Tag Archives: sealskinz

What do you do when it feels colder outside than a stare from your ex-girlfriend? I’m talking super cold, like dark side of the moon cold. Well here are our best tips for managing frostbite cold weather on you bike.

Tips and tricks for riding in the cold weather of zero degrees

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

We at HaveFunBiking are nearly experts at riding in cold weather. Being from Minnesota, it’s a bit of a necessity to manage the cold. For most places in the country, cold means down near freezing, but what do you do when it feels colder than a stare from your ex-girlfriend? I’m talking super cold, like the dark side of the moon cold. Well here are our best tips for managing frostbite and cold weather on your bike.

Cold weather riding be realistic

Being realistic is the most important thing. When the temperature gets perilously cold, your ride can go from fun to life-threatening in a matter of minutes. Start by figuring out the route and a few bail-out points along the way if things go wrong. Next, make sure that your ride isn’t beyond your level of gear (more on that next). Finally, be sure that you know which direction the weather is going, cold weather is a way different thing to handle if it’s cold and windy, or cold and snowing.

Get the right gear for cold weather riding

Riding in temps approaching and dipping below zero requires very different equipment than riding in temps just below freezing. While you can often use the same jacket, pants, tights, and insulating layers, keeping extremities warm becomes a new challenge.

-goggles

In temperatures below 5 degrees, your eyes will water, and those tears will freeze. Both dangerous and uncomfortable the best way to combat frozen eyes is ski goggles. I find ski goggles to work better than sunglasses because they are typically more resistant to fogging, cover a larger area, and seal around your eyes.

-balaclava

A balaclava (or ski mask) will cover everything on your head but your eyes. It can protect your nose, cheeks, neck, and ears from frigid winter temps. Additionally, they are usually relatively thin, so fitting them under a helmet is more comfortable. To find one that fits well, make sure it will cover your face quickly, but also be able to stretch open enough to expose your mouth and nose (see image below).

There are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep your fitness through the winter riding months.

-boots

Keeping your feet warm is paramount to keeping you warm, and nothing works better than winter boots. There are plenty of winter hiking boots that you can use with flat pedals and a few cycling specific winter boots that work clipped in. In both cases, be sure that the footwear is waterproof.

-gloves or pogies

Claw style gloves work best to keep your hands warm. They bundle your fingers together to conserve heat. I also like to get super thin wool glove liners and use them in conjunction with my winter claw gloves. This first layer can stay on your hands if you ever need to take the outer gloves off. If the gloves and liners aren’t cutting it, you can also look to pogies. A pogie is something that mounts to the bike around the handlebars and creates a warm little pocket.

Highland Claw

Details of the Highland Claw.

Pogies are awesome when things get frigid cold.

-hand and foot warmers

Another great accessory that helps keep your hands and feet warm is a chemical warmer. Readily available at most outdoor stores, these warmers react with the oxygen in the are to create heat. When using them, open them and leave them exposed to the air for a few minutes before shoving them in your glove for best results.

Start warm

I’ve talked in the past about starting a bit cold for winter riding. While this is good advice for the high freezing temperatures, your body will have serious issues creating enough warmth once the temps revolve near zero. Wear enough to be warm walking outside, and your ride will be pleasant. Also, store your clothes and gear in a warm place. Leaving your boots an gloves in a cold garage is a sure fire way to freeze yourself out.

Waterproof

Being dry is being warm at super cold temperatures. For this reason, waterproof clothing helps a ton. Waterproof gloves, boots, jackets, pants, and gaiters will keep the water out and warmth inside.

Having fun

Above almost all else, a positive attitude will keep things fun in the cold weather. That positive attitude also helps if you need to cut rides short. Be appreciative for the time you had to ride vs. the time you wanted to spend outdoors. You may only get 40 minutes, so enjoy it.

Now that the winter season is in full swing here are several bike events through the balance of January, for your preferred riding pleasure.

Out of the box review: the best cold weather glove to date

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Finding a cold weather glove, it has finally happened. I found the bottom of the Sealskinz Halo glove’s effective temperature range. Before you start to think I went on some wild adventure like the Goonies search for One Eyed Willie, you should know that it has been a pretty mild winter by Minnesota standards around here. Basically, the Halo leaves me looking for more around 15 degrees. Normally, that’s colder than 90% of the riders out there will endure, but like me, there are a few lost souls who ride through it all (or almost through it all). For us, Sealskinz promises to have us covered with the Highland Claw glove. Let’s take a look at what makes it special!

