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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 09-13-06, 01:08 PM   #1
SemperFi
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Gore vs. Pearl Izumi Outerwear

I've been surfing the web for awhile now trying to decide on a cycling jacket for winter riding in the Northeast...Brooklyn NY to be exact. I've also searched the numerous threads on the Forum to see what others have had to say and, I must admit, I'm more confused than ever. Every company has a different name for fabrics that block wind and rain, vent, breathe, etc.

The jackets I like the most are those from Gore and Pearl...especially those that convert to a vest since some winter days can be quite mild and removeable sleeves and pit vents seem like a good option to have. I don't plan on riding in the rain, although you can always get caught I guess, so how a jacket performs in the rain really doesn't concern me. Wind protection is important since the Northeast can get blustery at times. And then, of course, there's the breatheability factor. Like I said...all very confusing, at least to me.

I really would like to see and try on something before I buy it but the LBS's in my area don't have such a great selection and I don't want to get into the buy, return, buy, return cycle until I find something I like.

If any BF members out there ride under similar winter conditions and have a Gore or Pearl Izumi (or other) jacket that they just can't do without, I would be interested in your experiences and recommendations.
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Old 09-13-06, 03:00 PM   #2
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I've got a PI kacket/vest that isn't worth half what I paid for it. I generally like their products, but not this one.

The Novarra rain jacket I picked up at REI for half price has turned out to be a great piece of kit.
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Old 09-14-06, 12:27 AM   #3
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Check Ibexwear jackets for warm softshells.
Or try the other softshells made with a good non membrane material. Just google softshell and 3xdry, that will show you jackets that will breath the most and still shed the most water without being waterproof.

If you want truely waterproof, get an event material jacket (2x the breathability of the best gore) like showerspass elite. But they have no insulating value, so you still need to layer up underneath.

PI is overpriced, so is gore. Gore isnt even as breathable as they claim. if you want waterproof, get the most breathable (event), if you want almost waterproof and most breathable, get dryskin extreme material.
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Old 09-14-06, 07:39 PM   #4
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hey
since you live in the NYC area check out paragon sports in 18th and Broadway i was just there last weekend and they have a big selection and of course you can try them on too. Their prices are also about the same as online catalogs too
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Old 09-18-06, 10:22 AM   #5
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I got a pretty good deal on a PI Barrier jacket, which is breathable on the back, wind/water resistant on the front.

I'll post results once it gets cold enough to require it...
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Old 09-18-06, 10:58 AM   #6
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Thanks, I cancelled my order because the jacket wasn't in stock in the color I wanted...and still isn't.
I've been looking at other things from NorthFace, LL Bean and Marmot too and just can't pull the trigger on anything. Been thinking of a fleece vest with a softshell wind jacket as an outer layer but don't know if this is practical.
I'll be interested in your review of the Barrier jacket.
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Old 09-18-06, 01:07 PM   #7
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Spend your money on things that protect the extremities. They are the hardest to keep warm. Combos for the torso are relatively easy and inexpensive to come by.
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Old 09-18-06, 01:49 PM   #8
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Is a wind resistent softshell over a 300 weight fleece vest a good layering principle?
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Old 09-18-06, 07:11 PM   #9
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If its one of the softshells with a plastic membrane like gore windstopper, over a layer of fleece. I think you'll sweat to death. Powershield, winstopper, etc are all bonded to plastic membranes and dont breath well enough for highly aerobic activities. Awesome for running from your car to the mall entrance, but not cycling.

If its a think/lightweight softshell made of bicomponent weave like dryskin, then you'll do good. Although i find fleece to warm, and too soggy when wet. Your better with 2 thin layers than a thick fleece.

Base - skintight super thin and high wicking ability (capalene, powerdry)
Thermal mid layer - This is the layer to keep you warm, and also must wick away any sweat on the base layer (wool, winter jersey)
Shell - A thin shell that has as high a breathability as possible with no plastic membrane. (dryskin) like Marmot ATV or Cloudveil rayzar

Edit : a lot of people like the PI barrier, for cycling specific it gets high reviews

Last edited by Jarery; 09-18-06 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 09-18-06, 08:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SemperFi
Thanks, I cancelled my order because the jacket wasn't in stock in the color I wanted...and still isn't.
I've been looking at other things from NorthFace, LL Bean and Marmot too and just can't pull the trigger on anything. Been thinking of a fleece vest with a softshell wind jacket as an outer layer but don't know if this is practical.
I'll be interested in your review of the Barrier jacket.

