Best winter cycling gear: the essential items
Don’t let the rain, wind and cold stop you from getting on your bike
Riding in winter brings challenges with it - changeable weather, colder conditions and shorter days.
To ensure you’re not restricted to riding an indoor exercise bike for these inclement months, equipping yourself with appropriate performance gear is essential.
Here we have put together a shortlist of the best gear for all types of rider to keep you cycling come rain or shine.
Rapha Classic Winter GORE-TEX Jacket
A brand new addition to Rapha’s winter offering, this shell jacket is made from a three-layer GORE-TEX fabric that is wind and water resistant as well as highly breathable. As far as cycling gear goes, its fit is more on the relaxed side, so there’s plenty of room for layering underneath on those colder days, yet it’s snug around the neck and the cuffs are stretchy so fit nicely. There are two handy zippered pockets on the front that are ideal for phone and snacks, and two rear stash pockets on the rear too. It comes in a more unusual brown colour, as well as a bright orange and black.
Cafe Du Cycliste Gilet Albertine
Cafe Du Cycliste elevates cycling kit beyond the realms of simply cladding riders in functional lycra - its pieces are well suited to the more stylish conscientious rider. This great looking gilet has a cycling specific cut - it’s a really snug fit so doesn’t flap about in the wind, it’s shorter on the front, longer on the back and secure around the arms too, keeping out cold drafts. The front panels are stuffed with breathable insulation which is fully windproof taking the chill out of cold rides, and the rear section is made from a technical merino polar fleece fabric which has nice stretch as well as thermoregulating properties. There are two oversized rear cargo pockets, zipped side pocket as well as a small pop pocket on the front chest.
Rapha Brevet Long Sleeve Jersey
A versatile classically styled jersey that can be used with just a baselayer on milder autumn or spring rides. However, throw a gilet of jacket over the top and it makes the perfect insulating and comfortable mid-layer. The fabric is a mix of stretch merino for luxury feel and warmth, as well as polyester bringing with it shape holding, long lasting, breathable and non-absorbent qualities. It features three large pockets to the rear as well as an additional bigger pocket above these to stash a vest or windproof jacket.
Dhb Aeron Alpha Cycling Cap
An insulating and water-resistant cap ideal for the most cold and miserable days. Lined with a soft pile Polarrec Alpha, it’s very warm and comfortable.
Assos Equipe Rs Winter Bib Tights S9
Swiss brand Assos is reputed for turning out the highest quality gear, and these could well be called the Rolls-Royce of all winter bibs. They use a highly insulating two-layer construction along the knees, thighs, crotch, and hips, with brushed inner, and the back panels use thicker waterproof and windproof fabrics that mean you’re totally protected from the elements. However, these fabrics are still all highly breathable and stretchy too, so your comfort isn’t compromised, and the almost metallic looking outermost layer at the bottom of the leg repels water as well as adhering to booties. The insert offers superior comfort and cushioning for very long days in the saddle - not only do these look the part, they’re exceptionally capable too.
Endura Pro SL Overshoe
The overshoe might not be the most aesthetic of accessories, but when riding in winter they’re a must have. These ones are waterproof, so once you’ve pulled the stretchy neoprene over your ankle, the polyurethane panels positioned over the front and toe sections will keep water and breeze at bay.
Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Mid Length Sock with Hydrostop
When it’s cold, or wet, these are a great pair of socks to turn to. Not only are they 100% waterproof, they maintain good breathability to help avoid any sweat building up in them, and the cost inner lining includes merino wool for added warmth.
Albion Insulated Zoa Jacket
When heading onto the trail, for more adventurous rides such as bike packing or tackling a cold commute, this insulated jacket will be a trusty companion. Plus, with a much more relaxed fit, it doubles up perfectly for casual use too. It features a big rear zipper pocket, a generous hood complete with hood eyelets so you can comfortably wear your helmet over it should temperatures really plummet, two zippered hand pockets as well as chest pocket, and elasticated hem so you can fit it snug around your waist. The insulation and fabrics are made from recycled materials too so your conscious can rest easy.
Megmeister Drynamo Winter Long Sleeve Base Layer
A good base layer is the foundation to your winter outfit, and some 20 years ago Megmeister set out to create the very best for performance athletes. This four way stretch Italian made body hugging base layer has a lightweight knitted construction, meaning it’s great at moisture wicking, thermal insulation as well as being anti-odour and antibacterial.
Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Glove with Fusion Control
This substantial and highly insulated glove is ideal for those who tend to get cold fingers in winter. Totally waterproof, if you get caught in a downpour it won’t be a problem, thanks to its three layer part goatskin leather outer, windproof membrane and merino wool liner.
Keeping your eyes protected by riding with a good pair of wrap-around sunglasses is essential, and thanks to a light-sensitive Photochromic advanced lens technology, you’re all set come rain or shine across variable winter conditions with supreme clarity. The Vulcans are SunGod’s large framed cycling specific glasses that offer a huge unrestricted field of vision and are customisable to suit any colour combination you would like. They’re extremely light and sit very securely on your face, plus they come with a lifetime guarantee.
Albion Merino Neckwarmer
Made from 67% merino, there’s also a touch of nylon and elastane too bringing with it a nice bit of stretch, as well as durability so it’s able to take repeated and hard use. There’s also a microfiber insert built in to clean your sunnies.