept me dry, inside and out, although the face fabric wetted out near the end my test ride, which impaired breathability somewhat; my guess is the DWR was substandard on this sample as I’ve never had an issue with Endura’s DWR treatment before. But I treated it with Nikwax TX Direct and sorted that out in short order. Overall it’s a great fitting, great performing jacket, albeit not the lightest one I tested. But you get a lot for the price.

MT 500 Waterproof II Short
$125
Sizes: XS-XXL
Color: Black (tested).

The MT 500 Waterproof II Short is constructed from Exoshell60™ waterproof/breathable fabric, which offers a mind-blowing 18k/64k waterproof breathability rating. There are a few waterproof stretch panels to aid with movement and the seat is reinforced for durability. There are no front pockets but it does have a rear zipped pocket for essential items that doubles as a stash pocket for the short itself. The waist is a simple elastic waist with a drawstring to cinch it tight. It has reflective patches on the body for safety when riding at night. It does not come with a liner short but it is compatible with any of Endura’s “Clickfast™” liner shorts.

Endura Singletrack Jacket II and MT 500 Waterproof II Short
Endura Singletrack Jacket II and MT 500 Waterproof II Short
Details of the MT500 Waterproof Short II: Waist adjustment via drawstring, Clickfast (Endura's liner short retention system) compatibility, mesh lining to glide over under layers, and a hanger hook.

The short fit nicely out of the box, that Goldilocks just right, thanks to the elastic waistband, and cinched easily for a comfortable, secure fit. The length was a tad long but fitted so it wasn’t inclined to flap about at all, rather it just offers a little bit more coverage for keeping the wet stuff out. I missed not having stash pockets in front, but got over that soon enough.

As mentioned above, it was absolutely biblical rainfall when testing but I stayed warm and dry inside and out, minus a wee bit of moisture that soaked my knee guards—likely that was simply spray coming off my wheels, but that spray never infiltrated to soak my liner shorts. The body of the short felt boxy at first, like a crisply starched dress shirt; but as the fabric broke in from pedaling, that feeling dissipated. I never felt the least bit restricted in my movements either, and the fit over my knee guards was decent. Overall, I have zero complaints on the fit or function of these shorts—the performance is brilliant. But I do wish they had a bit more style to them vs. the somewhat stark, utilitarian vibe that they currently have. But then again, riding in the rain is a get shit done kind of thing for most people, not a fashion parade.





Die Germans make rad stuff is basically how I translate Maloja (pronounced Mah-loy-ah). Maloja was originally founded out of a desire to ride mountain bikes in something other than lycra or the heavy duty free ride gear available when they were founded back in 2005. Their offerings tick all the boxes for excellence in the kind of conditions typically found between November and April where I ride.


Maloja LauternM Snow High tech jacket and OsanM Freeride Pants
Maloja LauternM Snow High tech jacket and OsanM Freeride Pants
Maloja's LauternM. Snow Jacket and OsanM. Freeride Pants shown with Giro's Pivot 2.0 glove and Shimano's MW7 Gore-tex winter boots.

LauternM.Snow Jacket
$300 USD
Sizes: S-XXL
Colors: Wood, Glacier, Vintage Red, and Waterfall (tested)

Tested at 33°F with heavy snow (over an inch an hour coming down).

The LauternM.Snow jacket is a pretty high tech piece of apparel, make no mistake. It’s 100% waterproof (28k) thanks to the 2.5 layer Gore-tex Paclite™ fabric and taped seams. But it also breathes well with a 15.000 g/m2/24hr rating. There’s a key pocket, water repellent zippers, and reflective details for visibility when riding after dark. It has a Napolean pocket on the left breast, a nice drop seat to keep back tire spackle infiltration to a minimum, and a cut at the cuff that overlaps the gloves at the back of the hand.

The Maloja LauternM. Snow Jacket features reflective bits on the body of the jacket for visibility in the dark a great drop seat to keep debris from where you really don t want them a cuff designed to overlap the wrist but keep fabric bunching to a minimum and velcro adjustable sleeves to tailor the fit at the wrist.
The Maloja LauternM. Snow Jacket features reflective bits on the body of the jacket for visibility in the dark, a great drop seat to keep debris from where you really don't want them, a cuff designed to overlap the wrist but keep fabric bunching to a minimum, and velcro adjustable sleeves to tailor the fit at the wrist.

The size M version of this jacket I tested fit pretty well. It’s a regular cut but felt like a semi-fitted cut: I wore it with a base layer, mid layer without the jacket being restrictive in any way, but had I wanted to add an insulating layer of any kind it might have been a bit too snug for my comfort level (Maloja recommends sizing up if you prefer a looser fit for semi-fitted and regular cut apparel). I prefer more venting options than just opening the main zipper and I like hand pockets, but at the same time, I really appreciated the lightweight that this streamlined jacket had without those bells and whistles.

I took this for a spin in pretty full on conditions: I literally watched the trail disappear under a blanket of heavy snow, leaving a track over an inch deep in the fresh stuff by the end of a one hour rip around my local trail. During that ride, I really appreciated the jacket’s ability to flip the middle finger at the heavy precipitation, as well as the breathability of the Paclite fabric. I think I’d have appreciated it a bit more with pit zips on the steeper parts of the climb but overall I was impressed with the fit, water shedding, and breathability.

OsanM.Freeride Pants
$220 USD
Sizes: S-XXL
Colors: Wood, Charcoal (tested), and Mountain Lake

This pant is a premium foul weather offering. The main body is Stormshell™: a three-layer, 4-way stretch fabric that is reasonably water resistant (with taped seams at more critical areas), very breathable, and completely windproof. There are two zippered mesh vents on the thighs, a single main zipper pocket on the right hip for essentials (credit card, keys, etc). The waist is adjustable via tabs but it has belt loops if you care to fly that way, and there are Velcro tabs at the ankle to fine tune the feel around your shoes. A bit of reflective highlights on the calf for safety in low light round out this premium pant.



Maloja LauternM Snow High tech jacket and OsanM Freeride Pants
Maloja LauternM Snow High tech jacket and OsanM Freeride Pants
Details on the OsanM. Freeride Pants: the choice of belt loops and waist tab adjusters, and leg vents with a bit of elastic to keep them from gaping too wide when pedaling or moving aggressively on the bike.


I like riding in shorts, but when it comes to staying dry in miserable conditions, pants win hands down. Why? The pant overlaps the cuff typically found on a proper winter MTB shoe making it that much harder for rain, sleet, or wet snow to get into your shoes and popsicle your feet. Extended riding in the kind of slop that makes even Belgian Cyclocross mechanics wince will get shrugged off by a pair of quality foul weather pants.

Basically, this is a DWR treated softshell pant with a hardshell feel. The size M version I tried fit great: they’re a bit long in the leg, but I have short legs, so no worries. Even though I like two front pockets, the single pocket on these pants is really all you need: it’s got plenty of room for a car key, a phone, and a credit card. The thigh vents are easy to reach, and while the ankle cuff is too tight to pull on over a shoe, it’s roomy enough that you can use it with a more full on winter boot without restriction but the Velcro tabs on the cuff will allow one to cinch it down securely over something like Sealskinz or Showers Pass waterproof socks without a gap.

I tried the size OsanM. pants in exactly the kind of conditions that make pants an awesome choice when the shit is hitting the fan: cold, windy, and snowing like a bitch. The DWR coated pants shed the snow easily, the pants breathed well, and despite the gusting wind, I stayed warm and dry. On the steepest portion of the climb trail I opened the leg vents to get a bit more breathability, but otherwise, the Stormshell fabric did its job pretty well. Best part? Getting to the car and being able to swap clothes in the crappy weather without having to waste time in the freezing cold toweling off.




