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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 11-05-10, 09:23 AM   #1
geraldatwork
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Light Weight Winter Jacket

I am looking for an inexpensive (which is relative) lighter weight winter jacket, mostly for road riding but some mountain. I ride down to about 25-30 degrees. My rides in the winter are about 50 miles. My main concerns are wind blockage and transfer of sweat.

I have a heavy weight jacket made out of some poly material. Great with one base layer down to 30 degrees but when I take it off at a rest stop the inside is soaking wet. I mostly use a wind break shell which does have some ventilation. However down to 25-30 degrees I need 3+ base layers and is still a little wetter inside than I prefer.
thanks
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Old 11-05-10, 10:16 AM   #2
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I like my Foxwear Evap jacket. Made in Idaho by Lou. Great price($88.00), excellent fit. I had mine made of PowerShield front and shoulders and PowderStretch for lower back and underarms. PowerShield stops 99% of the wind and light rain while PowderStretch vents well. You can custom design it to your needs. Email him with your sizeand conditions, he'll give you ideas.
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Old 11-05-10, 10:29 AM   #3
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I use a pearl izumi shell with no insulation. It stops wind well, is fairly light, and it was cheap. This will be its 4th winter. And it's useful during the year for light rain (we really don't get much heavy rain here).

I do recommend a shell over a jacket with insulation. Everyone makes one, they're quite easy to find. I recommend avoiding hilighter yellow, it's fine on the bike but you feel weird everytime you wear it off the bike.
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Old 11-05-10, 11:19 AM   #4
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+1 on the Foxwear jacket. Lou makes great stuff for very reasonable prices.
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Old 11-05-10, 11:35 AM   #5
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This question comes up about every other day -- do a search.

Light weight fabrics: Down feathers and fleeces are probably the lightest. I sometimes wear a fleece vest that I got for $14 at TJ Max or something....works just as good as anything a bike shop sells.

Down vest will probably burn you up, but it's probably the lightest material that provides the most warmth.

You don't need a jacket that costs $100+ from a bike-specific brand -- most of those are flimsy pieces of crap. I remember tearing a PI jacket that cost like $50 just by walking past a tree.
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Old 11-05-10, 01:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. As to search functions, on all or most of the forums a "multiple word search" (words between quotes) is not possible like on all of the search engines. At least I don't know how to do it. For example I wanted to do a search on a "Trek 6000" bike and I get results of Trek or 6000 which is totally useless.
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Old 11-05-10, 05:50 PM   #7
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+1 on Lou's foxwear. I'll save you the searching: http://www.foxwear.net/
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Old 11-05-10, 06:03 PM   #8
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base layer under a cycling rain jacket. zip necks on both and you're all set.
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Old 11-05-10, 08:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geraldatwork View Post
I am looking for an inexpensive (which is relative) lighter weight winter jacket, mostly for road riding but some mountain. I ride down to about 25-30 degrees. My rides in the winter are about 50 miles. My main concerns are wind blockage and transfer of sweat.

I have a heavy weight jacket made out of some poly material. Great with one base layer down to 30 degrees but when I take it off at a rest stop the inside is soaking wet. I mostly use a wind break shell which does have some ventilation. However down to 25-30 degrees I need 3+ base layers and is still a little wetter inside than I prefer.
thanks
Any goretex or similar cycling jacket will work. They are not insulated so you adjust that by what you wear under it. Lot's of people like the Foxwear Evap jacket as has been mentioned. I think the Evap jacket is made from eVent which is better but more expensive than Goretex. Most jackets made from eVent are over 200 dollars but the Evap jacket is more like 100-120 dollars as I recall. A good deal for an eVent jacket. Gore also makes good cycling jacket at a reasonable price point.

You have too many base layers on. You should never need more than 3 total layers. The first one use a very breathable open weave wicking long sleeve undershirt. Ski long johns are cheap and work great. Make sure they are not cotton. Use a polar fleece or wool long sleeve middle layer then your cycling jacket. Make sure the middle layer is not the kind of fleece that has a membrane in it. The cheap stuff works better for insulation layer since it breaths better and also wicks better. An open weave wool sweater will probably work good as the middle layer too.

Also, you need to be realistic. If you ride hard you will never stay totally dry in winter. But you can stay comfortable.

Last edited by Hezz; 11-05-10 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 11-06-10, 05:47 AM   #10
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Make sure they are not cotton.
Why, because you'll be riding across Greenland for days without a place to take shelter? Seriously, cotton works fine. I actually prefer it. I ride year 'round in it -- here in DC it was about a 17F (morning in January) to 104F temp range in 2009 from extreme to extreme. Yeah, if you get it sweaty-as-heck it draws heat from the body (which makes it great in the summer BTW), but if you just use light layers and are willing to START OUT COLD you'll never build any sweat and you'll have nothing to "wick" away.

Plus it's cheap and doesn't smell like crap during use (like most synthetics do). Plus you probably have dozens of t-shirts already.

