I’ve been using the Cobrafist on and off for over a year now but I didn’t feel comfortable putting pen to paper (ok, finger to keyboard) until now because I didn’t feel as though I’d taken them out in sufficiently cold conditions to really say for certain just how well they’d perform when the temperature gets all low down and dirty.
Luckily for me just such an opportunity presented itself with the arrival of the ‘Beast from the East’ (or ‘just another cold day’ as we call it in the Alps) and so it happened that I found myself wrapped up nice and warm and ready for the off in order to give these pogies a good going over in temps down to about -20°c.
But before we get to that let’s start at the beginning (as, apparently, it’s a very good place to start)…..
Out of the box
On first inspection these pogies are everything we’ve come to know and love about 45NRTH products.
They’re sturdy, very well put together and reassuringly expensive.
Installation is quick, easy and hassle free – so far so good!
Before I’d ever tried these pogies I worried that I would feel restrictively attached to the bars and that I’d not be able to get my hands off in time to save my face should I have an off or two in the snow but despite rapid hand removal being something that takes a little time to perfect I never once felt trapped and concerned for my safety.
They’re roomy and perfectly comfortable to use and I didn’t feel like they restricted normal gear and brake operation at all.
If anything I found them a sniff too warm for the conditions I’d used them in up until recently and so I stopped using them in anything above about -5°c (and that’s without gloves on underneath).
Disclaimer: I have always had warm hands and so can often be seen riding in temps hovering around zero with no gloves on.
Other than being a tad too warm for everyday useage no, not really.
A couple of little niggles such as the internal zipper getting in the way and the internal pocket occasionally catching my thumb on re-entry I’ve not got any complaints.
So how were they in the cold I hear you ask?
In a word…..perfect!
As I mentioned, the ride I went on to give them a full-on bastard cold test was very cold indeed. The ride began at around -16°c which was sufficient to make my seat clamp so brittle that it snapped within the first 100m of the ride and the grease in my bottom bracket also seized up which will give you some indication of just how nippy it was.
Luckily for me there was a fatbike hire shop at the trailhead and so a short tootle back down the hill saw me sorted with a borrowed seat clamp and the test was back on…..
I thought that I’d begin the ride glove-less so as to ascertain just how much protection the Cobrafist offered without supplemental insulation.
Given that the water in my eyes began to freeze solid after a few seconds of riding without my goggles on I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that I was able to ride without gloves on and still have toasty warm hands – result!
As we gained altitude (topping out at 1750m) things got colder and windier but at no point did I feel the need to don my gloves which is bloody impressive (although, as previously mentioned, my hands are usually pretty warm so take from that what you will).
After 3 hours out in the elements I returned to the car feeling great and not once did I wish that I’d put my gloves on.
They’re not cheap but then again neither are a good pair of winter gloves!
Well made, built to last, easy to install/use and unexpectedly warm – you can’t really ask for more than from an extreme weather pogie.
All-in-all I think they’re an exellent addition to my Alpine winter wardrobe and I’m already looking at the weather for another silly cold day to take them out and play…..