The best waterproof pants from Fox, grippy mud tyres from Maxxis and WTB, waterproof socks from Sealskinz, a whacking great mudguard from RRP, and my fave winter jacket from Specialized... all on sale!
This is going to sound nuts, but winter is probably my favourite season to ride in. Sure, there’s plenty about it that’s not so great (who here likes a soggy chamois?), but soft ground, unpredictable grip and really bloomin’ tricky conditions make mountain biking really tricky, and I enjoy the challenge.
My reckoning is you can have as much fun as a summer’s ride with reduced speed, and therefore less risk. There are fewer people on the trails, and the ground is more forgiving in a crash. And if you pick the right trails that hold up well in winter conditions, you can have a blast.
So, without further ado, here’s my favourite on-sale riding kit and gear, there to give winter the boot. There’s never been a winter like it for deals like this either, so check it out…
Fox Defend 3L Water Pants
The name Water Pants always makes me chuckle, but this is a serious product right here. The three-layer construction means they’re waterproof even in serious rain, and there’s a decent level of breathability to dump moisture when you’re working hard.
Fox Defend 3L Water Pants | Save 45% at Leisure Lakes
£179, now £99.99
Fox’s Defend 3L Pants aren’t like your bog standard waterproofs, soft to the touch they don’t crackle and pop as you ride, yet still manage to keep you dry in manky conditions.
Read the full review of the Fox Ranger pant here.
The Defend is a really heavy duty pant mind, reinforced with Cordura in the seat and side panels, but that makes it perfect for winter riding (particularly if you’re an e-biker). They can take serious abuse without falling apart, and show no signs of wear despite two winters’ of hard graft.
At £179.99 they’re silly money, but Leisure Lakes has them in its sale now for almost half the price. If you can stretch to it you won’t be disappointed.
Madison DTE 3-Layer Waterproof Trousers
If the Fox Defend is the best winter bottom for cold and wet riding, the Madison DTE has got to be the best value. My pair is actually older than this 2024 version, and uses a 2.5 layer fabric: but Madison has wised up and you now get a proper 3-layer membrane all over to increase breathability and waterproofing.
Madison DTE 3-Layer Waterproof Trousers | Save 58% at Leisure Lakes
£119.99, now £49.99
Madison has updated the DTE to include a superior three-layer fabric, making them waterproof, breathable and, crucially, a fraction of the cost of the pricier options out there.
Read the full review of the Madison DTE here.
Since the only real problem with the old Madison DTE (it stands for Defy the Elements) was its poor breathability, the new version with a 20,000 rated fabric will undoubtedly be much better. The price is ridiculous too; £49.99 is nowt for a dry bum and clean legs to drive home in.
Sealskinz Waterproof Socks
Sports supermarket Go Outdoors has a great offer on waterproof socks right now – you buy one and get another half price. Fortunately it doesn’t sell individual socks, so what this deal really means is you can get a second pair half price.
Sealskinz makes some of the best waterproof socks I’ve tried, I have an old pair I bought back in 2005 (honestly!) that have just kicked the bucket, but for nearly 20 years they did me every winter. That’s what I call an investment piece.
Sealskinz Waterproof Socks | Save 45% at Go Outdoors
£35, now £19.50
Waterproof shoes are great, but they cost upwards of £200, plus there aren’t many options to choose from… particuarly if you’re a flat pedal rider. Instead a good waterproof sock will do the trick for £20, and the Sealskinz Waterproof Sock has been proven to go the distance.
Read the full review of the Sealskinz Waterproof Socks here.
My latest pair is the Warm Weather version, which sounds crazy but because it’s waterproof you naturally build up more heat in there, and I’ve found that’s enough to keep me warm even on sub-zero days. It also keeps the fabric size down and lets you squeeze into your regular riding shoes, without having to go up half a size.
So the £23 sale price is good, factor in the buy one get one half price deal and it’s better. But then add on Go Outdoor’s 15% off everything sale (add in the code JAN15 at checkout) and you’d better hot foot it over the store now (sorry).
