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What temp ranges do you use knee warmers versus leg warmers?

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What temp ranges do you use knee warmers versus leg warmers?

Old 02-21-18, 05:17 PM
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rgr555
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What temp ranges do you use knee warmers versus leg warmers?

What temp ranges do you use knee warmers versus leg warmers?

I'm wondering if I can just skip knee warmers altogether and use leg warmers. Dont want to buy both if I don't have to. What is optimal here?

NYC rider who rides 40-90 degrees during the 4 seasons..
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Old 02-21-18, 05:28 PM
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65F-50F kneewarmers
50F-35F legwarmers
35F and below tights over bibs

YMMV
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Old 02-21-18, 06:47 PM
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I prefer bib knickers to knee warmers. When it's too cold for those I move to full bib tights or waist tights over the various lengths of bibs.
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Old 02-21-18, 07:57 PM
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Neither. I can never get them to stay in place.


50F to 59F - bib knickers
0F to 49F - bib tights
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Old 02-21-18, 07:57 PM
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Only have leg warmers and bib tights( if it gets really cold). Dont think much of a difference between knee and the last 4-5 inches covering your calf(leg warmers) will make either way.
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Old 02-21-18, 08:37 PM
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I wear running pants over bike shorts.
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Old 02-21-18, 09:22 PM
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I wear black fleece lined non-cycling tights over my bike shorts if its 50ish F or cooler.

Two pairs of tights if its below freezing.

The tights cost me $3 a pair. They look like typical cycling tights.
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Old 02-22-18, 07:38 AM
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Warmers vs tights is a question of how much temps will vary, if it will warm up much over the course of the ride, typically chosen for an early morning start of a long ride or a pre-dawn ride to a race. I don't want to end up riding around in mid 60s sun wearing tights, but I don't want to be trying to warm up bare legs in dark or overcast mid 50s, either.

The choice of knee vs leg, as it happens, has been more a matter of which are clean, or whether one morning or the next will be the colder of the two.

There's no absolute temperature where Id choose leg-warmers as a rule over knee-, but I would want them if the ride was going to start out much cooler than I'd gotten used to.

Last edited by kbarch; 02-22-18 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 02-22-18, 08:52 AM
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For me, always leg warmers.
If it's cold enough to cover my knees, it's cold enough to cover my legs too.
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Old 02-22-18, 09:14 AM
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Knee warmers 48.64 - 59.98 degrees, tights below that.
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Old 02-22-18, 09:26 AM
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Knee warmers from 60-45 degrees
Tights 45 degrees or below.

Honestly, I rarely wear tights during daylight. Even if it's below 45 at the start of a ride in the morning, Phoenix warms up very quickly once the sun is up.

Last edited by noodle soup; 02-22-18 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 02-22-18, 10:06 AM
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Whatever I tell you will be useless unless my tolerances for heat and cold are the same as yours.
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Old 02-22-18, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Whatever I tell you will be useless unless my tolerances for heat and cold are the same as yours.
As evidenced by the (in my opinion) ridiculous number of riders I see in full-on Siberian winter weather kit when it's 65 degrees and sunny.
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Old 02-22-18, 11:20 AM
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Another factor - do you have knees that could suffer real consequences if ridden cold? For example, are you prone to chrondomalacia patellae? (Only way to find out that I know of is to break enough of the "rules" and discover you now have a lifelong condition. Don't ride with cold knees is "rule" #1, followed very closely by not riding with tight hamstrings.

I broke enough of these rules 40 years ago that I have been paying ever since. I have to wear knee warmers (and not just the wimpy ones they sell in bike shops) anytime it is below 75-80F. Below 60F, legwarmers go over the knee warmers. Below 50F, tights go over the knee warmers.

I could just go and get a pair of those titanium knees and dress like everybody else, but my finances are a little tight.

