You’ve already decided that you’re not going to let yourself be stopped by cold winds, sleet, or dark skies.
So what if it’s winter?
You’ve got places to be, and you’re going to get there on a bike.
But it’s a little confusing, isn’t it?
How will you cope with ice and rust, or make sure you stay as warm and safe as possible?
And most importantly, how do you cut through all the noise from different manufacturers and just get to the cold, hard facts about which products will do what you need them to?
Lucky for you, we’ve put together some of our favorite winter cycling gear to help you find the equipment that’ll help you get the most out of your cold-weather riding.
Here are 15 of the best winter cycling gears to have.
1. POC Ventral Air Spin
You might wonder why a bike helmet that’s been celebrated for its airiness and breathability on hot days would show up on a list dedicated to winter cycling gear, but there’s a good reason for this.
One of the realities of any winter clothing is that there’s such a thing as too warm; I mean sweaty, swampy, uncomfortably warm, especially when you’re doing physical work or exercise.
Paired with a solid skullcap like the Giordana, POC’s Ventral Air Spin offers great protection with exceptional airflow, allowing you to keep your head warm but not boiling, ventilated but not freezing.
2. Oakley Jawbreaker Photochromic
Oakley’s Jawbreaker Photochromic sunglasses is a terrific choice for reduced light and heavy precipitation like snow. Their Plutonite lenses are really effective at filtering out UV and blue light, a particular concern during winter, when UV rays are amplified by reflection off of snow and ice.
Plutonite lenses are photochromic, so they can be used in both low light at dawn and dusk as well as during the day, since the lenses’ shade will change along with UV exposure.
Anyone who’s worn eyewear in winter can also tell you that fogging is a constant annoyance, so it should be a comfort to know that the patented High Definition Optics help keep your vision as sharp as possible in obscured conditions, while the injection-molded thermoplastic frame provides superior strength and resilience over traditional acetate.
Read More : The 15 Best Cycling Sunglasses
3. Giordana Skull Cap + Ear Cover
With 25 years of experience in manufacturing cycling clothing, Giordana knows what they’re doing. Their skull cap makes a perfect addition to your winter setup, with its ultra-thin ThermoPlus material paired with Windtex ear covers.
The advantage of the thin material is its ability to retain heat while staying breathable, all while taking up as little space as possible so you don’t need to go up a size or two with your helmet.
The soft, flexible material will also match comfortably with straps and eyewear, so you shouldn’t have any problems with comfort or a snug fit for any of your headgear.
4. Gore Thermo Arm Warmers
Gore is the original synthetic warm wear, popular among runners, cyclists, and professionals like firefighters and military personnel.
Their Thermo Arm Warmers are marketed as being especially wind and waterproof, with the polyamide/elastane mix being just stretchy enough to fit comfortably and snugly without being too similar to wearing a shopping bag.
The close-fitting synthetic material is perfect for low temperatures, retaining heat even while it repels cold air and moisture, and the articulated elbows help avoid the discomfort of less well-designed arm warmers which can stretch and pull elbow skin uncomfortably.
Read More : The 8 Best Arm Warmers for Cycling
5. Craft Active Extreme 2.0 Base Layer
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a base layer invented by a Swedish runner and tinkerer would be a peerless addition to any set of winter gear.
Craft’s Active Extreme is incredibly lightweight at 204g, in a breathable polyester/elastane mix.
The basic job of any base layer is to warm you while also wicking away sweat, and the Active Extreme does this brilliantly. The channeled fibers against the skin rapidly remove sweat while the hollow exterior fibers back it up with extra insulation.
Plus, due to its less pricey synthetic materials, you’ll do your wallet a favor, too.
6. Castelli Alpha RoS Jacket
The Alpha RoS (Rain or Shine) not only touts itself as being adaptable; it delivers, too.
Shielded from wind and rain on the outside with a shell made from Gore Windstopper 150 fabric, the next layer down is a fleece inner lining that perfectly complements a good base layer. By partially unzipping the outer layer for airflow, you can still rely on the inner fleece to provide warmth without sacrificing protection from moisture.
It also has several features that show Castelli knows what it’s doing, including a standing, fleece-lined collar, tapered cuffs forming a seal against the wind, and a flexible, form-fitting extended tail to ensure you’re not caught short when you’re bent forward on the drops.
Read More : The 10 Best Winter Cycling Jackets
7. Craft Siberian Glow Glove
With a name like Siberian Glow, it might be easy to picture the kind of thick, chunky winter gloves you might have worn as a kid in the depths of winter, but these couldn’t be more different.
Palms of Clarino synthetic leather lined with silicone dots provide superior grip, with extra silicon dots on the reinforced tips of the pointer and middle fingers, proving Craft has put some thought into making shifting and braking as easy and smooth as possible.