Or go into your LBS and buy a lot of name-brand, overpriced plastic, sold by well-meaning people who likely don't ride 4 months of the year. Just stay away from open flames and woody vegetation.
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Old 11-06-10, 06:16 AM   #11
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Assos Airjack 851, not real cheap ($350ish) but real warm, real comfortable, real high (superb) quality.
I'm going out right now for my 30+ miler with it at 34 degrees.
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Old 11-06-10, 06:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
I like my Foxwear Evap jacket. Made in Idaho by Lou. Great price($88.00), excellent fit. I had mine made of PowerShield front and shoulders and PowderStretch for lower back and underarms. PowerShield stops 99% of the wind and light rain while PowderStretch vents well. You can custom design it to your needs. Email him with your sizeand conditions, he'll give you ideas.
+1 on the Foxwear gear. It's top notch quality at extremely affordable prices. I simply love all my Foxwear gear.

http://www.foxwear.net/index.html
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Old 11-06-10, 07:19 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
Why, because you'll be riding across Greenland for days without a place to take shelter? Seriously, cotton works fine. I actually prefer it. I ride year 'round in it -- here in DC it was about a 17F (morning in January) to 104F temp range in 2009 from extreme to extreme. Yeah, if you get it sweaty-as-heck it draws heat from the body (which makes it great in the summer BTW), but if you just use light layers and are willing to START OUT COLD you'll never build any sweat and you'll have nothing to "wick" away.

Plus it's cheap and doesn't smell like crap during use (like most synthetics do). Plus you probably have dozens of t-shirts already.

Or go into your LBS and buy a lot of name-brand, overpriced plastic, sold by well-meaning people who likely don't ride 4 months of the year. Just stay away from open flames and woody vegetation.
I guess people are different. I find almost everything you said untrue in my case... except for the part about having dozens of t-shirts already.
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Old 11-06-10, 09:39 AM   #14
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wool is the only way

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I guess people are different. I find almost everything you said untrue in my case... except for the part about having dozens of t-shirts already.
Look for a merino wool/synthetic blend cycling jersey. Used in the past and was the standard cycling garb for the professionals. Wicks well, wool can hold up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet. If you wear cotton as a base layer and start to perspire, make sure you keep riding, or you'll chill to the bone. Not my first choice even tho I have lots of cotton t-shirts. Helly Hanson makes an expensive underware combo that is used by rig workers up north that is reported to work pretty good. No 1st hand experience tho. Wool under a good wind breaker makes it for me.
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Old 11-06-10, 10:36 AM   #15
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Why, because you'll be riding across Greenland for days without a place to take shelter?
Brah, hypothermia can set in at any temperature below body temperature. I always hear the stat thrown around that more people die of hypothermia in the summer than in the winter, which i know is true for Mt. Washington, at least. And this isn't even taking personal comfort into account. If cotton works for you, swell, but other folks have reasons for going with synthetic/wool that have nothing to do with style.

The OP: Generally speaking cheap shells don't breathe, so they'll hold water like a bucket, ventilation or no. A baselayer (to echo an earlier poster, you should only have one) only draws moisture away from the skin. If there's no breathability in your overlayer, you'll marinate, especially so if you have more than one. The generally accepted layering convention is a wicking layer and a wind blocking layer, with an insulating layer (e.g. down) in between for really cold temps.

I'm a personal fan of Gore Windstopper, which is both windproof and breathable. I have an Arc'teryx Gamma MX, which is pricey, but you can find jackets here for < $100 (example). You also get 10% off everything with a membership.

It might also help to know what sort of riding you're doing, i.e. how long and how strenuous.
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Old 11-07-10, 12:27 PM   #16
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Columbia makes a lot of great jackets, i just bought a rain shell i plan on using this winter i just bought it a little big so i have room to layer, last year i used an adidas golf shell that also worked pretty good, though being in idaho there are those days where i can't get away with just a shell <20f days. Ive already used my new rain shell a few times and its really breathable, very water proof and wind proof.
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Old 11-07-10, 07:11 PM   #17
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Thanks everyone. I picked up an Pearl Imuzi "Elite Thermal Barrier Jacket" from one of my local shops. I paid $120 which is more than I wanted to spend but tried on a few different jackets from some local shops and this one fit the best which is important. The front chest, shoulders and arms has a wind resistant barrier and the backs a knitted fabric. Tried it out on my Sat ride of 58 miles here in the NY area. It wasn't quite as warm as I wanted but I can always adjust the base layers. It transferred sweat pretty well.
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Old 11-13-10, 08:19 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
Why, because you'll be riding across Greenland for days without a place to take shelter? Seriously, cotton works fine. I actually prefer it. I ride year 'round in it -- here in DC it was about a 17F (morning in January) to 104F temp range in 2009 from extreme to extreme. Yeah, if you get it sweaty-as-heck it draws heat from the body (which makes it great in the summer BTW), but if you just use light layers and are willing to START OUT COLD you'll never build any sweat and you'll have nothing to "wick" away.

Plus it's cheap and doesn't smell like crap during use (like most synthetics do). Plus you probably have dozens of t-shirts already.

Or go into your LBS and buy a lot of name-brand, overpriced plastic, sold by well-meaning people who likely don't ride 4 months of the year. Just stay away from open flames and woody vegetation.
I'll second the notion not to use cotton. It soaks up the sweat and stays wet. A real disaster if you have to stop or are out for any significant amount of time. While I'm a newbie at biking I've been a distance runner all my life and ran outside in temps well under -20 routinely. Cotton is without a doubt the wrong choice in cold weather. Today's Coolmax and other type wicking tee shirts are easy and cheap to find and move the sweat off your skin. Many a winter day I'd finish with the outside of my clothing coated in ice but perfectly warm and dry on the inside thanks to the wicking fabrics. I cannot honestly think of any good reason to wear cotton as a base layer.
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