Ben
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Old 02-22-18, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
As evidenced by the (in my opinion) ridiculous number of riders I see in full-on Siberian winter weather kit when it's 65 degrees and sunny.
You should see what people wear in Phoenix when it's 60ish.
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Old 02-22-18, 12:04 PM
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NYC here.

I don't do leg warmers. I usually go from knee warmers to bib knickers w thin smartwool ski socks.

These are my crib notes I keep in my phone:


60-99 shorts and ss jersey (maybe arm warmers)
50-60 shorts, ss jersey, *arm warmers
45-55 shorts, *knee warmers, *medium base layer, ss jersey, *long finger gloves
40-50 *polar knickers, short sleeve jersey, *jacket, *warmer long finger gloves
35-45 *polar knickers, *long sleeve jersey, *jacket, *warmer long finger gloves
30-40 *polar tights, *thin base layer, *long sleeve jersey, jacket, winter gloves, thin wool socks, mb boots or shoe covers, hat
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Old 02-22-18, 12:12 PM
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Keeping my knees and leg muscles warm isn't about personal comfort. With a warm core they can get really chilled without me ever feeling cold. And I don't think that is good.

Mine is a contrarian philosophy. I don't take the leg warmers off until outside temperatures reach 70 degrees, about the point additional cooling capacity of bare legs becomes desirable for me.
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Old 02-22-18, 12:55 PM
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I don't own knee warmers.
If it's not going to get above 60-65 all day, then tights.
If it's 40-45 or above and going to get above 70 or so during the ride, then leg warmers.
If it's below 40, tights.
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Old 02-22-18, 04:25 PM
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If sunny, 55-65 get knee warmers or bib knickers (which are way nicer). Below 55, I wear tights. If cloudy, I'll add around 5 degrees to my ranges. The sun here is quite intense so sometimes I can get quite warm wearing knee warmers at 60-65. I also have plain lycra ones (not brushed inside for warmth) that are nice.
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Old 02-22-18, 04:51 PM
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Generally I'll do something like this...

65~63 down to about 53-48 range, I'll do knee warmers.
53 down to 38-ish I'll do full leg warmers.
Below 38, knee warmers over leg warmers (I have a pair a size large just for this)
Below 32..... I stay on the rollers because people in Texas are stupid and leave their sprinklers on leading to unexpected ice puddles.
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Old 02-22-18, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rgr555 View Post
What temp ranges do you use knee warmers versus leg warmers?
Above 55 shorts are fine, although at that temperature I want a wind shell over my jersey.
Below when it's going to get warmer than 55, I wear knee warmers which will end up in a jersey pocket.
Otherwise if it's below 50 when I leave, I wear cycling tights with no chamois over shorts that will stay on until the end of the ride.
50-55 not getting warmer I could go either way - more exposed skin won't be uncomfortable, although tights stay put better.

I've forgotten what I do below 30 since moving to the San Francisco Bay area, although at that point thermal tights and shoe covers are comfortable even before sunrise.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-22-18 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 02-22-18, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rgr555 View Post
I'm wondering if I can just skip knee warmers altogether and use leg warmers. Dont want to buy both if I don't have to.
Yes, you can skip knee warmers. Compared to riding in the summer in high temperatures covering up a little more leg isn't going to cause you to overheat.
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Old 02-23-18, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
65F-50F kneewarmers
50F-35F legwarmers
35F and below tights over bibs

YMMV
Pretty much this, might go a couple of degrees lower in kneewarmers
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Old 02-23-18, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Yes, you can skip knee warmers. Compared to riding in the summer in high temperatures covering up a little more leg isn't going to cause you to overheat.
I like knee warmers because they are smaller and easier to toss in a pocket if you remove them mid-ride.
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Old 02-23-18, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
I like knee warmers because they are smaller and easier to toss in a pocket if you remove them mid-ride.
I rarely, if ever, remove leg warmers mid-ride. If I know it's going to be warm (above 15C) mid-ride I just live with being a little cold at the start. Being close to the water, we don't typically get dramatic temperature swings.
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