Specialized Trail Alpha Jacket
The Trail Alpha Jacket is so good I have two of them. It sounds ridiculous, but I wanted it always available to wear, without it getting caught up in the wash cycle at home.
Specialized Trail Alpha Jacket | Save 37% at Specialized
£150, now £95
The Specialized Trail Alpha Jacket keeps things simple, there’s no hood to get in the way and flap around (an unnecessary burden when it’s not actually raining), instead you just get fast wicking Polartec lining, a windproof outer, and massive pockets for stuffing gear or your hands.
Read the full review of the Specialized Trail Alpha jacket here.
Designed as a mid-layer, I like to use the Alpha on top for chilly but dry days. Inside is a Polartec Alpha fleecy liner than keeps you snug and warm, and pulls away sweat, while outside it’s windproof and splashproof thanks to a DWR coating. It’s got a relaxed fit, dropped hem and easy to grab zip.
And that’s it. No laser cut holes or vents for cooling, no hood, no logos or weird colourways. Just maximum warmth without and boil in the bag or faff that comes with plenty of other jackets.
Spesh was the first with this kind of winter jacket, and the Alpha is still the best. When first released it cost a hefty £190, now in the winter sale it’s £95 – not cheap, but you’ll wear it for years to come, guaranteed.
The Proguard is getting pretty old now, and there are plenty of others around from Fox, SKS or MuckyNuts that also do the job of keeping you clean brilliantly… but few others are as versatile or good value as the Proguard.
RRP Proguard mudguard | Save 13% at Merlin Cycles
£26.99, now £23.50
When it comes to keeping mud out of your face in winter, you want the biggest guard you can get. The RRP Proguard is one of the biggest, and it gets great wraparound protection for your fork seals too. There’s nothing fancy going on here, but that just makes it all the more dependable and all the better value.
Read the full review of the RRP Proguard here.
It’s simplicity that keeps the price down, there are multiple holes to punch through with your zip ties to get the optimum fit, which is fiddly but does work a treat. Then relax in the knowledge nothing’s going to get past it thanks to its long and deep coverage. We love the extended sides protecting the fork seals too.
Finding a mudguard deal in the depths of winter when everybody wants one is not easy, but Merlin Cycles is selling the Proguard for a decent £23.50. Forget those diddy little flat-packed guards and treat yourself to something that’ll keep mud out of your face.
WTB Judge winter rear tyre
A little bit of drift is a good feeling on a bike. Crashing on every corner because your summer tyres just can’t dig in and find grip is not.
WTB Judge rear tyre | Save 42% at Chain Reaction Cycles
£64.99, now £37.99
The best rear tyres in winter have to roll fast, but still offer great braking performance in the worst conditions. The WTB Judge here is a master at it, not heavy or slow, it still bites into soft soil like few other all-round rear tyres.
Read the full review of the WTB Judge here.
On the rear the WTB Judge is a hugely underrated tyre, but one I’ve been running for two years now on really grim days. It almost has the bite of a full on mud spike, but with far less rolling resistance, so it won’t destroy your legs or deplete your battery too badly.
The Judge is hard to find on sale in 29in, but if you’re lucky enough to be running a mullet set-up then Chain Reaction’s £40 deal here is stellar.
The Maxxis Assegai is probably the most in-demand mountain bike tyre right now, I’m always happy when I see it on a test bike because I know it generates the best grip for rolling resistance there is.
Maxxis Assegai front tyre | Save 31% at Tredz
£79.99, now £51.99
The Maxxis Assegai is my all-time favourite tyre, it works brilliantly in the winter despite being designed for summer use, and it rolls as quick as any enduro tyre we’ve tested. The only problem is the £80 pricetag, but for £50 here it’s a steal.
Read the full review of the Maxxis Assegai here.
There’s only one problem with it though, it was developed for dry and dusty conditions… so what the hell am I doing putting it on a winter gear shakedown? Simple really, it just works. Wet or dry, the Assegai cuts through the trail to generate grip in all but the most atrocious of conditions. Truth be told, I’ve stopped running proper winter tyres because all-round rubber is just so good these days. And for me, the Assegai is the best of the bunch.