A cold weather glove ‘Out of the Box’

The Highland Claw glove is a “lobster claw” style glove that intends to maximize your body heat by pairing your fingers together. You are left with the pointer and middle finger as well as the ring and pinkie finger paired up like a Vulcan salute. These gloves are fully water/windproof and boast more insulation than the Halo glove. Like always, special care is taken with the packaging to ensure no holes are put in the glove.

Highland Claw

Details of the Highland Claw.

Cold weather glove construction

The gloves have what feels like a durable outer shell and soft synthetic suede thumb. Closure for the glove is handled by a single Velcro strap paired with some elastic in the cuff to keep things snug. The palm is similar to the Halo glove so I expect it to be just as durable and comfortable. Additionally, the glove has a couple cool touches to aid in visibility. Between the fingers, at the knuckle, and on the fingertips, Sealskinz has included reflective material to keep you visable.

highland claw

Palm detail of the Highland Claw

Cold weather glove fit

I received a pair of XL gloves Highland Claw Gloves. They come in sizes ranging from small through double extra-large. While I usually wear the largest glove size from any manufacturer the XL seems to fit really well, which is good news for my large fisted friends. When trying on the glove I found that my fingers easily found their place and came out of the glove easily. Usually, when you add insulation, gloves don’t always want to release your hand well, but it appears Sealskinz has worked some magic to bypass this problem. The Velcro cuff is a nice touch, but probably not needed as the elastic held things in place well.

Highland Claw

The cuff detail on the Highland Claw glove.

Warmth

Right off the bat, these gloves felt warm, noticeably warmer than the Halo glove in fact. This isn’t a dig on the Halo but a testament to the Highland Claw. I’ve worn the gloves as low as -2 with no issue, but haven’t yet gotten the chance to ride with them much below the teens.

Moving forward

It appears the mild winter we all were hoping for here in Minnesota in unlikely. We are expecting highs in the negative range next week, so I will have ample opportunity to see how warm these gloves can be. In reality, if they stay warm through the single digits, that’s more than I can hope for. Riding below zero takes a commitment of mind and gear that I really don’t encourage for most. Also, once you get into the negative temps, there is no amount of gear that does anything but buy you time. The right gloves might give you an hour, but eventually, jack frost wins. Stay tuned to hear how much of a fight these gloves put up in my mid term review.

HaveFunBiking.com has you covered with our gift guide for the very best holiday ideas. These items have been picked by our staff for the rider on your list. 

The HaveFunBiking Holiday Gift Guide for the riders on your list

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Thanksgiving is over and the panic of holiday gift buying is in full effect. Don’t get too concerned, HaveFunBiking.com has you covered with our picks for the very best holiday gift guide ideas.

A gift guide for lovers of bikes

A bike waiting for you under the tree will be a thrill at any age. Over my 25 years in the cycling industry, I have found that the excitement of a new bike only increases as you get older. Here are a few of our very favorite bikes.

Marin B-17

Marin has packed a ton of value into these bicycles. Their aluminum frame is comprised of highly manipulated tubing and buttery smooth sealed bearing pivots. All together, it’s hard to find a better value.  As a 120mm travel trail bike, it is at home on almost any trail. The 27.5” x 3” tires offer unparalleled confidence even when the trails get rough. With models starting at $2100 that sport fully tunable suspension, a 1×11 speed drivetrain and hydraulic Shimano disc brakes, there’s very little competition.

gift guide

Tern GSD

“Set Stuff Done” is right! The Tern GSD leaves almost nothing to be desired from a utility bike. It can be easily stored upright and out of the way when not in use, loaded to the gills with cargo, or equipped to carry a passenger. In fact, thanks to the Bosch motor and ability to run two batteries, the possibilities for this bike are nearly endless. Hop over to the Tern site and see what there is to offer.

Gift guide

Focus Bold2

Simply put, this is the best looking E-bike I have seen. It uses a smart component selection that compliments the Shimano XT Motor, making the Bold 2 a dream machine. Ample power will lift you up the hills and the bikes great geometry, Rockshox suspension, and hydraulic disc brakes will allow you to attack the descents with confidence. Buzz over to Focus and read up on this spectacular machine.