Pearl Izumi has been a leading manufacturer of quality cycling apparel since forever, and was one of the first to embrace the movement away from lycra for mountain biking. Based in Boulder, CO their design team is made up of users who ride hard and design clothing to match how they ride.


Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal Jersey and Summit shorts
Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal Jersey and Summit shorts
Pearl Izumi's Launch Thermal Jersey and Summit Shorts shown with the Summit Glove and Shimano's MW7 Gore-tex winter boots.

Men’s Launch Thermal Jersey
$75 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL
Colors: Blue Mist/Eclipse Blue (tested), Smoked Pearl/Monument, Black/Veridian Green, Tibetan Red

Tested on a clear day with temperatures right at 44°F.

The Launch Thermal Jersey is a versatile winter weight long sleeve jersey that can be worn alone on cool to cold, dry days (think 45-55 degrees F/7-13 degrees C), or used as an insulating mid-layer under a shell when it’s miserable out. The body is composed of SELECT™ thermal fleece fabric that both wicks and breathes. It has a v-neck collar, a slight drop seat, and a hidden sunglasses wipe. The cuffs feature a nice bit of elasticity to keep the sleeves comfortably in place on your wrist.

Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal Jersey and Summit shorts
Pearl Izumi's Launch Thermal Jersey's microfleece inner lining.

Out of the box the fit of the size M jersey was perfect for me. This was supposed to be a loose fit, and while it wasn’t snug, it wasn’t at all baggy. And just like Nikki, who tested the women’s version of this jersey, I had a tough time finding the “hidden” goggle/glasses wipe. As a matter of fact, it’s so well hidden I never did find it.

This Jersey seems ideal for a variety of temperatures: even though it was in the mid 40s temperature wise, in the sun it felt warmer and in the shade there were patches of ice, but I never really felt too warm or too cold. I really liked the drop seat on the jersey as it was a bit gooey in some of the sun-exposed corners and it worked well to deflect debris from infiltrating my shorts.

Men’s Summit Shorts
$80 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL
Colors: Blue Mist (tested), Avocado, Monument Gray, Lime Punch, Mandarin Red, and Black.

The relaxed fit Summit Short is a solid trail short with a 14” inseam from Pearl Izumi and comes in a slew of colors. It has a DWR coated 4-way stretch ripstop main body with reinforced panels in high wear areas. There are two zippered hand pockets. It has a single snap closure reinforced with a Velcro patch and internal waist adjusters for a tailored fit. It comes without a liner short.

Pearl Izumi Launch Thermal Jersey and Summit shorts
Details of the Summit short include an MX inspired closure and an adjustable waist.

I tested the Summit short at the same time as I tested the Launch Thermal jersey. The “relaxed” fit was great; this is supposed to be the same fit as the Launch Short that I tested last spring but the cut of this one is a bit more fitted which had me stoked: I never once hooked the saddle. I also liked the fact that the waist snap fastened via a strap over the zipper ala an MX short; this places waist closure duties on the zipper vs the snap, virtually eliminating any chance of a “wardrobe malfunction”. The 14” inseam is ideal for trail riding but still has enough length to keep gaper gap to a minimum when wearing knee warmers or knee guards.

The short feels lightweight but held up just fine when I slapped hard on the ice that was hiding in the shade during testing. And there was plenty of wet, gooey glop on sunnier sections of the trail, too, and while that’s not exactly heavy rain, the DWR did just fine in keeping moisture at bay. The shorts played nicely with the 7 iDp transition knee guards worn while testing, too; but I’d hesitate to go with anything heavier duty for the simple reason that despite the relaxed fit of the short, there’s enough of taper at the knees that anything heavier would likely bind on the short. Overall, the fit, combined with the light weight were awesome because they allowed me to forget about what I was wearing and focus on riding; but I’d look elsewhere for a dedicated foul weather short.





Dainese’s humble beginnings can be traced to the vision of a 24-year-old motorcycle enthusiast named Lino Dainese who in 1972 was inspired to start making better motorcycling gear. Now the company’s mantra is as being “dedicated to producing the most effective safety solutions in every arena where athletes continually push the human body and mind to surpass their prior achievements. From our motorcycle racing origins to alpine skiing, mountain biking, competitive sailing and outer space.”


Dainese AWA Jacket and Short
Dainese AWA Jacket and Short
The Dainese AWA Jacket and AWA Shorts shown with Giro's Pivot 2.0 glove and Shimano's MW7 Gore-tex winter boots.

Dainese AWA Jacket
$260 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL
Colors: Gray (tested)

The AWA Jacket is crafted from a 2-way stretch fabric with a 10k/10k waterproof breathable laminate. There are two zippered pockets on the torso that also create non-secured stash pockets on the inside of the jacket. There are no pit-zips; instead venting is handled via laser cut holes under the arms and a laser cut strip of holes that run across the shoulders. The hood is permanently attached. There are shock cord adjusters on either side of the waist, and a slight drop seat. The cuffs are cut longer over the back of the wrist to help prevent moisture from penetrating when riding.


The Dainese AWA Jacket s hood fits under the helmet and the jacket features a bit of laser cut venting under the arms but the lion s share of venting is handled by laser cut back vent holes under a flap of fabric that runs across the back just below the shoulders.
The Dainese AWA Jacket's hood fits under the helmet, and the jacket features a bit of laser cut venting under the arms, but the lion's share of venting is handled by laser cut back vent holes under a flap of fabric that runs across the back just below the shoulders

The size L that I tested fit well. Like many cycling jackets it’s cut to fit best in a riding position; when standing, the fabric tends to bunch in the shoulders; but when on a bike, the jacket feels natural. I liked the easy access to the pockets and the shock cords at the waist allow quick adjustments to the fit at the waist. This jacket had a comfortingly solid, bombproof feeling to it.

In heavy weather, I found the AWA jacket kept water off of me well, but it didn’t breathe quite as well as I wanted on steep, sustained climbs, despite the cooler temperatures when testing (37F/4C). Time and time again, I found myself reaching for non-existent pit zips only to have to open the main zip up once again. The hood deploys under the helmet, and functioned a bit like a skull cap, keeping heat in but not restricting movements.

Overall, I liked this jacket a lot, but I think I’d favor it more for shuttle days or days with minimal climbing vs. all day pedal-fests based on how it breathed and its general weight. That heavier construction offers a reassuring durability about it, though, and it shrugged off some fairly nasty weather.


Dainese AWA Short
$110 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL
Color: Gray (tested).

The body of the short is composed of a 4-way stretch fabric composed of 86% nylon and 14% spandex. The garment isn’t fully seam sealed but it is DWR coated. There are internal Velcro waist tab adjusters to fine-tune the fit and two zippered pockets on the thighs make for secure storage of valuables. The short has a single snap closure on a half fly with a privacy patch. They have a medium-long inseam that measured 13” on the size L sample shorts I received to test. There is a slight bit more overhang on the front of the knee on the short to allow coverage in the front without bunching of fabric behind the knee.

Dainese AWA Jacket and Short
The Dainese AWA short has a single snap closure, internal adjusters for the waits, and a "privacy" patch for the fly.

The AWA short isn’t available to the public just yet (expect the AWA line to start rolling out in Dec), and as previously mentioned the sample sent to me was a size L. This made it hard to test this garment for fit, as it’s designed for a 34-36” waist according to Dainese’s fit charts and I am a 32/33” waist. Consequently riding in it was a bit like salsa dancing in a tent. From a performance level, the short was tested on a misty/drizzling day with temps around 37°F. Under these conditions, the shorts worked great, even though they don’t have a true waterproof rating. Breathability was solid. The pockets were easy to reach, and the shorts interacted with my knee guards nicely.




