This is the second of a series of winter riding gear that I personally have run through over the last several years. It is a personal take, but to be honest seems to be pretty accurate if I do say so myself. Looking at the long range forecast, we are due for some snow in the coming days, so why not get all psyched up for winter riding. Who is with me!!!
Last time we discussed footwear, well we are slowing working north, and talking pants and bottoms. Legs can be a little tough to figure out, cause with biking, you are using them, and using them a lot in winter biking. One thing you will find out if you are new to fat biking / winter biking, your poor legs never get a break, even on the downhills, you are constantly spinning… But you will have a smile on your face for sure!! But I digress.
Temperature: 2-5 degrees C
Some folks in this temperature range continue to wear their normal riding shorts (Paul!). Others will start the layers. Personally in this range, I will put on a thin base layer of Merino wool. Again I will use MEC as my guide as to what to look for. A lot of the gear you can buy at other shops like Sojourn, or any outdoor shop.
The above photo from MEC, https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5043-956/Merino-T2-Long-Johns is a nice thin layer of Merino wool long johns. The ones I ride with were actually from Costco, and they work great. These are used more to break some of the wind, and they do keep the legs nice and warm.
One note for this, daytime 5C, and nighttime 5C feel much much different. You may want to skimp down a little bit on the daytime 5C, and go with something more like a leg warmer, that in the case you start to overheat, you can pull them off easily, and not do a full strip tease in the middle of the forest.
Something like the above would work perfectly in those situations.
Temperature: 2 – -5 degrees C
In this range I still tend to continue to wear the Merino wool long john’s. I personally have 2 different types of long john, a thinner one from Costco, similar to the above mentioned, and also a thicker set, which if memory serves correctly, they came from a store in Ohio. But regardless, in this temperature range you will start to notice the cold on the legs. The temperature will start to suck some of the energy out of them, making them feel heavy. Hence a thicker pair of long johns will work nicely.
These slightly thicker long johns will provide a little more warmth, as well as blocking more wind.
Another option, if you have leg warmers, and the thinner base layer bottoms, is to double them up. This will give you a nice warmth, and again cut the wind very nicely.
Temperature: -5 degrees C and Colder
Once we dip below the -5 mark, is when I just switch to a thin baselayer, and a pair of cross country ski pants. The nice thing with the cross country ski pants is that they are able to move easily, as well as block the wind and keep your legs toasty warm. Usually at this colder temperature, you are not breaking any land speed records, due to the bitter cold, and the possibility of your eyes freezing open. If you watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation you will understand that reference for sure.
For pants, you do not want to skimp out on what you get, as the pants do take a good beating over the winter. Another thing to look at with the pants, is the cuff. Ideally you find a pair that have the cuff tight against the leg. The main reason for this is that it could get caught in the chain rings.
A way around getting caught in the chainrings is to put a reflective strap around you leg, similar to the below.
As for the pants themselves, the below from MEC are a nice softshell pant. Look around at other places, see what people have, just make sure you get something that will keep you warm, and allow you to move your legs for pedaling purposes.
With another edition in the books, we get closer and closer to the winter riding season, and you have to start thinking of your legs, not just for strength and conditioning, but for warmth and comfort.
If you have questions or comments please let us know, send an email through the contact us tab.
Get out there and ride your bike!
... in Links, Product, Tech Info
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be doing some write ups on winter riding gear, and what has worked for us over the last 5 years or so.
Based on waking up this morning to the beautiful snow on the ground, I assumed it was the best time to start this little mini-series if you wish to call it.
As the title of the post says, footwear is the first item, so pretty much starting from the bottom and working up.
I know there are several folks out there who have the same thing I do, which is bad circulation in their extremities. When the weather dips below 5 degrees C, the toes become cold, and you feel the cold come up through the cleat on the pedal (If you are clipped in).
Last nights ride was a good indication of the feet getting cold for sure.
Temperature: 2-5 degrees C
Typically in this temperature range, I continue to use my normal riding shoes, normal Shimano or LG shoes, clipped in.
