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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 03-22-06, 08:28 PM   #1
JJakucyk
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Looking for the Warmest Tights Possible

It seems that compared to nearly all the other bike riders on the planet, I must be some sort of reptile. I see folks riding around in shorts while I'm bundled up in all sorts of cold weather gear. For example, the temperature at the rides I've been attending lately have generally been in the 40s. Will spring ever come? Anyway, for temperatures in the mid to upper 40s, I wear a long-sleeve skinsuit to get an upper base layer and padded shorts without having an extra waistband or shoulder straps. I'll put on a pair of spandex running tights, then my pair of Assos Airblock bib tights, which are fully fleece lined (not very thick fleece mind you), and with airblock panels on the knees and thighs. On top, I'll wear a light fleece pullover, and then a windblocking cycling jacket. With wool socks, windproof shoe covers, a headband to cover my ears, and fleece lined windblocking gloves, I'm pretty good. However, if the temperature goes down too much, like into the low 40s (which is common here after dark), I'll start to get cold fingers, very cold feet, and cold inner thighs and crotch.

If the temperature is starting out in the low to mid 40s, or looks like it will drop to the 30s, I'll keep the skinsuit, go with the running tights or the Assos bib tights if it's cooler, then some fleece pants and nylon wind/warm up pants. On top I may still be ok with the light fleece top, but I might also take it up a notch and wear my thicker fleece jersey under my jacket. Glove liners and maybe a light balaclava need to be added as well, and neoprene shoe covers over the windproof shoe covers are a must at this point.

With temperatures well down into the 30s, I need thicker gloves, more face coverage, and chemical toe warmers. I may also bring out my pair of cheap ski bibs/snow pants instead of the spandex/fleece/wind pant layering. The problem is that while those two solutions to keeping my legs warm work fairly well, they're extremely bulky and not very comfortable. If I can't keep my legs warm, then my feet start to freeze even worse, and I'm not having any more fun at that point. I'm sure a lot of you could wear the Assos bib tights alone in temperatures down into the 20s or teens, but I just don't have the circulation (or whatever it is). I'm still pretty heavy at 250 lbs, and I've actually felt warmer on rides now than when I weighed 270, so I suspect that I just don't have the blood flow to warm up all my "bulk."

Considering this, I've had a really hard time finding good advice here or anywhere, because nobody else seems to be as cold-blooded as I am, so the advice given to most other people is not nearly sufficient for what I need. I love my Assos bib tights, but even with an extra spandex layer underneath, they just don't cut it for temperatures below 45 for me. What I really need is a pair of tights that has a healthy lining of fleece, as well as air blocking panels across the whole front. Most of the tights I've seen out there do not have fleece where there's wind blocking panels, and that won't cut it. I don't mind using something that's not cycling specific, since I have the chamois and other base layer type stuff taken care of already. Bibs would be much preferred though, especially if I already have another pair of tights with a waistband on underneath. I looked at the tights they have at IceBikes, but they don't seem to have a lot of wind blocking performance. The Pearl Izumi and Performance tights just don't fit me right either, unfortunately. I've looked into some hiking gear, like Mountain Hardwear, etc., but it's all so expensive, and I have no idea how to pick something out. They also seem somewhat big/flappy, which is one reason I don't like using the wind pants. Have any of you found a good pair of very warm winter tights, or some other layering system that isn't too bulky and uncomfortable?

Thanks for any suggestions, sorry for rambling on so long.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:55 PM   #2
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What I really need is a pair of tights that has a healthy lining of fleece, as well as air blocking panels across the whole front.


I'm cold, like you are when I ride, and so what I use is pretty much exactly what you've described here. What has a healthy lining of fleece? Sweat pants!

Basically, I layer. I wear my padded shorts, then my tights, then I start adding layers .... leggings from back in the 1990s when leggings were all the rage, knickers from Walmarts exercise section ... and a nice fleecy pair of non-cotton sweatpants!! And once I get all those layers on, the top layer isn't big/flappy anymore!!
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Old 03-22-06, 10:09 PM   #3
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I have noticed the same thing you commented on. As I cycled more, built up muscle, and lost weight my metabolism got reved up and I could stand more cold. My outer layer in extreme cold was a Goretex rainsuit. I grew up in a cold area and tolerate more cold than most people I ride with. When they ask I just say it is more body fat. I think Slvoid has a post somewhere where he suggests clothing from +120F down to -50F. Check it out for some clothing ideas.
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Old 03-22-06, 11:29 PM   #4
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I'm still looking for a set of new or used wool tights (not long underwear) ...anyone know where to get those?
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Old 03-23-06, 12:05 AM   #5
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for wool tights try Ibex, VR. They make THICK wool, tights, non chamois ones. also, try Elliot Bay Cycles if you want to shop local, they used to stock good wool tights.


