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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 10-19-09, 05:43 PM   #1
LeftFieldBrewer
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F/W/S jacket:Hard vs Soft

Hola,

I've been looking for a jacket for a bit, and thought I had decided on a Showers Pass of some sort, but lack of serious rain and approaching cold temps have me thinking Soft shell. I'm in central Michigan and the spring and fall are usually pretty wet, however my current work commute is only about 2.5 miles and general trips around town are less than 10 miles from home.

So, I got to thinking that $250 is a lot to spend on a jacket that I'll only wear a few times a year(looks pretty good, but still a bit Fred off the bike). Honestly, if its pouring, I generally wait till it dies down a bit, or drive when not just heading to work. But everyone seems to love their gear.

Then there are the Softshells; so many fabrics, so confusing. I was looking initially at Foxwear, but all Lou had in PowerShield was black and said couldn't get any bright colors(yellow specifically). I did see a jacket at STP that caught my eye for the price(http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/1...l-For-Men.html). I had thought about applying DWR to it, and calling it a deal. However, the Schoeller 3XDRI seems to have better water resistance, allowing less breathability. Then there are a host of others which are hard to find info about.

Any opinions on the best all round fabric? I want the best water resistance with decent breathability. I What are some jackets to look to? How much better wind/water resistance are the Softshells vs. merino top? I know the wool will provide the warmth needed, but not sure how much weather resistance they provide.I saw a Patagonia Wool 4 pullover for $60, so that was tempting.

Please help. Thanks

Ben
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Old 10-21-09, 06:35 AM   #2
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Then there are the Softshells; so many fabrics, so confusing. I was looking initially at Foxwear, but all Lou had in PowerShield was black and said couldn't get any bright colors(yellow specifically).

Please help. Thanks

Ben
This is the best. If you want yellow wear a safety vest over it. Powershield blocks most of the wind and Lou will put a breathable material on the back and some reflective striping. Carry a rain jacket when it rains hard. This is the way I roll. No complaints at all, commute everyday by bike.
If rain was the main problem I would go a different route but I find winter cold/wind my main issues and Lou's jacket is the answer.
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Old 10-22-09, 07:16 PM   #3
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Why don't you order the Shower's Pass rain jacket and use that as your winter jacket?

That's what I do. I know several other people do the same thing.

The Elite 2.0 jacket is very windproof. Seriously, it's really awesome. I cannot begin to tell you how much more comfortable I was riding in the winter with a truly windproof jacket than I was with my sorta windproof-front REI biking jacket.

As for softshells, there are 2 categories -

1. Truly windproof softshells, like the ones made out of Windstopper. Thing is, they're made out of a "breathable" membrane that often comes with waterproof breathable gear, only without the seam sealing for waterproofness. Windstopper, for example, is apparently just a form of goretex. I felt like a full jacket wouldn't be any more breathable than my shower's pass jacket, so I might as well be waterproof as well.

They do make versions with a more breathable back, but I think that significantly reduces their water resistance.

2. Softshells that are more breathable but only wind resistant. I don't think that losing wind resistant is a good tradeoff, IMO.


If you feel that you sweat a lot more than other people than perhaps the second category of softshell would be best for you. The Shower's Pass jacket is breathable, but it's not super breathable. It won't be much good above 50-60 degrees as it just gets to hot and stuffy.

But I really rather like my shower's pass jacket for winter riding. I have some complaints - the cuffs at the end of the arms aren't as waterproof as they should be. And I had to get an Extra Large to be long enough for me, so sizing can be an issue.

But I wouldn't go back to anything less than windproof for winter riding. And this way you get a rain jacket *and* a winter jacket. You just don't have to worry that you'll get caught in the rain, either, as the jacket is definitely waterproof.
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Old 10-24-09, 03:05 PM   #4
DESchindel
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$230 for the Elite 2.0 is pretty steep. I'm looking for a jacket that's windproof and breathable - I'll layer with running gear to regulate temperature. How do people like lower-end jackets like the Showers Pass Club or the Gore Windstopper, both under $100? What would I be giving up?
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Old 10-24-09, 07:15 PM   #5
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$230 for the Elite 2.0 is pretty steep. I'm looking for a jacket that's windproof and breathable - I'll layer with running gear to regulate temperature. How do people like lower-end jackets like the Showers Pass Club or the Gore Windstopper, both under $100? What would I be giving up?
Both will make you sweat. I have a gore windstopper vest and love it. BUT never use it when I do high aerobic activities. I like it for hiking, after I exercise(I climb and when I come down from climbing a route I put it on), It is also good when standing around at a campground. When I ride I want good wind protection and breathability....Powershield...Foxwear does it.
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Old 10-31-09, 12:46 PM   #6
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This is the best. If you want yellow wear a safety vest over it. Powershield blocks most of the wind and Lou will put a breathable material on the back and some reflective striping. Carry a rain jacket when it rains hard. This is the way I roll. No complaints at all, commute everyday by bike.
If rain was the main problem I would go a different route but I find winter cold/wind my main issues and Lou's jacket is the answer.
Thanks for this tip, Balto Charlie. I'm corresponding with Lou about a jacket with reflective trim and a bright yellow breathable back and side panels. Who's going to see the black front anyway when I'm riding, right?
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