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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 10-05-09, 11:05 AM   #1
milnerpt
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Jacket recommendations

As it gets cooler, windier, and wetter here in Seattle, I am trying to get some personal recommendations on jackets. Every review I read is on some older version of a jacket no longer sold.

Generally, I was looking at something to block wind, water resistant in temps around 40 deg. Fit seems to be an issue for me, because being a tall lanky guy, often things end up a little short, or worse yet, the XL is a baggy sail because of the width.

I was hoping to stick to the 150ish range... but flexible....
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Old 10-05-09, 03:17 PM   #2
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Wool. It's what I wear in damp crappy conditions like you describe. I'm not some retro nut on the issue, but I have had better success with that than even high quality softshells (which are great, but bang for buck not as great).
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Old 10-05-09, 04:57 PM   #3
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I'll probably be buying a Noth Face softshell in a little while. I'm pretty anxiously looking forward to the winter. I'm not sure how cold it gets where you are, but this morning was ~40 degrees and I was still wearing shorts and a fleece pullover.

It seems like the most important thing is being wind/waterproof so you can just have your bodyheat keep you warm.
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Old 10-05-09, 05:21 PM   #4
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I'll probably be buying a Noth Face softshell in a little while. I'm pretty anxiously looking forward to the winter. I'm not sure how cold it gets where you are, but this morning was ~40 degrees and I was still wearing shorts and a fleece pullover.

It seems like the most important thing is being wind/waterproof so you can just have your bodyheat keep you warm.
I do wear wool jerseys, and I do love them... but short sleeves with wool armwarmers isnt enough, mostly because of the wind whipping through it. it gets high 30s low 40s at worst, so, yes, I am just looking atsome wind/waterproof soft shells.

Went out and tried some on... I think fit will be key to something nice. No matter what size,the Castelli fit awful. I like the slim fit, but length is a hugh issue (6'3" long torso). Seems like the GORE brand fit much better length as a L. Castelli XL is still showing my gut, and starting to feel baggy/loose elsewhere.

GORE tool and phantom seemed pretty nice.... realcyclist has a deal to include a free pair of gore mistral gloves too....
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Old 10-06-09, 12:06 AM   #5
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Gore Bike Wear is very high quality in my experience. I got a Function II / Windstopper jacket which works fine in light rain and shorter rides. Nashbar is still selling this 2007-08 model, cheap.

Look for pitzips. Also front pockets with mesh backing, which can be opened for core venting. Two-way front zip (bottom-up unzipping) is a plus. Velcro-adjustable cuff venting is a plus.

For tall options, I'd check out LL Bean #1, also Cabelas and REI.
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Old 10-06-09, 10:57 AM   #6
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it gets high 30s low 40s at worst, so, yes, I am just looking atsome wind/waterproof soft shells.
I realize everyone's metabolism & perception of what is "cold" is different, but fwiw I have never found a jacket that was comfortable for high 30s low 40s riding; they're all too warm and/or don't breath enough. Then I just wind up sweating inside my little sealed microclimate like a greenhouse.

For high 30s low 40s I'll wear a medium-weight long sleeve jersey (either a Pearl Izumi Kodiak, or an Ibex Amparo) with a Sugoi wind vest and some sort of base layer.

I don't bring out my winter cycling jackets until the temps hit freezing.
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Old 10-06-09, 11:27 AM   #7
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its a two- tiered approach - water resistant shell, and a compact waterproof.

the water resistant shell you wear 80-90 percent of the time in seattle but you ocassionally need a totally waterproof jacket.

some people like barrier fleeces like windstopper but its' expensive. simpler still to layer underneath a quality shell like the MEC super microfit jacket from canadian mountain equipment co-op or a pearl izumi optik or whatever they call their lightweight shell.

then, any any old raincoat for the truly wet days.

i like wool with a shell over top, currently trying EPIC encapsulated fabrics.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:23 PM   #8
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I got a Novara Express shell that's working well. It was last Fall's model on sale for ~$80 I think. Current model is $150. Front and back pockets, pit zips, drop flap, water proof, and wind proof.
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Old 10-06-09, 09:23 PM   #9
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Alright, off to REI I go to ty out a few of their shells/soft shells.

