1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Fall/Winter wear?

    Hi! I didn't have any response from the apparel forum, so I thought of asking here.

    Newbie here. I am in Illinois. Summer is about to end and Fall/Winter is just around the corner. I just wanted to ask what apparel should I prepare to get and where? I would like to have the cheapest options too as I am unemployed with a student loan to worry about.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'm over in Ohio and ride all winter (as long as the snow isn't too deep).

    I don't go for high tech specialized mtb clothes. What I do is dress lightly, usually either lined nylon running pants, or polypro longjohns under riding shorts, and a non-cotton long sleeved top (been using an acrylic ski sweater most often). I also have glove liners that I can use and wear insulated hunting socks. This is usually good down to about 15 degrees F.

    When I start out I'm usually a bit cold, but my metabolism runs like a blast furnace, so after 5 minutes I'm sweating. Usually I warm up enough that I don't even wear the glove liners.

    The thing is that if something happens to you or the bike and you have to stop riding, then you chill down really fast (sweat soaked and light layers). That's why I always take clothes in my pack in the winter that I feel like I could hang outside in. Usually that's a pair of fleece lined polypro long john tops & bottoms, extra socks, gloves, and a hat. It's a bit bulky, but doesn't weigh much. I also have a fire starting kit in my pack for worst case scenarios (I've been injured riding solo twice - luckily in warm weather, but it's made me careful).

    I'm sure that there are more impressive winter outfits, but I use what I already have if I can, and it seems to have worked pretty good over the last few winters.

    Steve Z
    Pedaling when it's dry
    And paddling when it's wet

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  3. #3
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    Knee warmers and lined cycling tights are the most important things in my fall arsenal when it comes to keeping warm. I have various types of long sleeve tops and light jackets and such from skiing but it's always the leg layers that get me. I will say that I cease riding once winter hits (too much snow, don't have a fat bike, time to ski anyway) so the very coldest riding gear, I do not have any information about.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  4. #4
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    I carry one of THESE on my backpack. I usually wear a C9 Target branded longsleeve non cotton, sweatwicking shirts. They sometimes have them on clearance sale for $12 each. Years of backpacking in the backcountry has taught me to avoid cotton and go for micro fiber fabric

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampboy62 View Post
    I'm over in Ohio and ride all winter (as long as the snow isn't too deep).

    I don't go for high tech specialized mtb clothes. What I do is dress lightly, usually either lined nylon running pants, or polypro longjohns under riding shorts, and a non-cotton long sleeved top (been using an acrylic ski sweater most often). I also have glove liners that I can use and wear insulated hunting socks. This is usually good down to about 15 degrees F.

    When I start out I'm usually a bit cold, but my metabolism runs like a blast furnace, so after 5 minutes I'm sweating. Usually I warm up enough that I don't even wear the glove liners.

    The thing is that if something happens to you or the bike and you have to stop riding, then you chill down really fast (sweat soaked and light layers). That's why I always take clothes in my pack in the winter that I feel like I could hang outside in. Usually that's a pair of fleece lined polypro long john tops & bottoms, extra socks, gloves, and a hat. It's a bit bulky, but doesn't weigh much. I also have a fire starting kit in my pack for worst case scenarios (I've been injured riding solo twice - luckily in warm weather, but it's made me careful).

    I'm sure that there are more impressive winter outfits, but I use what I already have if I can, and it seems to have worked pretty good over the last few winters.

    Steve Z
    Excellent advice, esp about the danger of getting stuck. I carry enough extra clothing, calories and shelter to survive the night if necessary, especially when riding alone. Agree also that most of the gear needn't be expensive and can be bought at discount stores like Walmart.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  6. #6
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    you need long leg cycling tights wind proof front, lycra shorts underneath prevent dick freezes.

    Tee shirt light jacket, then a second jacket a size larger.

    Big mitts (or gloves)....and a balaclava.

    Ski goggles with some kind of nose cover.

    Clipless winter boots are nice.

    That will take you down to -15C to -20 C.

