The outer layer should be wind proof/wind resistant. Make sure you get something that can breathe as opposed to being completely wind or rain proof. The outer layer can be just a shell. Fleece is good as a middle layer. A wool or other wicking material can be used for the base layer. The base layer should be relatively thin and fit close to the skin but not so tight that it restricts circulation.
It doesn't matter so much what activities the layers were intended for. Often cycling specific stuff is expensive and not typically designed for really cold weather, but, like anything else it can be used in combination with other garments in layers to achieve the necessary warmth.
The only thing I need that's cycling specific is something with a chamois (pad). Some folks get by fine without one, and I won't bother with one if I'm only riding a few miles.
So in the winter I don't wear anything cycling specific on my upper body. For my lower body I'll wear padded cycling shorts or tights under another layer. I do have a set of Pearl Izumi Amfib bib tights but don't use them that often. I prefer a pair Craft X-Country ski windproof tights over cycling tights or shorts. They have an articulated knee that flexes easier than the Amfibs and they're not as noisy. ;-)
I have the EVap coat. It looks just like what Lou has on his web site: (see www.foxwear.net - Products - Jackets - E Vap coat. I have the newer style coat that has the full zipper. I also went with Yellow (Topaz). I can't remember what the material is, but it is fuzzy on the oustide and smooth on the inside. The main body is nearly 100% wind proof, yet it lets sweat out. The black stips you see are made of a more breathable material and that realy keep you comfy. You can get fancier looking wind proof fleece coats at the local sporting goods store, but not for $85 and custom made you.
I think riding conditions (where you live) and how far and hard you ride is important to answer this. I do not ride hard and far in the winter, and his area is cold (max this winter so far is -32*C). In cold weather my riding is more like pooteling, and most of the time it is in a jacket and trousers made for downhill skiing / snowboarding.
Also I do not undrstand that peopel like fleece. I like wool
The optimal outer shell for winter cycling should include:
1. wind/water resistance
2. pit zips
3. rear vent
4. adjustable cuffs
5. high collar
Layer beneath appropriate for the temperature.
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
no but I've been eyeballing those snowboarding pants! probably a bit heavy for cycling, but I like a lot of what I've seen in terms of materials and features. I'll bet the same is true of snowboarding jackets - probably close to good for cycling but maybe too heavy and not long enough in the back? I also like the "styling" of snowboarding - a bit more fun than uptight roadwear
Last edited by rumrunn6; 02-18-10 at 08:48 AM.
cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting
Big ole negative on the ski/board jacket....will be miserably and and extremely hot, won't breathe and will be too bulky. For skiing i use a north face gore tex shell and even that is too bulky and doesn't breathe well enough when I wear it on the bike.
Think more along the lines of this....http://www.nearbynow.com/product/301...osee_3014840_1....When commuting I rock an older one and the only gripes I have is a lack of velcro on the cuffs, and it kinda rides up when I'm in the drops Stops damn near all the wind, virtually all snow short of a blizzard of thick heavy wet crap, and light to just below moderate rain. Throw on a thin under armor type base layer or/and a north face vaporwick long sleeve t-shirt, a layer of street clothes; usually a tshirt/nice shirt combo or occasionally a sweater and I'm good to go for all but the most extreme winter weather. I always throw a cheapo windbreaker in my bag for extremely wet and super cold weather. Ive used the windbreaker probably less than a dozen times this winter, many times only for a mile or two until i get too hot and I ride 5-7 days a week. Its all about layers man, you could get buy with a windbreaker if you have the right layers. This is my second winter with basically the same set up and I haven't encountered any weather I wouldn't ride in.
Disclaimer: I'm of Norwegian and Swedish ancestry, I love winter and I can generate some body heat I tell ya, especially when I get going, and well I think Ricky Bobby said it best...
^^^^^In regards to the post above about snowboarding pants, 3 words...way too baggy. Also too hot, i use the vents on a regular basis while skiing. Also too long as they are made to be worn with big boots, and even with my ski boots on the bottoms still drag and get dirty. Well at least mine would be(park oriented Burtons), and I'm pretty sure if your talking about the style of them your thinking of the park oriented equipment; the baggy flashy stuff.
Last edited by ebrake; 02-23-10 at 03:28 PM.
I only wear my ski jacket if it's below -30C, and that's mostly psychological... I still end up getting too hot.
I wear the REI Taku shell. It is great for cycling. It has a longer back, long sleeves, big pit zips and is not cycle-wear hideous*. The collar/hood are not ideal - sort of bulky, but on those rare occasions when I need a hood - like a in a downpour - the hood works really well, so I'm not (officially) complaining about it. One of the nice things about using this shell is that not only is it great for winter, but it serves as an excellent rain jacket as well.
*uh, of course I do make it ugly by wearing a reflective safety vest over it while riding, but that comes off and stows easily so if I'm going anywhere else in public where my ego won't let me look like a bike clown, I can and do take off the vest and I instantly switch from High Vis Safety Dork to city uniform black.
I use a 30/15 K rated hard shell snowboard jacket. Its pretty light and tight fitted. Perfect for riding in the rain.