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  1. #1
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    Jacket for Cold Weather

    I'm going to try to ride trails as long as I can, and my current light fleece jacket isn't cutting it. Cost is definitely a factor, and the ones I'm looking at cost from $100-$120. In particular I'm looking at softshells, the Columbia Key Three II and the Mountain Hardware Android in particular. Supposedly the softshell is good for wind, but also breathes. Does anyone have experience with these?

  2. #2
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    I love my Gore Phantom jacket. Wind stays out, detachable sleeves with a hidden jersey, and rather warm. I'd say it is too warm for >~60 or so...

  3. #3
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    Can you describe you riding condition a little more? Knowing what conditions you expect to ride in will help. Living in AK I have a wide variety of riding clothes for temps down to -20f.

    As far as a nice soft shell coat @ under $100 I really like my REI headwind jacket. Soft, breathable and nice long sleeves, it works.

  4. #4
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    I'm new to riding in the winter (normally put my road bike on rollers), but I'm thinking I'll only be riding when its >20F. I may man up on that, but I doubt it. Also, I'd like to be able to wear the jacket around normally so looks are important. I'll check out the jackets you guys have mentioned.

    Do you guys think the soft shell is that much better than just fleece?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideHSV View Post
    I'm new to riding in the winter (normally put my road bike on rollers), but I'm thinking I'll only be riding when its >20F. I may man up on that, but I doubt it. Also, I'd like to be able to wear the jacket around normally so looks are important. I'll check out the jackets you guys have mentioned.

    Do you guys think the soft shell is that much better than just fleece?
    I live in Kansas so I certainly avoid riding in -20f unlike jimbslim lol... never done that nor want to! Coldest I've had this jacket on is around 32F riding street at around 18 mph with a long sleeve base layer and it has been great. Based on other reviews, I'm sure if you layer right it will work in more extreme conditions. Note, it isn't waterproof but it does shed water well.

    Far as sizing...runs a little small for most. I'm 6' at 158 pounds...I normally order a medium but ordered a large. Sleeves are perfect however wish it was a bit tighter on the body. Good news is I have a little room to work with layers this winter if I want.

    I'd say a soft shell jacket is extremely important if you want to stay warm. It helps keep wind out and sheds moisture unlike fleece. Fleece maybe under a soft shell but I will stick to a shell for the outer wear in the cold.

    Good luck

  6. #6
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    You won't regret spending the money on a Gore jacket. The windstopper fabric is amazing.

  7. #7
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    Ventilation and moisture control are the keys to comfortable cold weather riding. I like my layers to fit fairly snug to keep moisture from condensing between layers. Also I like SportHIll zip t-necks that are rated to 25 mph wind resistance they work great as an outside layer over insulation layer(s) and provide more breathability than a soft shell jacket. If I find that set up a little to breezy but feel warm enough I'll add a nylon shell vest to block the wind before going to the softshell jacket and it's added warmth.

  8. #8
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    one that blocks the wind and is large enough for a layer or two underneath.....pit zips are nice too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideHSV View Post
    I'm going to try to ride trails as long as I can, and my current light fleece jacket isn't cutting it. Cost is definitely a factor, and the ones I'm looking at cost from $100-$120. In particular I'm looking at softshells, the Columbia Key Three II and the Mountain Hardware Android in particular. Supposedly the softshell is good for wind, but also breathes. Does anyone have experience with these?
    I have 2 breathing windbreaker rainproof/climaproof type jackets, one diadora made for cycling and one adidas made for jogging. I wear these over thick and heavy and dense merino wool with long turtleneck (built in scarf ) I also have a lighter weight one thats a little "airier". And a cotton t-shirt. This works out great. When trying the thick one out I wore that one out in 0deg C, and only that, nothing more on the upper body, not cold at all. Its kinda overkill for riding (unless its below -20C) so usually I wear the approximately half as thick one. Down to -20C.

    I have used the thinner one for several months now, and it has not started to smell yet. but then again i wear a tshirt under it. And I only ride for 1h/day total to work and back.

    Layers layers layers!!!! thats what you want, and you want alternatives in all layers.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

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    Specialized sucks ass.

  10. #10
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    Knowing what conditions you expect to ride in will help.

  11. #11
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    I'll be doing various single track trails on mountains ranging from technical to easy. I'm assuming I'll never try to go in below 20F.

  12. #12
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    Softshell is a pretty vague term, that different companies are defining different ways to suit their product lines.