  7. #7
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    Wow, aren't you the pessimist - it's still July.
    I wear tights over bike shorts. Wool cycling socks, my usual cycling shoes and shoe covers.
    Maybe a short sleeve hitech shirt, then long sleeve hitech shirt, then a long sleeve sport top/track suit type jacket. Then depending on the weather, a running jacket or one of those cycling vests to keep the wind off my chest. The running jacket will turn into a pouch with a belt if I get warm. The vest is one of the best items of clothing I've bought.
    For my hands I use lobster mitt shells over normal cycling gloves. I have a skater style helmet for winter and an ear band.
    Almost all of my riding shirts and jackets come from the second hand/charity stores. I find lots of (almost) brand new running stuff for next to nothing - either give aways from marathons or from people with good intentions for getting into shape.

  8. #8
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    Thank you all for your ideas!

    Slash5, I like your idea of looking at second hand/charity stores. I am definitely on a budget right now. But boy... that sounds like a lot of layers you put on!

  9. #9
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    Under Armour Gold Gear pants, shirt, head mask, REI Ultra Light jacket, Smart Wool socks, cargos, regular gloves, partagas long sleeve shirt.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    you need long leg cycling tights wind proof front, lycra shorts underneath prevent dick freezes.

    Tee shirt light jacket, then a second jacket a size larger.

    Big mitts (or gloves)....and a balaclava.

    Ski goggles with some kind of nose cover.

    Clipless winter boots are nice.

    That will take you down to -15C to -20 C.
    Oh I don't plan to bike in the sub 40's or 50's even, so that would probably be good up to Fall or early winter. You mentioned "balaclava"? You mean the one for motorcycling that makes you look like a ninja with the eyes only showing? If yes, that's great! I used to motorcycle back in my origin country and I'm glad I didn't throw away mine!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by adonis_abril View Post
    I usually wear a C9 Target branded longsleeve non cotton, sweatwicking shirts. They sometimes have them on clearance sale for $12 each...
    Wow, I didn't know Target would be of help to me with regards to things I can use for cycling. Thanks! Off to Target I go!

    Quote Originally Posted by Slash5 View Post
    Wow, aren't you the pessimist - it's still July...

    I have a skater style helmet for winter and an ear band...
    Well... July is over after this weekend, so it's going to be August and then Fall comes, right?

    You mentioned skater style helmet... you mean like the picture below and why?


  12. #12
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    I end up riding a lot of road in the winter because the trails aren't frozen and the best article of clothing I have purchased has been the Craft wind proof boxers. Even on the trail where the wind isn't a big factor the boxers keep everything toasty. I wear these under my fleece lines tights.

  13. #13
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    Wow. I wear gym shorts and a hoodie.
    Oh... and gloves. Suprised no one mentioned that.

  14. #14
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    The skater type helmet has more coverage and less vents - warmer in the cold.
    My normal helmet has more vent than helmet.

  15. #15
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    Everyone is different and I have never ridden during the colder months. Im from Iowa though so Im used to the kind of cold you'll be dealing with. I think my coldest rides were in the high 40s at the most, but for the bottoms I never do anything different than what I wear for summer riding. My legs just never get too cold. Gloves are the same way, I personally have no problems with cold hands while riding, I actually prefer it. In the cooler months I will wear a mid-weight merino wool top though. I started riding in merino in the colder months about 4 years ago and I cannot imagine going back. On top of that I will wear a softshell when necessary. This year I picked up a North Face Nimble Zip Shirt which is designed for MTBing and has vent panels under the arms and down the body. Im not usually a huge fan of TNF products, especially ones that are not part of their Summit Series line, but the Nimble is an exception. Currently they're only showing the women's on their website so hopefully they bring the men's back when its in season. If Im going on a longer ride I will also bring a merino wool beanie and a Patagonia R1 pullover for when Im stopped, as well as a couple hand warmers (I stick them on my chest).

    These are just the things I like to use but everyone has different needs when it comes to protection from the cold. The only thing I would say is necessary would be a long sleeve merino wool top. This is a good time to look for cold weather gear as many local outdoors stores that are not part of a chain will be getting rid of their stock of spring gear, the one I work at still has lots of that sort of gear available at a good price and Id assume it is the same for other local stores. If you have any specific questions on pieces of gear feel free to PM me, outdoor clothing is one of the few things I know fairly well.
    Last edited by SDKmann; 07-27-2012 at 02:39 PM.