Gift guide

Gift guide Accesories

Lupine SL-A7

For the Commuter on your list there is no better or safer gift than the Lupine SL-A7. It’s amazing light output and surgically accurate beam pattern are unparalleled in realm of cycling lights. For more info, take a look at our Out of the box article.

Gift guide

Magicshine Genie in Our Gift Guide

Helmets typically do one thing and one thing only – keep your head safe. MagicShine has infused their expertise in lighting into the helmet to create the very best in safety and visibility. The Genie helmet has a surprisingly bright  350 lumen headlamp, a rear blinker, and remote controlled blinkers. Click here for more info.

Ass Savers fender

I received one of these fenders as a giveaway and never actually though anything about it. That is until one day when I was getting ready to leave for work on my cross bike and it began to rain. Without time to install a complete fender set, I grabbed the “giveaway”, and clipped it to my saddle. While I never thought much about the Ass Saver, the designers sure did. This fender that weighs almost nothing, can be installed in seconds, and packed away easily was an absolute epiphany. As advertised it kept my rear dry and never moved from its place. Buy one for all your friends, there that good.

Manitou suspension

Quietly and persistently, Manitou has been making a name for themselves as a sturdy, efficient, tune-able and high-quality suspension brand. Many don’t consider adjusting their suspension an important feature, and that is because most suspension is not very tune-able. This is not the case with Manitou. In fact they offer more range of tuning adjustment than most brands as well as aftermarket kits to make your suspension fit your needs perfectly. They do this while maintaining one of the most precise steering chassis around.

Lintaman shoes

A lifelong cycling and industry veteran, Chris Lintaman, started the shoe company bearing his name in his new home of Taichung Taiwan. I remember him starting out the brand as a guy with a bag of shoes at Eurobike. Fast forward to today where you can see his shoes under professional cyclists around the world. The reason so many professional riders buy  Lintaman shoes is because they are wildly adjustable for fit, and massively efficient. If you are looking for the most comfortable shoes in the world, look no further than Lintaman.

Sealskinz Socks and gloves

Minnesota winters are tough to say the least. Happily, this winter has been made easier for me by Sealskinz. Starting with there waterproof socks, saving my toes in the fall, and moving into the Halo gloves remarkable warmth into the Icy low teens, Sealskinz has kept me warm time and time again. Check out a few of our reviews for more info, or click to their site to see the whole line.

Vittoria Bomboloni tires

Over the last 25 years, I’ve repeatedly been impressed with Vittoria tires. That same feeling carries into my most recent test of the Vittoria Bomboloni 27+ tires. For your mountain biking gift getter, these tires are awesome!

Tailwind Nutrition

Anyone on your holiday list that rides needs electrolyte replacement at some point. The supplement I would recommend above all else is Tailwind Nutrition. The light flavor and lack of an aftertaste are reason enough to use Tailwind. Now when you couple those reasons with the fact that Tailwind will never leave your belly sour like so many other sports drinks, the choice is easy.

Athlos clothing

What do you get the rider who has everything? Something custom! Athlos is new to the custom clothing game, and are making some serious waves. Custom used to mean you needed to buy huge quantities, and settle for low quality. With Athlos, you can buy one jersey and the quality is on par with the best cycling brands who charge three times the cost. Additionally, Athlos has a team of designers waiting to convert your thoughts and concepts into a real-world design.

Rocky mounts Carlito lock

For students, commuters, or rides who just love to have their bicycles well secured, RockMounts locks are a great gift. Over the past few years, RockyMounts invested heavily into their lock designs and came up with some really cool product. I love their Carlito lock most of all because it is light, tough, and easy to use.

Darn Tough socks

Why not stuff stocking with stockings? Darn tough is a sock company out of Vermont with a lifetime sock warranty. Yes, you read that correctly. Forget an everlasting gobstopper, you can buy someone socks that will last forever! When I met with the sales group at Darn Tough, and pressed them about their warranty, they couldn’t have been any clearer – Lifetime Waranty! “what if I have a air of 15 year old socks?” I asked, “Lifetime warranty” they replied. “What if I wear only one pair of socks through a six month Appalachian Trail hike” I asked, “Lifetime Warrant” they replied. After a few months of wearing the Darn Tough Socks, I must say they are super comfortable, and as tough as the namesake.

