winter riding top- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    viva la v-brakes!
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    winter riding top

    Hi all,

    I am not from Alaska but I think you guys might be the best folks to help me with my winter cycling clothing issue.

    In the past year I have felt like I have conquered a lot of uncomfortable cold issues with winter cycling: Lake boots for the feet, poagies for the hands, wool caps for the head and so on. But I still don't feel like I can have a comfortable torso for a long period of time.

    Sure, my tried and true windstopper jacket is great at keeping me comfortable for running errands around town, but for more then 30 minutes at a stretch it just doesn't breath well enough and I get sweaty and eventually clammy. My new fancy Pearl Izumi Amfib jacket is always soaked by the end of my hour long commute even though I can feel a bit of air cutting through it.

    This seems to be the paradox I am facing. Any garment which blocks the wind enough to prevent me from feeling that cold breeze and giving me the chills will also not breath well enough to prevent me from getting soaked with sweat. Does anyone else feel this is the case or am I missing something?

    Sure, we can swap layers around and adjust our pace to warm us up or cool us off, but I am coming to feel that after a while you are just going to be wet, hopefully warm and wet, but wet none the less. So I am coming to the conclusion that for longer and more intense winter rides the goal is to find clothes that will keep you comfortable even when they are wet. Capoline and Polypropylene base layers seem to be good at this, but not necessarily great. Last night I bought a Smart Wool long underwear top and I will be testing it out over the next few weeks.

    Another thought I had was going with the concept of a large, bulky windproof outer layer that stops the wind but has enough air space between your insulating layers and this outer layer that dry air from outside can creep inside and draw out the moisture. Does anyone use this method? I fear it wouldn't work well for me since I plan to race in my winter attire (and I'm always in a race to get to work on time) and a big windbreaker would create a lot of wind resistance.

    I am a regular on the Icebike mail list and I posted this message there as well.
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  2. #2
    Caveman
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    mid weight capiline base, then super light wind layer (Patagonia hoodini or others) then depending on temp - a light fleece vest or other light on top of that if it gets colder. This way you can always shed down to the wind layer if you overheat. You didnt really mention your temperatures here, makes a big difference.

  3. #3
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    As far as a lightweight, fairly breathable, wind-blocking layer, I am a HUGE fan of the Helly Hansen Mars jackets. They are super lightwieght (~2.3 oz) and are extremely effective. I am constantly surprised at how well it works at blocking wind. Next to zero insulation factor but that makes it easy to work into pretty much any layering system. I never leave the house with out it.

  4. #4
    Bill M
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    Different for everyone

    Everyone seems to need a different set up in the cold. I think I sweat more than most in the cold. I long ago gave up being dry even in temps way below 0. I need something that drys on me quickly when I stop or slow down. Polypro and capalene get slimy on me even as an only layer. I use a single layer of 100w fleece unless the wind is blowing down to -20 once I warm up. I start when it is cold wearing a Patagonia "Puff" vest and take it off as soon as I warm up. I add the vest when my nipples begin to freeze. It wicks good enough for the fleece to stay reasonably dry and it drys quickly when I stop. I have a super thin Berghaus nylon shell I wear if the wind is blowing but if I wear it I am going to be soaked. Bottom line is nothing I have ever tried breathes on me when it is cold. Good luck figuring out a system that works for you. Just don't be too disapointed when you spend big bucks on the latest and greatest only to find it doesn't work.

  5. #5
    Fatback
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    WOOL-don't argue with God

    Coming from the Nordic world, I have tried every possible synthetic top and windproof front/ breathable back jacket and they all work about the same-just ok. Problem for me is that I overheat quickly and I am covered in sweat. As soon as I would slow down or stop, I got cold. I went to Merino wool tops (2 different weights) and a wool jacket from Ibex (the Dash) and this set up works like no other. I can go from 35* to -20 with just two shirts. The wool baselayer keeps me warm if I stop, and the jacket, which on the front looks like softshell, but is a wool blend, with a heavy knit wool back, is very breathable. This is the key for me. If you sweat like hell, give it a try. You won't regret it.
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  6. #6
    Time to go farther
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    Lightweight wool top (smartwool light, not micro) then Marmot driclime jacket. Below zero I add a microweight fleece pullover but it's easy to overheat wearing it if the effort level is high. The full zip and partial zip on the wool top and driclime jacket let me dump heat fast if i've climbing or in deep snow and working realy hard. I dump my hat and balaclava too if I'm getting hot.

    If I can run just slightly cool I don't sweat much and don't soak my base layer at all.
    On-One Lurcher SS
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  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    RBH vapr thrm shirt

    Some people hate this stuff, some people love it. I like mine, but I've only used it at temps near 0F with a mid weight long sleeve PI jersey over it. I'm plenty comfy at that temp with minimal insulation over it. It kind of reverses the layering concept, the insulation stays 100% dry because the sweat never leaves your skin.

    That's also the con - the sweat never leaves your skin. Yucky.

    If it was warmer it might not be that good. I think it will be good when it's colder with another layer over the top.

    http://www.rbhdesigns.com/product/43...-nts-shirt.htm

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by thirstywork
    Coming from the Nordic world, I have tried every possible synthetic top and windproof front/ breathable back jacket and they all work about the same-just ok. Problem for me is that I overheat quickly and I am covered in sweat. As soon as I would slow down or stop, I got cold. I went to Merino wool tops (2 different weights) and a wool jacket from Ibex (the Dash) and this set up works like no other. I can go from 35* to -20 with just two shirts. The wool baselayer keeps me warm if I stop, and the jacket, which on the front looks like softshell, but is a wool blend, with a heavy knit wool back, is very breathable. This is the key for me. If you sweat like hell, give it a try. You won't regret it.
    Wool schmool. i use cotton and sweat like a hog. just dont slow down!

  9. #9

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    Good job! Biking outside the box...

    ...and behind some Lexan!

    I've been riding frozen ocean maritime winter climes for some-time...IMAO the key to biking in serious winter winds is:

    The Fairing

    All the benefits of keeping the wind and direct cold off your core...all the benefits of being able to dress with less...not to mention the aerodynamic efficiencies which are sooo obvious.

    Also, I totally agree with Tim...I use the VBL Vest from rbh on almost all my winter rides.



    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinleonard/350204540/" title="IMGP1670 by qayaq, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm1.static.flickr.com/128/350204540_a815ddf088.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMGP1670" /></a>


    m


    Quote Originally Posted by timroz
    Some people hate this stuff, some people love it. I like mine, but I've only used it at temps near 0F with a mid weight long sleeve PI jersey over it. I'm plenty comfy at that temp with minimal insulation over it. It kind of reverses the layering concept, the insulation stays 100% dry because the sweat never leaves your skin.

    That's also the con - the sweat never leaves your skin. Yucky.

    If it was warmer it might not be that good. I think it will be good when it's colder with another layer over the top.

    https://www.rbhdesigns.com/product/4...-nts-shirt.htm

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