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Fabrics for cool weather

Old 01-04-21, 10:13 AM
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shopco43
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Fabrics for cool weather

I am considering having a custom long sleeve jersey made for fall and spring riding. I currently have Craft base layers in both short and long sleeve. Mt tailor is oriented towards suits, not cycling clothing, so I am doing some research for appropriate cold weather materials. I have come across marino wool and I am wondering if it is suitable for outerwear.
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Old 01-04-21, 10:16 AM
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Merino wool is awesome as a base layer. I would not recommend it as an outer layer as it does not cut wind and isn’t very friendly with the washing machine as outer layers get dirty more frequently.
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Old 01-04-21, 10:21 AM
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Cool or cold? There's a difference. Cool weather I like to layer. I prefer all synthetics for "cool" weather. For cold weather, I agree with Toadmeister, Merino wool as undergarment with cycling-type fleece 1/4 zip or full zip plus a wind cutter breathable fabric jacket. Even in cold weather I sweat and need to have some place for the sweat to go or I ultimately get cold from wet clothes.

The trick for me is to stay warm enough that I'm not shivering yet cool enough that I'm not sweating like a pig. That's where the layering and zippers come in to play.
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Old 01-04-21, 10:33 AM
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Like Toadmeister mentioned merino is a great base layer but I wouldn't want it to be my outer layer.

My favorite cool weather (I'm in California) thermal jerseys are from Castelli and Chapeau. Assuming you just mean cool weather and not wet conditions the minimum I would want is something that cuts the wind from the front and is breathable (enough) that your base layer can pull the sweat away from your skin and it can make its way outwards.

Chapeau just lists their fabric (for the Club Color Block Thermal Jersey) as "Luxurious and moisture wicking Italian fabric", but Castelli lists their fabric (for the Fondo Jersey FZ) as 100% polyester fleece. If you play around with your base layer and maybe add a gilet it's good to around 50 degrees F...maybe a bit lower (for me). I like a race fit in general but for my thermal jerseys like a touch more room for versatility. I like some stretch in my jersey since I like them close fitting.
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Old 01-12-21, 06:49 PM
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everybody does something different. You may have to experiment.
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Old 01-13-21, 06:15 AM
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I've worn a lot of wool back in the day, but now days the inexpensive synthetics work about as well.

Buy long sleeve synthetic work shirts, brands like Dickeys work perfectly and come in high vis colors. Easy to layer these

In all honesty stuff you get from walmart will work as well as more expensive stuff, just may not fit as well and certainly won't impress many on this site.
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Old 01-13-21, 06:38 AM
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Wool makes a great layer for warmth. However, I prefer layering synthetics because they are easier to clean.
Let's face it....you're gonna sweat and synthetics can simply get tossed into the washing machine/dryer after each and every ride......
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Old 01-13-21, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by shopco43 View Post
Mt tailor is oriented towards suits, not cycling clothing,
Unless you have money to burn, i'd suggest something off the shelf.Most cycling cloths come in different cuts, ie. race or relaxed fit. They also come in so many sizes and different brands fit differently. So i'm sure you can find what fits. There are also many places to have custom printed jerseys. I have enough different types to mix-n-match to ride in temps from 100*F to 25*F.

A business suit is a different animal and there's nothing like a custom tailored suit.
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Old 01-13-21, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by shopco43 View Post
I am considering having a custom long sleeve jersey made for fall and spring riding.
Just curious: are you unusually small or large, or have some other unusual proportions that would require a custom-made cycling jersey?

Even aside from the foregoing question, I very much doubt that a tailor would know how to design a cycling jersey so that it actually works as intended. They don’t fit the same way as other apparel, since they are designed to perform in riding position.

Last edited by Koyote; 01-13-21 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 01-13-21, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by shopco43 View Post
I am considering having a custom long sleeve jersey made for fall and spring riding...
There's an entire sub-forum for winter riding. Maybe look at the clothing threads there?

It's difficult to give you a serious answer without knowing WHERE YOU LIVE, and something about what type of weather "fall and spring" means to you. How about updating your profile to list your location? That would be a starting point, at least.
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Old 01-13-21, 08:22 AM
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Depends on temperature, wind and rain.
Ive been on a few -2c cycles this winter.
Ive learned to start off colder than i like as i always warm up within a few mins. If i wrap up so that im comfortable setting out, im too warm after about 10 mins. My kit is:
  • Merino base layer, fairly standard light goretex jacket. Between them they work well, Merino is warm, jacket stops the wind stealing the heat and is somewhat breathable.
  • Pair of medium cycling tights on the bottom.
  • Two pairs of DHB winter merino socks and some hiking trainers. I should get shoe covers but feet have not been unbearably cold so what i have is fine.
  • Then gloves, buff & light hat to be added/removed as needed.
Apart from the cycling tights, all pretty standard gear most people will have for hiking or commuting.
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Old 01-13-21, 08:41 AM
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In cool but not cold temps, 50F to 60F, I prefer synthetic 180 degree jackets where the cold and wind does not fully penetrate the front (wind blocking material), there is a breathable meshy material in the back, and vents under the arms to dissipate heat. I am a larger cyclist 200+ lbs and generate a lot of heat climbing.

I am a bucket of sweat if I try layering. This never worked for me. It is always easier to just unzip if I am heating up too much.
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Old 01-13-21, 08:52 AM
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synthetics. go to academy and buy some huk long sleeve fishing shirts. wear 2-5 of them
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Old 01-13-21, 09:18 AM
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I've had a number of merino wool tops, both base and outer. They can be perfect for an outer layer or they can be a poor choice for an outer layer - it depends on the conditions that you'll be riding in, your expectations, and the fabric itself (weave, weight, etc).

