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Airfoil 7617 Goggles With Polarized Lenses

A few months ago I was at standing in the seventh circle of Hades (also known as the Post Office), when a young woman pulled up in front of the building on a motorcycle and then walked inside the building. Since we were in line at the Post Office we had plenty of time to talk—and when she put her helmet on the counter I asked her about her cool goggles. She had a pair of Airfoil 7617 Goggles and claimed that they kept her eyes from drying out on long rides. After looking at the glasses a while I thought they would work well for winter cycling as well, so I ordered a pair.

Airfoil 7617 Goggles With Polarized Lenses

Airfoil 7617 Goggles With Polarized Lenses

The reason I liked the design of he Airfoil 7617 Goggles is that during winter cycling my eyes often feel like they are burning as a result of the cold air hitting my face. Since the Airfoil goggles fit up tight against the face that problem is eliminated. Airfoil goggles come with two pairs of 100% shatterproof polycarbonate lenses—the dark grey pair is polarized and the other pair is light blue. The polarized lenses really cut the glare from snow, water and ice. The light blue lenses enhance contrast in low-light situations, but I prefer yellow lenses in low-light. These goggles also come with a free soft case/cleaning cloth.

Air Vent On The Airfoil 7617 Goggles

Air Vent On The Airfoil 7617 Goggles

The Airfoil 7617 Goggles fit well, but since I always ride with a helmet I have to put the goggles on first (but that is not a problem). The flexible nose-bridge on these goggles provides a comfortable fit. These goggles have vents on the side to help prevent fog. However, if you sit at a light for too long fog can build up a bit, but once you get moving again it disappears. The only problem with these goggles is that they restrict peripheral vision a little—but not enough to be a problem.

Airfoil 7617 Goggles retail for $31 on the Pacific Coast Sunglasses Website, but you can find them on Amazon.com for $24 (with free shipping). Pacific Coast Sunglasses, Inc. is a California-based company that specializes in sunglasses and goggles for motorcyclists—they have been in business since 1984.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Product Reviews, Winter Cycling

 

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RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

If you run or ride a bike outside in cold weather you’ve probably heard that you should wear a second pair of socks to keep your feet warm. Under some circumstances this might be a good idea, but for most people it is horrible advice. Unless your shoes are too big to begin with, a second pair of socks will impede the circulation in your feet—which will make your feet feel colder than they would with just a single pair of socks. Instead of a second pair of socks I would suggest you try sock liners, such as the RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks.

Many years ago, when I took up cross-country skiing, I used to wear polypropylene sock liners. Polypropylene is a plastic polymer that does an excellent job of wicking water away from the skin, but doesn’t add a lot of warmth. RedHead liner socks are made with Thermolite, a material created by the scientists at DuPont, and it is a comfortable, lightweight but heavy-duty fabric that provides warmth without extra weight, even when it is wet. This fabric has hollow-core fibers that trap air for greater insulation and it dries 50% faster than cotton. Thermolite fabric quickly wicks moisture away from the skin to help prevent chaffing and blisters.

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks are made with 70% Thermolite, 28% stretch nylon, and 2% spandex. The are warm and will keep your feet dry. Since the fabric is so thin you will probably not even notice that you have them on. I use this brand of sock liners for all of my outdoor winter activities, from cycling or snowshoeing to just running the snow blower in the driveway.

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks retail for $5 a pair and they are worth every penny of the cost. Redhead is the in-house brand of outdoor gear for Bass Pros Shops, so you will have to either visit one of their stores or their Website to buy this product. These liners are available in four sizes (S, M, L, XL). The small liner is designed to fit a woman’s size 4–6 shoe, and the XL liner with fit a man’s size 12–15.

 

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Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers

Learning to ride my bike in the winter was a “trial and error” experience for me (mainly error). Over the years as I bought better winter gear I wanted to spend more time riding in the snow—which usually meant buying more gear. Some winter gear can be very expensive, but one of the most useful products I’ve ever bought for winter cycling is also the cheapest—chemical hand, foot and body warmers.

Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers for winter cycling

Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers

Chemical warmers are made by several companies, such as HotHands and Grabber. Though the exact ingredients in these warmers vary depending on the manufacturer, they all basically have the same ingredients: Iron powder, salt, water, activated charcoal and vermiculite (or cellulose). To activate these chemical warmers all you have to do is expose them to air by removing them for their packaging (sometimes you have to shake the packs for a few seconds). Once out of the package these products warm up in 15 to 30 minutes and can stay warm for four or five hours. These products are almost always advertised as being good for seven or eight hours, and under ideal circumstances they might, but that has not been my experience with most of them.

In this article we will discuss the three main types of chemical warmers available and give a few suggestions for uses that you might not have thought about before.

Chemical hand warmers are the most common type of warmer you will see at Walmart, Target and sporting good stores. They come in packages of two and each warmer measures about 2″x3″. The easiest way to use them is to just put one in the palm of your hand and make a fist. However, you won’t get very far on your bike like this! Some winter gloves, such as the North Face Montana HyVent Gloves, have a zippered stash pocket on the back of the glove where you can insert a chemical hand warmer. These gloves are designed with snow skiers in mind, but mountain bikers and commuters could also benefit from them. During the winter I always put a pair of these chemical hand warmers inside my Revelate Designs Gas Tank (a top tube bag) to get my energy bars and gels warm (a frozen Cliff Bar is pretty hard to eat).

Chemical toe warmers stick to the bottom of your socks with self-adhesive tape and they are so thin that you will probably never even know they are there (but you will benefit from them). A decent alternative to chemical toe warmers is a pair of Neoprene Tip Toe Covers by the Gator Sports—these toe covers go inside of your socks and work extremely well (are they only cost about $10 a pair). To keep the bottom of my feet warm I put 3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles inside of all my winter cycling shoes and boots.

Chemical body warmers are larger than hand warmers—they measure 4″x5.5″, and the Super HotHands Body Warmer keeps working for up to 18 hours! During the winter I layer the clothing on my upper body—I start with a simple Under Armour compression shirt, then a lightweight fleece layer, followed by a thin outer shell, like the Showers Pass Touring Jacket. Since this jacket has two side pockets I can put the larger chemical body warmers in them when the temperature is really cold, and as an added benefit they keep my energy gels and bars warm at the same time!

Once you find a chemical hand, foot or body warmer you like you will find the best way to buy them is from Amazon.com. I buy (and use) large quantities of these warmers and Amazon.com sells them for about half the price you will find at your local store.

 

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45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

If you own a Fat Bike one of the decisions you have to make before riding in the winter is whether or not to use clipless pedals, like Crank Brothers Egg Beater Pedals. While Eggbeater pedals shed snow very well, they are not so great when it comes to shedding ice. If you have to get off your bike and walk in slush for very long there is a good chance the cleats on your shoes are going to clog up with solid ice, and I’ve found that very difficult to get rid of. Last year I put a pair of Odyssey JC PC Pedals on my Surly Necromancer Pugsley and was fairly satisfied. The only drawback with the JC PC Pedals was the weight—since it is rotational weight you can really feel it as you ride! A few weeks ago I bought a pair of the new 45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals and they made a world of difference.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals are made by 45NRTH, a fairly new company that specializes in gear for cold weather cycling. This year they have brought a lot of exciting new cycling products to the market, including winter tires, chains, boots, pedals and balaclavas.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

The Heiruspecs is a wide flat pedal that has 16 replaceable alloy pins per pedal for an amazing grip. The CNC-extruded body is made of aluminum and weights only 358 grams per pair. The pedal itself is black and comes with orange pins, but replacement pin kits are available so you have your pins match your bike. Replacement pins are available in several colors, including red, blue, green, orange, silver, black, and pewter.

While I’ve not had a chance (yet) to ride with these pedals in the snow, I have used them in the mud. They offer an incredible grip, even when standing out of the saddle on a climb. In fact, the grip was so good I forgot that I was even using a regular pedal.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

As when installing any brand of pedal, you need to apply a thin layer of an anti-seize compound to the threads before installation. I use the Park Tool Anti-Seize Compound—it forms a protective barrier around small parts to protect them from rust and corrosion (this product is safe for use on steel, aluminum, and Titanium).

The 45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals retail for $99 a pair and if your local bike shop does not have them in stock they can easily order them for you. These pedals are also available from several online retailers, but the discount they offer is usually not enough to offset the cost of shipping.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

Side View Of The 45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH also has another pair of winter pedals, known as the Helva, and they weigh 308 grams per pair. These pedals are considerably more expensive than the Heiruspecs, but I have not had the opportunity to try them out yet (but am thinking about getting them for one of my other winter bikes).

