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  1. #1
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    Will a cycling jacket make a difference?

    I currently ride with several layers of clothes and a generic wind breaker as my top layer. The inside of my jacket gets soaked after about 5 miles.

    Do proper cycling jackets 'breathe' that much better or do they still get 'wet' inside?

    Thanks,
    Spud

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I'd be very surprised if you found much of an advantage. Many, but not all, cycling specific jackets have zippered arm pits to allow more air circulation. My experience has been, however, that it only helps a little.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  3. #3
    tsl
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    Wear fewer layers.

    If you're sweating through your layers and soaking the inside of your coat in only five miles, you're wearing far too much clothing.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Wear fewer layers.

    If you're sweating through your layers and soaking the inside of your coat in only five miles, you're wearing far too much clothing.
    Concur. I wear a screaming yellow cycling jacket over various, season-dependent layers of T-shirts, jerseys, etc. and in cooler weather I typically have to remove at least one layer during a ride.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  5. #5
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    If you're not a little cold for the first couple of miles or more, you're overdressed.

    As far as a cycling-specific jacket goes, like all things, it depends on how much you spend on it. More $ gets you more breathable fabrics and features like zippered pit openings or mesh panels at the back, under the yoke.
    Craig in Indy

  6. #6
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    there are breathable fabrics out there (like Gore-Tex) -- but they only breath enough to let out a little condensation type moisture -- not a heavy sweat. I agree with others who have said that if you're sweating that much, you have on too many / thick layers.

    I find myself adjusting the number and thickness of the layers to suit the temperature. Today I started out with a sweat shirt replacing my usual winter fleece but, after 10 miles I ditched the sweatshirt and wore just my long sleeve wicking shirt under a cotton mock turtle neck and that was under a light wind jacket rather than a Gore-Tex shell. But, I found myself riding with the zipper to the wind jacket almost all the way open.

    I don't think there is any magic formula or piece of gear. Instead it is just a process of adjusting to the existing conditions.
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

  7. #7
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Wear fewer layers.

    If you're sweating through your layers and soaking the inside of your coat in only five miles, you're wearing far too much clothing.

    I also concur with this. But I would also add that well designed cycling-specific jackets are getting really good these days. With bibs to warm the waist and lower back and just a LS base layer, my Garneau jacket is really very good. Blocks the wind in front and wicks under arms and on back.

    Garneau on sale now at CS!

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  8. #8
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    All of the above. You should be cold when you start out. If you are still freezing when you get home, wear one more layer next time.

  9. #9
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    I have a biking jacket that has a mesh inner lining coupled with mesh venting across the upper chest and under the arms to promote ventilation. I love it for this time of year. Today it was 45-50F so I wore a hoodie under it which really was more than necessary. It really is tricky adjusting to the temps with proper clothing.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
    I have a biking jacket that has a mesh inner lining coupled with mesh venting across the upper chest and under the arms to promote ventilation. I love it for this time of year. Today it was 45-50F so I wore a hoodie under it which really was more than necessary. It really is tricky adjusting to the temps with proper clothing.
    I'm not sure it's possible to always get it right in this season's fluctuating weather. And, even if you do, the temperature could change before you finish the ride anyway!

    So flexibility and adaption is the key for me...

    I find a trunk on a rear rack helps so much: If I think I might need more, I'll stick it in the trunk (like heavier gloves or a skull cap). Or, if I'm out and find I'm overheating, I can remove layers and store them in the trunk... I hate to carry the extra weight, but that trunk has paid off time after time since the temperature started dropping last fall.
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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    Member Folksnake's Avatar
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    I'm with NOS88 on this--they are nice, but not that much better. Mine has some pockets on the back, which is good, and it's super light compared to 'regular' windbreakers, but in functioning it really doesn't do much more. Looks great though!

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    http://www.rei.com/product/838688/go...a-001b2166becc

    Not cheap, but you likely won't find anything better.

