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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 10-12-10, 06:45 PM   #1
malux
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Under Armor tights vs PI Leg Warmers

It's going to get cold here (ok, cold for Florida). About mid-50's for most mornings and some pretty cold days here and there in January.

I'd like to get something to keep my legs warm. I went to the LBS today to look at leg warmers. They have PI warmers for $45 or I can go to Sports Authority and get Under Armor tights for $50.

The LBS warned that the UA's aren't designed with multiple panels for cycling. Any thoughts/recommendations?
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Old 10-12-10, 07:49 PM   #2
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PI warmers are first rate. And, when the temperature rises you merely take them off. Very effective, very easy.

Your shop has a point about the UA cut. However, if the material is a soft thin polyester then it will likely stretch and conform pretty well. Probably fine for shorter rides. But it will not disappear like a well cut cycling garment and, on long rides the feel can become irritating. In addition, tights are not quite as easy to store in your jersey pocket.

Verdict: Get the PI armwarmers. Knee and/or leg warmers too.
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Old 10-12-10, 07:51 PM   #3
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Performance knee and arm warmers are nice, and virtually always on "sale"
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Old 10-12-10, 10:10 PM   #4
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I would also second the motion for the PI leg warmers. In your neck of the woods they will probably be more useful. In my experience UA does not use the best kind of material for cycling use. They can work as long johns under other things. But cycling tights are made of softer more stretchy material that is more wind resistant and warmer. They also bind a lot less at the knee which is very critical. A small resistance in the knee over a long ride will really sap your energy. Some bike commuters who wear casual clothes like UA tights under their jeans because they add some warmth without being too bulky or getting too hot. But as a single layer garment they do not work that well for cycling except in very mild cold conditions. I have tried them and they don't work for me in my climate. But some others have found them to work for them.

I would get the leg warmers and then another pair of dedicated cycling tights to wear over your shorts on the occasional colder days. Leg warmers are very easy to carry and remove. But they are not as warm as dedicated cycling tights. And may not be warm enough for you on 50 degree days. How often you will be riding on 50 degree days in your neck of the woods only you can decide.

Over the years I have found one thing to be very true for me. Dedicated bike wear on the legs is a must if I want to be comfortable on the bike. It is not cost effective to buy something that doesn't work well. You end up not using it. You can get deals on bike wear from Performance bike and Nashbar if you don't want to pay for the big name brands. But spending a little extra money on the leg wear is well worth it.

The place to cut costs are the insulation layers under a cycling jacket or jersey. They need not be bike specific.
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Old 10-13-10, 07:31 AM   #5
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Verdict: Get the PI armwarmers. Knee and/or leg warmers too.
Thanks all for the advice. I'll go with the PIs. I was thinking of waiting for the LGs to come in since they'll match my arm warmers (probably a stupid reason) and they're cheaper, but the PIs seem to be the way to go. I wish they weren't $45
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Old 10-14-10, 08:25 AM   #6
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Well, left work early, picked the leg warmers up. Got all ready, and....instead of being 58 this morning, it was 71. I'm not going to complain about that, and at least I'm ready
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Old 10-14-10, 03:39 PM   #7
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I personally would rather wear shorts as cold as I can since I find them less restricting. My limit is about freezing so I would not bother and save the money if I lived in Florida. But we all have different comfort ranges. This morning was chilly: 2C/35F. It's good incentive to pedal hard and get warm quickly.

Sounds like you got the bike-specific stuff, which I definitely think is good advice.
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Old 10-14-10, 03:41 PM   #8
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Any decent brand leg warmers should work.
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Old 10-14-10, 03:50 PM   #9
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well, there's a mix of issues here; tights versus leg warmers and non cycling specific tights versus cycling tights. I'd like to suggest you get both cycling tights and cycling leg warmers. since it's early start with the leg warmers. next paycheck get the tights ... :-)
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Old 10-14-10, 04:00 PM   #10
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I kind of split the difference. I ride with regular bibs and knee warmers down to 45-50F. Colder than 45F I will wear regular running tights over bibs. (And then there is the roubaix knicker option, but that's probably overkill for your situation.)
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Old 10-15-10, 02:14 PM   #11
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about 60 degrees is my limit. It was 61 this morning and i was wishing i had them on; but it was 68 when i started riding and it dropped as the sun came up, go figure! Thanks for the advice all.
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Old 10-16-10, 08:26 AM   #12
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I wish it were 60 degrees - my ride the other morning was 35!
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Old 10-16-10, 09:33 AM   #13
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Regarding tights vs legwarmers, if the temp is varying then legwarmers are more versatile. If the temp is pretty constant and leg covering is required, then tights are more comfortable (no padding, worn over bike shorts). Legwarmers can slip down on some legs.
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Old 10-16-10, 09:43 AM   #14
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It's said you Floridian's have 'thin ' blood.. You have your own standards.. But, I've known in a real northerner , it can stay in 40's all day.. If you feel the cold easily , I'd go with UnderArmour.. The convenience of legwarmers is if in the later hours of your ride, You can take them off and not overheat..
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Old 10-18-10, 09:39 AM   #15
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I wish it were 60 degrees - my ride the other morning was 35!
Sounds like my ride this morning. In a couple of months, those of us who haven't put the bike away for the season up here will think anything over freezing as downright balmy!
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Old 10-18-10, 10:17 AM   #16
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I wish it were 60 degrees - my ride the other morning was 35!
I used to live in Michigan. I put in my time. I feel for you guys up north!
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Old 10-18-10, 10:59 AM   #17
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I wore PI's this morning, it was quite magical. Kept my legs comfortable for my 30 minute commute, didn't over heat as I got going either.
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Old 10-18-10, 12:54 PM   #18
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was drooling over the fall/winter gear at REI the other day - can't wait for my next ride whenever that is. wondering if I'll ever get the studded snows back on
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Old 10-19-10, 10:53 AM   #19
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It's been in the upper 30's for my (pitch dark) morning rides. I wear my padded biking shorts with a pair of (REI) waterproof pants over them. My legs are always warm and dry.

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Old 10-25-10, 04:37 PM   #20
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I've used Under Armor brand tights over cycling shorts down to 20F and my legs were fine; the rest of me not so much...
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