I got to tour Fox Racing’s HQ in Irvine, CA last year and was blown away. The design studio isn’t just a few people hanging around the sewing machine, so to speak; rather it’s a virtual hive of activity with an army of designers cross-pollinating ideas and concepts. It’s an amazing melting pot that’s breeding some pretty impressive cycling clothing.


Fox Attack Pro Water Jacket and Attack Pro Water Short
Fox Attack Pro Water Jacket and Attack Pro Water Short
The Fox Attack Pro Water Jacket and Attack Pro Water shorts pictured with the Attack Water Glove and Shimano MW7 Gore-tex winter boots.

Attack Pro Water Jacket
$300 USD
Sizes: S-XXL
Colors: Black (tested), dark red

Tested in 39°F and drizzling.

The Attack Pro Water Jacket is Fox’s follow up to last year’s Downpour Pro Jacket but it’s not a retread. It’s definitely got some of the Downpour’s DNA (it still utilizes Truseal™, Fox’s proprietary waterproof/ breathable stretch fabric, and it’s still cut for the riding position) but there are enough improvements in the overall design that it’s definitely a different creature. A better creature.

For starters, the jacket’s waterproof/breathability rating has improved from 10k/10k to 15k/25; that is a significant improvement over the Downpour Pro. Fox has also switched to a more environmentally friendly C6 DWR coating. And Fox has added laser cut venting along the back of the shoulders (protected by a flap) as well as mesh in the pockets to actively channel air through the jacket when things get toasty. Silicone gripper has been added at the top of the shoulders to keep unruly packs from migrating while surfing the local brown pow, and most noticeably, there’s an offset main zipper that lines up diagonally from the right hip to the middle of the neck. The fit at the waist is still fine-tuned via two shock cord adjusters, and like last year, Fox has added Cordura abrasion guards on the elbows. There is no hood.

The Fox Attack Pro water jacket has gobs of ventilation both laser cut holes across the back safely tucked under a flap of fabric and these chest vents with mesh fabric to block spray.
The Fox Attack Pro water jacket has gobs of ventilation: both laser cut holes across the back (safely tucked under a flap of fabric) and these chest vents with mesh fabric to block spray.

Based on my measurements, Fox sent me a size L jacket to test. Out of the box, the fit was a bit awkward (tight in the shoulders) but once on the trail it fit fine. It was 39F/4C and drizzling when I tested this piece but it repelled water the way turkey bowling will repel a mother in law. I didn’t have a pack on so I can’t testify to the effectiveness of the gripper silicon at keeping one where it belongs, but it seems like a good idea. As to keeping the internal sauna at bay… on the long climb out from the test lap I warmed up enough that I opened the chest vents and opened the main zip a bit, but that simple adjustment saw my core temp stabilize in short order. That offset main zipper is a bit tricky to get started up but it seems to make mid-ride adjustments a bit easier. Not sure if that’s something I’ve ever really cared about previously but now I kinda like it. Not that I’ll toss all my regular zipper jackets into the trash—I’m not really liking the cool-aid that much. But I appreciated how much easier it seemed to be to adjust the zipper while pedaling.

The Attack Pro Water jacket also features cordura scuff patches on the elbows zipper garages for the ykk vent zippersmm and a silicone grabber strip atop the shoulders to help keep pack straps in place.
But it's not just ventilation: the Attack Pro Water jacket also features Cordura scuff patches on the elbows, zipper "garages" for the YKK vent zippers and a silicone "grabber" strip atop the shoulders to help keep pack straps in place.

Overall, I really liked this jacket; the changes from last year’s Downpour Pro jacket are subtle, but significant. The only dis I have on it is that it’s a tad bit heavy as compared to a couple other jackets in this review. But the heavyweight performance of this jacket more than makes up for the weight of the garment. Go out and pedal all day in pounding rain? Yes. Absolutely.

Fox Racing Attack Pro Water Short
$150
Sizes: 30-38
Colors: Black

Just as the Attack Pro Jacket isn’t a rebranded version of last year’s Downpour Pro Jacket, this is not just a rebranded Fox Downpour short. It still uses Fox’s Truseal™ membrane but it uses a slightly more tapered cut and an MX inspired zipper with a ratcheted waist closure vs the slightly annoying 3 snap system of last year’s winter short. It does have two water resistant zip pockets like last year’s offerings and this short is also offered in whole sizes vs S, M, L sizing, but other than the logo, these are the only similarities between last year and now.

Fox Attack Pro Water Jacket and Attack Pro Water Short
Details on the Attack Pro Water Short: a ratchet closure for the MX inspired waist closure and an abbreviated zipper.

The short fit me like it’d been tailored to me. Waist? Check. Hips? Check. Inseam (14”) falling to just the knee? Check. The zip fly is a bit shorter than a regular zipper but it allows trailside relief just fine. The cut is more fitted than last years but it’s very subtle, and it’s not at all restrictive; I had zero issues with it binding on my lighter weight knee guards. I personally like the change to the MX inspired waist closure offered on this short: it offers more ability to fine tune the waist fit than last year’s 3 snap/privacy flap closure, and it’s just a more reassuring and secure closure.

When riding, the short performed like a champ. I stayed dry. Pure and simple. Sure, it was only drizzling, but I was out riding for 90 minutes, and an hour of that was spent on a fairly relentless climb. I never had a sauna in my shorts while climbing, and while my legs were wet, there was a distinct line of rain wet knee guards and dry knee guards from the protection offered by the short. Pretty stoked, to say the least.

One thing to note, though: Fox keeps the waist sizes honest in their shorts, so if you’re between, say a 32 and a 34-inch waist, size up. Otherwise, this is a great, lightweight short that can handle the heaviest weather that you care to play in.




The big red S needs no real introduction. They are one of the world’s largest bike manufacturers. But frequently overlooked is the Morgan Hill, CA-based company’s dedication to creating well-designed gear and apparel.


2017 Fall Winter Gear Guide Men s
2017 Fall Winter Gear Guide Men s
The Specialized Deflect H2O Mountain Jacket and the Atlas XC Comp Short, shown with the Defroster Trail Mountain Bike shoe.

Specialized Deflect H2O MTN Jacket
$200 USD
Sizes: S-XXL
Colors: Deep Navy, Dark Carbon, Moab Orange (tested)

37°F and mostly dry—but a few rain squalls to make it interesting.

The Deflect H20 MTN Jacket is made from Specialized’s proprietary stretch woven 3-layer water and wind resistant Deflect™ fabric which has a waterproof/breathability rating of 20k/20k--double the base standard for a garment to be considered waterproof/breathable. Like all 3 layer fabrics, it’s a microporous laminate sandwiched between a DWR coated outer “face” fabric and an inner layer that serves to protect the membrane as well as glide against your inner layers of clothing. Specialized has sweated the details on the design, too: all the seams are taped to prevent water seeping in via the stitching, a zippered Napoleon style chest pocket for electronics or other essentials, Watertight Aquaguard YKK zippers, adjustable cuffs to help keep water from intruding at the wrists, dual torso pockets, and dual adjustable waist shock cords. There is a slight drop tail to help keep your backside clean. Oh, and it has a visored hood. That’s a LOT going on, but the shell has a simple, clean look to it.


Specialized Atlas XC Comp Short with Liner and Deflect H2O Mountain Jacket
It's not a massive drop seat, but it's there.