AutoRack Tail light

We all need to get our bike from point A to point B. What nobody thinks about is the inherent danger in traveling with your bike on the back of your car. Bikes can obscure the tail lights from other drivers and make it difficult to see when you are stopping. Enter AutoRack to the rescue. This light setup weighs almost nothing and mounts to the last bike on your rack by way of a few straps. This gift is perfect for any rider!

The Auto Rack is a tail light extension system that offers motorist behind a clear view of the operators intentions.

Now that I have had over a month of cold weather under my belt, I feel comfortable talking about the Sealskinz Winter Halo Glove.

A mid term review of this amazing Sealskinz Halo Winter Glove

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Now that I have had over a month of cold weather under my belt, I feel comfortable talking about the Sealskinz Halo Winter Glove. The onset of Minnesota’s winter is probably colder than most peoples harsh winter months, so I feel that this mid term review is probably a great indicator for 90 percent of America’s  riding needs.

The pros of the Sealskinz winter glove so far

i think we all agree, the major selling feature for any winter glove is warmth and this glove has that in spades. I have ridden well into the mid-teens and never once wanted for more insulation. Considering these gloves are a full five finger glove and lightweight, the fact that they are warm is unparalleled. Overall the gloves breath well, fit well and have a great amount of flexibility. I like the large Velcro flap that acts as the wrist closure and the palm material’s tacky grip on the bar.

The cons to date

The lighting system is one of the selling features for these gloves, but sadly it didn’t preform as stated. While the lights are bright their position on the glove doesn’t lend to amazing visibility. However, they do offer a really cool look when signaling your turns. Sadly, for me, one of the blinkers didn’t start well and didn’t last long. The bracket that holds the battery was loose from the factory and led to intermittent function. I was able to readjust the bracket (read bent) and the light functioned well. Unfortunately, maybe due to my work the wires broke free from the switch.

sealskinz

The wiring broke free on my Halo light (red circle). Luckily the part is replaceable

More Sealskinz  info coming

With the lighting system aside, these gloves have been amazing. Considering that the Sealskinz Glove is known for warmth and not electronics, this makes sense. I’m planning on riding these gloves right up until they can’t insulate anymore. So far they have done a better job than any of the dozen or so gloves I have sitting at home. I also hope to see how long the palm material stays grippy. That palm is starting to show some signs of wear, but overall, they are well intact.

sealskinz

Light wear on the Halo’s palm

My transition into winter has been cushioned by fine products from Sealskinz, most notably the Halo Overshoe. Read on to learn about my first impression

First Impressions of Sealskinz’ Super-visible Halo Overshoe

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The pond in my back yard is frozen, all the leaves have fallen off the trees and the snow blower is ready. These are all signs that Minnesota is firmly in the act of becoming the ice planet Hoth, as history suggests. Happily, my transition into winter has been cushioned. I have some fine products to test, most notably the Halo Glove and Halo Overshoe, from Sealskinz. While I have written about the Halo Glove, learn about my first impression of their Overshoe for winter biking.

Out of the box, the Halo Overshoe

Sealskinz has made every effort to keep their products as waterproof as possible, including the packaging. The Overshoes came to me on a cardboard backer and was held in place with paper bands. In short, the Halo’s Overshoe construction is as impressive as its packaging. All the seams are in the product are welded (so no stitching). Plus, tape is bonded to the backside of all the seams to ensure they stay waterproof. The closure uses a zipper with large teeth so they operate under pressure. Then at the top of the zipper a large rubberized Velcro strap keeps everything tight. Also, the toe and heel are reinforced with a Kevlar fabric for durability. Finally, the most unique feature of the Halo Overshoe is its LED light mounted in the heel for visibility up to 500m away.

Packaging for the Halo Overshoe is neat and ensures the bootie stays waterproof.

First fit impressions

Trying the overshoes, my first time was a bit of a challenge. They fit snug and I had issues getting them to zip up due to where my shoes buckle was located. However, I am happy to say that was a onetime experience. I am not sure if the overshoes stretched, or what since that first time? Now, the overshoes fit on with ease and the zipper hasn’t offered any resistance. The fit is great as they are snug without being too tight. Not like many overshoes for bikes that often suffer from the toes flipping up due to a bad fit. While the Halo Overshoe stays put perfectly.

