Cold weather biking, tights or pants?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cold weather biking, tights or pants?

    When temps are in the low 40's I hope to keep biking both Mtn bike and biking on the asphalt Greenway.

    Wondering if tights would be better and more comfortable than going with some sort of long cycling pants?

  2. #2
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    Go to the running store, get 2 or 3 thicknesses, I wear mine under my mt bike shorts.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Go to the running store, get 2 or 3 thicknesses, I wear mine under my mt bike shorts.
    Not familiar with any running stores in this area, however, lime you, I would prefer to wear shorts over them.

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    Yep tights are better, a couple thicknesses and at least one with wind blocking front are recommended.

    My favorite tights are Pearl Izumi Amfibs and they are seemingly lasting forever, good luck with Sugoi firewall (come in difference warmth ratings), and can never go wrong with Gore Bike Wear. I prefer without a chamois and use short underneath as well.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEMIjer View Post
    Yep tights are better, a couple thicknesses and at least one with wind blocking front are recommended.

    My favorite tights are Pearl Izumi Amfibs and they are seemingly lasting forever, good luck with Sugoi firewall (come in difference warmth ratings), and can never go wrong with Gore Bike Wear. I prefer without a chamois and use short underneath as well.
    The bib type? I never tried them and wondering how they adjust for height, I am about 6- 1 tall.

  6. #6
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    Running store, REI, some kind of out door store. Poly pro tights or wool blend. Sometimes I will use thin nylon wind pants over both layers if needed.

  7. #7
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    I'm a convert to leggings*, me. I used to wear track suit bottom things for the winter but though they're OK when it's dry it's not so much fun when your legs are being flapped by cold, muddy cloth. Leggings don't seem to accumulate as much mud, and what does stick tends to get dried out by body heat.

    I did used to look like a bit of a deviant wearing leggings with bib shorts, but since I started wearing hardshell knee/shin armour on top I just look like a freak, so that worked out well.

    *Tights with just the leg sections, specifically meggings for male fitment.
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  8. #8
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    Low 40's I wear knee warmers or use the cheapest pair of C9 tights I could find at Target over my chamois and then baggies on top of that. I've done just fine with the tights down to low 20's. you could also use a pair of these. Just make sure to size up.

    https://smile.amazon.com/4ucycling-a...ucycling+pants

  9. #9
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    Always wear shorts until the 30's. Then tights/leggings. My legs rarely get cold, especially while I am riding. It is usually when I stop that I really notice the cold. Have never worn pants. I hate the feeling of pants on when I am riding. I even ride in just shorts in rain/sleet. Again, less material to hold in water. I have always been this way though. Even as a kid playing football in the snow, or hockey on the lake. Shorts. I hated snow suits and all the hoo-hah about getting dressed to go out in the snow.
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  10. #10
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    For winter fat biking (down to a certain point) I find just blocking the wind to be enough. I use bagel bags over wool socks, and goodwill nylon pants over leg warmers. Super cheap, and keeps me toasty warm

  11. #11
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    Bibs are kind of personal preference I am the short side but just about everyone I know who has tried bibs have a tough time going back to "regular" bike shorts. Added benefit for winter is many of them have some insulation around the stomach area

    Lot of good replies in this thread just got to experiment with what works for you, your conditions, budget, and your tolerance to weather. Options to layer are good, wind blocking and staying dry is must. Ride On!
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  12. #12
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    Tights, not sure what you are looking at that are long cycling pants, but I don't want anything on my legs that could be loose at all and could get caught in the drivetrain. And the "tightness" makes them warmer. Just starting to get into a bit colder weather where I am, I always have to try to remember how I need to dress between trail running, road biking and mountain biking as it varies. Last winter I guess I dressed for mountain biking and went road biking and was miserably cold. But I'm in the trees when mountain biking so wind isn't much of a factor, looks like OP isn't. Low 40s I wear shorts on the mountain bike, tights on the road bike (I think).
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  13. #13
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    Kind of like the idea and look of tights with baggy shorts over the top since like most others, my legs don't get that cold.

