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  1. #1
    Senior Member stric's Avatar
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    Wool clothing for cycling - anyone?

    Hello,
    I am wondering if anyone wears wool jerseys or shorts when cycling. I've heard numerous stories about the better feel of wool, less smell, high quality and so on. For a long time I was considering purchase of some wool jerseys but i always backed off because of my experience with standard wool clothing. Namely, my sweaters and other wool clothing items tend to stretch after repeated washing.
    I wonder if wool jerseys and shorts are made differently so they can retain their shape after repeated washing and extended wear. Can someone with experience tell me what to expect from wool clothing for bikers?
    Thanks.
    anima sana in corpore sano

  2. #2
    Better than you since 83! junioroverlord's Avatar
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    I love wool jerseys! Wool shorts scare me though. Wool can be stinky!
    "Riding bikes on the street is the fuggin jam!" Juvi-Kyle

  3. #3
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Burley wool leg warmers that are fantastic. They are made of merino wool, so not itchy and scratchy, and oh so nice and toasty. I bought them in the mid 80's, I'm sure that Burley no longer makes them, so I guard them. Still use them on cool mornings, nothing like them in synthetic.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  4. #4
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Wool jerseys I can see. Wool shorts, I don't see what the advantage over Lycra could possibly be, it sure as heck ain't price and I don't see how any friction reducing properties would make wool superior. As far as smell, do your laundry and take a bath!
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  5. #5
    "I love lamp"
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    I have a LS wool jersey that I live in during the winter. I can get away with wearing it for a while because it doesn't retain my funk. It is also warmer than a regular jersey of comparable weight.

  6. #6
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    Sure. Tough to beat as a base layer for colder rides. Wool socks too which are also nice for wet rides.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JBar's Avatar
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    I just bought some Merino wool arm warmers and they're great. My PI's are fine on days when I just need some help for my SS jersey, but The wool is the ticket when it's sho' 'nuff cold. My bud swears by his wool tights. I've been thinking about some shorts as spandex is drafty on those marginal leg warmer days. The new merino wool stuff doesn't itch OR stink.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I use a Merino wool long-sleeved top (not a jersey, more like a base layer), and I love it. Fairly warm, light, and soft.

    I've washed it in the machine, and dried it in a dryer with no ill-effects at all.

  9. #9
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    I have a couple of Merino jerseys long and short sleeve. They are very comfy. Care is a bit of a pain. What with the making ABSOLUTELY SURE you don't stick them in the dryer.
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  10. #10
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    I'm with the wool base layer crowd. Put a thin merino wool layer under a bike shirt on a cold day, and you don't even know you are wearing it, except that you are warm on a day when you would normally be cold. And when you are done you throw it in the wash with the dark stuff and it's ready to wear again. I bought my favorite one last year, and it's shown no sign of stretching despite repeated washings (but no tumbledrying). And wool socks are also a don't freeze dream come true. But I'm not sure about wool between feet and waist. The wool underwear I've seen seems designed to go under skiing or hiking pants rather than over bike shorts, and I suspect there might be all sorts of strange seams in the wrong places to wear as a next to the skin layer for biking. Does anyone make actual bike shorts in wool? With padding and all that?
    Zero gallons to the mile

  11. #11
    Senior Member JBar's Avatar
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  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    I have a couple of Merino jerseys long and short sleeve. They are very comfy. Care is a bit of a pain. What with the making ABSOLUTELY SURE you don't stick them in the dryer.
    ???

    Like I mentioned, I've dried mine in a dryer any number of times with no problems at all. When I was touring for 3 months, I couldn't very well dry it any other way.

    My cycling partner also has a Merino wool long-sleeved top like mine, has had it for a couple years longer than me, and has always dried his in a dryer too. It's still in great condition.

  13. #13
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    No dryer problems? Really? I accidently put my Merino beanie(Spot Brand) in the dryer and it would barely have fit a GI Joe when I got it out.
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  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I've got Ibex wool tights and they are fantastic for cool days. Ibex also makes wool jerseys, knickers, and wool shorts. Wool shorts on a hot day would be cooler than lycra because of the breathability/evaporation characteristics, although I haven't tried that theory out because wool bike shorts are expensive.

  15. #15
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Having worn wool shorts first time around before lycra & spandex came in I have severe doubts about the practicality of it all. As I remember they sagged and lost their shape and looked dreadful.When wet they became heavy and drooped. The beauty of modern thermal materials is not only their insulating qualities but in their light weight and ability to dry quickly. George.

  16. #16
    Alien lifeform
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    I have a couple of Merino jerseys long and short sleeve. They are very comfy. Care is a bit of a pain. What with the making ABSOLUTELY SURE you don't stick them in the dryer.
    I have a merino wool long sleve top (from SmartWool) that I wash I dry every day. Check out the Smart Wool web site at http://www.smartwool.com. Here is the quote (can't link directly, since the whole site is flash based):

    "SmartWool has been specifically prepared to handle machine cleaning and drying and is guaranteed not to shrink"

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    No dryer problems? Really? I accidently put my Merino beanie(Spot Brand) in the dryer and it would barely have fit a GI Joe when I got it out.
    I've had no problems -- I've dried it in a dryer probably a dozen times.

  18. #18
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I've had no problems -- I've dried it in a dryer probably a dozen times.
    I'm with you, I use a merino wool base layer for ski touring, and HAVE to wash each use. They've been washed/dried many times, however, I do adjust the dry temperature to medium religiously.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  19. #19
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    What about when we have to "dress up"? I often ride a bike to work-related meetings. From "trial and error", I've discovered that light weight wool slacks and sport coats work well for bike commuting. They "breathe" when the heat index is over 100 degrees (unlike polyester, etc.), and dry rapidly if I get caught in a light rain. And, they are warm on chilly January mornings. Those sheep are smart to be wearing that stuff year-around.

  20. #20
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    Those sheep are smart to be wearing that stuff year-around.
    That is so true, they also produce the main ingredient in Bag Balm, that also works great on a hot day and long ride. (it's lanoline) Moooooo!
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  21. #21
    guest rusholme's Avatar
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    sheep dont moo

  22. #22
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusholme
    sheep dont moo
    Can anyone explain the relationship here?

    Also, Do you think that if you wear wool shorts and use bag balm you might get a Baaaaad reaction?
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  23. #23
    Senior Member JBar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusholme
    sheep dont moo
    No, but dose udder critters do!

  24. #24
    King of the Hipsters
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    I wonder if the different experiences with wool and washing and drying has something to do with brand names or initial quality.

  25. #25
    guest rusholme's Avatar
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    it (in part, at least) has to do with the type of wool and how it has been processed. virgin wool will shrink a ton, merino not so much, etc etc.

    where're the aussies and kiwis when you need 'em? (wait, do they let kiwis post here??)

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