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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 02-01-07, 07:58 PM   #1
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Pearl Izumi Barrier vs. Gavia vs. Gore Tool vs. Sugoi Dynamo

I live in an area that gets winters with temps down into the single-digits (F), but mostly hovers around the lower 20's during the day. A big issue is that AM temperatures are far lower than mid-day/evening temps, so riding in the morning is always a test of will. I don't have a very long commute to school (1.5 miles) but of course I don't know how far my NEXT commute will be, and I'd like to eventually do long winter rides for fitness and enjoyment once I get a touring/road bicycle to complement my fixed commuter.

Right now I have some polyester short-sleeve shirts and a long-sleeve wool jersey, and want to get an outer layer that will work for the cold season between oct/nov and march/april. At the moment I wear my normal winter coat which keeps me warm, but doesn't breathe at all and is bulky.

I've read the thread on the Gore Tool jacket, which looks to be rather nice. However it's facing stiff competition in my mind with the PI Barrier and Gavia jackets. The Gavia just looks NICE, and very much my style - not flashy and classy off the bike as well as functional on it. However it does not seem to have the same wind resistance as the Barrier does. The Gore jacket, however, seems to have some ventilation in the form of pit zips that the Barrier does not, but I've read that the Barrier has superior rear ventilation along with the windproof front, so it may be the best all-around. The Sugoi Dynamo is very nice looking and looks capable as well, but I know less about it.

In my mind I want something very capable but also handsome. So I'm leaning towards the Dynamo or the Gavia, but if the Barrier or the Gore jackets are superior in functionality I am willing to sacrifice some fashion. They are all in the $100-$150 range and for a jacket that I expect to get many years of life out of I'm not too concerned with the price differences.

In addition to this, my hands get cold quickly in my thick Thinsulate gloves - I'm guessing due to the lack of wind resistance. Are there any winter gloves that are known to be very good by the community?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-01-07, 08:58 PM   #2
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The mother of all winter bike jacket threads.

I have ridden the Gavia, latest version of the Barrier, and a Gore Finish Line jacket this winter. I believe that the Finish Line jacket is pretty close to the Tool, maybe just a little thinner in terms of insulation. Maybe somebody else knows for sure how the weight compares; otherwise, it is the same three layer and pit zips and reflective piping design as far as I know.

First the Gavia. I have found it to be the thinnest weight and most breathable of the three. It is a good weight if you are acclimated to the weather, aren't going to be riding down into the low 30's or less, and don't mind a bit of draft and some cold spots. It is designed to block wind to the front, and is made with PI's Kodiak fabric on the backs of the sleeves, sides and across the back at the shoulders. It breathes great, but maybe too great if you were really looking for something bullet-proof to keep in the warmth. I don't mind it with a couple of thin under layers but it is not the warmest choice. You definitely don't get a bunch of sweat build up with it if you manage your layers well. But all this is coming from a guy riding in North Texas. If I lived further north, it would be a great winter mid layer or I would use it for fall and spring riding. For what it's worth though, the Gavia bib tights are fantastic. I like them better than PI Amphips down into the low teens. Then, the Gavia Pluses would work great. Not cold enough around here for those though.

The PI Barrier stuff is the goods for me in the cold. It is light, tight fitting with aero windblocking fabric that cuts through the wind without a lot of drag or heat loss where you don't want it. On the other hand, it vents moisture and heat build up out the back with a venting system that definitely works. It is not as good as having pit zips, but everything else about it works best for me.

The Gore Finish Line jacket that I have is great for the cold, but I do find that my arms build up more sweat than happens the other PI stuff. But the wind blocking is absolute. Without the pit zips the Gore stuff would smother me though. So as long as I layer carefully and dial in the right combination of core coverage without loading up my arms, I get a lot of good use from the Gore. Most of that comes down to the pit zips though as you might guess.

That's as far as I can help you Telix.

Last edited by rule; 02-01-07 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 02-03-07, 12:30 AM   #3
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I just got a PI Barrier this week. I've ridden it in a 15 degrees Fahrenheit, 10, 5, and about 0 (with a -10 to -15 wind chill). What I've found is that it takes an extra layer or two over my old jacket (leather, which I still say is the ultimate riding jacket, if it weren't for the weight), but if I wear an extra wool jersey under it I'm good.

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Old 02-03-07, 06:17 PM   #4
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I have the PI Gavia jacket, Gavia bib tights and Gavia gloves. I am very happy with the jacket and bibs, but the gloves are not very warm to me. When the temp is 45 degrees or lower, my hands are cold. I just purchased the ASSOS glove system. The gloves work very well. I rode today in 35 degree temps with wind. I was warm all over. There are three gloves in the system, a thin base layer with seams on the outside for comfort, then a windblock glove over the base layer. Finally, if it is really cold, the lobster glove goes on last. These gloves are very flexible. They will easily go in jersey pockets. The fingers on glove two are curved to fit on the bars. Best gloves I have owned.

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