  13. #13
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    In the old days 70s we used to just pull over and put our wind breakers on backwards with the open zipper to our back - Sounds goofy but it worked - The Italians would think nothing to stripping off clothing during a ride - Some would line their chest with a layer of news paper and then when warm strip it out and throw it to the side (littering the course)...

    Getting a good simple wind breaker with zippers in the arm pits is really a great investment - I am not sure Gortex is really worth it though - What I mean by this is every time I am out in the rain I get wet - No mater what I am wearing...

    If only this jacket had armpit zippers...

    http://www.amazon.com/Harvard-Square...er+windbreaker
    Last edited by zandoval; 03-30-13 at 08:33 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Can you elaborate on what your wearing at the various temperatures. 50 deg and above you don't need much - light arm warmers, thin base layer, jersey and a wind vest. The nice thing about the vest is that if they fit correctly you can gradually unzip without the vest flapping around. I found it hard to avoid my back getting wet.
    Rick T
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  15. #15
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
    In the old days 70s we used to just pull over and put our wind breakers on backwards with the open zipper to our back - Sounds goofy but it worked - The Italians would think nothing to stripping off clothing during a ride - Some would line their chest with a layer of news paper and then when warm strip it out and throw it to the side (littering the course)...

    Getting a good simple wind breaker with zippers in the arm pits is really a great investment - I am not sure Gortex is really worth it though - What I mean by this is every time I am out in the rain I get wet - No mater what I am wearing...

    If only this jacket had armpit zippers...

    http://www.amazon.com/Harvard-Square...er+windbreaker
    I wear Gore-Tex shell with Gore-Tex shoes and about the only thing that gets wet are my head and thighs... (Fenders help -- a LOT!)
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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    The reason for getting soaked:
    1. Overdressing.
    2. The "windbreaker" you are wearing is made of polyester, which is Not breathable at all.

    How does bicycling jackets solve this problem? Well, firstly they tend to use gore-tex or other more breathable materials, which still blocks wind but let moisture out as long as they are in gas form. Secondly, some of the jackets have a non-wind blocking backside, which readily let moisture through. It will make a noticable difference, but is not a magic fix to sweat problem. You kind have to do a give and take since most of them are pricey.

  17. #17
    Senior Member b2run's Avatar
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    You need a jacket that is breathable and windproof. It doesn't matter if it's a running jacket, biking jacket, or ordinary jacket. It all depends what it's made of. I bought a running jacket from MEC that is amazing. If you're wet in 5 miles, your jacket probably isn't breathable and that is going to make you a lot colder since water sucks the heat out of your body, especially when you're biking since the wind increases the effect.

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    I have a jacket with zip off sleeves. I love it. I can start with the jacket then take off the sleeves and if need be, take off the jacket. It folds into it's own fanny pack. Great this time of the year when the ride and he day starts out cold and ends up warmer.

  19. #19
    Newbie Malango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
    In the old days 70s we used to just pull over and put our wind breakers on backwards with the open zipper to our back...
    My yellow cycling vest works in a similar manner and solved my sweating problem. The front is windproof, and that's the only part that needs to be windproof. The back is wide-open mesh and breathes a LOT more than Gore-tex or any wonder fabrics. The zipper in front regulates airflow. Such vests are easy to find. (And cheap.) My rides are uphill then back down: I usually leave the zipper open as I struggle uphill and sweat a lot, then close it when I'm speeding back downhill and want to keep the wind off my chest. There's no arm protection, but that's a different matter. What chills me is wind on my sweaty body, and my arms don't sweat.

    I think you should ignore those who say that if you're sweating by X number of miles you are over-dressed. It might be true for a well-trained athlete in good shape. Different humans will overheat and start to sweat after different amounts of effort. It also depends how hard you're working in those first X miles. It seems at times that many of the frequent posters here assume everyone is a top-notch racer in great shape - even in this over-50 forum. We need a forum for out-of-shape riders like me who huff and puff and sweat like pigs and still can't out-ride little girls with training wheels.

    How's that for my first post?