 
 

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Topeak DeFender RX and FX Bicycle Fenders

If you ride in the rain, snow or mud then you already know how messy your clothing is when you get home. One way to minimize (but not entirely eliminate) the mess is the put both front and rear fenders on your bike. I have several sets of bicycle fenders hanging on the walls of my garage, but the two I use the most are the Topeak DeFender RX and Topeak DeFender FX fenders (the RX is the rear fender and the FX is the front fender). These fenders are designed for 26″ mountain bikes.

Topeak DeFender RX Bicycle Fenders

Topeak DeFender RX Bicycle Fenders

The Topeak DeFender RX rear fender is made from impact resistant plastic and attaches to your seat tube with a quick release locking mechanism (one size fits all). The RX weighs about seven ounces and measures 22” x 4” x 6”. The underside of the fender is highly polished to help shed mud. However, if you want any fender to shed mud and snow better just spay the underside with PAM non-stick cooking spray (you probably have a can of it in your kitchen already). Since this fender is almost always used when it is raining I added a few strips of 3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape on the sides to make it easier for cars to see me in low-light situations (I wish Topeak would add this tape to their fenders at the factory). The angle of this fender is adjustable so you should be able to use it on almost any 26″ mountain bike.

The only problem I’ve had with the DeFender RX is the tightening mechanism (a nylon webbed strap). The problem is that if there is not enough friction on the seat tube to keep the nylon strap from moving the fender a bit from side to side. The solution is real easy: just cut a strip of rubber from an old bicycle inner tube and put it under the strap (old inner tubes have a lot of uses).

Topeak DeFender FX Bicycle Fenders

Topeak DeFender FX Bicycle Fenders

The Topeak DeFender FX fender attaches to the front fork (fits 19.6–26 mm steerer tubes). This fender weighs a little over six ounces and measures 23” x 3.5” x 6.3”. Like the RX rear fender, the FX has a highly polished underside. The quick release mechanism for this fender allows you to add or remove the fender in a matter of seconds. However, the first time you put it on it will take about five minutes to adjust (I keep the attaching mechanism on my mountain bike all the time).

The Topeak DeFender RX rear fender retails for $15, and the Topeak DeFender FX front fender retails for $13. Your local bike shop probably has both fenders in stock. However, if you have trouble finding them they are also available on Amazon.com.

 

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Bar Mitts, Moose Mitts and Bike Poagies

There comes a time every fall when even the best winter cycling gloves just can’t keep your hands warm anymore. Fortunately, there are mittens that attach to the handlebars on your bike that allow you to wear lightweight gloves in even the coldest of weather while your hands stay toasty warm. The three best-known brands of these handlebar mittens are Bar Mitts, Moose Mitts and Bike Poagies. I a couple of pairs of each of these brands and use all of them (but not at the same time). I usually start using these mitts when the temperature is around 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hunter Orange Moose Mitts

Hunter Orange HiVis Moose Mitts

Products like Bar Mitts, Moose Mitts and Bike Poagies not only allow you to wear thinner gloves (and thus increase hand dexterity), but they also block the wind better than any glove can. Sometimes people underestimate how much their hands perspire in the winter—after a couple hours of riding the inside of your gloves become saturated with moisture and the slightest bit of wind can turn your hands into blocks of ice.

One of the biggest mistakes people new to winter cycling make is wearing clothing that is too tight—it impedes blood circulation and ends up making your colder. Layered, loose clothing allows warm pockets of air to form around you and give an additional insulating layer (it works on the same principle as a sleeping bag). All three of these products allow for a layer of warm air to form around your gloves. If you ride in temperatures below freezing you need to buy one (or more) of these products—there is no reason to have cold fingers on winter rides!

I do have two suggestions if you use any of these mitts. First, if you store your bike in an unheated garage (like most of us do) you can quickly warm up the inside of the mitts with a handheld hair dryer before you go on your ride (it just takes about 30 seconds per mitt). I bought a cheap hair dryer for a drug store for under $10.00. Second, if it is really cold outside (under ten degrees) you can toss disposable chemical hand warmers into any of these mitts and they will do an even better job of keeping you warm.

All three of these brands of mitts are well made and I highly recommend all of them to you. I hope this article will hope you choose the one best suited for your needs.

