By Matt Gersib and Michael McColgan
With winter weather descending on much of the country, it’s a great time to discuss options for keeping hands warm. Experienced cold weather cyclists often fall into one of two camps — thick gloves, or insulated bar coverings called ‘pogies’. While pogies including the original Bar Mitts have been around for more than a decade, the increasing popularity of fat bikes and cold weather riding in general has opened the door for an expanded range of pogie styles and weights. They’re available from a number of companies including 45NRTH, Revelate Designs, and of course Bar Mitts, who now offer their “Extreme” pogies aside their original models (available for both flat and drop bars). There are also a host of smaller, specialist builders like Dogwood Designs making really sweet pogies. A quick Google search for “bike pogies” was revealing for me.
Michael McColgan and I will be testing the Bar Mitts Extreme pogies and reporting on our experiences. I’ve been using the original Bar Mitts for winter rides for the past eight seasons, but these are Michael’s first experience riding with pogies. The two perspectives should be revealing on a number of levels.
“I’ve always been a glove guy, but on long rides I’m always searching for a little more warmth without adding bulk,” McColgan said. “I’m hoping pogies may be the answer.”
I have always appreciated the warmth and protection the original Bar Mitts provided, but I’ve also felt there were aspects of the design that could be improved. As a result, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Extreme mitts.
Out of the package, it’s clear the Extreme mitts are much more substantial than the originals. The thicker 5.5mm fleece-lined neoprene construction combines with a removable cuff to provide additional protection. Plus, a revised zipper setup allows the zipper to be used as a vent to prevent overheating and extend the usable temperature range.
Probably the most impressive improvement on the new Extreme mitts has to be the mounting system. I’ll talk in more detail about this in the full review, but I’ll just say that the switch to an expanding plug for the handlebar attachment eliminates the most significant complaint I had with the originals. In addition, the additional volume inside the Extreme mitts allows hands to move around more freely for shifting and braking.
McColgan had no problems with installation of the Extreme mitts on his Jones bars. My experience mounting them to both flat and flared Jones bars was similar — quick and easy… Much easier than the originals, in fact. I’ll dive deeper into why that is in the full review to-come in late-January.
In the meantime, check out Bar Mitts’ entire line of winter pogies for flat- and dr0p-bar bicycles, as well as townies, ATVs, snowmobiles and more, at BarMitts.com.