Be prepared for the worst by wearing the best

When the rain comes you’re still going to want to be comfortable on your bike. Here’s how to dress for wet weather riding.

Don’t let this winter’s epic levels of rainfall get you down; here’s a list of all the best kit to keep the fire burning even when it’s soggy outside.

Starting with the head and finishing with the toes, here’s all the best-reviewed kit we rely on time and time again when the weather turns against us…

Giro Chronicle MIPS helmet

Price: £99.99

A solid and well-fitting enduro helmet that is equipped with the latest anti-whiplash MIPS technology. The two great things about this helmet for winter riding are the large peak and the modest amount of vents. The big peak helps keep rain and wind out of your face. The relatively few amount of vents means it keeps your head warm.

B-Twin Cycling 900 glasses

Price: £34.99

Like a lot of riders, we save our expensive glasses and goggles for the brighter and drier parts of the year. For winter filth-fighting we really like these no-nonsense performers from B’Twin. They fit every helmet we’ve tried them with. The lens changing process is quick and easy. And the optical clarity is perfectly acceptable too.

Specialized Therminal Mountain ersey

Price: £70.00

A slim-cut jersey that works really well with a waterproof jacket layer over the top of it. The fabric is warm, protective and just makes for a really nice cosy place to be. Far too warm to wear outside of winter but ideal to wear during it! We also wear it off-the-bike a lot too.

Endura MT500 II jacket

Price: £199.99

The outright winner in our recent waterproof jacket group test, the Endura MT500 II combines great on-bike fit with a fabric that keeps the very worst of the weather well and truly on the outside. The inclusion of a good, adjustable hood is most welcome for rest stops and breezy summit bagging.

Specialized Deflect H2O Waterproof gloves

Price: £60.00
Read the full review

A surprisingly versatile wet weather glove that offers an impressive lack of bulk. You’ll never wear your big bifter winter glvoes again after experiencing the warmth and dexterity of these gloves.

Madison Addict DWR shorts

Price: £69.99
Read the full review

DWR is an acronym that actually means something for once: durable water repellency. It’s a Teflon coating that gets sprayed into the fabric during manufacture. As well as DWR-coated sections the seat of these is made of proper waterproof material. The perfect UK damp destroyer.

Specialized Atlas Knee Pads

Price: £60.00
Read the full review

Minimalist knee pads – sometimes called Knee Sleeves – have been a brilliant invention of British bikers. Not only do they offer protection against cuts and scrapes but they act like leg warmers too! They’re very comfortable to wear and will often fit underneath 3/4 and even full-length over trousers.

Five Ten Freerider EPS High shoes

Price: £115.00
Read the full review

The Freerider EPS High is a winter-friendly ankle boot packed with PrimaLoft insulation and featuring a heat-reflective footboard to keep out the cold. Easily the best winter flat pedal trail shoe you can actually buy.

Shimano MW5 boots

Price: £130.00
Read the full review

We find it hard to fault this shoe — warm, perfect stiffness and cheap — a worthy winner. Some boots you can just pull-on and forget they are there, with every function and practicality covered to the point that they just blend into the background.

Some other tips for dealing with wet weather…

Dress for a wet weather ride featured jackets

Forget waterproof jackets (sometimes)

Waterproof jackets might keep puddle splashes and rainfall out, but they can also keep sweat in, often making you just as wet inside. There are two ways round this: Go for a thin softshell on top with a couple of layers of wool underneath to maintain your temperature — yes, you’ll get wet but you’ll be warm and you’ll dry as you ride.

Option two, invest in a top-tier waterproof shell – such as the excellent Endura MTR Shell – it’s the only way not to be totally drowning in your own steam in humid and swampy conditions. Whatever the fabric, more vents are always better.

Dress for a wet weather ride wool

Keep it natural

Sheep do just fine on hillsides year-round, in all weathers, and so can you. Ditch the man-made fabrics for wool — it stays warm when wet, dries quickly, doesn’t stink too badly and wicks moisture well. Merino tops make the best base layers, and can double up as outer layers when it’s mild. Thick wool socks keep pinkies toasty, even when soaked through, and magically don’t get too hot on warmer days either.

Dress for a wet weather ride trousers

Waterproof trousers are the bomb

For the past three or four winters, we’ve lived in Endura’s MT500 Waterproof Pant II. Altura’s Attack trousers are also highly recommended. Long trousers are the best solution to keeping mud off your legs (and consequently out of the bath and your partner’s hair).

Pick a well-fitting, breathable pair. A big bonus is they are weather independent — toasty in foul and cold conditions without being too sweaty, like a jacket. They can be hosed down after a ride and machine washed in pure soap to maintain the waterproof membrane.

dress for wet weather mudguards

Stay clean and get grippy

Mudguards are essential to keeping dirt and water out of your eyes when speeds pick up. The POWA DFender (£49) or Front Race Mudhugger (£25) guards are the most effective. Mud tyres transform winter riding grip levels too — our favourite is the Schwalbe Magic Mary (£49.99).

Dress for wet weather ride gloves

Double digits

Carry spare dry gloves to rapidly increase body temperature and comfort, and save a dummy-spitting meltdown if caught in a real downpour. Make sure your grips have ridges on them too, because they work better with muddy gloves, giving you a more secure hold at the most crucial moments. Thin-palmed gloves with neoprene, wind-facing fronts stay warm even when soaked. They’re a revelation!