Bar Mitts

Bar Mitts attach to your handle bars with a simple Velcro cinch and can stay on all winter long without any problem. Once installed you can put your gloved hands into the mitts and ride in some of the worst weather possible without worrying about frostbite. I ride with my “fall gloves” (gloves I use when the temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees) even when the temperature is in the teens. Bar Mitts give you much more control over your bike since you are wearing thinner gloves (plus you can actually find your energy bars and gels by touch). Getting out of the mitts while riding is no problem.

Bar Mitts For Mountain Bikes

Bar Mitts For Mountain Bikes

Bar Mitts are made of 5.5mm thick neoprene (a synthetic rubber used in wetsuits) and has nylon laminated on each side. Bar Mitts are available for both road and mountain bikes and retail for $65 a pair (with free shipping within the contiguous United States). The folks at Bar Mitts ship their products out very quickly—I’ve ordered twice from them and both times the items arrived within five days after ordering.

Bar Mitts For Road Bikes for cold weather cycling

Bar Mitts For Road Bikes

The mitts for flat bars fit most mountain bikes, commuter bikes, and Townies. They also have a style available for road bikes with drop bars—one style is for the older Shimano style (externally routed cables), and another is for Campy, SRAM, the newer Shimano style (internally routed cables). The drop bar version of Bar Mitts only protects your hands when you are riding with them on the hoods (you have no protection when you hands are on the drops or flats).

Moose Mitts

Moose Mitts are made of thick 1000 denier Cordura, a sturdy and abrasion resistant material, and are lined on the inside with heavy fleece. The outside is coated with a windproof and waterproof membrane—it also has a decent amount of reflective material so cars can see you better at night. On the inside of the Moose Mitts there is a small internal pocket where you can put chemical hand warmers or use them as a storage area for your energy bars. One nice feature of Moose Mitts is the Velcro closure on the bottom of the mitts that allow you to close the mitts and keep the heat in if you stop to take a photograph or “nature break.”

Moose Mitts Super HiVis Hunter Orange

Moose Mitts Super HiVis Standard Version

Moose Mitts for mountain bikes are available in either standard black or with an incredibly bright fluorescent Hunter Orange Cordura that has twice as much reflective material as standard Moose Mitts. Some Fat Bike riders are fortunate enough to be able to ride on groomed snowmobile trails. The downside of groomed trails is that a snowmobile running along at 30 MPH can easily overlook a cyclist, and in a snowmobile versus bicycle crash the snowmobile will always win. These HiVis mitts can be seen a long way off, even at night, and could possible save your life.

Moose Mitts for winter cycling with your hands on the drops, flats, or hoods

Moose Mitts For Road Bikes

Moose Mitts also come in a road bike version for drop bars and, like the MTB version, are made of thick 1000 Denier Cordura and lined on the inside with heavy fleece. They are both windproof and waterproof. These mitts are attached to your handlebars by an elastic ring that goes over the bottom of your drops, a strip of Velcro on the top, and another strip of Velcro around your cables. There is also a strip of 3M reflective tape on the top of the mitts. The drop bar version of Moose Mitts allow you to ride your road bike with you hands in any of the three standard positions (on the drops, hoods, or flats).

At first glance Moose Mitts look about as aerodynamic as a bookcase. However, I’ve ridden with them into 30 MPH headwinds without any trouble. In fact, and this is a very subjective opinion, I think the Moose Mitts create less drag than you would have with a pair of lobster gloves on.

Moose Mitts are hand-made in the U.S.A., but they are only manufactured during the winter months, so if you want a pair you need to order them soon—shipping can be a little slow if everyone decides to wait until the first snowfall to order. The mountain bike Super HiVis version of Moose Mitts sells for $90, while the standard black sells for $65. The drop bar version of Moose Mitts sells for $75. They offer free shipping in the United States (Canadian orders are $22 extra for shipping).

Bike Poagies

Bike Poagies are manufactured and sold by Dogwood Designs, a small business in Fairbanks, Alaska (and those folks know what cold weather is really like). Bike Poagies fit over standard straight bicycle handlebars and allow you to slip your gloved hands in and ride in warmth and comfort. They have a durable nylon shell on the outside, polyester insulation in the middle, and a nylon taffeta lining. There is also a lightweight internal skeleton to make sure the Poagies hold their shape.

