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Cold Weather Riding

See my previous Views From A Bike with some related photos.

Clothing notes

  • IbexWear wool “Shak hoody” is a fantastic choice for staying warm. The hood fits under the helmet. I am wearing it in the picture below.
  • Wear the Shak hoody over a wicking summer-weight jersey with a long-sleeve medium weight jersey over the summer jersey if it’s really cold.
  • Western Mountaineering Flash XR hooded down jacket is terrific for when it’s really cold— about 18°F here, with wind chill of ~ 5° F. Warmer, and it gets too hot, but it stuffs small and weighs only 12 ounces, so I stuff it into a daypack. Carry also the Western Mountaineering Flash pants (down), which are also very light— so if you stop your legs can stay warm.
  • A windproof pant is a must-have.
  • Inner wicking sock with thick wool sock over it.
  • IbexWear wool gloves with glove liners.
  • Carry a daypack with a dry base layer and spare socks in case of excess perspiration.

Bike notes

  • Shimano XTR pedals are problematic with snow/ice. One pedal became a solid block of ice when I dipped it into the creek. So I had only one pedal to clip into for an 800' climb back out. The other pedal clogged several times with leaves/snow/dirt.
  • All other XTR stuff worked great in the cold.
  • YBB soft-tail is not necessary with snow making for a relatively soft trail. The Moots MootoX RSL would be a better choice for more direct power transfer and better trail feel (see my riding notes on the two choices).
Moots MootoX YBB deep in the White Mountains, Nov 5, 2011
Leica M9 + 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

Abram Landes writes

Just a quick comment and recommendation about the pedals... I had the same snow problems with my XTR and SPD pedals over in the East Coast, and some other issues as well like: unintentionally unclipping when the trail got rough and pulling out when really cranking uphill on the mountain bike. I adjusted and readjusted a few times, but I never felt like I could trust them over the previous year. I had previous experience with Crank Brothers, but these would unclip if I hit a rock on the bottom of the pedal, I could pull out of them, and had bearings and spindles break on me. I think I have four half-sets of those pedals (high-end to low-end) in my basement.

I also saw the new Crank Brothers blingy Candy 11's seize up on a pro rider during a race this past year, and the hot rumors is that Crank Brothers, despite the price tag, just are not that great anymore.

I switched from both those systems over to the Time ROC ATAC for road, mountain, and cyclocross, and have been happy with them. No sudden ejections from the cockpit, they clip in after dense muddy run-ups, and the Carbon set I had on my mountain bike for the past year still function and look good, after banging around in the rocks. Riding in the snow was also fine, as I was able to push my way on. The platform also spreads out the pressure on your foot a bit more, as I was suffering from the dreaded 'hot foot' on the XTRs... Pressure in the middle of my foot over three hours of riding irritated a nerve, which caused fiery pain in both my feet and toes until I took a break. It was all mental, but disabling at the same. I got a pair of Sidi Dominators, moved the cleat all the way back, and the shoe/platform interface is great.

I think other Time series have a cast aluminum (or something) retention cage, but the steel cage of the ROC series is much better in my opinion. The Aliums and XS series will also release if banged on a rock, which is the same flaw that Crank Brothers design have.

At $100ish, they won't break the bank, but I do believe the cleats need to be replaced fairly yearly for $35ish.

DIGLLOYD: I’ve had zero problems with my XTR pedals for many years (no unclipping or pulling out under any conditions). That sounds like a bad cleat problem to me. Nor a “hot spot”— that sounds like a shoe issue to me. I also wear the Sidi Dominator shoes.

XTR also does have a 'Trail' model with a wider platform, but I doubt they’d clear ice any better since the cleat design is the same.

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