Semp,
The best kind of jacket would depend on on your riding conditions. What's the average temp, speed, length of commute, wind condtions etc.
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Old 09-18-06, 08:55 PM   #11
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300 weight fleece is pretty heavy. The heavier the fleece, the more breathable the shell needs to be and vice versa. Also know that the term "breathable" is a bit misleading. No jackets actually breathe, and few of the fabrics actually let enough air through to compensate when your torso becomes VERY hot.

The key is zippers. They are the thermostats of the jacket. You can fully unzip just about any jacket at 0F,and ride briskly, and you will cool quickly. Look for a jacket with pit zips, a nice front zipper and also a back vent.

What you wear underneath it will vary based on conditions and your preferance.. You will just have to experiment. Again, remember that the torso is pretty easy to make comfortable.
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Old 12-03-06, 03:13 PM   #12
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Any more thoughts?

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Originally Posted by vrkelley
Semp,
The best kind of jacket would depend on on your riding conditions. What's the average temp, speed, length of commute, wind condtions etc.

I have actually been wrestling with just this same analysis (Pearl Barrier v. windstopper). Many people here believe that the windstopper does not breath enough. Like Semper Fi, I am having a hard time sorting this out. My commute is 7 miles and I plan to do it when it is 25-40 F. Using a "breathable" rain jacket from REI (Stratos) left me a little clammy. I some protection from rain, but mostly I need to be able to stay warm for 45 mins on the way home. I am looking at non laminate softshells and possibly just using a nylon windbreaker over baselayer + fleece. Any additional thoughts would be welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 12-03-06, 03:57 PM   #13
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I have Powershield and Goretex fabrics. Goretex in my jacket and powershield in my tights. The goretex doesn't "breathe" hardly at all while the powershield breathes well. Still both can be useful and I use both in extreme cold.
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Old 12-03-06, 06:08 PM   #14
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J&G Wind Jacket is my favorite year-round jacket. With a polypro base layer and a merino wool mid layer underneath, I'm good down into the teens (F). It has good pit zips for ventilation and it is fairly water resistant, just in case you get caught in the rain. Drys real fast too.

Your other option, since water resistance isn't important to you, is a good softshell like Ibex and others make.

I just got a Burley Rockpoint which I tried out today (about 32F). It looks nicer and is more water resistant, but with the same base/mid layers I was overheating big time - which is why I will probably only use it for then it's raining/snowing.

The big thing you want to look for is plenty of ventilation - front zip, pit zips, back vents, adjustable sleeve cuffs, etc. Think of your body as an engine - you need some air on the intake, as well as a good exhaust system, to keep your temperature properly regulated.
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Old 12-05-06, 07:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by chipcom
J&G Wind Jacket is my favorite year-round jacket. With a polypro base layer and a merino wool mid layer underneath, I'm good down into the teens (F). It has good pit zips for ventilation and it is fairly water resistant, just in case you get caught in the rain. Drys real fast too.

Your other option, since water resistance isn't important to you, is a good softshell like Ibex and others make.

I just got a Burley Rockpoint which I tried out today (about 32F). It looks nicer and is more water resistant, but with the same base/mid layers I was overheating big time - which is why I will probably only use it for then it's raining/snowing.

The big thing you want to look for is plenty of ventilation - front zip, pit zips, back vents, adjustable sleeve cuffs, etc. Think of your body as an engine - you need some air on the intake, as well as a good exhaust system, to keep your temperature properly regulated.
Thanks, Chipcom. Your posts and some independent research on this is pushing me toward the nylon shell plus layering. What is your thought on synthetic baselayers vs. merino like ibex, smartwool and icebreaker? How about midlayers?
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Old 12-05-06, 08:39 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rainman99
Thanks, Chipcom. Your posts and some independent research on this is pushing me toward the nylon shell plus layering. What is your thought on synthetic baselayers vs. merino like ibex, smartwool and icebreaker? How about midlayers?
I like a polypro base layer, though I've also been happy with a 'bellana' wool base that I got from nashbar a few years ago (damned pricy though). For a mid layer, nothing beats Merino wool in my book. You can find merino wool sweaters cheap in most thrift stores and even some dept stores like Target.

Again, the big thing for the shell is ventilation - plenty of ADJUSTABLE ways to let air in and out.
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Old 12-05-06, 12:43 PM   #17
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I like a polypro base layer, though I've also been happy with a 'bellana' wool base that I got from nashbar a few years ago (damned pricy though). For a mid layer, nothing beats Merino wool in my book. You can find merino wool sweaters cheap in most thrift stores and even some dept stores like Target.

