Choosing the right wardrobe for my recent ice-racing adventure (see Track Time, page 117) presented a unique challenge. I needed enough insulation for standing around in sub-freezing temperatures, enough wind protection for 90-mph speeds and enough ventilation to keep me from drowning in sweat while wrestling a 450cc motocross bike. I was ready to visit REI and see what snowboarding gear I could re-purpose when the man in the big, brown truck delivered an even better solution: an unsolicited selection of Bilt-brand Freeze-Out thermal accessories from Cycle Gear.
Freeze-Out’s thermal, breathable and windproof base-layer system is exactly what I needed. A soft, brushed-polyfleece inner layer retains body heat, while a one-way, membrane-laminate barrier blocks wind yet still allows moisture to escape. The high-tech system works as advertised, maintaining core body temperature and keeping the wearer from getting clammy with sweat. I was just as comfortable on the bike as I was in the pits.
I wore Freeze-Out’s gilet (a zippered jersey with removable sleeves, $69.99), longjohns ($39.99), balaclava ($29.99), glove liners ($29.99) and boot liners ($19.99). All pieces are constructed from the same thin, lightweight material with smooth, flat-lock seams for comfortable layering. The cut is snug and the material stretchy, so there was no uncomfortable bunching or pulling even during athletic maneuvers. Elasticized openings locked the cold air out, while details such as longjohn stirrups and the gilet’s tall, adjustable collar demonstrated attention to detail. My only complaints were a too-small eyeport on the balaclava that sometimes impeded my line of sight and a bulky seam running around the base of the boot liners that irritated my foot—a seamless design would improve this. Otherwise, I was impressed with this well-made, l and surprisingly affordable gear.