I tested the Deflect H2O in size M. The design crew at Specialized nailed the fit perfectly. The jacket cut was fitted but not too fitted: I tested this with a base layer under a light mid-layer and could have fitted a lightly insulated vest or second mid layer easily, but not much more. It moved well whether dancing over roots or throwing shapes in the odd patch of peanut butter goo. The hood is designed to fit under the helmet but it fit over a Giro Montaro helmet just fine (although you need to unzip the neck a bit to deploy the hood that way). The two torso pockets double as vents with mesh lining, too, a nice touch as there are no other vents. It has a minimal drop tail, though—maybe an inch?

On the trail the jacket breathed well under heavy pedaling, and shed the on and off rain easily. I also appreciated the stretch woven material of the shell: it had just enough give to offer full freedom of movement regardless of how I contorted my body on the slick patches of trail. I definitely would have appreciated a tiny bit more of a drop tail, though, as moisture and grit managed to infiltrate my shorts when I roosted through a few puddles: at 37°F you kind of notice that icy spike tricking where you don’t want it, but a short with a higher back would likely have eliminated that, too. Or maybe I could have just ridden around the puddles. But where’s the fun in that?

Overall I was impressed by how well the jacket performed: it was lightweight, waterproof, and breathable.

Atlas XC Comp Short
$100
Sizes: 30-42
Colors: Black, Carbon (tested).

The Atlas XC Comp Shorts are Specialized’s go to trail short for those with more of the “I want to ride fast but not in lycra” crowd than the “I want to smash berms on the EWS Circuit” crowd. They are constructed with Specialized’s Vaporize fabric: a durable, stretchy lightweight fabric that breathes well. The list of pleasing features is long: A velcro MX style fly with 2 snaps and a privacy flap to keep unwanted exhibitionism at bay, two zippered pockets on the thighs, inner waistband adjusters for an exacting fit, a 14.5” inseam with a tapered knee that leaves just enough room for knee guards, and a Body Geometry Chamois liner short.

2017 Fall Winter Gear Guide Men s
2017 Fall Winter Gear Guide Men s
The Specialized Atlas XC Comp Short, shown with and without the liner short in place.

The first thing I noticed is that these shorts weigh about as much as a down feather. The second is that they have a bit of an exacting fit: I tested the 32 waist, and while I wasn’t muffin topping, it was close! And they have a tapered cut to them, too. But even though the cut is fairly tapered, I had no issues with lighter weight knee guards like G-forms or Specialized’s Atlas knee guards. The inseam was just where I like it, too: the shorts draped to just below my knee cap, banishing the dreaded gaper gap.

On the trail the Atlas XC Comp Shorts breathed exceptionally well and moved like a second skin, but without the sausage casing feel imbued by lycra (despite the fact I had on a liner chamois underneath them). Speaking of the liner… The Body Geometry Chamois included with the shorts clip in via a snap on either side of the waist and feature a super comfortable pad. I experienced zero hot spots or chafing during testing. The pockets of the short are well placed and easy to reach. But while these shorts perform well for their designed purpose, they are definitely more of a fair weather short than a foul weather short, lacking a DWR or any kind of a laminate to keep moisture out. But overall, a great fitting and great performing short for long rides in dry conditions regardless of temperature.





This iconic Italian sports apparel maker has been turning heads since 1963. That’s the year leather craftsman Sante Mazzarolo crafted the first gear to bear the Alpinestars logo: a pair of leather boots crafted for the then-emerging sport of Motocross. Following this debut, they soon became a leader in MX and motorcycle protective gear. In 2004 they began to make MTB clothing, and they’ve been killing it ever since.


Alpinestars Drop 2 Jacket and Descender Water Resistant Shorts
Alpinestars Descender 2 Jacket and Outrider Water Resistant short.
Alpinestars Descender 2 Jacket and Outrider Water Resistant Shorts shown with the Nimbus Waterproof Glove, Paragon Knee Guard, and Shimano MW7 Gore-tex Winter boots.

Descender 2 Jacket
$95 USD
Sizes: S-2XL
Colors: Black, Black/Acid Yellow, Acid Yellow/Black, Rio Red/Alpinestars Red (tested), and Bright Green/Black

Tested at 35°F with heavy sleet.

The Descender 2 Jacket is a lightweight windproof and water-resistant shell constructed of a ripstop fabric. Breathability is aided by a vent strip that runs across the shoulders. There are no pockets and no hood. There is a nice drop seat on the bottom hem. That hem and the cuffs are elasticized to keep them fitted close to the body and wrists. They use a YKK zipper for the main zip, and back that up with an inner flap to help block wind/moisture. The neck is lined with a microfleece along the collar. There is a storage pocket at the base of the spine that doubles as a stuff sack that can be attached under the saddle if you aren’t using a pack of some kind.

Alpinestars Descender 2 Jacket and Outrider Water Resistant short.
Alpinestars Descender 2 Jacket and Outrider Water Resistant short.
Alpinestars Descender 2 Jacket details: note the microfleece collar and a bit of mesh to help the jacket breathe and to move easily against your inner layer. The Descender 2 also stuffs into the storage pocket on the back of the jacket.

I tested a size M Jacket based on Alpinestars fit charts: great fit on the jacket from the get-go. The second thing I noticed was that the jacket weighs next to nothing. It’s just fitted enough that I never found myself wanting a shock cord system to fit the waist, yet roomy enough I never felt restricted. On the trail, the jacket breathed well and shrugged off the sleet the way a delinquent shrugs off a first offense at the courthouse. There is a bit of mesh along the shoulders that helps keep the jacket off your mid layer so it can breathe under heavier exertions, too.

At first glance the Descender 2 jacket is about as no-frills as it gets but the attention to detail in its construction makes this simple lightweight piece a solid performer. The simple cuffs may not have adjustments but the elastic eliminates that; you can't tailor that fit but the design makes that a non issue. There's a slight overhang on the back of the hand that creates overlap at this key point to help ward off water, too. And while there might not be shock cords to fine tune the fit at the waist, the same use of elastic there keeps the hem from riding up combined with the drop seat wards off rear tire spackle and spray quite nicely. The microfleece collar to eliminate chafing was a bonus, too.

On the trail it shed water acceptably for what it is: a water-resistant jacket. And it both breathed well yet kept the wind from turning me into a popsicle, even when I was crosswise to a classic Columbia River Gorge East wind. Add in the low cost and I’d snag this in a heartbeat for anything short of a late autumn excursion to Iceland.


Outrider WR Base Short
$115 USD
Sizes: 28-40 (this is a euro-based size, not a waist size; I typically wear a 30)
Colors: Black/Acid Yellow, Black/Bright Green, Black/Royal Blue, Black/Rio Red (tested), Dark Blue/Lime, Dark Shadow/White

The Outrider WR Base Short is the Italian clothing manufacturer’s top-flight foul weather short. It’s composed of a multi-material body: the main shell of the short features a 4-way stretch breathable fabric in the front panel, while the rear and crotch panels utilize a laminated ripstop and seam taped fabric. It features external waist tab adjusters, a MX style waist closure system secured with two snaps, an open pocket on either hip, and a single secure zipper pocket on the right thigh. The crotch has no stitching on it to create unwanted pressure points. These do not come with a liner short. It has a 14” inseam.

Alpinestars Descender 2 Jacket and Outrider Water Resistant short.
The Outrider Shorts have a dual snap closure and an adjustable waist.

Based on Alpinestar’s size charts and my beer consumption I tested a Euro size 32 to better fit my 33” waist. The fit of the short as a whole was pretty bang on. The overall cut of the garment is fitted, but the cut at the knee is a bit more generous than some others in this review; I could have gone with something much burlier than the G-form guards I tested them with. The inseam was right where I like it.

It was a wintery mix during my test ride for sure – sleet and snow the whole time – but the shorts kept me warm and dry on the descent and breathed well on the 20 odd minute climb back to the top. As conditions deteriorated during the ride, I had a couple silly crashes, too, but the shorts took the abuse without any complaints. Overall, I came away from the ride with a shit eating grin because it was that fun to be out in those conditions and not be freezing my ass off.