Bike Poagies, manufactured by Dogwood Designs

Bike Poagies For Mountain Bikes

To attach Poagies to your bike you just slide them over your handlebar and then cinch them down around the bar with the attached elastic strap. There is also a gusset where you put your hands into the Poagies that you can close to keep the cold air out. However, I leave mine open most of the time because my hands get too warm when the Poagies are sealed up too tightly. If your bike has bar ends (like the Ergon GC3 Handlebar Grips) these Poagies will fit over them perfectly and allow you to still use several different hand positions. Bike Poagies are roomy enough that you can store a couple of energy bars or gels in them to keep them warm (or a chemical hand warmer if needed).

Standard Bike Poagies are good down to around -15 Fahrenheit. Dogwood Designs also offers Poagies Plus which are supposed to be good down to around -40 (I’ve never had a chance to try these out for myself). Both versions of Poagies are available with an optional reflective trim if you have to share your route with either cars or snowmobiles.

Bike Poagies On My Surly Necromancer Pugsley

Bike Poagies On My Surly Necromancer Pugsley

Bike Poagies sell for $98, and the Poagies Plus for $150. The optional reflective trim is an additional $12. Both versions of Poagies are available in an unbelievable seventeen different colors: Red, Royal Blue, Yellow, Neon Green, Hot Pink, Safety Orange, Electric Watermelon, Purple, Gold, Forest Green, Charcoal, Light Gray, Navy, Kelly Green, Chocolate Brown, Olive Green, and All Black. The cost for shipping to U.S. addresses is around $12 ($25 to Canadian addresses).

The folks at Dogwood Designs do not have a Website. However, you can email them at dogwooddesigns@gci.net for a current brochure (they will send it to you as a PDF file).

 

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Best Winter Cycling Tights

There comes a time in the fall when your embrocation cream, knee warmers, leg warmers and cycling knickers just can’t keep your legs warm anymore. Fortunately, the easiest thing to keep warm in the winter is your legs—once you get going your legs become little furnaces and all you have to do is keep them dry, and as the outside temperature drops you switch to slightly better insulated tights. In this article I am going to briefly review my three favorite winter cycling tights (the links in this article will take you to the longer reviews that I wrote last year). I am also going to give the temperature range for each pair of tights—based entirely upon my subjective opinions.

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights

For temperatures from 28 to 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) I don’t think you will find a better pair of tights than the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights. These tights are made with a very breathable wind-resistant fabric on the outside combined with a thin layer of thermal fleece on the inside. You can buy this tight either with or without a chamois. I would definitely buy one with Pearl Izumi’s Elite 3D Chamois. This chamois has 13mm of variable-density microfiber padding coupled with active carbon yarns to help reduce odors.

At the bottom of these tights you will find an 8-inch ankle zipper so the tights are very easy to put on (and take off). The zipper has a lockable tab to keep it closed. The tights also have silicone ankle grippers to keep the tights in place. You will also find reflective piping and logos on the legs to help motorists see you better at night. These tights retail for $125.

If you enjoy riding when the temperature is anywhere from zero to 30 degrees (and who doesn’t?), I would suggest the Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights. These tights are designed for extreme weather conditions—I am talking about very cold, wet and windy days. The fabric is very breathable and wicks water away your skin incredibly well. Even after several hours in snow and ice storms these tights kept me dry. The tights also have the 3D Elite chamois (like the pair above). The lower leg of these tights has an 8″ zipper with an internal draft flap and zipper garage. Around the inside of the ankles there is a silicone strip to keep the tights in place. Reflective piping, strips and logos make you visible to motorists from just about any angle.

The Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights are also available without a chamois and/or in a bib. Most people will tell you that bibs keep you warmer than tights, but I haven’t had any trouble keeping warm even in temperatures down to zero. Besides, if you are out on a bike trail in ten degree weather and have to answer the call of nature while in bibs you will need to look at your driver’s license just to remember your gender (if you catch my drift). Theses tights seem to be true to size and have a suggested list price of $155.

Craft PXC Storm Pants For Winter Cycling and Nordic Skiing

Craft PXC Storm Tights

For temperatures below zero I use Craft PXC Storm Tights. Last year fellow blogger Joboo suggested I try a pair of these tights the next time the Siberian Express visited my area of the country, and his advice was right on the mark. Craft PXC Storm Tights are primarily designed for Nordic skiing, but any winter cyclist or runner would benefit from them as well. These windproof tights are very breathable, and the articulated knees make them very easy to cycle in. The seams on both the front and back of these tights have reflective piping to help motorists (or snowmobiles) see you at night.

