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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-25-09, 10:00 AM   #1
Eclectus
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Showers Pass Users Query

I've lost 50 pounds since I bought winter kit last fall. A windbreaker/rain jacket is on my downsizing list.

The Showers Pass Elite 2.0 looks like a well-designed all-around. It uses eVent, which is Robert Gore's original EPTF membrane with a finishing treatment that reportedly maintains better breathability than Gore-Tex's polyurethane, as shown by a 2002 Army Lab study that showed eVent to have statistically nearly identical vapor permeability to Gore's untreated EPTF.

I understand that Gore. intentionally "degrades" EPTF's breathability as a tradeoff to slow sweat-oil and dirt "clogging" of EPTF's pores, and that eVent, treated with a less disruptive coating than Gore-Tex, has to be washed more often than Gore-Tex to maintain its near-native-EPTF breathability, which Nikwax products reportedly provide, and Showers Pass sells.

eVent is clerarly not perfectly breathable per se, because Showers Pass has incorporated:
dual (top and bottom)front zips, armpit zips, a back vent, and velcro wrist closures, all of which provide options to maximize bulk airflow and reduce sweat condensation.

I've used a Marmot Gore-Tex Pro shell, which works well with all of the Elite 2.0's venting except the back vent, but that's a $300+ proposition, and the Elite is $230.

My real questions are:

How is the quality of Elite's workmanship and durability in heavy daily use?

If leakage occurs, if seams split, can anyone here comment on Showers Pass's repair / replacement policies? For example, if I buy Gore-Tex from REI, LL Bean, Backcountry, the sellers offer full-satisfaction/ refund, in addition to mfrs' warrantees.

Is the Mountain Elite more durable than the Elite 2.0?

More fabric breathability and direct venting translate into the need for layering in colder weather. If I'm 6'0 and 190, should I get XL or L for layering in temps down to teens? With alpine jackets, L is sufficient for 1 polypro and 2 merino or fleece layers, (XL fit me when I was 240) but bike stuff tends to run tighter.
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Old 09-25-09, 02:29 PM   #2
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Wow, it certainly sounds like you've done some research!

I just wanted to mention 1 incorrect (or perhaps not fully understood) item in your list - thought eVent certainly isn't as breathable as, say, a non-waterproof or non-windproof fleece, the zips and such aren't necessarily there because of breathability issues.

All waterproof/breathable jackets are also windproof. This is really great for winter/late fall/early spring riding because it keeps you warm - no matter how breathable the jacket is, cutting off the cooling effect of wind on your skin (if you're biking at 15mph, the wind is on average 15mph as it pertains to you) *substantially* increases how hot you're going to get. The different kinds of venting allow you to not only vent water vapor, but also vent out hot air from inside the jacket that's been heated by your body heat. Some of these features can even be used while riding - if it's warmish out and raining, I usually leave the pit zips open. I might get a little wet through them, but I can live with a little wet but mostly dry over no rain but really hot. You can make a similar choice with the wrists closures (if it's warm enough for my hands to get wet, a little extra on the wrists won't hurt). And obviously the front zipper / back vent (back vent only works if the front zipper is open - I know from biking in below freezing!).

Personally, for cooling ability it's a tie between the back vent and the wrist closures for their ability to cool me off. I wouldn't give up the back vent. It works the most consistently. The wrist closures can work pretty well, but it's kind of a crapshoot about whether you can get them angled right to maximize airflow while still having your hands in the right place on the bars. Sometimes it works great, other times not so much - kinda random. The pit zips are actually probably the least cooling item on the jacket. I might as well have them, but they don't scoop much air in.

fyi, even the Shower's Pass jacket is to warm to wear above 60 degrees, even with all the cooling options open and being used. (Might be a higher temp if it's actually raining hard, which cools you off, but certainly not when it's not raining)

I cannot comment much on durability as I've only had my jacket and pants for less than a year. My pants ended up having a hole in them somehow (a couple, actually) but I think it was caused because I got them caught in a zipper while trying to stuff them in a bag (it's definitely a "something tore them", not a manufacturing defect).

The Mountain Elite has more durable shoulders, like where backpack straps would come into contact with your shoulders. I've seen both - I think the rest of the jacket is the same.

I'm 6"0 and 195 pounds myself. The Large jacket fit me (width-wise) great. There was room for some extra clothing underneath it for sure. You won't be putting *nearly* as much clothing on under the jacket as you think you will, because of the previously mentioned windblocking properties of the jacket, combined with the fact that you're exercising and generating heat from your body that way.

