The mother of all winter bike jacket threads.
I have ridden the Gavia, latest version of the Barrier, and a Gore Finish Line jacket this winter. I believe that the Finish Line jacket is pretty close to the Tool, maybe just a little thinner in terms of insulation. Maybe somebody else knows for sure how the weight compares; otherwise, it is the same three layer and pit zips and reflective piping design as far as I know.
First the Gavia. I have found it to be the thinnest weight and most breathable of the three. It is a good weight if you are acclimated to the weather, aren't going to be riding down into the low 30's or less, and don't mind a bit of draft and some cold spots. It is designed to block wind to the front, and is made with PI's Kodiak fabric on the backs of the sleeves, sides and across the back at the shoulders. It breathes great, but maybe too great if you were really looking for something bullet-proof to keep in the warmth. I don't mind it with a couple of thin under layers but it is not the warmest choice. You definitely don't get a bunch of sweat build up with it if you manage your layers well. But all this is coming from a guy riding in North Texas. If I lived further north, it would be a great winter mid layer or I would use it for fall and spring riding. For what it's worth though, the Gavia bib tights are fantastic. I like them better than PI Amphips down into the low teens. Then, the Gavia Pluses would work great. Not cold enough around here for those though.
The PI Barrier stuff is the goods for me in the cold. It is light, tight fitting with aero windblocking fabric that cuts through the wind without a lot of drag or heat loss where you don't want it. On the other hand, it vents moisture and heat build up out the back with a venting system that definitely works. It is not as good as having pit zips, but everything else about it works best for me.
The Gore Finish Line jacket that I have is great for the cold, but I do find that my arms build up more sweat than happens the other PI stuff. But the wind blocking is absolute. Without the pit zips the Gore stuff would smother me though. So as long as I layer carefully and dial in the right combination of core coverage without loading up my arms, I get a lot of good use from the Gore. Most of that comes down to the pit zips though as you might guess.
That's as far as I can help you Telix.
Last edited by rule; 02-01-07 at 09:05 PM.