167 Comments

  • + 112
 So jealous of people that get to wear shorts as winter kit
  • + 23
 yea, its pretty cool
  • + 3
 Dude, I don't even wear a jacket or even long sleeves most of the time in winter. And it's relatively pleasant most of the time in the summer. Our local trails are kinda 'meh' though. I enjoy them, but I'm probably kinda lame.
  • + 28
 Up here in Minnesota were lucky if we get to wear a single layer of pants as part of our winter kit.
  • - 1
 Fast Florida!
  • + 7
 Out here we have go bike uphill... both ways in the pouring rain with the sun beating down on us 24 hours a day. True story brah. Lol
  • + 2
 @rpinney206: *ba dum, tish*
  • + 4
 At least you get chinooks though! I need to move back south for some of that random plus-10-in-February life...then blizzard and -30 the next day lol
  • - 10
flag NYShred (Nov 21, 2017 at 15:36) (Below Threshold)
 "just complain in the comments as per the usual and then look elsewhere." - that's the kind of passive aggressive talk that loses users, bro. Check that.

The Endura half-camo jacket is pretty fresh though.
  • + 22
 I don't understand why are shorts constantly being promoted as "winter clothes". Shorts are not winter clothes and 7-13 degrees C is not winter. Winter is the season with snow and below zero temperatures. Nobody I know wears shorts in winter.
  • + 4
 I think that this is late spring early fall attire for Maine
  • + 3
 @NYShred: It's merely a smart ass disclaimer; check the comments on the past two winter reviews I worked on and get a laugh at the comments from users where winter is -20C saying this isn't winter gear and you may warm up to my passive aggressive talk. Sometimes it's aggressive enough I just have to not look at the comments.
  • + 4
 @Extremmist: I live in Norway where there is plenty of winter and for trail riding (up _and_ down) a thick fabric shorts works very well down to 0 and maybe a couple degrees below (with wool socks, kneeguards and a jacket etc). colder than that, or on the road or nostly downhill trails, shorts is not an option I agree.
  • + 2
 @juicebanger: the absolute worst time of year right now, knowing you either freeze to death on a ride or have to wait until spring.
  • + 2
 @Extremmist: tenn out door water proof shorts, fox knee ( enduro ) skins and water proof socks does it for me in uk winter .
  • + 1
 @schlockinz: I rode the fatbike a few times in shorts last winter, on the warmer days anyway. I ended up with ice frozen to my leg hairs, but I really wasn't too cold, so long as I kept moving.
  • + 2
 @Extremmist: I do ride in shorts during winter (0 to -10). But I layer up pretty well to do so. I use knee warmers for my knees, knee pads on top of them, two layers of socks and stuffed bike underwear. I use the same shorts in summer heat btw.
  • + 2
 @Extremmist: winter is different than storm...winters vary widely across world right.
  • + 1
 The only time I don't ride in winter is when the dirt is frozen. Clothing never and issue and yes you can still ride shorts at 20 - 30 degrees.
  • + 3
 @Rider656: If you live somewhere where the dirt isn't frozen in the winter, this article is for you. For a lot of us, winter doesn't mean rain and a cool breeze, and if you wore any of those outfits you would be in for a real bad time. Winter means ice, snow, and cold. For example, it's -4F/-20C here today and we're only November. Our dirt is frozen from October to April, so if we don't ride during that time, well there goes half the year. All that to say, when I open this article to see someone riding in shorts in "winter", well, it's a bit of a joke, which is probably why they put winter in quotations at the top of the article. I think they also assume that only fat-bikers ride in the snow.
  • - 3
 @juicebanger: well said. this article is about a wanker and his gf getting to use free gear. not actual useful info. the shorts are short and have stretch panels. jackets are kinda water proof. I can just read the damn labels lol
  • + 2
 move to the west coast
  • + 2
 @boardin3320: or any gloves other than bar mitts
  • + 3
 Sorry... What's winter? Rain? Never heard of it.
  • + 2
 @Grutten: BS. I was in melbourne recently during jan/feb and it was like 10 degrees C and raining
  • + 1
 @makripper: Technically that's summer weather if it was Jan/Feb! Wink
  • + 1
 @lowgear: @nick1957: @janci1236 As long as you have your legs covered, what difference does it make whether you're wearing long trousers or shorts + knee warmers, pads, socks, whatever? You're still admitting that your calves would freeze if you didn't cover them with some sort of fabric.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist: I get a 3inch band of mud around calves.lets the steam escape on the climbs
  • + 0
 @Extremmist: I do. with tights underneath
  • + 1
 @juicebanger: exactly. it was still nice but it was 20 to 30 most of the time. as soon as the weather turns and you get weather moving in from the south (Antarctica) it gets cold and miserable.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist: Just a personal preference, therefore I do not have to own two pairs of pants and find it more ride friendly to use just shorts. Long pants are more bulky.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist: ha ha I lived in Canada and used to wear shorts in -20 riding. I might start off with long pants but they ususally came off once id ridden up a hill if it was sunny. more need for long pants at +5 in slop and rain in the uk sometimes due to damp and wind. its not just the number on the guage that determines the heat or cold humidity of air ie youre wet or not or obviously rain and wind can make more difference sometimes plus you sweat in huimidd conditions but it doesn't evaporate and then youre wet and cold if you stop moving. aah the joys.

MOST IMPORTANT BIT OF KIT IS ENDURA WATERPRROF SHO9E COVERS IN WINTER IF UR IN CLIP IN SHOES COS THEY IS DRAUGHTLY OTHERWISE!! why do they never make mention of this its feet that get the coldest
  • + 1
 I wear shorts all year around, inside and outside. Done it ever since i was a kid.
When its freezing I just wear thicker kneepads and thick socks.
Shorts and t-shirts when its +5 °C, plus a windbreaker/rain jacket.
But I also ride every day, and has been ever since I got a bike as a kid.
  • + 1
 @juicebanger: I rode in shorts in Calgary area when I lived there. pants over the top but they usually came off once I climbed a hill or 2 and got warm. the sun is warm in Canada usually although I see ur living further North
  • + 33
 Where's the helmet with the built-in beard?
  • + 2
 Don't shave or get a haircut after Halloween...
  • + 1
 @thinkbike: does the beard match the beard?
  • + 25
 Why are we forced to wear clown-suits?
  • + 74
 Because clowns keep spending their money on them.
  • + 2
 you're not...
  • + 12
 You want just all black everything?
  • + 1
 @troyleedesigns: Actually yes! At least according to my wife...
  • + 15
 Fox has really stepped things up the last few years, however that jacket is one of the most expensive ones of the bunch, and it just looks cheap and low quality to me. Coming from a moto background, there is no way i would pay more for a fox jacket than an equivalent dianese jacket.
  • - 4
flag nug12182 (Nov 21, 2017 at 12:15) (Below Threshold)
 I just got their Attack Fire pants and they are worth every penny of the $200 they costed.Very nice procuct.I was scared spending that amount of money on a pair of riding pants.
  • + 1
 I haven't used to much of their mountain bike apparel, but I have used their dirt biking clothing extensively this last summer. Their dirtbiking and mountain biking gear share a lot of features which is why I bring it up. I was very disappointed with how it held up for the price, after a few washes their was substantial color fade and the jersey and pants both had plenty of rips. I mostly do trail riding on the dirtbike and I am sure on a MX course it would have held up better, but I don't think that would have changed the color fade I experienced. I did get their MX jacket for riding in colder weather, I haven't used it to much and I hope it holds up better then their other products. In comparison I have a set of shift gear I got on clearance for $70 and it has held up much better after two seasons.

