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  1. #1
    scourge of the motorists
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    fabric comparisons

    Hi everyone

    This will be my first winter and I'm looking to do about 100 miles a week. I've heard very good things about eVENT fabric, but the jackets I like with that are pretty pricey. I also saw a WINDSTOPPER jacket that I liked too. The only thing is that I dont really know how these different fabrics measure up to the amount of warmth they keep in, or their breathability, or level of water resistance.

    I tried looking at some sites like icebike, but I can't get all the info I need. Please help me make some comparisons or even feel free to make some recommendations. If it help to know this, I dont plan on riding in the rain, unless I just happen to get caught in it. There are 2 jackets that I like right now, one is GORE Finish, and the other is SHOWERSPASS Elite 2.

    Also feel free to throw in comparisons of any fabrics other than the 2 I mentioned, if you know anything about them.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Windstopper is basically a gore-tex waterproof membrane attached to nice soft to the touch fabric.
    Showerspass is an event material shell with no 'nice to the touch' fabric laminated on it.

    Wind resistance: Both are 100% wind resistant.

    Water Resistance : Both are 100% waterproof membrane, but the windstopper wont have sealed seams so it will leak. The showerspass will be completly waterproof.

    Thermal Properties : The showerspass elite has almost no thermal properties. You have to add any thermal layers you need under it. Since its a waterproof, you usually need to dress light under it so your cold when you start, then 10 min later of riding you'll be perfect. The windstopper will have some thermal properties, it'll feel a lot warmer wearing it, but you'll also overheat and sweat to death unless its sub zero temps.

    Breathability: The showerspass should breath better, but if your in cold sub zero temps, you may not notice much. If its in the 50's, you will notice the showerspass is more breathable.

    Overall warmth: You'll be warmer in the windstopper. The showerspass elite typically breathes so well it doesnt do as well in very cold temps as "boil in a bag" waterproofs in real cold temps. It allows too much of your self generated warm air to leave thru the material. If your cycling, you'll be generating heat and should be fine.

    If your not planning on riding in the rain, id skip both and get a softshell jacket made with schoeller fabrics . They come in basically 3 varieties, dryskin extreme as most breathable, dryskin dynamic next, and wb400 as the warmest but least breathable, but it will still still breath better than the windstopper.

    If you have no luck with that, look for jackets made with "Epic" or "Powershield Light"
    Jarery

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    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  3. #3
    Commuter Choccy's Avatar
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    I didn't know windstopper was goretex with soft stuff attached but to say it is less breathable than eVent is ridiculous. I have Goretex Paclite, Goretex XCR, Gore Windstopper and eVent jackets and the Windstopper is the only one that is truly breathable. I did check the site and is says nothing about a Goretex membrane but it does say they use a windstopper membrane. I wish people would check the facts before giving advice or actually try the products they describe.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Choccy View Post
    I didn't know windstopper was goretex with soft stuff attached but to say it is less breathable than eVent is ridiculous. I have Goretex Paclite, Goretex XCR, Gore Windstopper and eVent jackets and the Windstopper is the only one that is truly breathable. I did check the site and is says nothing about a Goretex membrane but it does say they use a windstopper membrane. I wish people would check the facts before giving advice or actually try the products they describe.
    Windstopper is made with a membrane, from Gore-tex. The difference is with their windstopper product line they leave off the PU coating and dont seal the seams. They also no longer call it waterproof. Whereas event material is still 100% waterproof.

    Breathability : Breathability measured in a lab is done with a measurement of MVTR. Patagonia has a great scale where they use the MVTR measurement as a % of naked. Where 100% is how you will feel sitting naked in your living room at 72 degrees. ( i might have the temp wrong).
    eVent material = 43%
    Windstopper material = 37%

    Air Permiability: A measure of the amount of air that can pass through the material.
    eVent material = 0.3 cfm
    Windstopper material = 0 cfm to 0.3 cfm depending on source

    Those are the facts that I can find regarding the materials. From those facts I come to my conclusions. I dont think they are that rediculous as you claim. They both have the same permiability, with event having slightly higher MVTR, so i said that event is more breathable. They are two different catagories of jackets. One is a 100% waterproof shell, the other is a hardshell membrane laminated into a softshell jacket. Ones waterproof, ones warmer.
    Jarery

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    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  5. #5
    scourge of the motorists
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    Thanks for the advice. I think I'm gonna go with the WINDSTOPPER. Its a little less expensive than other varieties and I'm mostly interested in staying warm, since I also intend to do a century a month. It also has the pit zips, so I think its worth it.

    Thanks again

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    Warmth is not the important property for the shell. Breathability and water resistance are. THe purpose of the jacket is to act as a barrier to the elements. Use breathable and wicking layered insulation underneath the jacket to adjust to the temperature. I've heard a lot of good things about the eVent fabric but I have a Gore hardshell Windstopper jacket that works very well and was reasonably priced. The more breathable softshell jackets are not as warm as they let more cool air pass through but are preferable if you can stay warm enough in them without putting on too many layers underneath. In my opinion if you have more than three layers it's hard to get anykind of breathability so in most situations you only want one or two layers beneath the jacket. Also, when riding at below freezing temperatures water resistance is less important than breathability.

