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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-01-05, 08:46 PM   #1
aerodave
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Nylon windbreaker shell...is it good for anything?

...or did I waste my money?

I picked up this Canari Microlight Shell at my local Dick's Sporting Goods, where it was on sale. I had been keeping my eye out for some hi-viz outerwear, because I believe it makes a big difference when riding with traffic.

Anyway, it's fine except for one huge problem: it doesn't breathe. At all. It's ripstop nylon, and I completely underestimated its ability to trap moisture.

The first time i went out with it on a chilly morning this weekend, I was really impressed with how it cut the wind. But I was also impressed, negatively, by what I noticed after just a few miles of riding. The sleeves were seriously moist on the inside from condensed sweat. Dripping...Gross. But I figured it was my fault for wearing short sleeves underneath it.

So I tried again yesterday, and thought that having something absorbent in those sleeves would be a good idea. So I wore a long-sleeved cotton tee...not my normal cycling gear, but I was experimenting. Didn't turn out well...all that happened was that I ended up with soggy sleeves underneath a steamy shell.

So I have a dilemma. I really want to use this thing. I really like the idea of being garishly bright colored, especially as I plan on commuting more frequently to work. Besides that, it's light and it fits well. But as much as I like it, I'm not a fan of being contained in a Ziploc bag.

I can't exactly take it back now; I've gotten it covered in sweat twice. So, I'm left to figure out how to make it work for me. Perhaps there's a proper combination of clothes that can keep the condensation at bay. Or maybe even some way of modifying it to let it breathe.

So am I misusing this thing? Does anyone have a similar jacket that they use, and what's your secret?
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Old 11-01-05, 08:51 PM   #2
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I have the same windbreaker and it just does not breathe. I went back to using my Lands end windbreaker which is lighter and breathe very well.
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Old 11-01-05, 09:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerodave
...or did I waste my money?

I picked up this Canari Microlight Shell at my local Dick's Sporting Goods, where it was on sale. I had been keeping my eye out for some hi-viz outerwear, because I believe it makes a big difference when riding with traffic.

Anyway, it's fine except for one huge problem: it doesn't breathe. At all. It's ripstop nylon, and I completely underestimated its ability to trap moisture.

The first time i went out with it on a chilly morning this weekend, I was really impressed with how it cut the wind. But I was also impressed, negatively, by what I noticed after just a few miles of riding. The sleeves were seriously moist on the inside from condensed sweat. Dripping...Gross. But I figured it was my fault for wearing short sleeves underneath it.

So I tried again yesterday, and thought that having something absorbent in those sleeves would be a good idea. So I wore a long-sleeved cotton tee...not my normal cycling gear, but I was experimenting. Didn't turn out well...all that happened was that I ended up with soggy sleeves underneath a steamy shell.

So I have a dilemma. I really want to use this thing. I really like the idea of being garishly bright colored, especially as I plan on commuting more frequently to work. Besides that, it's light and it fits well. But as much as I like it, I'm not a fan of being contained in a Ziploc bag.

I can't exactly take it back now; I've gotten it covered in sweat twice. So, I'm left to figure out how to make it work for me. Perhaps there's a proper combination of clothes that can keep the condensation at bay. Or maybe even some way of modifying it to let it breathe.

So am I misusing this thing? Does anyone have a similar jacket that they use, and what's your secret?