    Just wondering about having three layers, tights, pads and baggies?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grassington View Post
    I'm a convert to leggings*, me. I used to wear track suit bottom things for the winter but though they're OK when it's dry it's not so much fun when your legs are being flapped by cold, muddy cloth. Leggings don't seem to accumulate as much mud, and what does stick tends to get dried out by body heat.

    I did used to look like a bit of a deviant wearing leggings with bib shorts, but since I started wearing hardshell knee/shin armour on top I just look like a freak, so that worked out well.

    *Tights with just the leg sections, specifically meggings for male fitment.
    So you use leg warmers as opposed to tights, is that correct?

  15. #15
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    I wear sports friendly pants, shorts and shells over bike liner shorts.

    1. It's stuff that works for a lot more than biking.
    2. Not wearing tights adds to the public service I already do as a trail builder.

    I don't recall the model but I have Kuhl brand pants that are quick dry, comfy pedaling and just as good for other stuff.

    Confession: I am waiting for Twin Six to get this season's cycling pants in.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    So you use leg warmers as opposed to tights, is that correct?
    You're quite correct - a quick but fascinating google image search has revealed to me that leggings are just thick tights. I was referring to the arrangement of two separate tubes; arm-warmers for legs. I do wear 3/4 length tights in the summer though, partly to stop my hardshell leg armour chafing my knees, and partly to cover up the unfortunate gap between bottom of bib shorts and top of leg armour.

    My apologies for the confusion. Apparently not my area of expertise. But yeah, leg tubes for the winter, they're great.
    Hose me down till the water runs clear.

  17. #17
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    I got a pair of running pants from academy of their house brand. They do well down to about 45.

  18. #18
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    I use a 3 layer system when it's below 40*F, especially in the low 30's: a tight base layer thermal or running tights next to my skin, then a looser fitting base layer with wicking properties, then a pair of fishing, hiking or travel pants as leg covering, with a similar assembly on top, something with a hood, synthetic insulated jacket, and insulated gloves. But I'm a skinny kid in Carolina; the mid-20s are seriously cold to me, and have been all my life.

  19. #19
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    I recently picked up a pair of soft shell pants for winter hiking. They are snug enough that I think it would work for biking too. The pants are super stretchy and would be warmer than running spandex which I have used in the past.
    However it generally doesnít get cold enough where I live so I donít know if I will get a chance to try it out. Has anyone else tried something similar?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by offroadcmpr View Post
    I recently picked up a pair of soft shell pants for winter hiking. They are snug enough that I think it would work for biking too. The pants are super stretchy and would be warmer than running spandex which I have used in the past.
    However it generally doesnít get cold enough where I live so I donít know if I will get a chance to try it out. Has anyone else tried something similar?
    I have hiking pants too. I still wear long John under pants to keep warm in frigid conditions.

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  21. #21
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    Cross country ski pants by Swix, Craft, Salomon, etc. They come in different styles. The ones I like are fitted, so kind of a cross between tights and pants, and have a windproof and thicker front side. When it's colder, I wear thin or thick tights underneath.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerpss View Post
    Low 40's I wear knee warmers or use the cheapest pair of C9 tights I could find at Target over my chamois and then baggies on top of that. I've done just fine with the tights down to low 20's. you could also use a pair of these. Just make sure to size up.

    https://smile.amazon.com/4ucycling-a...ucycling+pants
    C9 tights from target rock. I use them for running, MTB and even over my bibs for road.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerpss View Post
    Low 40's I wear knee warmers or use the cheapest pair of C9 tights I could find at Target over my chamois and then baggies on top of that. I've done just fine with the tights down to low 20's. you could also use a pair of these. Just make sure to size up.

    https://smile.amazon.com/4ucycling-a...ucycling+pants
    Good find, Champion store has Vapor tights on sale for $18.00!

    You recommend sizing up one size when using their size chart? Thanks

  24. #24
    alh
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEMIjer View Post
    Yep tights are better, a couple thicknesses and at least one with wind blocking front are recommended.

    My favorite tights are Pearl Izumi Amfibs and they are seemingly lasting forever, good luck with Sugoi firewall (come in difference warmth ratings), and can never go wrong with Gore Bike Wear. I prefer without a chamois and use short underneath as well.
    This. I use my road winter gear for mountain biking in the winter.