Joboo said he wore these tights in temperatures down to -50F with “no base layer and was toasty warm.” It never gets that cold in the Chicago area, so I can’t vouch for that myself, but I can tell you that they are the warmest tights I’ve ever worn, and if you do get cold you can always add a layer under them. Craft PXC Storm Tights are available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL), and seem to be true to size, but they do stretch a bit when needed. These tights retail for $130.

If you live in an area of the country that doesn’t experience such extreme winter weather, well, you have my sympathy. As I often tell folks, the hardest part of winter cycling is the first 500 feet once you leave your house. As other cyclists are fond of saying, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. And, to paraphrase President Theodore Roosevelt, “Far better is it to cycle all winter, to freeze your body down to the bone, even though pelted by sleet and snow, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they ride their trainers in the basement all winter and know neither joy nor fresh air.”

 

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Best Gloves For Winter Cycling

Judging from the search engine terms that people are using to find this blog it seems as though many folks are already looking for winter cycling gear. One of the hardest pieces of winter gear to find is the right pair of cycling gloves. Some cyclists try to use gloves that were designed for hunting or skiing, but most of the time they are disappointed—those gloves are insulated to keep your hands warm, but they are usually not windproof and as soon as your hands start to sweat they turn to ice. I own more than twenty pair of full finger cycling gloves and in this article I want to highlight my favorite gloves for fall and winter cycling. The links in this article will take you to detailed reviews I have published in the past. One note about sizing: you always want your winter gloves to have a loose fit—the air pocket between the glove and your skin provides excellent insulation.

Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves

Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves

The Planet Bike Orion Gel Glove is intended to be the first full finger glove you use in the fall and the last one you use in the spring before your regular summer gloves come out. These gloves are great for temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees. However, this temperature range will vary depending on the type of cycling you do. A commuter or mountain biker might be able to wear these gloves in slightly cooler temperatures because they are generally moving slower and the wind will not impact them as much as a roadie riding along at 25 or 30 MPH. The palm of this glove is made of terry and the body is made of a four-way stretch woven spandex—these two pieces are held together with a thin strip of woven Lycra. This glove also has a large Velcro closure, so you can either keep the glove tight or loosen it up a bit as the temperature rises. Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves retail for $26 and they come with a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship.

Gore Bike Wear Men's Alp X III Windstopper Gloves

Gore Bike Wear Men’s Alp X Windstopper Gloves

When the temperature is in the 40′s I really like the Gore Bike Wear Men’s Alp X III Windstopper Gloves. My fingers do get cold in these gloves when the temperature drops into the 30′s. However, they are highly breathable and block the wind like no other gloves I’ve ever used. They have a bit of reflective trim on the fingers, but not enough to make them stand out much in low light conditions. The Gore Bike Wear Men’s Alp X III Windstopper Gloves have a list price of around $60. I often use a very thin liner under these gloves and that allows me to use them in even cooler weather.

Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves with removable fleece liner and windproof fabric

Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves (Fleece Liner In Middle)

The Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Glove is absolutely the best winter cycling glove I’ve ever owned! Planet Bike advertises the Borealis as being a “3-in-1″ glove. The glove itself consists of a windproof outer shell and a removable fleece liner. You can use this glove wearing just the shell, or on a mild day you could ride with just the fleece liner, or put them together to have the best winter glove on the market. This glove also has a Neoprene cuff and pull tab with a Velcro closure. The cuff on the glove is big enough that you can pull it over the ends of your jacket to keep the heat in. There is also a fair amount of reflective piping on the back of the glove so motorists can see your hand signals at night. The Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Glove retails for $42 and this has to be the best value you will find in a winter cycling glove.

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

If you enjoy hardcore winter cycling then you are going to love Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves! These gloves are waterproof, fully insulated, comfortable and insanely well made. These gloves are so warm that I would never wear them in temperatures above 25 degrees (Fahrenheit). I’ve used these gloves on many two-hour rides (or longer) when the temperature was in the single digits and they kept me toasty warm the whole time. Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves retail for around $70. Pearl Izumi has recently changed the appearance of the gloves, so if you order a pair they might not look exactly like the ones in the photograph above.