That being said, at 5'11 and 170lbs during the riding season, the fit and feel of their clothing is fantastic, and I haven't come across something better yet.
  • + 4
 @Verticall: You do realize Shift and Fox are the same company, right?!
  • + 3
 me dainese, me play joke
  • + 1
 @swedishfishmx: I had no idea actually. I wonder why I experienced such a difference in quality. Thank you for the heads up!
  • + 1
 @nug12182: you live in Myrtle Beach, the rectum of South Carolina?
  • + 1
 @bizutch: dude its a lot worse than that.I do a ton of traveling to the western Carolinas
  • + 1
 @Longroadtonowhere Fox stuff is bomber. I crashed in a pair of their attack pro shorts this fall and ripped the chamois, but the shorts were no worse for the wear. Their jackets are awesome too, I just wish they had a hood.
  • + 10
 Honestly Dickies work pants make bombproof winter riding pants, with or without padded shorts or tights underneath. (They're made with that new wonder fabric *Polyester*, which lasts for a good 5 years of winter riding, and doesn't soak up water) Wearing shorts in wet weather just gets your socks soaked, and then your shoes end up getting wet faster, which is going to happen anyway. Buy a $100-150 "breathable" (ish) jacket, as it is going to get so much dirt in it, it is pointless getting Goretex, which is just going to get ruined. Try putting on a rear fender. Cold ears? Cut the sleeve off a t-shirt and pull it over your head. Works a charm.
Ride hard.
  • + 2
 I dunno man... I'll take the wind-proof Goretex jacket any day of the winter... I have an ancient MEC jacket made with Windstopper and it's perfect over a fleece. Not everyone lives in the NW Pacific, eh?
  • - 9
flag sosburn (Nov 21, 2017 at 12:53) (Below Threshold)
 or, you know, just dont ride muddy trails. it wrecks them. P.S. I heard if you wear polyester you go to hell so extra points there
  • + 3
 @sosburn: not everyone has the luxury of being able to choose not to ride when its wet. Both some of Canada's west coast and most of the UK are pretty much always at least slightly wet and muddy. So ride the best you can, in the conditions you have, and don't be a dick about wrecking trails if it is muddy. Fair enough?
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: i was responding to woofer2609. obviously UK is just always muddy, and west coast canada is loamy and moist, just don’t see the point in complaining about expensive wet weather gear if youre riding those conditions 9/10 times. might as well invest in something thats made for riding that will last a few seasons instead of buying shit that will just be uncomfortable and cold.
  • + 2
 Layer cheap Wally World fleece tops with a $7 eBay mesh backed vest and you are good to go. I've been wearing the fleece buffalo plaid Wrangler button tops for years. For everything from biking, to trail work, to skiing.

Shorts - Still digging my ancient, indestructible, Endura Humvee 3/4 length shorts. I will cry if they ever die.

Even in light fleece in freezing temps I come out of the woods soaked with sweat, and fleece is way more breathable than even the best Gortex. Pick your poison - damp from snow and drizzle or stew in your own sweat.
  • + 3
 @sosburn: @sosburn: Many trails in PNW are designed to be ridden in the rain, If they weren't, you would only be able to ride here 3 months (maybe) out of the year. Rocks have been built into areas that could experience wear, The loam was either never there, or is long gone (thank god), proper drainage techniques are employed by trailbuilders, etc (And yes, I go out and do trail maintenance days.) I'm not complaining about wet weather gear, I'm saying that I don't want to destroy my $600 Arcteryx jacket from dirt destroying the fabric, or when I inevitably bail off my bike.
If you're cold, pedal harder. I've never been cold mountain biking.
PS-What about wearing a cotton/poly blend? Will I go to Purgatory? Are the trails nice there?
  • + 1
 @woofer2609: I think i misunderstood you/misread then. Thought you were saying quality rain gear can be replaced with dickies/poly. I agree to saving the arcteryx jacket, however i'm not against using a $100 patagonia shell to keep things dry, especially certain places that can get real uncomfortable with some extra moisture Wink

where i live, riding in anything other than dry/slightly moist leaves some gnarly ruts, so i guess i need to spend more time on the north shore.
and i'm pretty sure unless you wear anything but wool from a virgin sheep you'll go to hell, where every trail is a 20% grade fire road.
  • + 10
 "Tested on a clear day with temperatures right at 44°F"

You people wear thermal gear at this temperature? There are a lot of parts of the world where we start wearing a shirt at that temp.
  • + 3
 yeah. thats tee and a long sleeve buttonup as well as jeans or shorts of somekind weather, depending on what youre doing.
  • + 3
 @jaycubzz: @husstler: i knew you guys were Albertan's before i even clicked your names
  • + 7
 Granted the "fit" of a jacket, or shorts is something to hone in on, but there are necessities when designing any outdoor outer layer...Breathability is priority one. If I'm a sweaty mess the coat is coming off. Next: MASSIVE pit zips - let me determine my climate control. Pockets; two lower and one upper. Seat drop; make it so that it does it's job...4 or 5 inches? A tall zip up (with nice soft fabric on the inside) and a attached hood; Over or under the helmet, whatever. These are basic requirements. Miss any and you lose. IMO Why can't manufacturers get these right? It seems one coat has some, but not others, so on and so on. Yet you want me to pay top dollar for a design that is missing basic design features.
  • + 4
 What is the care process for these? I have an old pair of jeans I wear as a top layer because they get dirty as hell and I can just throw them in the wash. I can't imagine these space aged fabrics like going through the regular wash and dry process?
  • + 2
 usually you have to wash these to retain their functionality. max temperature of about 40 °C and not too much spin drying. best is a special laundry detergent for membranes. also you should spray on some water repellent afterwards.
  • + 2
 Look up a product called nikwax. There are different versions of it but it is effectively a detergent that helps waterproofing as well (more or less)
  • + 7
 Ill spend $500 just to not rock a rear fender.


Or.


Sit on a towel on the drive home.
  • + 8
 TLDR = Please spend more money on bike stuff
  • + 6
 Up here in northern Sweden, all of these would be considered high summer riding kits.
  • - 2
 theres what, like, one hundred thousand people up there? youre the vast minority of who might be reading this article.
  • + 1
 @jaycubzz: I guess we'll just forget about Finland too then, and Norway, and Iceland, and Greenland, and Russia, and Canada, and US (Alaska).
  • + 10
 @jaycubzz: Canada is great. However, the concepts of humor and irony have apparently passed you by.
  • + 1
 @niplo: he said northern sweden, not north of the 60th parallel, calm yourself
  • + 0
 @Glisseur: how are you funny or ironic
  • + 1
 @jaycubzz: suggesting winter kit is only suitable for simmer where he lives. that's mild humour right there and a little bit ironic cos its winter kit in summer nah wa I mean?
  • + 5
 Read the whole article and it'll be spring before you next ride. Read the womens one next to go straight to summer. You're still warm and dry. Job done.
  • + 2
 My issue is not staying warm in cold weather, New Hampshire, average ride is probably 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it is keeping the sweat from building up. If I could drop $800 on all high tech gear, problem solved. Unfortunately that is not an option. It would be great if there were reviews or how to articles to setup some basic kit that would allow for 2 to 3 hour cold rides, and have not have me soaked to the core internally, sweating my rear off. As soon as there is a long descent or a stop the cold gets into you in these conditions and conditions get miserable. Thoughts from the group?
  • + 2
 Serious question; what do you guys recommend for riding at 50*F or high 40*F (9-10*C)? Not warm enough for long sleeve summer weight jerseys but not cold enough for this stuff in the article. I haven’t found any good cycling specific thermal shirts (Most brands seem to skip over this climate entirely) so I’m probably just get something from lulu or underarmor...
  • + 4
 I usually just wear underarmor under my summer jersey or a mid-weight polyester layering shirt (why need cycling specific) over my summer jersey on top. Control temperature by rolling up sleeves. On the bottom I keep it warmer or cooler based on whether I wear my kneepads for the climb or not. If you don't wear knee pads I've had friends recommend knickers or roadie-style-knee warmers.
  • + 5
 Lightweight merino wool base layer. Feels good even when damp. Either a merino tee (best with 12% nylon for strength) or standard poly jersey on top of that. I like the second merino tee over it so I can dump the base layer if I get too warm. Poly or nylon anything feels clammy when wet, but merino feels great.

