As the days pass, the UK mountain bike community has its eyes on the sky. Our limited sunshine has been overcome by rain and cloud, for the most part, while our daylight hours diminishes with every passing day. One thing is certain……Winter is coming!
In the UK we don’t take the summer time for granted or the limited days of sunshine throughout the year. This year’s summer has not been the best we’ve ever had but we’ve seen some pretty good days to get out and hit the trails. But the end of summer does not bring the end of riding.
With that in mind it’s time to start gearing up in preparation for the winter months, so here is our list of must haves to get ready for winter riding.
#1 | Tyres
Your current tyres may be fine but I find with my Maxxis high rollers that wet rock and roots can be an issue especially on the climbs. So in the winter I swap out either just the rear or front and back for the Maxxis advantage tyres. I’ve found them be very “grippy” but I also hear good things about the Michelin Wild Mud tyres.
#2 | Base layer
Winter is cold, no shit Sherlock, so a base layer may seem like a no brainer. But there is nothing more annoying heading off on the trail freezing to the bone to only feel like a hot potato five minutes later. So you need something with a bit more substance than keeps at the right temp. Canterbury base layers are some of the best out there and best value for money.
#3 | Outer layer / jacket
A necessary investment for when the heavens open mid-ride but a “good” jacket / windbreaker can set you back £60 to £100. It keeps your body water tight but that can also end up as air tight which means without good ventilation you’ll feel like a 2 wheeled furnace if you go cheap. Continental’s windbreaker is good value for money.
#4 | Head tube
The crisp winter air can give you the feeling of bad acupuncture in your face. A head tube is a good way to keep the needles at bay and has the diversity to cover specific parts of the head/face. Buff is a great brand but there are many cheaper alternatives like those from mountain warehouse.
#5 | lights
Night riding is a great way to get a different experience and challenge out of your trails but to do so you need a decent set of lights. With lights you’re looking for Lumens (brightness) and battery life. You can spend in excess of £300 on a pair of lights with the power of the sun but you really only need something with 1000-2000 lumens. The Topeak Whitelight HP 2W LED is a popular one to look at with around 1300 lumens and boasts 5.5 hours of battery life. Although with all batteries don’t expect the life to be the same in 2 years time.