    AmFibs are very warm, which I use for the coldest days (below 30F), Gore Windstopper (30-high 40s) and Castelli bibs (no windstopper, 40-50F). Everyone is different so go according to comfort level.

    Just found this on Amazon for $29. Windproof, a low pile fleece underneath, and has room for low profile knee pads (like TLD Speeds). Haven't used them yet, but for $29, hard to go wrong. Size up if you try them.


    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by alh View Post
    This. I use my road winter gear for mountain biking in the winter.

    AmFibs are very warm, which I use for the coldest days (below 30F), Gore Windstopper (30-high 40s) and Castelli bibs (no windstopper, 40-50F). Everyone is different so go according to comfort level.

    Just found this on Amazon for $29. Windproof, a low pile fleece underneath, and has room for low profile knee pads (like TLD Speeds). Haven't used them yet, but for $29, hard to go wrong. Size up if you try them.


    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I'm thinking tights would be better than cycling pants so I could wear pads and baggy shorts but I did spot those pants on Amazon before. Thanks

  26. #26
    alh
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    Yeah, I hear you. I was looking at some Fox cycling pants but didn't want to spend $200 on pants thinking tights would be better. I figured the $29 pants from Amazon would be a way to try for cheap.

  27. #27
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    I wear shorts/soft knee pads down to 5C/40F. I might be wearing my Gore leg warmers at that point if it is windy. I like these, but usually have to stop and pull them up a few times during the ride. Garter belt? LOL. Lots of my cross country ski clothing serve double duty with winter fat biking. I tried on lots of bike specific tights, bibs, etc., but none fit as nice as my Halti CC ski pants with built-in suspenders. I wear them over chamois shorts, light thermals, IXS flows (light knee pads are also terrific knee warmers). This is tied in to the 5-10 Freerider winter shoes with 45 North gaiters when needed for extra warmth or dryness. Below -15C/5F , I have some Columbia thermal winter boots to wear. Below -22C/-8F, I seem to lose my enthusiasm

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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpeden View Post
    I wear shorts/soft knee pads down to 5C/40F. I might be wearing my Gore leg warmers at that point if it is windy. I like these, but usually have to stop and pull them up a few times during the ride. Garter belt? LOL. Lots of my cross country ski clothing serve double duty with winter fat biking. I tried on lots of bike specific tights, bibs, etc., but none fit as nice as my Halti CC ski pants with built-in suspenders. I wear them over chamois shorts, light thermals, IXS flows (light knee pads are also terrific knee warmers). This is tied in to the 5-10 Freerider winter shoes with 45 North gaiters when needed for extra warmth or dryness. Below -15C/5F , I have some Columbia thermal winter boots to wear. Below -22C/-8F, I seem to lose my enthusiasm

    Glen
    I must be a wuss because my cutoff temperature for biking is 40 degrees with sun and no wind. Anything less than that will prevent me from biking!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    I must be a wuss because my cutoff temperature for biking is 40 degrees with sun and no wind. Anything less than that will prevent me from biking!
    I notice from your avatar that you might live in a a warmer climate I live in the Rockies at 5600', so maybe have gotten used to colder temperatures

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpeden View Post
    I notice from your avatar that you might live in a a warmer climate I live in the Rockies at 5600', so maybe have gotten used to colder temperatures

    Glen
    Yeah 40* is actually pretty nice temperature for Riding in shorts and long sleeve jersey!

    Thanks to the other poster about amazon pants... think Iíll put a pair in the closet for winter time


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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    Good find, Champion store has Vapor tights on sale for $18.00!