  7. #7
    Commuter Choccy's Avatar
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    I have found that hardshells like the eVent and Goretex Paclite stay cold in cold weather whereas Windstopper doesn't hold the cold air.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Choccy View Post
    I have found that hardshells like the eVent and Goretex Paclite stay cold in cold weather whereas Windstopper doesn't hold the cold air.
    Hold the cold air? I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

    Hardshells like goretex and event are just that, shells meant to protect you from the elements such as rain, snow, wind, sleet. Theres a concept called layering, check it out. Where you wear a base layer to remove moisture from your skin, then wear a thermal layer for warmth, then add the shell if needed to stop the elements. Thats what event and goretex materials do, and event does it much better than gore-tex.

    Windstopper is a hardshell stuck inside softshell material and adds so much warmth that for most cyclists its way too warm in temps above freezing. If your buying it to wear in sub zero temps then its failings are overcome by the cold since you would have to add another thermal layer anyways. But i'd still recommend more breathable materials like schoeller wb400 in that case.
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Choccy View Post
    I have found that hardshells like the eVent and Goretex Paclite stay cold in cold weather whereas Windstopper doesn't hold the cold air.
    This is true but it doesn't matter. The shell is not supposed to be next to your skin. It's purpose is to let the insulating layers do thier job. It helps keep the insulating layers warm by slowing down the air exchange with the cold surrounding air. That is why the less breathable it is the warmer it is. But of course if it's not breathable enough you will be wetter from your sweat and eventually may get cold from that. Or not depending on how much heat you are generating.

  10. #10
    Commuter Choccy's Avatar
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    OK let me try to explain. I used to ride to work with a tight fitting base layer, a technical fleece and an eVent jacket. This kept me warm and dry, although at low temperatures it's not normal wet. Then I purchased a Gore Windstopper and found that in the same temperatures I only had to wear that and the base layer.

    I'll try to explain in a simple term, imagine it was freezing outside and you picked up a peice of metal and a peice of wood, which would feel colder in your hand after a couple of minutes. In the case of the materials Gore Windstopper would be the peice of wood and eVent would be the peice of metal.

    As Jarery explained Windstopper is a hardshell stuck inside a softshell, just like a thermal layer under and hardshell is stuck under the hardshell. Windstopper is the same concept but without the need to layer. Also if you do not beleive Windstopper just check out the local roadies to see what they wear during their winter training.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Windstopper is Gore trying to get a piece of the softshell market. And with their huge financial backing and marketing campaign they do quite well.

    The softshell concept is where a single fabric replaces the thermal layer and the outer shell (in all but pouring rain) with a single piece. Softshells offer warmth, breathability and weather protection such that they can be worn over a huge range of temperatures and conditions. Schoeller makes a lot of materials that excell in this area, as do a couple other manufacturers.

    Softshells typically are not 100% waterproof. They offer almost waterproof, almost windproof, but great breathability so they can be used in a wider range of temps.

    Gore decided they wanted a piece of the market, so they made windstopper which doesnt breath as well as a softshell, and since it cant breath it gets warm, real warm. So they even make a new term called "next to skin" and tell people its so good you dont need a base layer, wear just the jacket. When the reality is it breaths so little you overheat with anything but the material itself. Which then reduces the comfortable range of temperatures it can be used in.

    If your happy with it, thats great. Buy whatever works for you. I prefer to use both an actual softshell during most days, and proven layering with thin layers on other days. Trying to combine softshell and hardshell into one just doesnt do it for me.

    But they do make great fitting and great looking jackets with it. Most of the good materials seem to be used by companies with poor styling.
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  12. #12
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i can strongly endorse the use of Gore N2S windstopper beanies as helmet liners. N2S makes a most excellent head covering.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  13. #13
    Commuter Choccy's Avatar
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    I think Jarery we may have got materials mixed up because the top I use is not N2S or Goretex Softshell but Windstopper. I do have a Goretex Softshell and you are right in that it doesn't breath as well as eVent, nor as well as Goretex Paclite. I have not tried Schoeller yet but that is also a material I would like to use, but as far as eVent being breathable I just don't see it myself and I have used it for well over 18 months now, but it keeps you dry.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Choccy View Post
    I did check the site and is says nothing about a Goretex membrane but it does say they use a windstopper membrane. I wish people would check the facts before giving advice or actually try the products they describe.
    If your happy with windstopper thats great, im happy for you. But no im not confused, you were the one who didnt know that windstopper was a goretex membrane, then tell others to check their facts.

    My final comment is if your wearing a base layer, plus a fleece, plus a hardshell and cycling, its no wonder you think it doesnt breath well, your overdressed unless its well below freezing. Down to freezing all one needs to wear is a base, a long sleeve jersey, and a shell. Or a base and a softshell.
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

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