What to Wear Biking in Winter

What to Wear Biking in Winter

Gearing up for winter riding can seem like a daunting task, but we’ve got all the essentials for staying warm, dry, and comfortable all winter long. Once you’ve got the proper gear, getting out the door won’t be such a chore. Whether you are hitting the trails for a fat bike ride or getting out on the roads on a dry afternoon, it is important to dress appropriately.

Winter Biking Gear

You’ve heard the famous saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” Or one of our favorites, “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?!” Whether you’re a Norweigan outdoors enthusiast or a Friends fan, both sayings hold true for winter cyclists. Too many layers, and you’ll feel miserable and have very little mobility on the bike. The wrong kind of winter mountain bike gear, and you’ll be so cold you won’t be able to operate your brake levers. We’re not going to name any names (you know who you are), but we’ve heard stories of riders that have to walk their bike down the trail because they can’t feel their hands on their brake levers.

Invest in a Winter Cycling Jacket

It is crucial to select the right jacket for every ride. Wind resistance is one of the most essential components of a winter riding jacket, but it should also still be breathable. Pearl Izumi has some great options for winter riding jackets that will keep you warm all season long.

No Pants? That’s a problem.

Cycling-specific winter biking pants are a game-changer for winter cycling and mountain biking. Riding with one layer on the bottom makes for a super comfortable ride, but it is important to pick the right pair for the conditions. Many winter riding pants come with a built-in chamois, so you don’t have to deal with multiple layers. Colder conditions may warrant a fleece-lined pair of pants with a wind-resistant exterior shell to keep the warmth near your body. Waterproof winter riding pants prove especially useful on days that it is actively snowing or if you are hitting the fat bike trails and take a tumble. On especially mild days, knee warmers may be enough to keep you warm on an afternoon road ride.

What to Wear Biking in Winter

Top Tips for Winter Riding in Bozeman

One of the most important components to staying comfortable on a winter ride is keeping your extremities warm. This means wearing the right gear for your hands, feet, and ears.

Starting from the top, it is important to find a hat or ear warmer that fits comfortably underneath your helmet. If you have an especially form-fitting helmet, you may consider buying one large enough to accommodate a thin merino wool hat covering your ears or an ear warmer. If your helmet is too small, you may get headaches from pressure points on your helmet.

Keep Your Hands & Feet Warm

It is also important to pick the right winter gloves for mountain biking or road cycling. On especially cold days, the best winter biking gloves will be beneficial due to their windproof qualities. Pogies are also great for winter riding. They mount directly to the handlebars and keep your hands extra warm. Pogies are especially popular for fat biking.

Last but not least, you have to keep your toes warm. There is nothing worse than freezing toes on a ride, so you must have the proper gear for the occasion. On mild days, toe covers may be the solution. Colder days may require full booties. Winter fat biking gear booties range from wind-resistant, insulated, waterproof or a combination of the three. If you are a serious winter rider, you may even consider investing in a pair of winter riding boots, which are guaranteed to keep you warm all season. If you have naturally poor circulation or have especially cold feet, try putting some toe warmers on the tops and bottoms of your socks.

Layer Up

Layering is probably the most important part of getting dressed for your winter ride. The best way to stay warm and dry during your ride is to start with a wool base layer. Not only is wool exceedingly comfortable, but it also keeps you warm and dry. Wool helps regulate body temperature and can soak up moisture without losing its insulating properties. On a warm and sunny afternoon, you may only need one wool base layer, and on colder days, you could stack multiple layers for a cozier ride.


Bundling up before a winter ride can be a chore, but your legs, lungs, and heart will thank you! With the correct winter biking gear, the fresh mountain air never felt so refreshing. At Owenhouse Cycling in Bozeman, MT, we not only sell winter cycling accessories, but we also ride in the winter! Visit us in the bike shop to chat!

We’d love to share our thoughts on which pants, gloves, and jackets perform the best in our Bozeman winter weather. Got all the gear but need a bike? We also have a mountain bike rental program and fat bike rental in Bozeman, MT, to help keep you active over the winter! Rent a fat bike during a snowy weekend this winter and test all your new gear!

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