For cool weather, and I would personally define that as down to 40° or so, I like merino; I don't necessarily need or want absolute wind blocking and I enjoy the breathability. At the cooler end of the spectrum, I wouldn't want air just whistling through, so I'd want at least one of my layers to be of finer thread and weave.
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Old 01-13-21, 09:35 PM
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As mentioned, there is cool and cold. I live in North Florida, cold to me is less than 50, but for days below 50, I have a thick long sleeve jersey from Pearl Izumi combined with a wind breaker that works perfectly. Cold at the start, but I warm up nicely, if the temp start in the 40's and expect to be in the 50's, I will wear long sleeve runners shirt, a normal jersey and my jacket where I can take the sleeves off. I might be cold at the start, but I will eventually warm up. I also wear Merino wool socks and might have toe covers on if the humidity is high. High humid cold air sucks.
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Old 01-14-21, 05:04 PM
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I have discovered comfort is not just about temperature. I cannot just look at the thermometer and decide what to wear, 50° one day may not be at all the same as 50° another. I will ride in shorts and light-weight jersey at 54° in the summer and enjoy that delicious coolness, but try that on an overcast winter’s day and … no.

Humidity matters. So does the sun: up, down, low in the sky or high. A winter sun is not the same as a summer one. Also, comfort is also highly individualistic. I would rather be too cold than too hot, but my riding buddy is the opposite; I am in a summer-weight jersey and he is in a parka. I will suffer painful fingers knowing that for the last three hours I will be comfortable (and I will not have to stop to modify dress - try picking a date out of your jersey with winter full-finger gloves on).

The comment about updating my profile is well-taken. I am in in a SoCal inland valley, the Inland Empire to be precise, you know, Riverside and San Bernardino. It is a desert so we can get daily swings of 50°+.

The problem with off-the-shelf:
1. yes, I have an unusual shape, my belly is bigger than my chest (it was never all that much smaller).
2. I am from the Eddy Merxcks era, so I am not a fan of the current look of jerseys¹
3. the third problem with off-the-shelf is that bike shop shelves are empty, which leads to #4
4. mail order is too much hassle when things do not fit, and with my physique they most often do not

Using a tailor:

Mine is really good. I had him produce my line of custom “old-school” tire socks² and he did a great job. True, he does not have experience in cycling specific clothing, but it is not rocket science. Believe me, anyone who can make a great-looking suit is not going to be stymied by a jersey. Besides, I think he is kind of getting a kick out of it. We are awaiting delivery of the material, some kind of wool blend. I will let you all know how it turns out.

It is more expensive, obviously. But hey, who cares, it is for the bicycle. Just like cold tolerance, cost is highly individualistic. I was 55 years old, 36 years married with kids done and gone before I owned a car that cost more than my bicycle (I do miss the Gios – still got the friggin car).


¹ back in the day only track riders wore “colors” and you never ever wore yellow, pink or green. Yes, Team riders were a bit more flamboyant with their sponsor’s embellishments, but club riders usually confined themselves to a simple stripe or two.

² the “tire sock” held your tires, one or two sew-ups, strapped under the saddle with a toe-clip strap, preferably an Alfredo Binda or Campy. Not everyone used a sock, just the tires. My “tire sock” holds two tubes, two CO2 cartridges, Allen wrenches and tire irons, but looks like an old school tire sock. I went through several iterations before I got it right, but was willing to do anything to avoid the incredibly gombey tire bags available on today’s market.
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Old 01-14-21, 08:31 PM
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First BF post I’ve ever seen with footnotes. Well done.
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Old 01-14-21, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
synthetics. go to academy and buy some huk long sleeve fishing shirts. wear 2-5 of them
You wear up to five layers of those???

For 45 degrees, I can dress comfortably with two base layers and a long sleeve jersey. If it's below 35 degrees, I'll add a jacket.
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Old 01-14-21, 10:58 PM
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For Autumn, Spring, even Winter riding, I prefer a wool, non-caped shirt-jac and just add layers underneath as needed. I never bother washing it, as sweat evaporates from it before it can start to stink. For wool garments that are worn closer to my skin, such as socks, when they start to stink I just rinse under the faucet until the water is clear. Hang up to dry. No need for laundering of wool so, very easy to manage.
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Old 01-15-21, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Rogerogeroge View Post
You wear up to five layers of those???

For 45 degrees, I can dress comfortably with two base layers and a long sleeve jersey. If it's below 35 degrees, I'll add a jacket.
For 45 degrees I wear the equivalent of one of those long sleeve huk shirts, a short sleeve T shirt and a sweat shirt. Anything in the 50's and and I lose the sweat shirt and just wear the long and short sleeve shirt.

Instead of the $45 Huk stuff I buy $8 Walmart synthetic jerseys and Fruit of the Loom sweat shirts. Costco sells synthetic base layers under the label "32 degree heat", again $8 each. Some times I go with that in lieu of the short sleeve synthetic shirt

Down to 35 degrees I do swap out the sweat shirt for a bicycle specific jacket with wind panels on the front quarters.

Last edited by Pop N Wood; 01-15-21 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 01-15-21, 07:28 AM
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45-48 degrees would be:

Lower: bib shorts with leg warmers,
Head: thin tech hat/liner under helmet,
Upper: thinner tech wicking upper layer, fleece cycling jersey, optional wind vest tucked in the jersey pocket. Start with the vest off and ride for about 20 minutes, if I am still losing too much heat through the torso, then pop on the vest.
Hands: long finger gloves ranging from thin leather/fabric to neoprene
Feet: depending on conditions, maybe a light set of full shoe covers

If rain is in the forecast, then the rain jacket goes into another jersey pocket and the shoe covers are water resistant, the helmet gets its rain fly cover, gloves definitely neoprene.
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