Halo Overshoe

Waterproof material, high visibility LED, and bulletproof construction are hallmarks of the Halo Overshoe

Overshoe Warmth

So far, I have ridden with the Halo Overshoe in conditions ranging from 30’s and raining down to windy at 11 degrees. Through all that weather I can happily say the Halo Overshoe has kept my feet warm and toasty. Even with the large holes in the bottom of the overshoe for the heel lugs and cleat, all the other waterproofing features kept my feet dry.

Added Visibility

The great thing about the overshoes LEDs is that, while blinking they are also moving up and down as you pedal. This gives them a unique appearance that is virtually impossible for drivers to miss. On top of the LEDs active visibility the Halo’s also have reflective material applied on the side, cuff and along the zipper. The red LED lights are also easy to activated by pressing on them.

Continuing tests

As the weather continues to get colder, I plan to see just how low a temperature I can go with the Halo Overshoes. As I mentioned above, so far I have had good success down to 11 degrees with wool cycling socks, standard cycling shoes, and the Overshoe. Moving forward, I plan to use the Halo Overshoes in combination with Sealskinz Superlight sock to see if I can be comfortable into single digits, Stay tuned for more info.

Sealskinz' has evolved their product line to include the Halo Bike Glove.See what makes these gloves interesting for winter rides.

Out of the box first impression of Sealskinz’ Halo Glove for winter rides

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In a previous article, I talked at length about the Sealskinz’ new Super Light Pro Sock. While Sealskinz as a company began with socks, they have evolved their product line to include headwear and gloves for winter rides. One of the products that piqued my interest was the Halo glove. It drew my attention because it is a waterproof, winter glove with an active blinker system built in. Read on to see what makes these gloves interesting and some of my initial thoughts.

The Halo Glove for winter rides

Even though Sealskinz made a name for themselves with socks, they didn’t allow themselves to get caught on their heels (HEELS! Get it!). Sealskinz is committed to keeping all your extremities warm and dry. That mission is the inspiration behind the Sealskinz gloves we will be reviewing for winter rides. My first review will be on the Halo glove, a unique waterproof glove with powerful LED lights built into the back of the hand.

Halo Glove

Waterproof doesn’t stop at the product for Sealskinz. Even the packaging that holds your glove is considered. Rather than punching holes in the glove to mount it to a backer card like most brands, Sealskinz sews loops into the glove to ensure it never gets damaged.

The Halo bike glove is an $80 investment full of many features. It is constructed with a synthetic suede palm, incorporating gel pads for greater comfort on winter rides. The outer shell is completely waterproof, and the glove is machine washable. Additionally, the liner uses an anti-slip material that won’t pull out of the glove when you remove them. Finally, the cuff closes with soft Velcro straps that are large enough to be manipulated with a gloved hand.

Bicycling Glove Features

One thing that is unique to cycling gloves is the way they insulate. Most cycling gloves are windproof, waterproof, and have minimal insulation. I can hear you asking already “minimal insulation?”, yes minimal. Cycling gloves rely on you to generate heat by exercising on winter rides. Under those circumstances, the glove holds the heat you create, keeping you warm. By being water/windproof and relatively thin, cycling gloves offer better dexterity than a normal winter glove.

First Impressions

Immediately upon putting the gloves on, I was impressed. The liner is soft and warm to the touch, and the glove fit was great. All the fingers articulate well without any pulling of material folding uncomfortably. Additionally, the lights activate easily and are really bright.

 

The first time I rode with the Halo bike glove the temperature was just below freezing and rainy. Luckly, it wasn’t a real downpour and more of just a misting, but it was wet none the less. My forty minute commute ended with all my fingers being warm and toasty. Since that day I have ridden down to about 20 degrees and the gloves never left me wanting in the warmth department. My commuter bike has a flat handlebar, so when the Halo’s lights are activated, they shine forward giving me more visibility to oncoming traffic. In the case of a drop handlebar, the Halo glove will shine to your sides.

halo glove

The Halo’s lights are really bright, and really lightweight.

Moving Forward

I hope to push these gloves as far into the cold as I can handle. Once I reach the Halo’s limits, I get to switch to Sealskinz Highland Claw Glove for the colder temps. Overall, I am really excited to see what the life of the lights on the Halo glove is and if they can survive the cold and moisture of Minnesota’s winter. Stay tuned for more info.