Add a very light windbreaker vest for the downhills if it's getting down into the 40's if it's windy or for long DH's (aka wind) - it's easy to stash in a small bum pack.

IMO waterproof jackets of any kind don't work unless you're in a flat area. I sweat out even the best of them due to the climbs we do around here. YMMV depending on how hard you like to hammer.
  • + 2
 At those temps I'd wear a light long sleeve (or probably short sleeve actually) jersey and a packable wind breaker that can fit in your pocket when you get warm on the climb. But my 9/10c might feel different than yours
  • + 2
 I would recommend a good windbreaker that's highly pack-able and breathes. I usually wear a normal jersey from summer (long or short) and my windbreaker, especially nice on descents during the evening after work ride. I also wear some lightweight knee pads even if the riding doesn't really warrant them - provides some warmth and on the off chance I take a digger I have some protection.

Hate to overtly plug product in the comments, but if your looking a good windbreaker, the apline start hoody from black diamond is the best I've worn. It takes the edge of when its windy, has great stretch, highly breathable, sheds mud and dirt easily for cleaning, does keep you dry if some light rain comes in but it will wet out eventually, and highly pack-able.
  • + 2
 I'll second the UnderArmour recommendation. Target's C9 brand is kind of a cheaper version of UnderArmour too, although a bit hit or miss, some of their stuff is great, but not all of it.
  • + 1
 I'm not sure i understand the problem, although I am from Yorkshire.
Anything above 8*c and I wear my summer gear, shorts and t shirt.
5-8*c t shirt with a thermal
Below 5*c t shirt with soft shell jacket.
  • + 1
 My go to in those conditions:
Wool socks. Compression t shirt under a summer jersey with a wind proof front/ mesh or cloth back vest. Arm warmers, Gore windstopper for the colder temps regular for warmer, easy to pull up and down for climbs/ DH. Wool knee warmers. Then either soft shell or waterproof shorts over bibs. Roubaix bibs also rock for a little insulation as it gets colder. Then a shell packed along in case the weather drops further. Atleast, that works for me in CO. That setup lets me go from 30s to 50s in the same ride.

The key is to never get too hot on the climbs that you are soaked with sweat on the DH. Open up the vest and pull arm warmers down.
  • + 1
 I agree with @JustinVP merino is the way to go, although I don't wear as many layers (in the temps you're talking about, but I run pretty hot). My go to when it's coldish but not raining- Icebreaker or Smartwool merino baselayer, Novara long sleeve riding shirt, Endura MT500 Burner shorts with Clickfast liner, merino socks.
  • + 1
 My Endura Waterproof II is still the go-to when it's raining for real, but I took the gamble on the Fox Attack Pro Fire jacket and it's the best damn winter jacket I've ever ridden in. Breathes great and keeps the temp just right. And the build quality is the best I've seen from any Fox product. I still use the Endura Waterproof II shorts with it most days though. Can't see why I'd buy the Fox version when Endura is so good.
  • + 1
 What's the temps you've been riding in with the jacket/short combo? I've been really looking at getting a better set of waterproof shorts or pants and a better fitting jacket. I'm mainly looking at Fox and Endura, but I'm hesitant getting the Fire gear from Fox as I run fairly warm as is. I can usually get by with a gore-tex paclite jacket and a baselayer down to freezing or just below. Really aiming at a pair of pants, and the only ones Fox has are either water resistant Demo pants or the Fire. The fear I have is I'll overheat in the Fire gear and how waterproof the Fire gear is. I live outside Seattle and this time of the year, without fully waterproof gear, you come back soaked.
  • + 1
 @mtnbykr05: I’ve been riding the attack pro fire in 40-45 degree F temps with a regular weight long sleeve jersey and a light base layer. I run warm and sweat through everything but the attack pro fire has been perfect. Not surprisingly you’ll feel a little chilly if you’re just hanging out in the cold after you stop but it’s manageable.
  • + 1
 @mtnbykr05: I’m in the Seattle area too. The attack pro fire is also water-resistant. In a normal PNW drizzle it does just fine. If it’s raining for real the Endura jacket comes out.
  • + 2
 @mtnbykr05: Try the Endura MT500 II pants. Bomber. But not super stylish. The Maloja pants I wore are pretty damn good, though. It snowed about 1.5 inches during testing; I went from bare ground and sleeting lightly to pinning it to get back to the trail head before it got really nasty.
  • + 1
 @DrPete: that's great input. I'm fairly well covered on drizzle gear between my windstopper jacket and soft shell shorts, but my waterproof shorts fit poorly and are heavy and bulky. My jacket would be amazing, if it only had a drop tail. Between the poor fitting shorts (too big), and the lack of a drop tail, my lower back still gets wet.

@meagerdude: that's really the direction I've been leaning, given the past years review on them. I figure I can always layer extra if I need something warmer, but staying dry is key.
That Maloja stuff is looking great! I wasn't impressed with their gear from years past, but more and more their products are looking better every year. Those pants look top notch on fit and quality. That jacket looks just like my current setup, with a better fit, but the lack of pit zips is a bummer. Definitely one to keep on the radar for future.
  • + 1
 @meagerdude Great review man! Quick question though, how would you compare the Endura Singletrack II jacket to the MT500 jacket? I was literally about to pull the trigger on the mt500, now reading this review it seems I have quite a few other options.
  • + 1
 I live in Reno, and I wear those Club Ride pants whenever it's below 50 degrees. These things fit perfect, keep me warm enough without having to wear knee warmers, and they're really comfortable. At $120 they beat any short in this article.
  • + 1
 A little surprised not to see any Race Face gear on here?
while their gloves kinda suck (they just don't last), I used their Chute waterproof jacket for a winter of riding in the UK, and the agent jacket for lots of spring / fall riding here in Canada to great effect (or is that aeffect...). The agent shorts are also fantastic.
  • + 1
 ratedgg13: I tested their gear two years ago and again last year. The shorts rule. The Chute is not a pedal friendly jacket but shines on shuttle days. At the time we started testing the Agent jacket was not available. Look for a long term review sometime this winter on that piece.
  • + 1
 I respect that this is a ton of work as it is, but i would love to hear a little bit about the smaller pieces of cold weather gear too. I find that things like gloves, shoes, shoe covers make a bigger difference than the shorts/jackets. Like you said, wicking, insulating layers are so important with a waterproof shell over them. Gloves and shoes have to be good on their own, and a "good enough" jacket will get the job done better than just good enough gloves, etc.
  • + 2
 Nikki and I literally just finished that article; look for it to post soon.
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: you guys rock
  • + 1
 I've got this Endura jacket and it is by far the best mtb jacket I have ever worn. unbelievable piece of kit, really has to be tried to fully appreciate it.

also, I got couple of jackets I got in Lidl for next to nothing, especially compared to Endura and others here, and they do more than decent job - actually I was surprised how well they perform, especially when you take care of them and, as I, use Nixwax TechWash and TX.Direct or similar stuff 2, 3 times a year.
has to be said, stuff you can get in Lidl for cycling, is more than decent to say the least.

