Fast, comfortable, and warm essentials.
Bell Star Pro helmet
It was designed as an aero road lid, but the Star Pro ($280) is a champ in cold temps. Open the vents when you get hot; close ’em when it starts snowing. The removable Carl Zeiss shield (not pictured) offers eye protection without the fogging issues common with goggles in winter.
45North FasterKatt shoes
Unless you live in Alaska, most winter bike shoes are overkill. Enter the FasterKatt ($225), which is fully weather sealed with a zip-front upper and a chunky lugged sole for stomping through the muck, but is still light and cool enough that your feet won’t sweat.
Whisky 70W Carbon Fat rim and 45North Van Helga tire
Because this ultra-light (1.2 pounds) carbon-fiber rim ($600) was developed in tandem with 45North’s Van Helga tire ($125)—which has chunky, siped knobs for Velcro-like traction on ice-crusted trails—it sets up tubeless without Gorilla tape or any worry of blowouts.
Assos LS.skinFoil_earlyWinter top
This base layer is much warmer than its weight suggests, thanks to careful body mapping that puts extra insulation in the chest and less in the back. Underneath the Castelli Thermosuit, it kept us toasty in temps down to zero degrees. $160, assos.com
Giro 100 Proof gloves
The lobster-claw cut is the warmest configuration for freezing-cold days, the waterproof exterior sloughed off rain and snow for hours at a time, and the Prima-Loft and Thinsulate insulation kept our digits cozy down to ten degrees. $85, giro.com
Light and Motion Urban 800 Fast Charge light
Problems can compound quickly in winter, so we never head out without a backup light. The bar- or helmet-mounted Urban ($180) is smaller than a mini pump, but it straps on quickly in a pinch and throws out a blaze of 800 lumens, which is more than enough for negotiating the frigid backwoods.
Sugoi RSX NeoShell jacket
Made with Polartec NeoShell fabric, the RSX ($300) breathes better than any other jacket we’ve found, yet it still kept us happy and dry in three-hour sleet and snow downpours. The stowable hood easily fits over a helmet.
Castelli San Remo Thermosuit
This winter onesie takes the guesswork out of layering. The fleece-lined tights are plenty warm for single-digit days, while the attached jacket—with Windstopper fabric up front, airtight cuffs, and a collar—protects down to 15 degrees. $350, castelli-cycling.com