If you're just wearing "whatever" underneath the jacket, I think the Large (width-wise) totally has enough room. If you're actually dressing up specifically for cold weather biking, there will be *NO* problem fitting stuff under the jacket. I once wore out just my jacket + midweight smartwool long underwear top at 32 degrees Fahrenheight. I was practically dying of heat exhaustion. Seriously. I had to open *everything* up, and put the front zipper halfway down to get back to a temperature that was *cool enough* to ride in. Now, when it's 5 degrees F out I wear more (an additional smartwool sweater) but the jacket was still plenty big.

For sizing, however, I personally am 6"0 and 195 pounds, like I said, but I have a longer-than-average torso. The Large jacket wasn't nearly *long* enough for me - I had to buy the XLarge, and it's really "just long enough" for full coverage - for me. The Xtra large is waaaaaaaaaaaaay to baggy, though. :-( I can't put anything in the pockets or it gets uncomfortable, due to the extra size and bagginess. However, it does provide full coverage and it was the best I know of that's actually available.

Hope all this info helps!
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Old 09-25-09, 03:07 PM   #3
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I'm starting my third year of daily commuting, year round. In summer and in winter. With the Showers Pass Century Jacket. This thing is my most important piece of gear. I use it sometimes in those cool summer showers, and most importantly in those frigid temps of winter. It makes an outstanding outer shell in inclement weather. Totally windproof, waterproof, and breathable. With the addition of all of the other venting the jacket has. I can regulate the air flowing thru the jacket. But in temps below 40 degrees all the way down to -14 degrees. This jacket protects me. As with all waterproof jackets. They do need to have the Durable Water Repellancy (DWR) to be reconditioned. I used Nikwax on mine and its good as new.

Last edited by scoatw; 09-25-09 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 09-26-09, 04:35 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info guys!

After posting, I just discovered an old REI gtx parka size L that my son left with us when he moved overseas, along with matching rain pants. It fits great with room to layer! The parka is a bit longish, but it has a hem drawcord, so I'll find out if cinching it keeps it from getting snagged on the saddle. The price is right, so it can't hurt to give it a try.

I'm going to also try to see if I can find an alterations person to downsize some of my other stuff.
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Old 09-26-09, 04:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclectus View Post
eVent is clerarly not perfectly breathable per se, because Showers Pass has incorporated:
dual (top and bottom)front zips, armpit zips, a back vent, and velcro wrist closures, all of which provide options to maximize bulk airflow and reduce sweat condensation..
Nothing is going to be "perfectly" breathable. These things work better when it's cold and dry. If you are exercising heavily, it's really easy to be outputing too much vapor. If a jacket doesn't have vents, it's not because it's breathable. It's to save manufacturing costs. I would not buy a "hardshell" without vents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclectus View Post
More fabric breathability and direct venting translate into the need for layering in colder weather. If I'm 6'0 and 190, should I get XL or L for layering in temps down to teens? With alpine jackets, L is sufficient for 1 polypro and 2 merino or fleece layers, (XL fit me when I was 240) but bike stuff tends to run tighter.
The biggest issue on the bike is wind (related to how fast you are moving). Depending on how much you work, you could easly (when running or xcross skiing, especially) produce too much heat.

I don't own any Sowerspass stuff but it looks like they make high quality stuff with actually looking at their stuff in the store. It's easily Marmot quality.

http://www.showerspass.com/products....ct=Elite+2%2E0

You are going to have some difficulty knowing without actually trying the jacket on.

I suspect that you don't want to go over large with this jacket because it will be annoying to use without stuffing it with insulation.

If it's too darn cold, you could use something else (because you probably don't need any "cycle" specific features). If you can close this jacket up, I think it will work pretty-well at cold temperatures without a lot of insulation.

Last edited by njkayaker; 09-26-09 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 09-28-09, 05:55 AM   #6
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Last year in sub-freezing temps, (e.g. teens to twenties) rides under 90 minutes were fine. I could either sweat more inside gtx or windstopper laminate hard or softshells, or ride cooler and dryer in woven materials like micro-weave fleece and merino. 3-4 hour rides were tough, because I'd either get clammy chills, or dry chills. I did find that the former was okay if I carried a second set of dry base and midlayers to change into, and the latter was okay if I put on a shell for my homebound leg.
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