Again, the big thing for the shell is ventilation - plenty of ADJUSTABLE ways to let air in and out.
I use to always wear Merino Wool ski sweaters, but the advent of Polartec has changed that. I find Polartec 100-200 (fleece) is just as warm as wool and it's a lot lighter and easier to wear. My Wool sweaters stay in the closet now

Poly Pro base layer is good, put a 100wt Polar fleece and a wind shell with ventilation and you will be good to go. At least that's what I generally wear even down to -30C while biking. My Pearl Izumi Vagabond Shell works well with the Polypro base layer and 100 Polartec. Better than I would imagined for such a thin shell, but you do start off colder.

If my effort level is going to be less strenuous, then I'll put on a heavier weight fleece/soft shells, or one of my Wind-stopper fleeces, and/or one of my 3 layer Gore shells. It all depends on what I'm doing and the temperature outside. Sometimes there is more mucking around outside than actual riding, for times like that you need to dress a bit heavier with thicker layers.
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Old 12-05-06, 12:48 PM   #18
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But can you get Polartec for 5 bucks at the thrift shop?
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Old 12-05-06, 12:51 PM   #19
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But can you get Polartec for 5 bucks at the thrift shop?
Do I seem like the type of person to spend $5 at a thrift shop looking for cycling clothing?

However your point is valid Maybe not Polartec or maybe, but some type of fleece that is close. It may have some Sponsor's logo or trucking company name on it as well
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Old 12-05-06, 01:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Do I seem like the type of person to spend $5 at a thrift shop looking for cycling clothing?

However your point is valid Maybe not Polartec, but some type of fleece that is close. It may have some Sponsor's logo or trucking company name on it as well
It's kinda of ironic...I have bought 8 new bikes over the last 2 years for myself or others, built two from scratch on old vintage steel frames for me, buy whatever cycling gear (and clothing) I feel like just to try it out...yet lurk the thrift store for my wool riding sweaters. I think I have clothing shopping avoidance issues.
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Old 12-05-06, 04:00 PM   #21
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It's kinda of ironic...I have bought 8 new bikes over the last 2 years for myself or others, built two from scratch on old vintage steel frames for me, buy whatever cycling gear (and clothing) I feel like just to try it out...yet lurk the thrift store for my wool riding sweaters. I think I have clothing shopping avoidance issues.

Hey, we all have our own idiosyncrasies, sometimes I'll lurk Pawn shops hoping to find that gem of a vintage power amplifier. Besides, you never know what you'll find if you don't look.
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Old 12-06-06, 09:57 PM   #22
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has anyone tried or heard of good/bad/indifferent reporting on the PI gavia jacket... a tad overpriced as most of their stuff is, but I like their stuff... their bibs, shorts, warmers, gloves have served me very well and I'd be willing to shell out the $150 if the jacket will keep me warm for 2+hrs of winter riding. My last ride the other day was about 35 degrees + wind chill and I had on so many layers I think I constricted my breathing ... I'd pay to be able to wear a base t, 1 winter jersey + jacket.... uh, pay that is except for Ass_o__s products.
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Old 12-06-06, 10:39 PM   #23
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I dunno, maybe I'm a freak -- but I use the PI Zephyr shell over a mid layer and PI long sleeve base layer for my 35 minute commute and it's kept me cozy down to 10F. I paid around $60 for my PI jacket -- some say overpriced, but I'm totally satisfied with my PI gear.
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Old 12-06-06, 10:53 PM   #24
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. My last ride the other day was about 35 degrees + wind chill and I had on so many layers I think I constricted my breathing ... .
At 35 degrees i wear at max, 3 thin layers, and a shell. Usually at that temp its only 1 base, 1 jersey, and a shell. If you have so many layers on you cant move, id look for a different layering approach then a more thermal jacket.
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Old 12-06-06, 11:16 PM   #25
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At 35 degrees i wear at max, 3 thin layers, and a shell. Usually at that temp its only 1 base, 1 jersey, and a shell. If you have so many layers on you cant move, id look for a different layering approach then a more thermal jacket.
yeah.. I thought about that too... it really comes down to the fact that I just have all form fitting stuff, so my layers get tighter and tighter as they stack on one another, hence the lack of oxygen .. I could move ok, it just felt constricting. I figure getting rid of all the layers except a base, a jersey and a jacket would loosen things up and still provide the same amount of warmth, but add some wind protection. The layers I do wear now keep me warm just fine, it just feels constricting since they're all form fit. The ride the other day was 35 + 15-20mph winds, so it was beating through me... my fingers and toes were the only actual cold parts.

Funny though... As I was putting on all the layers and about to walk out the door, I suddenly felt like the kid from Christmas Story all bundled up and unable to move his arms.. haha..
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