I guess my brain is telling me just to get a windproof shell to go over all my wool gear, but my cycling fetish is telling me get something expensive and nice for my birthday...

trying to convince myself.... the phantom sleeves (can open pit zippers, or completely take the sleeves off and make it a SHORT sleeve jacket...

at least Im not looking to blow my wad on assos....
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Old 10-06-09, 09:50 PM   #10
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I'm in Bellingham, my commute is about 7 miles towards Ferndale. Thru October I was pretty happy using an Endura fluorescent jacket as the outter shell. I would layer up underneath, working from a long sleeved cotton polo when it's in the high 50s and thermals and then polypro base layers as it got colder. The Endura jacket did well in the rain, the cinch around the neck kept rain off my neck, and the zippers under the armpits are useful.

(I was commuting as cold as 34F. My main drawback last winter was the lack of a baklava and proper glove layers. Jacket and layering below didn't fail me.)
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Old 10-07-09, 10:54 AM   #11
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at least Im not looking to blow my wad on assos....

Wrong tool for the job: The Assos jackets aren't particularly water-resistant, but they are exceedingly warm for their weight...too warm for the "high 30s/low 40s" you mentioned earlier.

But on a dry 25F day they are freakin' amazing. Well worth wad-blowing.
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Old 10-07-09, 02:26 PM   #12
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Endura products are excellent. Not easy to find in the US.
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Old 10-07-09, 02:45 PM   #13
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OP, you missed a great year for winter kit. Last fall with the recession onset, there were hoards of discounts in October and November on jackets due to perceived overstocks and retailers' fears they'd be stuck. I found some great ones, Mountain Hardware and Marmot (Windstopper softshells w/ pitzips, Gore-Tex Pro hardshell) and now, 50 pounds lighter, I'd love the same deals in a smaller size. Not happening.
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Old 10-07-09, 03:28 PM   #14
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Showers Pass Double Century
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Old 10-07-09, 06:36 PM   #15
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Well, after trying on another dozen or so, I think I have settled on the GORE phantom as a soft shell.... Im thinking of looking for a lightweight/pitzip/compressable shell for rain as well. Seems like most stuff fits akward, or feels designed for commuters (anything baggy just feels awful to me, and 6'3" 180 I need length)

REI sales start friday, but all of their jackets do not feel very comfortable at all. Performance had a few shells that also fit funny or looked cheap. I really wish someone still sold the GORE Cross shell, as it sounds like what I want, but am afraid it will fit too short... anyone sport one?

I didnt look at the Marmot/Mountain hardrocks mostly because I was in the wrong section but I wouldnt think they are much of a cycling cut (extra length in the sleeve and back). The showers pass didnt fit my type very well either....

the big question is... do I buy the gore Phantom for $110 from a no nome place, 125 from REI (forever return policy) or realcyclist for 170 and score some GORE Mistral gloves in the process....
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Old 10-08-09, 07:11 PM   #16
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Well, after trying on another dozen or so, I think I have settled on the GORE phantom as a soft shell....

the big question is... do I buy the gore Phantom for $110 from a no nome place, 125 from REI (forever return policy) or realcyclist for 170 and score some GORE Mistral gloves in the process....
I'm going through the same decision process re: jackets. I am leaning towards Phantom also, probably through REI. I am wondering how the jackets size...I am right past the outer edge of Medium according to the Chest measurement on the size chart, but have a 32" waist and worry about the large running too big. I've read the sleeves run long, but no indication on the rest of the jacket/
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Old 10-08-09, 08:25 PM   #17
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Honestly, your best bet is to find a place to try on on. Even with GORE, it seems some things I am a L, some an XL (even taking in their consideration of relaxed vs form fit or however they talk about it).

A L fits me well in the chest and arm length, but the rear length seems a bit short. XL is fine in the back, a litte long in the arm, but too wide in the chest. Im leaning to the Large at 6'3" 185 with a long torso
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Old 10-08-09, 09:45 PM   #18
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I just got a North Face Swift Hybrid jacket in XXL. It comes with monkey thumbs so for someone who normally wears tall gear, it's an excellent fit. The jacket isn't advertised as cycling wear, but it designed like one. Insulated from, thinner back for ventilation and even a zipper pocket in the rear.
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Old 10-09-09, 06:07 AM   #19
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Don't waste your money on cycling specific stuff! I learned this lesson after years of buying stuff and finding that something else I already had worked better, or at least as good.