One addition to the normal shoes would be Shoe Covers, or booties. These little guys go overtop of your shoes, but also have the bottom cutout to allow you to be clipped in. For this temperature, you don’t need anything crazy thick, just something to cut some of the wind out from going through the shoe.
The above cover is from MEC, https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5042-260/Cloudburst-Shoe-Covers
You can get these guys from MEC or your Local Bike Shop. The nice thing about these thin booties is that they are waterproof, and cut the wind. These are great to get you through the transition period for sure.
Temperature: -3 – 2 degrees C
In this range it becomes a little tougher on shoe selection. Usually I will stay in my normal riding shoes, but use a thicker booties, something that will cut wind, but also will keep your feet warmer. In addition to the bootie, I also wear Wool Socks, mainly because they look good, feel good, and are comfortable, but also they keep your feet nice and warm.
The one nice thing again about the thicker covers, is that they will keep snow (I know the dreaded S word) from falling into your shoe, making them wet and colder.
I personally own a pair of these Pearl Izumi shoe covers, and they word amazing in the colder temperatures. Again from MEC you can buy these. I’m using MEC as I know most people have been or go on the regular.
One note on booties is that you want to make sure the sole of them are made of something durable such as kevlar. The booties take some abuse, whether it be from walking, or clipping in or out etc.
Temperature: -20 – -3 degrees C
Well at this point really anything below -3 I change over to full on winter riding boots. I know that the 45NRTH boots that most have are expensive, but at the same token, they are worth every penny for keeping your feet warm. But like I mentioned earlier, I am using MEC as a source for products, and they carry a MAVIC winter cycling shoe, as well as a Shimano version.
With winter riding shoes, one note you want to look at, if you are clipping in, you will get residual temperature rising through the sole of the shoe. Most of the winter riding shoes have a gpecial insulated sole to prevent this from happening, but you want to make sure that there is something. When the weather dips below -10 the feet can get cold fast making the ride much worse!
For the folks who are hesitant on clipping in through the winter, there is another alternative that a lot of folks have been doing.
If you want to use a flat pedal, make sure it is something that will grip the sole of a boot. But you want a nice warm boot, something like a Sorel. The only thing to note, you will lose a little bit of feeling connected to your bike. But at the same token, you are riding in snow and cold weather. You will fall, it will happen, but your feet will be nice and warm!
There is another option for the colder temperatures for your feet. They are heated insoles. I have not tried them personally, but what I have read online say that they work extremely well. Marks Work Warehouse carries a pair, which have rechargeable batteries.
Winter and cold weather riding is tough, not just on the body, but also on how you prepare and dress for it. I would recommend in your car or truck, to keep spare booties, and socks, because you never know how cold it actually is until you are standing in the parking lot getting ready.
... in Everything, Tech Info
Well we are starting to come into the season where we need to think about what is needed to be done on the bikes, prior to the riding season. This maintenance should be done sooner rather than later to ensure you don’t miss a ride due to a broken bike.
You will need the below tools to perform the removal. If you dont want to buy them, ask someone you know very nicely, and offer them beer…. that always works!
Cassette Lock Ring Remover
Below is a brief overview on what steps are required to remove and reassemble a cassette. I’ll try and do a bunch of different ones as I personally work on my bike, just to help out. I think there is still a plan to have a day, or evening to have some folks over to do a full rebuild. Keep an eye out on that for sure!
Step 1: Locate the Cassette: I know, everyone knows what a Cassette is, but the below picture should help.
Step 2: Remove the quick release skewer from the rear wheel. This needs to be removed prior to step 3, or step 3 wont happen…. Hence step 3 is after step 2.
Step 3. You will need to use 2 special tools for this. One is a Chain Whip. This tool wraps around the cassette locking it in place so you can loosen the lock nut on the cassette. The other tool needed is the Cassette Lock ring Tool. Both can be purchased from any Local Bike Shop. The thread on the lock ring is a normal thread so, righty tighty lefty loosy. Once you loosen the lockring off you can go to step 4.