Boy, super cold tights would be the kind for xc skiing or ski mountaineering.... there's got to be some hella warm Schoeller WB400 tights out there...I have a set of The North Face bibs, super stretchy Schoeller WB 400, total wind and water proof, and thick fleece on the inside, super stretchy, but expensive!


The company called "Beyond Fleece" custom makes to order winter workout clothing out of WB400, maybe they could whip you up a nice set of bibs! www.beyondfleece.com
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Old 03-23-06, 12:21 AM   #6
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The Schoeller WB400's are very warm and very heavy. The old pair I have has wind proof panels on the front and are actually too hot for 40F or above!

These Col'Lizard fleece tights appear wimpy in the picture but I've worn these to about 20F.
http://www.coldlizard.com/cgi/wc.dll...alog~DETAIL~34

Last edited by vrkelley; 03-23-06 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 03-23-06, 06:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
What has a healthy lining of fleece? Sweat pants!
I dunno, sweat pants (the ones I've seen anyway) are pretty bulky still. Maybe what would be a nice find is some sort of plain fleece tights, like something I could layer under my Assos bib-tights. They couldn't be too terribly thick, but anything is thicker than the fleece lining you find on most cycling tights. I don't imagine most sweat pants stretch much either, which could be a problem around the knees, but some fleece can be pretty stretchy, I suppose.
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Old 03-23-06, 08:27 AM   #8
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Performance Triflex BIB Tights
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=1121

Best thing I bought for riding.

I have dropped a ton of weight since riding and commuting 100% since June 22, 2006
These tights will keep you warm and yet not too warm on the warmer days.

I have worn these in temps down to 5-8 Degrees F.
When the temps drop future I put on a pair of Under Armour ColdGear Leggings under the Trifle Tights, then you are go to go way below 0 (F).

Remember: Ear, Hands, Feet... Keep them warm and you can take about any cold.

Good Luck
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Old 03-23-06, 09:10 AM   #9
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BTW...IMHO those peeps you see with naked legs below 50 degrees
are just asking for long-term problems down the road. if it is
in the 50's (59- to below) you cover the knees. below 50, cover everything.

it may feel OK, but your muscles and circulatory system are getting
whacked hard if you leave legs uncovered when it is chilly. better to be
warm than just OK. I mean, ifn you want to be riding for years and years
with no problems...

I never could understand the runners I see who wear practically nothing
and it is almost freezing out. morons I reckon...
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Old 03-23-06, 09:13 AM   #10
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Heh, I add a pair of running tights to my wardrobe when temperatures are in the mid 60s. Knickers and knee warmers just don't make sense to me at all.
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Old 03-23-06, 09:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkafire
Unfortunately those are only available in size small. All their other Triflex stuff is only available in limited sizes too.

I had a chance to try on a bunch of Performance stuff about a year ago, and none of their tights fit right anyway. My leg inseam is 32", which is a medium for Performance, but I have a 38-40" waist, which is XL. Thus, either their tights are way too tight around my legs, or they're too tall and bunchy.
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Old 03-23-06, 09:32 AM   #12
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ICEBIKE Special Tights

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Old 03-23-06, 09:54 AM   #13
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I think you ought to cover up your knees if its below 60.. 50 is pretty cold!
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Old 03-23-06, 10:05 AM   #14
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65 degrees is my threshold for knee warmers, leg warmers or tights.

Then again I hate cold
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Old 03-23-06, 10:13 AM   #15
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Sweat pants are severely underrated. Why is that?
Because they don't have that poser look, or they are too common and inexpensive?
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Old 03-23-06, 12:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FXjohn
Sweat pants are severely underrated. Why is that?
Because they don't have that poser look, or they are too common and inexpensive?
I've found the crotch seam in sweatpants is too large and becomes pretty annoying even with bike shorts on underneath. Plus if they ever get wet they tend to pretty heavy.
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Old 03-23-06, 03:26 PM   #17
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stretch pile tights. expedition fleece long underwear. spend big bucks for patagonia or name brand, or get some from campmor.

I really think the more stuff you wear, sometimes, the chillier you feel once it all gets wet from sweat. Better still is the dry all day feeling of wool, but that's another quantum clothing leap.

if you look around you can find wind resistant pile tights, made of polarshield, Schoeller WB400, or other super duper fabrics, in many outdoor sports gear clothing lines.
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Old 03-23-06, 03:35 PM   #18
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I've been wearing the Pearl Izumi AmFib tights.

http://www.pearlizumi.com/product.ph...duct_id=152410

I have the prickly heat, so I have to really be careful about staying warm yet not overheating. I've tried cheaper stuff (sweatpants, etc), but they all seem to trap the heat too much as I warm. The PI stuff has been GREAT for me (I also wear a barrier jacket). When it gets colder than 40, I just have a pair of cheapo Target wind pants I tuck into my neoprene booties, and they cut the wind enough to let the tights do their job. Point is, for certain jobs, I'll pay the premium if it works, and these aren't cheap (~$100). And my legs have yet to be cold with these and the wind pants.