I also use Endura's MT500 3/4 pants for rain/snow riding. I find that size to be the best for winter riding. much better than full pants as there is no flap around the cranks area, plus, no chain lube on pants - hate that...
with that, high, up to knee socks and you're good to go. have regular skiing/snowboard socks and similar, but am about to stop rationalising and get myself a pair of SealSkinz waterproof socks.

I also made myself ghetto gaiters out of soccer socks to keep the stuff out of my 5.10's - have to work more on that to get it to stay in place and not to lift from time to time. work in progress...
  • + 1
 I live on the North Shore and wet riding is apart of life here.
It would be nice to know how long each of these garments were worn in adverse conditions(pouring rain).
Back up the review with a few videos might be nice to help us.
How long do you really stay dry in pouring rain for each of these jackets/pant and shorts , 30 min 45 minutes?
  • + 2
 Mythbusters?
  • + 1
 I ride in long shorts all year, pants simply doesn`t offer enough ventilation, especially around the knee pads. Breathability is important not to get cold.
Waterproof shorts in the fall, otherwise regular trail shorts. Woollen long Johns underneath and gaiters if it is deep snow or extremely muddy.
  • + 5
 This is gonna be a good one.
  • + 1
 Every year
  • + 1
 Thank you for the review on the one pair of pants.
i like dry legs as well as a dry ass.
why are people not wearing jackets with short sleeves?
The Spesh Jacket looks like the winner price / performance wise.
Does it have pit zips?
gotta have pit zips.
  • + 2
 I was looking at the Fox jacket, it fit great and I liked the features but no hood. I got the OR Hellium HD instead and its pretty kick ass.

www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en/mens-helium-hd-jacket/p/2429440054006
  • + 1
 I prefer bright colours, particularly in winter where a big off can get serious quickly with the elements. If you end up in some undergrowth, or if someone is more than 20m from you, at least there's a chance they'll see you... I get that black/grey looks good but I'll never buy it as a main jacket...
  • + 0
 Sorry, but I don't use polyester clothing for one simple reason. Cancer. Polyester is created by long chains of polymer, but some molecules is not included in this reaction and are trapped between the fibers. These very reactive molecules called monomers can instead react with your body and have a toxic effect. I only use cotton or wool clothing, with down feathers to keep me warm in the winter.
  • + 2
 Can't beat a roll of black bin bags & some scissors for £2.30 to keep the mud off my pink Ralph Lauren shirt & baby blue chinos while I'm out riding this winter
  • + 1
 What's this winter guy people talk so much about it? I think he must be a pretty badass jesuswise worldwide saviour, cos I see people wearing shirts saying he is coming all he time!!
  • + 0
 Good disclaimer up front! I think if you can wear shorts in "winter" then you aren't allowed to use the term winter, you can say, the cooler part of your summer that lasts all year *bastards* Winter is for us in the hell-scape of Alberta style winters and beyond...
  • + 2
 I'm skint as usual so I'll probably go with long johns and jeans coupled with an old base layer and a tatty, semi waterproof jacket again this year.
  • + 5
 Endura is soo sick
  • + 1
 MOST IMPORTANT BIT OF KIT IS ENDURA WATERPRROF SHO9E COVERS IN WINTER IF UR IN CLIP IN SHOES COS THEY IS DRAUGHTLY OTHERWISE!! why do they never make mention of this its feet that get the coldest in damp and cold.
  • + 0
 Post Canyon and Syncline, FTW!!!

I wonder how Dakine feels about you guys testing in their backyard but not reviewing any of their stuff...? I guess they should step up their mtb outerwear offerings...
  • + 1
 muds a bit annoying but im just about the right temperature riding in winter. id spend more money on something to keep me cool and less sweaty in summer
  • + 1
 If you act quickly Amazon has the Endura jacket on sale for $110 but there are only a few left (no XLs in camo I just got the last one).
  • + 3
 But it's summer!!!!!! Durrrrr.....
  • + 3
 Winter apparel: shorts vs pants 6:1. Wow. Do you mean equatorial winter?
  • + 1
 Of all this lightweight winter apperal, none of the jackets have the most useful and must have feature. All of these are going to be too warm or too cold.
  • + 1
 how about an in depth winter glove review? that is one place for me anyhow that can ruin a cold weather ride. if my hands are cold it's just no fun.
  • + 0
 What about big dudes? None of this crap fits cuz I’m a big boned, fat ass downhiller, Lol plus size gear ASAP!!! Do it, NOW! 40-46 in waist n up to 56 chest width, come on????
  • + 2
 Tested on 42 °F, when winters here are more like 2 °F. But very good kits for summer riding.
  • + 1
 I giggle when cold weather gear is rated in the 45-55 degree range... My crew rocks Dickies and a hoodie in temps in the negatives on the regular during the winter...
  • + 1
 I will gladly take belt loops over velcro elastic waists . Good timing finally breaking down and willing to spend decent $$ of the right clothing for the season
  • + 2
 What about the kit fir -30°C, what a bunch of West Coast privilege..
  • + 2
 Where is the test of Norona?
  • + 1
 And the lowest winter goes where I live is maybe 50 degrees so I should be ok
  • + 1
 I rode a few inches of Pow this morning.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15389021
  • + 2
 you call that pow?
  • + 1
 You mean some crust?
  • + 1
 Too bad they didn't review trail work clothes rather than expensive kits for riding in shitty conditions.
  • + 1
 I just looked out my window to see there's a F-ing snow blizzard outside.. I'll leave my shorts in the wardrobe today!
  • + 2
 One pair of trousers in the whole winter riding kit review...
  • + 2
 We need an article on winter/wet riding gloves now.
  • + 1
 Specialized Deflect H20
  • + 1
 How cold?
  • + 2
 It always amazes me how expensive bike clothing is.
  • + 1
 Lel. "Winter Gear". I'm in what I would wear snowboarding trying to go down hills with feet of snow on them!
  • + 3
 No onsies??
  • + 2
 Hey, don't mock my onsie bro!
  • + 1
 PB, can you comment on the Spec Defroster shoes vs the Shimano MW7’s? Thanks
  • + 1
 Hmmm, I like the fit and feel of the Shimano shoes--I tested them last winter. But the Defrosters were pretty baller, too. The Shimanos had better off the bike traction. The Specialized were easier to get on and off but had a really narrow cleat path on the bottom of the shoe--I had no lateral adjustment on Crankbrother cleats with the Defrosters. If you can just try them on and whichever one fits better will do. To that end:

Both run a bit large but the Specialized run bigger than the Shimanos. I wear a 44 in Giro and typically a 44 in Shimano and a 43 in Northwave. I'd run 43.5 in the Shimano MW7 after testing that shoe in 44 and 43 in the Specialized Defroster after testing the 43.5.
  • + 1
 thanks for the info!
  • + 2
 I'd ride some of this stuff on a fatbike.
  • + 1
 Men’s Launch Thermal Jersey - well that's next summers jersey sorted
  • + 1
 Colin Meagher looks like bear Grylls
  • + 1
 I love what the west coast thinks is winter!....lol You guys have no idea
  • + 1
 shame u need a new credit card just to dress to ride in winter
  • + 1
 And where are the pit vipers and all denim outfits !?
  • + 1
 Who is the guy in the pictures and why does he not get credit?
  • + 0
 Winter Gear? Ha.. Try again pinkbike. Come North and lets talk winter gear.
  • + 1
 Big R has nice clothes
  • + 1
 Which glasses too please
  • - 2
 Overpriced article!
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