Mountain Bike Armor Heating and Cooling Tips and Tricks
The weather will affect your riding performance and endurance on the bike. However, riding in adverse weather conditions, whether hot or cold, is more enjoyable when you have dressed appropriately. Therefore, take the weather into account when deciding where to ride, how far to go, and what to wear, and keep in mind our mountain bike armor heating and cooling tips and tricks.
Methods for mountain bike armor heating include wearing insulated clothes under the armor, wearing arm warmers or gloves for extra layering when riding in cold temperatures, and wearing a thermal shirt or a jacket underneath the armor. Do not wear too many layers that inhibit movement or that will cause overheating while riding. To keep cool in hot temperatures, purchase mountain bike armor that is the correct size and not too tight for proper ventilation around the body. Avoid body armor with excessive padding as this will trap the heat when riding in hot climates. And finally, select body armor that has ventilation holes evenly distributed across the surface, and is made of lightweight, breathable materials.
Mountain bike technology has advanced in recent years, and so too has mountain bike armor and protective gear. If you're going on an all-mountain trip in the Alps or Rockies, for example, you'll need to wear insulated gear to ensure you're protected from the cold. However, in summer, when the weather is warm and the trails are usually dry, you'll need less protection than in wintertime.
You might also find interest in our mountain bike armor design ideas, tips, and tricks as well as our step-by-step guide to choosing your mountain bike armor kit. So be sure to check out those related articles too.
Mountain Bike Armor Heating Tips
Mountain bike armor plays a vital role in protecting your torso against impacts from falls, and our article about mountain bike armor qualifications explains that the best protective gear adheres to industry safety standards. When you are planning to bike in cold weather, you must make sure that you are not only wearing protection armor for the biking but also for the cold. For example, your gloves should serve both purposes, they should be a good piece of your armor and they should also have a thermal layer like these ones do to protect you from the cold weather and especially in extreme conditions where your fingers could be at risk of getting frostbite due to exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Check out our guide on how to choose mountain bike grip heaters to learn more about how to keep your hands warm.
Layering heat-retention garments and accessories under mountain bike body armor can help insulate the rider against cold. Cycling caps can be worn under the helmet, thermal vests can be worn beneath the body armor, thin thermal socks can be layered to keep the feet warm, and fleece-lined gloves can protect the rider’s hands against extreme cold.
Some people use cycling caps like these or normal caps made out of fleece material under their helmets to keep out the cold. Your helmet should be wide enough to allow you to wear a warm cap or a buff under it. You could also use earmuffs like these to protect your ears from the frigid air during winter. Wear thick insulating socks but make sure to not overdress because this can limit your movements or cause you to overheat when riding.
When riding your mountain bike in the winter, it is important to cover all the exposed areas of your body, including your head, your hands and feet, and your core. This article from Human Kinetics Journal explains how colder ambient temperatures impair athletic performance when cycling. Wearing breathable thermal layers like these under your bike armor can help regulate your body temperature as you traverse difficult trails.
It is always a good idea to properly warm up your muscles before riding, as this extract from “Serious Training for Endurance Athletes” explains so that you prevent any injury to your muscles and joints. Focus on maintaining your core temperature, as well as keeping your hands and feet warm, because if your hands and feet become stiff from the cold this will affect your ability to handle safely and control your mountain bike.
Tip 1. Wear Waterproof Body Armor & Install Mudguards When Riding in Rain
Some mountain bikers won’t venture out onto the trail in the rain, but many riders enjoy the added thrill of maneuvering their bikes on wet and slick surfaces. It is important that the rider always maintains complete control of the bike in all weather conditions, so our articles about choosing pedals for grip maximization and choosing a mountain bike grip for sweaty hands to learn how to combat wet hands are great resources for riders.
There are other accessories that you could install on your mountain bike that will make your ride in the rain more enjoyable. Place a mudguard like this on your bike to disperse mud and water away from the bike as you ride. Tires that are specifically designed for wet and muddy terrain will also distribute the water away from the tire surface so that the tires maintain proper grip with the ground. Our article about how to choose tires for maximum grip has in-depth explanations of the different tires that are available and what terrain they are best suited to. Finally, wear waterproof clothing like this as an outer layer to prevent your clothes from getting soaked through when riding in the rain.
Tip 2. Wear Thermal Clothing, Socks, and Waterproof Gloves When Riding in The Snow
Mountain biking in the snow is becoming quite a popular adventure sport, especially for riders who enjoy riding their fat bikes, as this article from Northern Michigan University explains. The extreme cold does necessitate some extra precautions to ensure riders are safe. This video tutorial from Trail Tracker gives great tips on mountain biking through the snow.
Firstly, you’ll want to wear a thermal layer of clothing like this as your base layer and thermal socks on your feet. Then you’ll want your outer layer to be waterproof so that any snow that comes into contact with your clothing doesn’t seep through. A thin thermal jacket like this and padded cycling leggings like these will ensure you are kept warm when riding in the snow without compromising your range of motion when cycling. Warm waterproof gloves like these will protect your hands against cold and moisture, and a thermal cap or balaclava like this worn under your helmet will keep your head warm. A pair of neoprene shoe covers like these are also a good idea for riders who will be cycling in thick snow. Lightweight body armor like this can be worn under your jacket to protect your torso without adding extra uncomfortable bulk.