If you really enjoy winter cycling (and who doesn’t?) then you might be better off with thinner gloves used in conjunction with Bar Mitts, Moose Mitts or Bike Poagies.

 
 

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Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to improve the performance of your bike and cut the maintenance time, then you need to install a set of Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables. When I had my Surly Necromancer Pugsley custom-built this past December the local bike shop installed a pair of these cables and I liked them so much that they are now on all five of my bikes.

Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables

Gore Ride-On Derailleur Cables (middle and right)

As the name implies, Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables are sealed cables which means that from the shifter to the derailleur the cables are inside of one continuous sealed liner, and they terminate with a tight Grub seal which means they are impervious to rain, mud, road salt and grime—and you will never have to oil or maintain your cables again (for as long as they last). In addition, these are the smoothest shifting cables you will ever find! After putting a pair of these on my Trek Madone road bike it felt like an entirely different machine—words can’t describe how easy the shifting was (and since the Madone has a Shimano Dura Ace derailleur I didn’t think there was any room for improvement to begin with).

Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables

Gore Ride-On Cables With Grub Seal At The Derailleur

While the local bike shop installed four sets of these cables for me, I installed the last set myself on an old Trek 4300 mountain bike I was rebuilding. Installation of the Gore cable system is fairly straightforward—if you can install a standard set of bike cables then you can easily install these. The only tools you need are a set of metric Allen wrenches, a pair of cable cutters (like the Park Tool CN-10 Cable and Housing Cutter), a new razor blade and a sharp awl (to clean out the cable ends after cutting). Gore has an instructional video on their Website if you need help with installation. In addition, Calvin Jones from Park Tool wrote an excellent article on Gore Ride-On Cable Installation.

Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables retail for around $55 a set and are available with either black or white cables. Gore has several similar products (with similar names), so whether you ride a road bike, mountain bike, tandem bike or full-suspension bike they have a product that can meet your needs. These cables are compatible with Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo mountain and road derailleurs and come with a one year limited warranty. After riding with these cables for a few months I no longer consider them a luxury item—they are a necessity!

 

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Topeak Wedge DryBag Waterproof Saddle Bag

You might not carry a lot in your saddle bag, but I imagine that whatever you do carry you would like to keep dry. I ride in all weather conditions and that means I spend more than my fair share of time cycling in the rain. Most seat bags will keep their contents dry during a light shower, but very few bags are really waterproof. A few months ago I put a Topeak Wedge DryBag waterproof saddle bag on the bike I use to ride in the rain and my opinion of this bag can be summed up in one word: Awesome!

Topeak Wedge DryBag Waterproof Seat Bag

Topeak Wedge DryBag Waterproof Saddle Bag

The Topeak Wedge DryBag is constructed from 210 denier and 420 denier nylon waterproof fabric and has sonically welded seams to keep the rain out. Not only does this bag keep the rain out, but it is incredibly easy to clean up. I sometimes ride off-road trails during rainstorms and the knobby tires on my mountain bikes kick up a lot of mud. Washing muddy clothes is pretty easy (I have a great wife), but getting the mud off most saddle bags is nearly impossible. If your Topeak Wedge DryBag gets muddy you can clean it off with a water hose as you are rinsing off your bike (you don’t even have to take it off your bike).

Review View Of The Topeak Wedge DryBag

Roll Closure On The Topeak Wedge DryBag

The zippers on most seat bags allow water to seep into your bag and they also get clogged up by mud. Instead of zippers the Topeak Wedge DryBag uses a roll closure with a Velcro strip, and after the flaps are rolled up the bag is secured with a buckle on both sides. Topeak offers this bag with two different mounting styles: nylon straps that wrap around your seat rails or Topeak’s QuickClick™ System that makes it easier to attach or remove the bag. The rear flap on the bag has a clip so you can attach your favorite taillight.

The DryBag comes in three different sizes. The smallest bag has a 36 cubic inch (.6 L) storage capacity; the medium bag has 61 ci (1 L) capacity; the large bag has 91.5 ci (1.5 L) of interior space.

The Topeak Wedge DryBag is available at most bicycle shops and retails for between $40 to $50, depending on the size and mounting style. This product also comes with a limited 2-year warranty against manufacturer defects (keep your receipt).

 

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