I just started riding this winter, and I missed the bitter cold in December, so I dunno how they'll do below, say, 14 F wind chill (which I had this week). I have to agree with the sentiments here that hands, feet, and ears are the key, though. I have been cold on some rides, but mostly it's been my hands and feet. If I need to, I suspect I can just wear another baselayer under the tights and I'd be TOASTY down to nothing.

Oh, one more thing I adopted that looks dorky but works wonders...snowboard helmet & goggles. I wear that, a wicking base head cap, a baklava, and a snowboard helmet and my head/ears have **never** been cold. Not even close.
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Old 03-23-06, 03:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarery
65 degrees is my threshold for knee warmers, leg warmers or tights.

Then again I hate cold
Im not fond of it either. But i seem to have a tolerance for it to a point. As long as my trunk in warm, i can live without tights down to 40 deg. Knees are another story. My threshold is about 70 deg for knee warmers, 60 degs for knickers. And 40 deg for tights. I normally layer a pair an ancient pair of Hind runners tights (the kind that arent shiny or have leg zippers) over the shorts with knee warmers or the bib tights. Im good with that down to 30 deg. Below that, indoor trainer. On my trunk, a Craft S3 long sleeve turtleneck under a regular short sleeve jersey is good down to 45 deg. Below that i'll add a wind jacket. I've been tracking my clothing combos this winter and it seems im much more tolerant to cold than i think i am. I was very suprised to see how little clothing i needed for certain temps.
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Old 03-24-06, 07:42 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Walkafire
Performance Triflex BIB Tights
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=1121

Best thing I bought for riding.

I have dropped a ton of weight since riding and commuting 100% since June 22, 2006
These tights will keep you warm and yet not too warm on the warmer days.

I have worn these in temps down to 5-8 Degrees F.
When the temps drop future I put on a pair of Under Armour ColdGear Leggings under the Trifle Tights, then you are go to go way below 0 (F).

Remember: Ear, Hands, Feet... Keep them warm and you can take about any cold.

Good Luck
Another vote for those Triflex tights. In fact, when they go on sale as the weather gets warmer, I will probably buy another 3 or 4 pair. They're so good at keeping wind out and giving you that warmth with the inner lining. It almost does feel like fleece up against your legs. With my booties, I'm toasty warm, but not uncomfortably warm.

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Old 03-24-06, 07:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JJakucyk
Unfortunately those are only available in size small. All their other Triflex stuff is only available in limited sizes too.

I had a chance to try on a bunch of Performance stuff about a year ago, and none of their tights fit right anyway. My leg inseam is 32", which is a medium for Performance, but I have a 38-40" waist, which is XL. Thus, either their tights are way too tight around my legs, or they're too tall and bunchy.
If it's not available at your Performance store, just get them online and have them shipped quickly. If you don't want to pay for the shipping, have them send it to the Performance store.

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Old 03-24-06, 07:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
If it's not available at your Performance store, just get them online and have them shipped quickly. If you don't want to pay for the shipping, have them send it to the Performance store.

Koffee
There are no Performance stores here, only online, and that's where I was talking about.
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Old 03-24-06, 10:00 AM   #23
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I got a pair of Canari Men's Tundra Cycle Tights for the coldest of my morning commutes. I rode with them under some baggies in temps in the mid to upper 20's, with a light wind and in a light snow. They were perfect. Warm enough to keep me from even noticing the outside temps in my legs, but not enough to make my legs sweat. They are beefy but give a snug fit when properly sized. They have more of a thin foam pad than what you would think of as a chamois. The best part about them is that you can find them on sale.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
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Old 03-24-06, 11:18 AM   #24
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These pants are the best. When you order they are custom made based on your measurements. I've tried the performance tights, but there weren't as warm. Call Lou, he will take your order and he will custom make the tights himself. I got the Powershield tights, they are warm and nearly water proof. I had him make them extra long at the bottom to make sure everything was covered, and i also had them made to wear they ride up over the naval area, when seated on the bike. This prevents the stomach from getting cold.
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Old 03-24-06, 11:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by bunabayashi

My personal favorite as well. Although they just sell the plain ones now.

I have worn these down into the teens. When it gets that cold I wear them in conjunction with a pair of long underwear.

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