You get what you pay for sometimes. Your only ventalation comes from unzipping the front and the fabric does not breathe. Wearing cotton didn't help since cotton sucks up water. A poly-blend or wool base layer would work better, but since the jacket doesn't breathe, there is really no place to wick moisture to. So you're gonna get wet. Some of the better shells are made of better, more breathable fabric and have rear vents and pit zips - or removeable sleeves. I like fleece and soft shells that are more breathable and still somewhat water and wind resistant, this time of year. I've also found that the Illuminite reflective vest I wear on my dark morning/evening commutes, provides just the right amount of wind resistance I need.
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Old 11-02-05, 09:01 AM   #4
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I have a similar shell that I wear to gut the wind when it get very cold on my short 8.5 mile commute. I would not wear the shell on any longer rides. I also find it somewhat useful at keeping me warm in cold rain. It doesn't keep me dry but with a decent fleece base layer the windstopping qualities keep me warm. But as mentioned sometimes you get what you pay for. I just didn't want to pay $100+ for a wind shell that will take quite a beating from the salty road spray in the winter.
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Old 11-02-05, 09:13 AM   #5
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I have a similar non-cycling lightweight nylon wind shell I got from LL.Bean on clearance. It doesn't breath but I compensate my reducing the layers, basically a long sleeve base layer and the shell and I am good and warm. Either the wind has to be high (~14mph) or the temps have to be low before I wear that jacket. I do have an all nylon sleeveless that works great.

At $20 it is a lesson learned, better than spending $120. And now you have a decent spare if you get something different. Different people have different toleraces to fabrics and layers. With my first winter of cycling approaching I am trying different things.

I really would like to test drive some of this stuff before I buy it. That nice Gore-Tex Windstopper jacket looks great in the catalog but how will I know that I am not going to overheat? Even with all the venting open.
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Old 11-02-05, 11:29 AM   #6
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I am not familiar with your jacket. However, if the material does not breathe well, you need an exhaust system. IOW, a huge back vent at least. Does it have that? Pit zips are even better. I have Pit Zips and a back vent on my Gore Tex jacket. Although Gore Tex doesn't breathe well, the venting makes it tolerable if you layer correctly under it. It also is very windproof!

Like i said, if the jacket won't breathe, you have to have a place for heat to get out. A BIG place preferably. I used to have a cheap LL BEan jacket that i bought off Ebay for $4. It was just a nylon shell with a back vent.

It was probably the most useful cycling jacket i have ever had. I got rid of it, in favor or a Pearl Izumi Zephyr with high viz color. The colore was the reason for the switch. Honestly i think the $4 LL Bean jacket was more useful as a shell, and cost much less.
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Old 11-02-05, 12:08 PM   #7
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I've been very disappointed in the couple cheap cycling jackets I have purchased. This time I decided to save up a few $$$ and ordered a Burley RockPoint. I can not wait until it gets here.
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Old 11-02-05, 12:37 PM   #8
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I find a vented vest with arm warmers are a good combination. If your arms heat up you can easily roll them down or back up. The vest has a mesh back which breathes very well.
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Old 11-02-05, 02:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DataJunkie
I've been very disappointed in the couple cheap cycling jackets I have purchased. This time I decided to save up a few $$$ and ordered a Burley RockPoint. I can not wait until it gets here.

Please report back when you get the Burley jacket and have tried it out. I've been eyeing it for a long time, but haven't been able to justify spending that much money on a jacket.
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Old 11-02-05, 03:24 PM   #10
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Burley jackets are going to be as wet inside as a windbreaker, guaranteed.

uncoated polyester shells breathe a lot better than coated nylon shells, and neither breathe as well as a Schoeller Dynamic, dryskin or Tweave softshelled jacket.
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Old 11-03-05, 03:57 AM   #11
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I use a windbreaker with detachable sleeves (Louis Garneau Osmose). Very versatile. I mostly use it as a vest. When it gets too cold for the vest, I often just use my rain jacket which has a looser cut. It has a good back vent and with the pit-zip open, the airflow is pretty good.
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Old 11-03-05, 04:23 AM   #12
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How does your nylon windbreaker react to the Huff Test.
Hold the material over your mount and huff some high pressure air through. Does the material present a total barrier to your breath, a partial barrier or does the breath go right through easily?
In my experience, the ideal cycling windproof material is a partial barrier to high pressure air.
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Old 11-03-05, 04:52 AM   #13
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Yes good for something - sweating
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Old 11-03-05, 09:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
Burley jackets are going to be as wet inside as a windbreaker, guaranteed.