Spray-resistant backs help resist intrusive moisture, while the extended cuffs fit easily with jacket cuffs to ensure a good seal against the wind.
8. Castelli Omloop Pro Bib Short
These Castelli bib shorts have taken an interesting and unusual approach, in that the front extends down lower to cover the knee cap to keep a comfortable fit while avoiding uncomfortable bunching in the bend of the knee.
An exterior of mesh and Nano Flex fabric ensure a comfortable form-fitting feel while bolstering the waterproofing in other pieces of gear.
The Progetto X2 Air chamois makes for a comfortable ride on the rear, and the fleece lining results in excellent warmth throughout your ride.
9. Sportful NoRain Knee Warmers
These knee warmers feature a secret weapon to fend off rain for extended periods of time: a silicone finish sprayed on the exterior, which forces water to bead up and slide off before it can get through the fabric.
They’re held in place with a silicone grip at the top, so there’s no uncomfortable sliding or excess bunching apart from a manageable amount at the rear of the knee, and the thin fleece lining provides an extra bulwark against the wet, while keeping the knees and mid-legs comfortably warm.
10. DeFeet Woolie Boolie
There’s something to be said for not fixing what ain’t broke, which is why the use of merino wool in these socks seems perfect. Famed for its heat retention and non-scratchy feel against the skin, merino wool has the bonus effect of keeping you warm even when wet.
Woolie Boolies are incredibly soft and comfortable, especially with some careful positioning. The main thing to keep in mind is the thickness of wool, so it might be wise to pick up some cycling shoes that are a bit larger than your warm weather ones to accommodate the extra bulk.
Read More :The 12 Best Cycling Socks
11. Gore C3 Overshoes
For the worst inclement weather, it’s a great idea to have an unbeatable backup. Waterproof, breathable, lightweight, and reflective, these cycling overshoes are excellent reinforcement for solid winter cycling shoes and sturdy warming socks.
Made with a Gore-Tex layer over polyester, these overshoes open at the back for quick access, with velcro facilitating a quick-fitting seal that leaves no exposure to oncoming water or snow.
The tough wearing edge helps to cut down on wear from walking, and the firm, flexible construction allows it to fit even the bulkiest of shoes.
12. Exposure Sirius Mk7 and TraceR Mk2 Combo
It’s often just as important to be seen as to see in darkened winter conditions, so the Exposure Sirius Mk7’s 750 lumens are sure to help keep your path clear and alert others to your presence on winter roads.
The Peloton ReAKT (Ambient Kinetic Technology) used in the TraceR Mk2 rear light has the nifty quality of brightening when braking and when entering areas of higher ambient lighting, meaning the one light will do admirably well for low- and high-light conditions.
The compact, aluminum construction works smoothly with the included mounts, and the SmartPort+ technology enables the addition of extras like remote switches and support cells.
Both are USB-chargeable, making power supply a minimal concern.
Read More : The 18 Best Bike Lights for Cycling
13. CamelBak Podium Chill
The Podium Chill has been around for a long time, for the simple reason that it’s hard to top.
With a great design and several considerate and easy-to-use features, it’s a great choice for an insulated water bottle. CamelBak’s proprietary Jet Valve is a self-sealing, one-way valve that is activated only with a firm squeeze or with suction, so spraying and spilling are eliminated.
Plus, the valve itself pops free fairly easily for cleaning. You may need to adapt or adopt a new bottle cage; a side-opener to accommodate the bottle’s extended length, but that added capacity and the insulating layer are both great features to help you stay hydrated on cold rides.
14. Continental GatorSkin
Any winter cyclist’s nightmare is losing control on a cold surface, so a solid winter tire is a must-have. Although the GatorSkin isn’t exactly a winter tire, it’s so reliably sturdy that it does the trick remarkably well anyway.
Constructed from a heavy-duty rubber compound with a puncture-resistant insert, the tire not only reduces the likelihood of getting a flat, but also has the side-effect of cutting down on your time stuck in the cold fixing a puncture with stiff fingers.
The beaded Duraskin provides excellent grip on both wet and dry surfaces, along with mesh and Kevlar reinforcement.
Read More : The 16 Best Road Bike Tires
15. Rock ‘n’ Roll Extreme Lube
Texas-based Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Extreme Lube is billed as The King of Lube, and since they recommend it for use with MTB in the roughest conditions, it’s easy to see what they’re getting at.
Designed for wet conditions, the Extreme chain lube consists of a gel membrane within a powerful solvent which, the company claims, will strip existing lube off of chains with no need for cleaning. The thick consistency also backs up the claim that it should last for an entire season, with only minimal top-ups required only as absolutely necessary.
Although it’s somewhat expensive, the resistance to nearly every possible kind of grime is too good to resist when you’re rolling out for a cold-weather ride in wet conditions.