Tip 3. Wear a Windbreaker Over Body Armor When Riding in Windy Weather
Riding in windy conditions brings its own set of challenges for mountain bikers. Your main priority is to maintain your grip and balance, while also shielding your face and limbs against the chilly wind. A set of high grip pedals like these is important. Read our article about the benefits of clipless pedals for more information about how these pedals improve grip when biking on difficult trails. Layers of clothing, like this windbreaker jacket, will help protect your body against the wind and they can be discarded if the wind calms down during your ride. Your body armor can be worn under the jacket so that removing the jacket is easier later during the ride. Riding against a strong wind could interfere with your balance and make your ride more difficult, this thread from mtbr.com has some helpful tips from other riders on how to cope with extreme wind.
Summary of Body Armor for Cold Weather
|Body Armor Item||Benefits||Amazon Product||Price|
|Thermal Bodysuit||Retains body heat in extreme cold||Thermal Underwear Set, Sports Long Johns Base Layer||~$35|
|Thermal Cap or Balaclava Combo||Keeps the head and face warm in snowy and windy conditions||Extremus IceKap Ski Balaclava, Face Mask||~$20|
|Thermal Jacket||Protects against the wind and adds a waterproof outer layer||Rock Bros Cycling Jackets for Men Thermal Windproof||~$40|
|Thermal Gloves||Keeps hands warm when riding so that the rider maintains proper grip on the handlebars||Temei Winter Waterproof Gloves for Men and Women||~$20|
|Strong Helmet||Protects the skull in case of a fall||Base Camp Bike Helmet, Bicycle Helmet with Light||~$35|
|Padded Body Armor||Can provide extra protection for extremely cold and rocky conditions||Troy Lee Designs 7855 Heavyweight Long-Sleeve Protection Shirt||~$180|
You might also be interested in learning our general tips and tricks for buying downhill mountain bike armor. Be sure to check that article out as well.
Tips for Choosing Mountain Bike Armor For Hot Weather
Wearing proper protective body armor is just as important in hot weather as in cold weather and it is also just as important to control body temperature in hot weather.
When riding in hot climates, purchase mountain bike armor that is not tight against the body so that there is breathing room and free range of motion when cycling. Choose armor that has ventilation holes and gaps so that air can move freely through the armor. Finally, choose a design that has light padding as too much padding may trap heat and cause overheating and fatigue.
When riding in hot conditions you also need to bear in mind the danger of overheating as this article from the “Journal of Applied Physiology” explains. You need to make sure that you stay constantly hydrated by drinking enough mineral-rich fluids like these, and that your clothing and body armor is well-ventilated.
A lightweight torso shield like this with a VPD system for superior ventilation is ideal for biking in hot weather because it has adjustable straps to customize the size and large slits in the armor for increasing airflow when riding.
Tip 1. Only Wear the Armor That You Need
In extremely hot weather, you should only wear clothing items that are necessary. A helmet like this is your number one priority, so choose one with proper ventilation for hot weather. Lightweight knee guards, elbow pads, and wrist guards like these are also necessary protective gear for downhill rides.
Our article about mountain bike body armor durability and biking-related injuries explains why it is always important to wear protective body armor when mountain biking because you can never predict what will happen when biking, and you’ll be thankful that you did take precautionary measures if an accident does happen. A lightweight body shield like this will protect your vital organs without making you too hot, and wearing a shirt like this that wicks moisture away from your body will also help regulate your body temperature.
Tip 2. Buy Ventilated Armor
When buying body armor, look for something that is made of a breathable material or has ventilation gaps. You should wear airy and loose clothes on summer days and make sure they're not too thin so that you don’t start feeling cold when your body starts to sweat.
Your sweat glands are mainly responsible for the loss of heat from your body and for the regulation of body temperature. These are found everywhere on your body but are mainly located in the soles of your feet, in the palms of your hands, under your armpits, and in the groin area. According to this Live Science article, about 7 to 10 percent of your body's total heat is lost through the head so you must invest in a helmet that provides adequate ventilation.
Tip 3. Always Wear A Helmet, Other Armor is Case-Dependent
Body armor is your lifeline if you are involved in an accident because it protects you from absorbing the full impact. Our article about downhill mountain bike body armor goes into in-depth detail about the materials used when manufacturing high-quality body armor and will help you choose the right armor to ensure your safety when biking.
A good quality helmet like this with rotational impact protection, ventilation holes, and adjustable straps for a customized fit is your first essential piece of protective gear. Next is this ventilated body armor that consists of a protective back and front shield. These fingerless anti-slip gloves will help maintain a secure grip on your handlebars while also protecting your hands against cuts and scrapes from debris or branches. Knee pads, elbow guards like these, and wrist guards are other pieces of protective gear that will provide protection if you fall.
Summary of Body Armor for Hot Weather
|Body Armor Item||Benefits||Amazon Product||Price|
|Ventilated Helmet||Allows airflow through the helmet to regulate body temperature||Smith Optics Forefront 2 MIPS Mountain Cycling Helmet||~$250|
|Ventilated Body Armor||Protects the torso without overheating the body||Leatt Brace 3.5 Chest Protector||~$130|
|Moisture Wicking Shirt||Pulls moisture away from the body and protects against UV rays.||Dry-Fit Moisture Wicking Performance Long Sleeve T-Shirt (4-Pack)||~$35|
|Ventilated knee pads, elbow guards, and wrist guards||Protect joints from impact injuries while also allowing airflow to regulate body temperature||Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, Wrist Guards 3 In 1 Protective Gear Set||~$25|