Living in Salt Lake City, Utah and working at the PEARL iZUMi Factory Store in Park City, I have the pleasure of riding world-class roads and trails. But my riding is not restricted to three seasons. When the flakes fly, my pedals keep turning—outside! With PEARL iZUMi’s System of Dress layering strategy, winter cycling is not only realistic but enjoyable. Really! It’s also a LOT less crowded.
Riding during the winter requires a bit more thought and planning than riding during the summer, when you simply slip on a jersey, shorts, gloves and go. Yet, cold weather cycling can be as simple as 1, 2, 3—choosing a baselayer, a midlayer, and an outer layer—to balance breathability with weather protection for maximum comfort.
The foundation of maintaining comfort during cold-weather rides is the baselayer. Skip this at your peril! The baselayer’s function is not necessarily to provide warmth but to regulate the microclimate on your skin by transferring moisture away from your body so it can evaporate without creating a chilling effect. For cool, dry conditions (or if you run warm) a light-weight synthetic base is best, like PEARL iZUMI’s Transfer Baselayer. For cold and/or damp rides (or if you run cold) go warmer with the Merino Baselayer. Our unique, plated construction places soft polyester fibers next-to-skin and Merino on the exterior for superior wicking and thermal regulation. For the coldest conditions, the Thermal Merino Long Sleeve Baselayer provides best-in-class warmth.
The baselayer keeps you dry; the midlayer keeps you warm. Our thermal jerseys are made of polyester fleece of varying thickness and construction to accommodate a wide range of temperatures. For cool rides, or rides that involve long climbs followed by equal descents, our relaxed fit Quest Thermal Jersey or form fit Attack Thermal Jersey combined with a vest or windbreaker may be all you need. For maximum warmth, the Expedition Thermal Jersey wards off the hardest chill (and is cozy enough to lounge in.)
The outer layer provides the ultimate protection against winter’s harshest elements. Our softshell fabrics are designed to add warmth while blocking wind and providing breathability. For cool weather rides, the PRO Barrier Jacket is a staff favorite. Treated with Pi Dry, the two-layer, stretch fabric is highly wind-and-water resistant, breathable, packable, and still minimizes wind flapping. If rain is in the forecast, pack along the Attack WxB Jacket for road rides or the Summit 3L WxB Jacket for mountain rides.
As temperatures drop toward freezing, choose the Attack AmFIB Lite Jacket, especially if your ride involves hard efforts. Thermal softshell panels on the chest and arms block biting wind, while the fleeced back panel regulates body heat. Fat biking? Reach for the Quest AmFIB Jacket with its fleece interior and wrap-around softshell for the ultimate barrier against the elements. Blending performance and style, the Prospect Barrier Jacket shell and insulated Canyon ECOLoft Jacket are equally at home on and off the bike.
Knee warmers are my go-to for the variable temperatures of spring and fall rides, but when temps dip to below mid 40s (F), it is time to don full tights. The fleece-lined Thermal Tights keep my legs cozy to about the freezing mark. Choose from waist band or bib straps, with or without a chamois. The women’s bib version features a drop tail—no need to disrobe for a potty break—just pull the back down! Hey, on longer rides the guys also need to hit the loo, so we designed the Expedition Thermal Cycling Bib Tights with a drop tail, too.
Wind chill is the bane of winter riding—AmFIB to the rescue. AmFIB Lite Cycling Tights use our wind-proof softshell fabric over the quads and knees to keep those leading edges protected. For ultimate warmth from ultimate cold, you cannot beat the AmFIB Tights, which utilize wind-cheating softshell throughout, along with brushed thermal fleece lining to hold in the heat. My coldest fat-bike rides are no match for AmFIB!
Tights are not your thing? No worries. Loads of Utah mountain bikers and commuters enjoy the relaxed fit of the Summit AmFIB Lite Pants or the fleece-lined Summit AmFIB Alpha Pants, and you will, too. Wear your favorite liner underneath or even the Attack 3/4 Bib Tights for added warmth.
Much of the body’s heat loss is from the head, so cycling helmets boast countless vents for advanced ventilation during hot, summer rides; but if you’re riding in the winter, chilled air streaming through those big holes can give you a bad case of brain freeze! From cool-to-coldest rides, protect your ears, neck, and noggin with the AmFIB Lite Headband, AmFIB Lite Skull Cap or Thermal Cycling Cap, and Thermal Neck Gaiter. The multi-functional AmFIB Lite Balaclava is the jack of all trades. Ladies will appreciate the rear ponytail slot in all our headwear.
Feet & Hand
Cold toes, cold fingers, and my ride is done. Using the system described above, think of wool socks as a thermal midlayer. Now slip your shoes inside a windproof outer layer to prevent Old Man Winter from gnawing at your toes. Pro AmFIB Toe Covers are minimal, portable, and amazingly effective for cool rides, but deep winter rides need the added protection of full booties. Use AmFIB Lite Shoe Covers for above freezing rides but you’re going to want AmFIB Shoe Covers, with Primaloft Gold insulation, to handle the coldest fat bike rides. All three are compatible with MTB shoes. If you commute on slushy roads, the WRX Shoe Covers are wind and waterproof, and work with road shoes.
Hands are tricky on winter rides. The colder the temperature gets, the thicker the gloves need to be, while maintaining dexterity for shifting and braking. The Cyclone Gel Gloves are hands-down our best-selling cool-weather glove. Nearing the freezing mark, upgrade to the Primaloft-filled AmFIB Gel Gloves. Lastly, our iconic AmFIB Lobster Gloves set the benchmark for warmth with its classic split-mitten design.
With the above guide and a quick stop by the PEARL iZUMi Factory Store in Park City, or in Silverthorne, or even a visit of PEARLiZUMi.com, you can pick up what you need to ride all year long, and actually enjoy your bike during the colder months. They say that there’s no bad weather—there’s only bad gear! I’d add that winter riding is always an adventure—but even a short ride is better than no ride!