Our Guide to Mountain Biking through Autumn/Winter

The Rapha Guide to Mountain Biking through Autumn/Winter

The daylight hours grow ever more precious and the elements are working against us. But autumn and winter riding offers great riches to those willing to brave the cold. Follow our guide of tips and tricks to stay comfortable on the dirt as temps drop.

14 November 2021


The weather in autumn is famously changeable. Follow our four guiding principles to stay warm and comfortable whatever the weather.


A quality base layer will keep you rolling all day long. Choose shorts or a bib with a superior chamois so you can keep pedaling in comfort.


Short sleeve, ¾ sleeve, or long sleeve: it’s your call. Choose a top that will draw sweat away from your body and won’t soak up rain.


For cold and windy days, the Windblock Jersey offers the moisture-wicking properties of Merino wool with a windproof and tear-resistant front panel so your core stays warm.


Trail Pants are the real cornerstone of the mountain biker’s winter wardrobe. There's nothing better than getting back to the car after a wet ride and changing out of Trail Pants and into clean, dry post-ride layers without a speck of mud on your legs.

The long and easy days of dusty summer trails may be in the rearview, but there’s no reason to stop riding. With a bit of forethought and some preparation, the best conditions of the year can be yours for the taking.

As the trails see more rain, front fenders and glasses with clear lenses become necessary tools for visibility. And as the winter solstice approaches, daylight-chasing rides often end after the sun has set. Bring lights to enjoy the character of your local trails after dark – and don’t forget to keep them charged so the final descent isn’t a race against a blinking battery.

Lydia is 5'6"/167cm and is wearing the Women's Trail Long Sleeve Technical T-Shirt in size Small, the Rapha x Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Helmet, and the Women's Trail Pants.
Joey is 5'11"/180cm and is wearing the Trail Windblock Merino Jersey in size Medium, the Trail Shorts in size Medium, and the Rapha x Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Helmet.

The most important component of cold weather riding is clothing. Layering is crucial to staying warm and dry. This means building modular outfits that can be changed while riding to accommodate for wind chill, rain, or whatever mother nature throws your way. We often think in terms of three layers: base layer, midlayer, and outer layer. Once you’ve got the right combination of layers, there won’t be any reason to stop riding this season.

Cooler temps make all-day excursions possible, so consider carrying water, tools and snacks in addition to layers and lights. But where to carry a full day’s worth of supplies? The Trail Hip Pack is sized just right for getting after it.

One final bit of advice: there’s nothing better than hot food after a cold ride. A propane grill and a cooler full of provisions back at the trailhead makes even the hardest days feel easy. Savor the shoulder season and take a look at our guide below for further inspiration.


To browse all of our collections together and compare side-by-side, take a look at our full autumn/winter range. From the full-featured building block of cargo bib liner shorts to the weather-beating Trail Lightweight Jacket, we’ve got every layer of your outfit covered.