  20. #20
    Senior Member h2oxtc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikepro View Post
    http://www.rei.com/product/838688/go...a-001b2166becc

    Not cheap, but you likely won't find anything better.
    I ride with this Gore jacket in the spring / fall. Great versatility.
    Any colder and i stay indoors

  21. #21
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    Maybe we can get club jackets withsomething like “Hell on Wheels” on the back (LOL).


    We could gather around a bonfire atnight chugging V8 and diet supplements and playing “I remember when….... “


    Really that does sound like fun.

  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The material the jacket is made of will affect how much it will breath. There are cycling specific jackets made of plastic-thick material to keep you warm-material to keep out the rain and they do not always breath that well and then there are the ones that work.

    Goretex is a fully waterproof material that breaths. Keeps out the wet and also the wind and to an extent does allow moisture to wick away. Several "Thicknesses of Goretex though and the two layer ones work better than the 3 layer in the wicking department. Good material for the continual and heavy rain but not ideal.

    Various other materials that are sport specific that do breath but I have no experience of.

    BUT if you want a material that breathes 100%- then at least one does exist and it is called Pertex.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pertex

    It is fully windproof- very lightweight but is in no way water resistant. Folds up into a fist sized pack and when you look at it- it does not look as though it would offer any protection against anything.

    It keeps you warm by keeping wind out and and adds no heating quality to your clothing. Once again several different grades and I have 3 pertex topcoats. Ideal for putting on at the start of a ride when you know it twill warm up- or to carry as an emergency jacket if you may want to keep the wind out later in a ride.

    Unfortunately lots of "Pertex Type" copies about and the one that really works for me is the pertex jacket made of pertex by the pertex company. Must be 20 years old now and has a few rips in it but still the best windproof I ever bought.
    Last edited by stapfam; 03-31-13 at 01:41 AM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malango View Post
    I think you should ignore those who say that if you're sweating by X number of miles you are over-dressed. It might be true for a well-trained athlete in good shape. Different humans will overheat and start to sweat after different amounts of effort. It also depends how hard you're working in those first X miles. It seems at times that many of the frequent posters here assume everyone is a top-notch racer in great shape - even in this over-50 forum. We need a forum for out-of-shape riders like me who huff and puff and sweat like pigs and still can't out-ride little girls with training wheels.

    How's that for my first post?
    First, welcome to 50+!

    The OP wasn't just sweating after 5 miles, this person claimed to be soaking wet. That's over dressed. Beginner or professional, doesn't matter. Anyone expending enough energy on a bike will sweat. The goal should be to reduce the amount of moisture build up to maintain a level of comfort. This applies to everyone. You don't have to be a pro racer to appreciate the benefits of quality cycling clothing.

    And if you've hung around the 50+ forum long enough, you'll notice most people here are just avid cyclist. Some very friendly and insightful people with a love for cycling. Please stick around and see for yourself.

    As for the OP's question.... yes, I believe there are cycling specific jackets that help regulate moisture build up better then ordinary nylon shells. These jackets offer breathable fabrics, typically on the sides and under the arms. I've got a couple soft shelled jackets that work really well. They don't shed all the moisture, but these work much better then a nylon wind breaker.






  24. #24
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickBlane View Post
    Maybe we can get club jackets withsomething like “Hell on Wheels” on the back (LOL).


    We could gather around a bonfire atnight chugging V8 and diet supplements and playing “I remember when….... “


    Really that does sound like fun.
    Good post, but no one gathers around bonfires anymore. We'd all be sitting around looking at our iPhones. Gone out to a restaurant lately?

    Dont forget the tandem specific jackets. The captain wears one that says "If you can read this, the babe fell off..."

    icthus

  25. #25
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Since I live in So. Calif., the temps during winter months before dawn when its still dark out may be in the 40's. The base layer I use is merino wool, long sleeve.

    I have two jackets, one from Performance and the other by Castelli. Neither are gore tex. I say its the merino base layer that works.

    http://www.rapha.cc/merino-base-layers?locale=US

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