Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Cycling Gear I Like, Part 1

Even though I've been into the whole snowbiking thing ever since I first threw a leg over my buddy's chrome Ross Mt. Hood back in January of 1989, only lately have I gone really nuts on gear. I've gotten about a half dozen things over the last 12 months that I really, really like and are genuinely helpful.

As a wise man once said, "When I go winter camping, I don't wear my summer hiking shoes with shoe covers. I wear winter boots. When I go snowshoeing, I don't wear summer shoes with covers on them. I wear winter boots."

I think this applies to feet, heads and most of the winter clothing a person can name.

The first thing I got was a pair of Lake MXZ302 winter boots. Yeah, they were expensive, even getting them on closeout this past spring. I had gotten a pair of the older MXZ300 model used at the bike swap a couple of years back and really liked them but for two issues: 1. they were just a little too small, and 2. they are only good down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The new ones are better on both counts.



The second is a downhill ski helmet. Until this year, I've muddled through winter with all sorts of stuff covering my head. I came pretty close with a good spandex scullcap and neck gaiter, but never quite got it right. Then one day I was shopping at local sporting goods store that was having a moving sale and happened across a Giro G10 like this one:



They only had the one in stock, and it was a mere Large. I tried it on, thinking it would never fit my enormous melon, and what do you know? Just about perfect. Feels more solid than the average bike helmet, is fully lined and has very good ear coverage. Full goggle compatibility too, including a strap keeper on the back. I'm not wild about the way it distorts my hearing, but it's not much different than a pair of dog ears. A solid win, but doesn't make me any less goofy-looking:

So Debonair

The last thing for this post is the Nokian Freddie's Revenz Lite studded tire. Made specifically for off-road ice racing, it tends to be overkill for anything to do with commuting, until we get 14 inches of snow in one day. Worked great all of last week, and I'm hoping it's a better bet than the Surly Endomorph for the DDD. We'll see.

Tire Comparison

Even though it's full of metal, it seems to weigh a little less than the WTB Timberwolf 2.5 I used on this bike in nicer weather. Has a little more supple feel too.

Next time, a little bit about bags, lights and other sundries.

9 comments:

Tarik Saleh said...

What cartoon world do you live in where the Freddie's Revenz Lite can be described as supple. I stick to my descriptor as riding around on a tire full of marbles. It is better than the nokian extreme studded tire I used to use, but I think that is the only tire I ever rode that was worse. The good part is the non slip part, although I did get them to brake loose on a hard icy corner last week. How wide do they measure on your monster rims?

Also, looking good there nanook...

Tarik Saleh said...

Also, I find that every studded tire I have tried pale in comparison to the 2.55 WTB weirwolf LT's in snow. Rutty cruddy bumpy icy crap, the Freddy Revenzgeszez rule, trompy sidewalks of glaze ice you can't beat em. But soft or fresh snow or even packed not icy snow, give me wide tires. So I am not sure that you are buying much with the studs on the freddies if your DDD thingy is a snow festival, unless they sit a hell of a lot wider than they do on my rims. 2.3 my ass...

Uh, also, nanook. Etc...

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Dear Mr. Salad, it's the kind of cartoon world where lollipops grow on vines, the last coupla tires you had on were the Extremes and Continental Digga 2.5's and tire guages don't read anything above 12psi. Okay, so they ain't that supple, but more so than the other stuff I've tried so far.

They measure out real close to but not quite 2.3 on the 48 mm rims, which is a disappointment to me too. You've talked me into trying a Wierwolf LT on the front (won't fit the rear, so we'll stick with the FR there) so I ordered one. But there's really really no predicting what the DDD trail conditions are going to be like. Could be snowy like last year; could be icy rutted nasty snow machine tracks. Unlike the Pugsley jocks, I'm betting icy and one of these years I'll be right.

I've also been asking around (without much luck) to see whether I could borrow a Surly tire to try on the front since it would easily clear the Pugs fork. I was a little concerned about the rim not being wide enough until I saw Jeff Jones using them as a front on his bikes.

And thanks for the props on the face coif. Flattery will get you everywhere.

MrDaveyGie said...

Yeap, me too. Investing in better winter bike gear. Including $IDI winter riding boots, bar mitts, and "another pair of Nokian studs" so I have them available on my cycle cross, full suspension and hardtail. But to me it's worth it, winter biking rocks, and basement spinning is tough to maintain fitness. I ride the DDD course 2 to 4 times a week so my blog report the conditions. Your right, at this time, a Nokian works well, the snow is packed enough. But conditions change fast like we all know. Happy and fun rides to all
MrDaveyGie

Doug said...

Me a wise man...Hehehe!

Jack London said...

Hey, you should probably take that "large" sticker off the helmet! That is, unless you have another skull sitting around?

(-:

coastkid said...

came across your blog via doug,
good writing,and reviews...
looking forward to reading more...

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Hey Mr. Davie, thanks for the trail reports. There's no knowing what race day will bring (which is half the fun) but it's good to know what the trend has been.

Doug, you heard me ;-)

I dunno Jack, I don't mean to brag, but you know what they say about dudes with big noggins.

And thanks coastkid, I'll try to keep it up.

welshcyclist said...

Enjoying your blog, keep it up, and thanks for posting.
Cheers