Your essential guide to winter cycling gear
Here at Bikemagic we know that the winter months can be tough on your motivation (not to mention your bike). If you’re struggling to face the trails when you know they’ll be a river of mud or the temperature is dragging the mercury down, we’ve looked at ten products that might just give you the motivational boost you need.
The first layer against the wind, rain and cold when you’re riding is a jacket. So it makes a lot of sense to invest in a good one. A high quality cycling jacket is an investment, so don’t balk at some of the high prices commanded by some jackets – there’s a lot of technology in the latest designs, with fabrics evolving at a rapid rate. We’ve picked Gore Bike Wear’s Fusion GT AS jacket, which while expensive, is about as good as jackets get at the moment.Gore jacket: with something like this up-top you won’t be worried about getting out in all conditions.
Simply the greatest invention since… Waterproof baggy shorts like Altura’s Attack Waterproof shorts will keep your bum dry from all that mud and water that gets thrown up by the rear wheel.Waterproof riding shorts: best invention of modern times! Seriously, they will help you get out whatever the weather so get yourself a pair if you don’t already own some.
Keep your feet dry
Nothing leads to misery quicker than squid-feet during a ride. Waterproof socks are a cheap but effective way of ensuring your feet stay dry, no matter how soppy the trails get. SealSkins’ socks are a long time popular choice.Sealskin socks have been a staple of the winter-time mountain biker ever since they were first released. Get some and save your feet from the wet and cold.
Lightweight gloves that give lots of feel and feedback are fine during the summer, but they’re not much cop when it’s below zero or pouring with rain. So do your fingers a favour and get yourself a pair of winter gloves. Grip Grab’s Raptor gloves, odd name aside, will keep them insulated from the cold and still allow good dexterity.Decent winter gloves like these Grip Grab ones will keep your digits warm and dry – essential.
We consider mudguards an essential evil. They may not be fashionable or look cool, but the difference they make when it’s going to be muddy on the trails is worth the small price. There’s plenty of choice, but the Mucky Nutz Fender Bender is both simple and affordable, making it a good choice.Mucky Nutz Bender Fender. If you’re reading this thinking “I’m going to get one of those” – as you should be – then you’ll be gutted that you didn’t enter our Christmas giveaway…
Still trying to slither through the mud on your summer tyres? Most manufacturers offer at least one specific mud tyre and the difference they make has to be tried to be believed. Grip even in the gloop, decent mud shedding capabilities, they will make the difference between being out of control and in control. Here’s 13 of the best.A good set of mud tyres such as the Maxxis Beaver’s will cut through the gloop, shed the sh*t and help to propel you through the boggy winter trails. Get some.
Light the trails
Daylight is a rare commodity at the moment, but that’s no bad thing. With a set of reasonably bright lights, and there’s plenty of choice these days, you can embrace the night, and vastly increase your potential riding time. Better yet, night riding is one of the most fun things to do on a mountain bike. There’s lights for all budgets, the Hope R4 is at the upper end but is extremely well made and throws out a good beam.Hope lights: it doesn’t get a lot better. After-work riding means night-time riding now until sometime next spring, so get yourself a set of lights and get out there.
Ditch your gears
Worried about shredding your expensive mountain bike in that grit and grime of your local trails? A mountain bike designed for winter riding can save the wear and tear on your pride and joy, and needn’t cost a lot. A singlespeed reduces maintenance and needs very little cleaning. Riding with only one gear can also improve your riding, teaching you to carry momentum and being a bloody good workout on the climbs. Here are some ideas for you…Singlespeed bikes like this Kona Unit lower your time spent on maintenance, good for getting you out the door.
Improve your skills
The winter is a good time to improve your skills. And a good way of doing that is to book yourself onto one of the growing number of skills courses around the country. Perhaps you’re new to the sport and need a hand with the basics, or you consider yourself experienced but you’d like to learn how to jump, skills courses cater for all abilities? Have a look here.Annie Last running a skills masterclass. Get yourself some lessons and your riding will improve leaps and bounds.
Ride new trails
Okay, this isn’t really a product as such, but it’s a great way to boost motivation. We’re lucky in this small country to have a wide choice of trails, so if you’re getting too familiar with your local ones, then why not spread your net a bit wider and go ride some new trails? Our comprehensive trail network guide lists all the trail centres in the UK.