  16. #16
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    X-post from Apparel:

    First off, start hitting up the local salvation army store and other thrift shops. You can generally get better quality gear that generally has lots of life left for half or more less than what you would pay at Wally World.

    Here in Alaska my "dirtbag" winter kit is as follows for various temp ranges:

    20 to 10 or so:
    Base: standard chamois shorts and wicking t
    mid layer (light insulation) - long sleeve wicking t and lyrca/spandex wicking tights
    Top layer: fleece lined windpants (Found a pair of Patagonia pants with a polar fleece lining for 3 bucks at a thrift store. Work awesome), midweight softshell type jacket (minimal insulation, but breathes well - Stormtech is the brand I've been using - often find these with company logos on them...)
    One pair poly socks, one pair light wool socks, waterproof boots, waterproof expedition style gloves (Grandoe for the last two seasons, dead now - more duct tape than leather on the palms), polar fleece stocking cap and, at the bottom end of the temp scale, a buff as a first layer over my ears.

    10 - 0
    Base: Chamois shorts covered by lightweight tights, light wicking LS T
    Mid: Polar fleece long underwear bottoms, polar fleece LS top
    Top: Same lined windpants, long sleeve wicking top, same shell jacket
    same sock and glove config, but wear insulated boots instead of just waterproof, windstopper polar fleece stocking cap with buff around neck

    0 - -10
    Base: Chamois tights, midweight wicking long sleeved T
    Mid: Capaline Long underwear, Polar Fleece long underwear, Underarmor ColdWare top, polar fleece longsleeve T
    Top: Same wind pants, same long sleeve wicking T, same shell jacket
    Feet: light wool sock covered by thick wool, insulated boots
    Hands: Light liner glove under expedition glove
    Head: Buff used as base layer (gator/hood style) around neck and over ears, windstopper fleece hat

    Anything colder than -10 and I just add more or heavier layers and may throw on a face mask and ski goggles - depends on the day and how I feel.

    A few things to keep in mind:
    1) Don't think that the first kit you buy will be the last - As you ride more, you'll figure out what items work for you and what don't. I have a huge Rubbermade tote full of stuff that just isn't comfortable that I use only as backup

    2) It takes patience and time to kit yourself out at a thrift store, but if you are in a college town you should have some great ones with some good finds. I generally hit local ones up at least once a week and have had some great luck in finding the gear I need.

    3) Watch for sales at places like REI/Cabellas. Both have great scratch and dent areas (REI is the attic and you have to be a member to buy from there and Cabellas I believe is called the cave and anyone can buy from there) This will help you find some excellent quality, sometimes cycling specific gear at good savings.

    4) Understand that you may have to buy some items new and at full price. Decide where your money is best spent here. My vote: hands and feet. Splurge on a dang good set of gloves and a decent pair of boots (if you can't pick them up at a thrift shop)

    Finally, get a good light or two or three. If you don't have a headlight that lets you see where you're going in the long nights of winter you will end up not riding.

    There is something amazing about riding in the winter. The dark, the quiet, the snow, the crispness of the air - it's just awesome! Good luck to you!

  17. #17
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    I was actually just thinking about this. Great info I will defiantly be using these ideas.

    MattyJ

  18. #18
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    For 40 and below weather wear some good gloves and some form of skin tight lined long sleeve shirt. I have a pair of Louis Garneu super prestige "lobster" gloves that keep my hands near roasting in cold weather. I wear a layer 8 base layer and cover it with a Gore bike wear windproof/waterproof jacket. I also have long tights from Gore.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebadboy View Post
    Oh I don't plan to bike in the sub 40's or 50's even, so that would probably be good up to Fall or early winter. You mentioned "balaclava"? You mean the one for motorcycling that makes you look like a ninja with the eyes only showing? If yes, that's great! I used to motorcycle back in my origin country and I'm glad I didn't throw away mine!
    No I use a full face opening....the goggles are the key, some come with a nose protector, that is the type you want.

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