uncoated polyester shells breathe a lot better than coated nylon shells, and neither breathe as well as a Schoeller Dynamic, dryskin or Tweave softshelled jacket.
Strangely, several of cyclist friends have this jacket and stated that it does breathe (especially betther than my nike windbreaker). When I finish my run and take off my windbreaker the entire inside is coated in sweat. Not very hard to beat that lovely performance.
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Old 11-03-05, 09:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samundsen
Please report back when you get the Burley jacket and have tried it out. I've been eyeing it for a long time, but haven't been able to justify spending that much money on a jacket.
Will do. I found it online for $105 (total cost is $117).
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Old 11-03-05, 09:58 AM   #16
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Personally, I think all of this talk of "breathing" is somewhat snake oil. First of all I've never seen a jacket breathe. Nor have i seen a jacket have lungs. The key is to wear the right clothing for the right temperature. The fact that you are sweating in a jacket doesn't necessarily mean it is the jacket's fault.

Even a jacket that is considered to "breathe" well will clam up if you ride it in temps that are too warm. Conversely, a jacket that isn't considered to "breathe" well, can be comfortable in cold enough temps. Keep in mind, as i stated in an earlier post, you still need the ability to exhaust heat. This is accomplished via front zipper, pit zips and back vents.

Nothing breathes as well as a jacket that is unzipped. Try it. Unzip your jacket in 28 F weather with a strong North wind. Even if you are steamy, you won't be in a couple seconds. Trust me. I can't stress enough, how using zippers will make a jacket functional in a variety of conditions. Another trick is to pull up a sleeve. GEtting hot? Simply pulling up one jacket sleeve past your elbow for awhile will radiate a lot of heat away from your body.

Sounds wierd but it works! This reply is to illustrate that you can't just look at a jacket and blame it for the reason you overheated and/or sweat. If you sweat, you either wore the wrong clothing for the wrong conditions or you don't have a versatile enought "exhaust" system in your jacket, or you didn't pay close enough attention to your body and you allowed yourself to overheat before taking countermeasures. (exhaust methods or removing jacket entirely)

Last edited by Portis; 11-03-05 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 11-03-05, 10:24 AM   #17
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A bike specific wind breaker works better. I picked up a Zooz brand windbreaker left over from last year (never heard of it and couldn't find much info on a Google search) yesterday from my LBS and wore it this morning for a 10 mile ride before work. It was about 45 degrees. It worked very well.I wore a Under Armor type t shirt next to my body with a cotton long sleeve shirt over that. It has a large mesh area in the upper back covered with the nylon that helps it "breathe" It also has an uncovered 1" mesh strip along each shoulder area. When I say bike specific it has a tighter fit so it doesn't flop in the wind.I have a wonderful Goretex winderbreaker but it has a much larger cut and when I get up to higher speeds like on a downhill it sounds like I am in the middle of a hurricane. Also these kind of shells have a back pocket so you can easily get to things.
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Old 11-03-05, 12:21 PM   #18
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You want it to vent below the pits and in the back. Go borrow a rivet machine and put some holes in it!
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Old 11-03-05, 12:27 PM   #19
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I recently bought a inexpensive nylon jacket at Target for winter cycling. I wear a reflective vest over it. Yup, I sweat in it, but I suspect I'd sweat without it too. I agree with Ranger concerning zippers and sleeves. I'd rather have a jacket that gets me warm to the point of having to cool down some than to wear something that just doesn't keep me warm.

I grew up in northern Maine and learned its better to feel warm than to look cool.
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Old 11-03-05, 01:03 PM   #20
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If the jacket stuffs into a small enough package I would carry it in case you break down in the cold. It will come in handy to hold in body heat if you need to stop for a repair...just thro it into a pocket if you can..
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Old 11-03-05, 03:23 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan
You want it to vent below the pits and in the back. Go borrow a rivet machine and put some holes in it!
You would have to make it look like swiss cheese to get enough good out of those types of vents. Pit zips unzip and reveal a mesh material that runs the entire way down your side and inner arm. Remember, we are venting a LOT of heat here.
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