Do you want to stay warm and safe during your mountain bike rides this winter? There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting the right winter jacket for mountain biking. In this blog post, I’ll outline the basics of mountain bike winter jacket selection and help you to choose the best option for your needs.
Why Do You Need A Cycling Jacket?
The importance of a mountain biking jacket cannot be overstated. It provides you with-
Cycling jackets are primarily designed to provide warmth. Utilizing the latest fabric technology, it creates an almost entirely insulated capsule once closed. Your body temperature is conserved. Also, heat is prevented from escaping while riding an MTB in cold weather.
Most mountain bike jackets are made of water-resistant fabric, which makes them useful in wet conditions. The fabric prevents water from penetrating your skin inside the jacket. In this way, you will remain dry and can do more mountaineering.
Typically, you’ll need to carry home keys, a mobile phone, or an iPod to listen to music while riding. And the jacket’s pockets are the ideal place to keep these things since another mountain biking attire has small or no pockets. As well, bike pants and tights with clogged pockets are uncomfortable. Therefore, jacket pockets are a great place to store these items.
Types Of Cycling Jackets
There are three different types of cycling jackets.
Natural wool or synthetic polyester is used in fleece jackets. As far as insulation is concerned, it is among the best jackets. The colors and styles of fleece jackets are varied. Therefore, there is no shortage of options, whether you’re looking for an inner layering piece or a stylish outer layer.
- Wearing a fleece coat or jacket will provide you with the warmth and coziness you need during the winter.
- In addition to being lightweight and breathable, fleece jackets are also stylish.
Softshell jackets are an excellent mid-weight option for cooler days in the saddle or showery days. Soft shells are more windproof and water resistant than fleece or jerseys but more breathable, comfortable, and flexible than full waterproofs.
- A softshell jacket is also more flexible, lighter, warmer, breathable, and softer than a hardshell jacket.
- It is perfect for days when the weather isn’t too extreme but you still need some help staying dry and warm.
Hardshell cycling jackets are waterproof, windproof, and breathable. As it is designed for more extreme weather conditions, it is best worn during winter. However, you won’t stay warm. Layering is the key to cycling clothing. Under your hardshell jacket, you’ll wear insulating layers in cold and rainy weather.
- Great hardshell cycling jackets prevent rain from entering and allow sweat to escape.
By doing so, they become breathable and waterproof. Water (H2O) is the same in rain and sweat. Small pores are incorporated into fabrics to achieve this. Individual water vapor molecules can pass through these tiny pores, allowing water vapor to escape. As water molecules are bonded together and larger, they cannot enter.
Short Comparison Chart: Fleece VS Softshell VS Hardshell Jackets
|Feature||Fleece Jackets||Softshell Jacket||Hardshell Jacket|
|Waterproof||No.||The exterior is usually coated with DWR to make it water-resistant. It is not waterproof.||To ensure total waterproofing, it uses a hard shell, such as woven fabric coated with laminate.|
|Breathable||It is extremely breathable.||Breathing is very limited due to keeping out water.||Advanced micropore technology in hardshell jackets allows water vapor molecules to escape.|
|Windproof||No.||They range from a little bit to completely windproof. Some have woven faces to increase windproof.||They are specially designed with laminates and sealed seams to completely block the wind.|
|Fabric Quality||The softest fabric quality.||The Softest fabric quality but less softest quality than a fleece jacket.||They strive to keep out the elements, so they aren’t soft and cozy.|
|Packable||It is a bit thick, and not suitable for packing in a pannier.||The fleecy layer makes them thicker. so, Packing is more difficult.||They pack well because they don’t have fleecy layers.|
|Best One||Arcteryx Arenite Jacket.||Gore Bike Wear Phantom 2.0.||Gore Bike Wear Power Gore-Tex.|
Finally, How To Select Mountain Bike Winter Jacket?
No rule says the most expensive MTB jacket is the best. Neither is it any jacket. To distinguish it from other regular jackets, there are some key features to look for. Here are some differences you should consider before buying one:
Compared To General Outdoor Jackets
The arms of mountain bike jackets are longer where the tail is dropped for a better fit and performance.
- Their skin is made of breathable material, or they have several vents to deal with sweat.
- Unlike outdoor jackets, they don’t extend below the waistline.
Compared To Road Cycling Jackets
Mountain bike jackets have a lower cut on the front than road cycling jackets. Because mountain biking requires less bending than road cycling. There isn’t much speeding on the hills. So drag isn’t an issue with MTB jackets since there are more pockets.
It is also important to compare and select the MTB jacket that fits your needs based on these differences. Sometimes, one feature must be sacrificed for another because not all features can be found on one jacket.
- The following features obviously help you to choose the right one. So read it more carefully.
Breathability VS. Weatherproofing
The only fully waterproof, breathable mountain bike jacket is yet to be available on the market. As the fully waterproof material is not porous, no air can flow through it. Furthermore, a fully breathable material must be porous enough to allow air to pass through, so it cannot be waterproof. The two must be reconciled.
- Most biking jackets feature waterproof fronts, breathable backs, and strips and patches along the waterproof skin.
- In winter, breathable materials can get cold, while waterproof materials can get hot when cycling.
Therefore, you can either get two MTB jackets, one completely waterproof for the winter and one completely breathable for the summer or choose a jacket that combines both features.
Layers of fabric and layers of layers form this jacket’s skin. These fabrics are not suitable for riding a bike fast, since you will sweat more. Therefore, pit zips and pull-up sleeves keep the armpits and wrists cool.
- When hot, wrists and armpits have a high blood flow, so cooling them will significantly reduce body heat.
- The full front zip can also cool your insulated body, which helps release the built-up heat.
A mountain bike jacket’s most common fabric is coated or membrane.
Coated fabrics are used in cheaper mountain bike jackets. It’s coated in polyurethane. Different levels of coating exist.
- Breathability is poor in thick-coated jackets.
- The lining is mesh so it helps wick sweat away.
Coated jackets often have pores to breathe. A mountain bike jacket does not need mesh. By wearing them, they can move more easily.
- Techy fabrics make mountain bike jackets more expensive. And these fabrics contain membranes.
- Small pores prevent water from getting in, but large enough to breathe.
There are still compromises in these mountain bike jackets. Performance and durability are still a toss-up.
It is a matter of personal preference. A snug fit will keep you from flapping as you ride, whereas a loose fit will give you more breathing room.
Adjustable hems, cuffs, and collars regulate airflow. Wearing a biking jacket without this feature is likely to be very uncomfortable.
Mountain bike jackets mustn’t restrict your movement, so you can comfortably position yourself over the handlebars. It is, therefore, best to wear lightweight jackets for this purpose since their ergonomics allow for easy movement around the bike. Additionally, they are breathable. And the rain is partially protected.
- Heavy-duty jackets provide a great deal of protection and warmth.
- However, their bulk may restrict movement.
- They can also make you sweat because they are less breathable.
A jacket’s pockets are just as important as any other piece of clothing. They are useful for storing small items like phones. But too many of them increase the layer of fabric, reducing breathability.
- A biking jacket should have one or two pockets.
In the end, you should consider several factors before purchasing. As I have mentioned earlier, the mountain bike winter jacket selection depends on your fitness level and riding style.
- If you plan to take an intense ride in the freezing weather with gloves on. And try to select a lightweight and breathable one that offers warmth and flexibility.
- A warm yet waterproof jacket will be your best bet for casual rides without gloves but where it is likely to rain or snow heavily.
So, Safe & Comfortable Winter Cycling In The Winter With The Right Winter Biking Jacket for Yourself. Only then my writing purpose will get its success.