Step 4: Once the lock ring is removed you can pull the cassette off. Just grab the cassette from behind the biggest ring and pull straight off. You will not need to twist of anything, just pull.
Step 5: Inspect the freehub body to ensure there is no damage and that the freehub body spins freely… well as freely as possible. When inspecting the freehub body, you will notice that one of the splines is narrower than the rest. This will come in handy when putting the cassette back onto the freehub.
Step 6: Slide the cassette onto the freehub body. Align the cassette spline with the freehub spline. Push the cassette until it wont go any further. The last piece is the lock ring. When put together, it should look like the photo below.
Step 7: Tighten the lock ring using the lock ring tool. The recommended torque value is typically on the lock ring. The value should be 260 inch pound of torque at a minimum.
Once Torqued down you are good to go. Put the skewer back in the hub on the bike and start to ride!
Hope this helps... in Everything, Tech Info
Well over the last year of riding there has been more and more talk about what drive-train people are running, and the thoughts about going with a 1×10 or 1×11 setup. Over the last little bit, I’ve been doing some research into how to retrofit the Heckler, or a new bike to run a 1x gear set up. Below is a summary of what I’ve found out. (I have not run the gearing so there will be some playing yet to do!)
The advantages with converting to a 1x drive-train are:
– Less weight with the removal of the shifter as well as the front derailleur
– Less maintenance, with the lack of front derailleur, it gives you one less item to worry about fixing, or adjusting.
– Ground Clearance for the riding that we do will be increased (depending on what size of front chainring you choose).
The disadvantages are:
– Less gearing options for climbing and descending
– Chain dropping, I know this will be almost eliminated with the use of a good Narrow Wide front Chain Ring, and a derailleur with a clutch in it, but still can creep up for sure.
From my looking around and chatting with other folks (Jonathon / Derek) about the drive-train, ideally you purchase a larger granny gear. On a typical cassette your easiest gear is either 34 or 36 tooth. The tooth is how many pointy parts there are on the rear wheel gears, hopefully that explains that. With a 1x drive-train, you want to go with an easier gear than a 36 tooth. There are kits available, online, or at your local bike shop, where you can add in an extra easier gear behind the cassette. Click the link below for information.
To give the gearing a little smoother flow, they provide a 17 tooth sprocket to replace 2 of the other sprockets.
One point to bring up on this, if you are running a Shimano rear derailleur, you will need a longer B tension bolt to accommodate the larger gear. See the below photo for which bolt is the B-tension bolt. Apparently the SRAM derailleur’s are okay with the standard bolt. Most kits you buy will come with the longer Tension Bolt, so no worries. I know the OneUP unit in the link above does not come with the part though.
Now to the fun stuff. When pricing out and trying to determine whether to run a 1×10 or 1×11, I looked at a few options. To get rough numbers on pricing, I used JensonUSA.com to pull numbers together and try to compare apples to apples. I know if you price around you may be able to get the components cheaper, and always check out your local bike shop, or give Derek at Bike Right a call or email.
What I was planning on doing was utilizing my existing crankset to bring the cost down a little bit. To do this you will need to buy a Narrow Wide Front Chain Ring. This will prevent the chain from dropping. Also, it is recommended that you use a rear derailleur that has a clutch system in it. Personally I’m going to try to run mine without the clutch derailleur just to see what happens.
For 1×11 below is a brief breakdown:
Another option for Chainrings is Wolf Tooth Cycling, Jonathon uses their chainring, and has not dropped once.
Another point that you may need to add; If you are planning on removing your bash gaurd, you will need to purchase spacers for the chain ring bolts. This will be used to make up the space that the bash gaurd or third ring would have taken.
So the long and the short of it is, if you want to make the change from 2x or 3x to 1x, why not give it a try. It may not be right for everyone, but why not give it a try.
Once the parts come in, I’ll try and do a revised post to give an update and maybe a step by step on how to make the change.