Find a cheap windbreaker that is long enough to cover yourself...works fine.
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Old 10-09-09, 12:49 PM   #20
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I just bought an Xtreme Visibility jacket. The 2-tone bomber. These folks service the construction industry so it's not bike specific. http://www.xtremevisibility.com/outerwear.html They make them in "tall" sizes which gets you extra butt and wrist cover. It's very light and warm with 150 grams of thinsulate but not as breathable as Gore. Not as expensive either. I paid 76 bucks. I'm thinking of sewing in a couple of zippers in the pits but even stock, it feels good. I rode with the jacket and a tee shirt this morning, 31 degrees and 9-11 MPH wind. Actually overheated. Arms got sweaty but felt no cold.

Last edited by bpeder; 10-09-09 at 12:51 PM. Reason: Add jacket type
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Old 10-09-09, 12:52 PM   #21
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I am also looking for a waterproof outer jacket and pants. My primary need is for commuting-gotta stay dry in my work clothes-so I have been looking online, but it's hard to buy online when you cannot try it on. I have difficulty shopping for clothes anywhere because I am tall and thin.

I am in Chicago and the weather here can flip-flop quickly. I think the best route is to wear layers so you can add or subtract as needed, and get a thin, easy to carry- FULLY WATERPROOF jacket. Having a decent water resistant jacket is fine for light rain, but longer rides and heavier rains require something waterPROOF.

So my theory is the layers combined with a water resistant jacket, carry along a waterproof jacket battle the heavier rains.

milnerpt-tell me what you find!
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Old 10-09-09, 01:13 PM   #22
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I have both their jacket and pants and find the quality to be good. Made in the US and not China.
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Old 10-09-09, 04:36 PM   #23
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in my view you should go Gore Bike Wear...
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Old 10-10-09, 09:43 PM   #24
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in my view you should go Gore Bike Wear...
+1 You can't go wrong with Gore Bike Wear. W L Gore & Associates company, founded by an engineer, actually a Western outdooring family, perennially listed in Fortune's "100 Best Companies To Work For" (they let workers choose the managers they want to work under, the projects they want to work on...), their laminates are used by some of the most respected manufacturers. Even eVent, touted as "better than Gore-Tex" is actually Robert Gore's out-of-patent "expanded Teflon" membrane, with a different finishing treatment, and a lot of other generic breathable laminates are Gore's membrane.

I got a pair of GBW Ozon bibshorts, and was riding 50 miles a day without lubrication. I learned they were using Cytech EIT padding, which uber-expensive Assos uses, along with Campagnolo, CapoForma, DeMarchi, Etxe Ondo, Cannondale. Which is to say, Gore knows where to find good stuff even if Not Invented Here, and use it. So I got two more, plus a racing Sonic Xenon on sale, all of which are superb for comfort.

I went out today for 83 minutes in 36 F, 25+ winds, 22-25 windchill, in my GBW Windstopper jacket, with a North Face polyester base jersey and Kucharik merino midlayer.

Mountain Hardwear Windstopper beanie, Craft Storm bib tights (with "EI" pad, which I don't know if it is a Cytech EIT or knockoff), North Face Vortex II (Hyvent) gloves without the liner gloves. A nice ride.
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Old 10-11-09, 11:11 PM   #25
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I have been reading all kinds of reviews for different jackets online and I AM LOST. It seems many people have a different view on what "waterproof" means. Some reviewers of these jackets say how they stood in a storm and did not get wet and the next review will say the jacket left them soaked! I do not need a warm jacket, I like to wear hoodies under my jackets, I just want something to cover my hoody from rain/snow. I did not think this would be so complicated. I really do not want to spend over $100 on a waterproof jacket that does not protect me from rain. I do not expect that any jacket will completely protect me from a torrential downpour, but I do not want to get wet and have to work in wet clothes. Does anyone have an honest review of a reasonably waterproof shell?
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