    You recommend sizing up one size when using their size chart? Thanks
    Here's a link to the ones i use.
    https://www.target.com/p/men-s-cold-...rch|52586611|5

    I'm 5'9 145'ish and probably between a s/m on their size chart. Originally bought a small, went to put them on and could hardly get them over my foot and were way too tight on my calf and thighs. Returned for a medium, didn't try on in store, tried them on at home and still too tight. Ended up going right back and settling on the large. They're probably a little long but with the tight ankle and overall fit they don't sag.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerpss View Post
    Here's a link to the ones i use.
    https://www.target.com/p/men-s-cold-...rch|52586611|5

    I'm 5'9 145'ish and probably between a s/m on their size chart. Originally bought a small, went to put them on and could hardly get them over my foot and were way too tight on my calf and thighs. Returned for a medium, didn't try on in store, tried them on at home and still too tight. Ended up going right back and settling on the large. They're probably a little long but with the tight ankle and overall fit they don't sag.
    Thanks for the link. Went to my local Target and picked up the pant, top and socks. Pant and top were 21.99 each. I see no need to spend boocoo money on similar functioning items just because they have fancy company names or come from specialty sellers online.

  33. #33
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    Although a little on the pricey side, I have the Yeti Montezuma Wind pants and they are pretty great. The wind stopper fabric works really well on the front of them.

  34. #34
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    Leg warmers or tights for 15-40 deg.

    Pants over the top below 15 deg, or when it's especially wet and between 15 and 25 deg. Leg warmers or tights just wick water down my your socks (from snow or rain), and I end up with cold feet. With pants, they keep the water outside of the shoes.

  35. #35
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    I like pants over tights. It may seem counter-intuitive, but tights always seem to sag and snag on the saddle for me, and the drawstring waist can't be snugged tight enough to prevent sagging without cutting into me. I'm located in southern New England and will ride throughout the winter when the snow's not too deep, using leg warmers under baggies until the temps get to freezing, and road shorts under pants below freezing. I had a pair of Fox pants for years that were perfect, with no logos, relatively light weight, velcro adjusters at the waist and cuffs, moderate water resistance, just enough room at the knees for light pads, and reinforcement patches on the seat and inner cuffs. I used them so much they wore out in the seat area. Haven't been able to find anything as nice since.

  36. #36
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    Winter biking, road or Mtn there in NE? I guess I will wear my pads, tights and then baggies. My favorite and best bike shorts are Endura Humvee shorts, the wear lime iron and are just the best. They are not cheap but they will outlast all others.

  37. #37
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    I personally stay in shorts till the mid to low 20's but to be honest that rarely happens around here.

  38. #38
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    I like wearing my Pearl Izumi tights during cold weather.

  39. #39
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    For AM riding I go tights under shorts. Keeps things out of the chain/ring and as others point out once I'm warmed up my legs don't really get cold. Granted I avoid riding when it gets below 30 and/or when its super wet. If I'm riding paved and/or with the wife/kids I'll do fitted running pants as those rides tend to be slower and involve stops and other off bike activities(playgrounds).

    the C9s are great tight options or if you have a costco they had the heat32 degree brand base layers on sale for $8. They are crap against thorns and such, but disposable at that price.

    By tights I mean spandex/lycra material, think shiny. I consider base layers to be pants more on the cloth/cotton side of the spectrum such as long-johns.

    These are also a good option on Amazon, I have a pair of the 2nd ones.
    https://www.amazon.com/Tesla-Winterg...PQM&th=1&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/TM-MUP19-GRN_...PQM&th=1&psc=1

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    I must be a wuss because my cutoff temperature for biking is 40 degrees with sun and no wind. Anything less than that will prevent me from biking!
    40 F? That's fall, no bugs, less sweat. 37 at the start of my 17 mile bike commute this am. Layers, fleece and wool base layers, start there. Just need the right clothes. Keep your feet, hands and head warm the rest will follow. Had an eyelid freeze shut at 7 F, good times.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    40 F? That's fall, no bugs, less sweat. 37 at the start of my 17 mile bike commute this am. Layers, fleece and wool base layers, start there. Just need the right clothes. Keep your feet, hands and head warm the rest will follow. Had an eyelid freeze shut at 7 F, good times.
    I have had my nose freeze "shut" before in the cold. Never an eye tho! For me, as long as the back of my neck is warm, I could ride in shorts and a t-shirt in the cold. My balaclava is my most favorite piece of winter gear by far. Gloves are second to prevent wind burn on my hands.

    Optimum riding temps for me are 60F and below. I really have to motivate my self to ride in weather higher than 60F
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

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