    That said, I think everyone agrees on what they should do. Since the execution is sometimes hard-faced fleece, though, that's not a great distinction.

    Pedantism aside, I have a Patagonia Slopestyle hoodie that I like. It's advertised for snowboarding but I was looking for something I could wear casually and with a messenger bag; this piece doesn't have a back pocket for the bag to ride on.

    It's good for a light drizzle and it does a better job keeping wind out than a soft, untreated fleece. I sometimes forget that until I ride to school in a plain fleece. Then I remember! I'm on my second, after the laundry machines ripped the zipper off the first. backcountry.com is trying to compete with Return Every Item, apparently. But, exercise caution in washing.

    I actually have regretted spending money on a Gore jacket, but mine was the Paclite fabric, not windstopper. It breathed like a garbage bag.

    Definitely read the reviews on everything. backcountry.com can be good for that.

    20 degrees is pretty cold. I'd be layering some more serious insulation at that temperature, and maybe also a straight-ahead shell. Of course, it's still good to have a good softshell, you might be wearing it under your insulation layer anyway. Don't expect a miracle, is all.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    For your pricepoint, check out the Louis Garneau Enerblock jacket.

    It's lightweight, super comfortable, and blocks the wind while being breathable.

    It's probably the best $120 you'll ever spend.... and works great over just a jersey in the 40's, and in the 30's a jersey, and a mid layer then the jacket would be perfect.

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  14. #14
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    are Gore jackets the same makers of Goretex?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  15. #15
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    Skip the fleece garments and get some quality wool base layers and mid-layers. Put a wind-proof shell over top when the temp really drops; this works two fold, keeps wind out and traps heat for warmth.

    Fleece has very poor heat retention and breathability qualities compared to wool.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fondoo View Post
    are Gore jackets the same makers of Goretex?
    Yes

  17. #17
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    I have a North Face Denali fleece jacket. I will be riding in the colorado snow. Can you please advise me on what I should wear over the Denali? Could you perhaps give me the names of jackets/ brands that I could wear? The temperature drops to about 18 degrees at its coldest

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokytan View Post
    I have a North Face Denali fleece jacket. I will be riding in the colorado snow. Can you please advise me on what I should wear over the Denali? Could you perhaps give me the names of jackets/ brands that I could wear? The temperature drops to about 18 degrees at its coldest
    I would certainly recommend taking a look at the soft shell Gore jackets. Especially the ones with goretex. The phantom should work fine if you're laying well. It isn't completely waterproof but is water resistant.

  19. #19
    trail projectile
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    I've been riding in the cold quite a lot... rides of 2 hours+ in temps from 20-35 F. To my surprise, what I found was that avoiding a windstopper layer and instead layering non-windstopping fabrics really worked better for me. Breathes WAY better and I'm drier when I decide to shed layers so my temperature stays steadier.

    I always carry an extra "emergency" layer in my pack when riding in the cold. The plan above has the added benefit that my emergency layer (which I've yet to use...) IS a windstopping jacket, which packs way smaller than the other stuff I'd pack if I was instead wearing the windstopper.

    For examples:

    RIDE 1: 35 degrees. Base layer, thermal vest, windstopper jacket. (bulky thermal jersey in backpack) Warm enough, but sweaty.

    RIDE 2: 35 degrees. Base layer, long sleeve jersey, thermal (but not windstopping) jersey on top. (thin windstopper jacket in backpack). Warm enough and stayed pretty dry.

    Make sense?

    This is all for MOUNTAIN BIKING though... if I'm on the road, that windstopper layer is absolutely essential.

  20. #20
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    Just got a Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier jacket on sale at REI. Love it. In upper 20'a to low 30's I wear a tight thermal fleece base layer shirt and the jacket AND THAT's IT. Feels light, aero and efficient. Warm, but breathes very well.

    Previously I wore a bunch of layers under a general purpose wind-proof Mountain Hardware jacket, and while plenty warm, I felt like the Michelin Man - just too much damn stuff on my back.
    '95 M2 StumpJumper FS
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  21. #21
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    You can't ride comfortably in the cold without paying the price. My nice combo for my upper body consists of a Craft baselayer, Craft Insulation Layer with the Gore Phantom Jacket. I'm warm down in to the 20's. I tried to ride cold on a budget before and met pure displeasure in less than an hour of time. In my current gear I go out for hours.

    Here's a blog post I did on those three pieces of apparel that will keep you nice and warm: Cold Weather Riding Gear, The Torso Edition.

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