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  1. #1
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    cold weather riding gear

    Hey guys, gonna be trying to extend my riding this year into winter here in Michigan. Gonna be getting a fat bike and riding my trail bike when there is no snow.

    I have no cold weather riding stuff or now where to start. Looking for low bulk/weight but warm enough. I know how to layer from steelhead and winter fly fishing but those are typically lower active things vs riding.

    Any kick in the right direction for pants, base layers, tops would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    J-

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjc155 View Post
    Hey guys, gonna be trying to extend my riding this year into winter here in Michigan. Gonna be getting a fat bike and riding my trail bike when there is no snow.

    I have no cold weather riding stuff or now where to start. Looking for low bulk/weight but warm enough. I know how to layer from steelhead and winter fly fishing but those are typically lower active things vs riding.

    Any kick in the right direction for pants, base layers, tops would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    J-
    There are many, many threads on this, start searching, not worth making an entirely new thread and repeating the same information. The basic quick and dirty is wear what XC skiers wear, the exertion is similar.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  3. #3
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    What temps are your riding limits? I'm at about 25F. Below that my toes go too fast to make riding fun. Down to there my favorite upper set up, up top, is some type simple synthetic or wool under shirt. Over that a long sleeve Walmart fleece top. On top of that a cheap eBay zippered vest windbreaker with a mesh back.

    Below, simple fleece/polartech pants on top of Lycra riding shorts.

    Feet get toe warmers. Chances are toes will be the biggest limiting factor. Think about cold weather specific shoes. I like Spec Defrosters.

    Hands get any type of glove, they don't seem to get too cold.

    A good layer of stubble does an amazing job at keeping your face warm. Also, until you are use to it your face may feel super cold. I've found that is something you acclimate to after a few outings.

    Biggest piece of advice I think i can give is that cheap Wally World fleece and windbreakers do 99% of the job that stuff costing 10X more will do. And, for high output activities Goretex is easily overwhelmed with sweat, and thus over rated.

  4. #4
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    Gotta keep blood flowing in the toes and fingers. Tight or restrictive shoes/socks/gloves are bad. Loose and wind blocking is good. Once toes or fingers start getting cold, blood flow will decrease exacerbating the problem. I warm up to the point of just breaking a light sweat before riding and then go out and ride hard enough to maintain body heat. I've ridden for a couple of hours a few degrees below 0F and have been able to keep my toes and fingers good.
    Do the math.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Gotta keep blood flowing in the toes and fingers. Tight or restrictive shoes/socks/gloves are bad. Loose and wind blocking is good. Once toes or fingers start getting cold, blood flow will decrease exacerbating the problem. I warm up to the point of just breaking a light sweat before riding and then go out and ride hard enough to maintain body heat. I've ridden for a couple of hours a few degrees below 0F and have been able to keep my toes and fingers good.
    The only thing I'll add is that I've experimented with both loose and tight fitting base layers and found tight fitting base layers to be far warmer.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Whatever you do, get pogies. They don't have to be the most expensive ones out there (I run sub $20 scooter bar mitts), but they will allow you to run thin gloves while still having toasty hands.

    Other than that, you'll likely wear less clothing than you think. I run tights with a windproof panel in front and a simple, lightweight cycling jacket with varying light layers underneath (typically either short sleeve or long sleeve wicking shirt) to match conditions. I also like knee warmers and arm warmers because I can get a little extra warmth without any extra bulk and the option to remove it easily.

    But really, you'll have to find out what works for you.

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    I suspect that you don't ski or you wouldn't be asking this, but if you do, I prefer my ski helmet to putting a beanie/balaclava under my bike helmet. The venting works better for me in that it can be fully closed and block out all wind via plastic or fully open and vent directly to my head. Similarly I use my regular softshell ski touring gloves rather than bike specific winter gloves.

    Another piece of gear that I reuse are my alpine gaiters.They let control my pants and give a bit of extra wind protection so if I'm wearing under shorts, pants lighter pants, and the gaiters I get good knee articulation with most of my leg having an extra layer of warmth. If you're riding in a show with no heel, though, the bottom strap can be a bit annoying.

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    Cool thanks guys. Not far off from what i was thinking. Yep Iíve never skied before so no experience dressing for it. But decades of fly fishing and ice fishing but while the theory of layering is similar the actual clothing is pretty different.

    Thanks
    J-

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjc155 View Post
    Cool thanks guys. Not far off from what i was thinking. Yep Iíve never skied before so no experience dressing for it. But decades of fly fishing and ice fishing but while the theory of layering is similar the actual clothing is pretty different.

    Thanks
    J-
    Very different. Exertion levels are vastly different on the bike and that is what accounts for tgat difference. Xc skiing is similar exertion, which is why the gear can be used interchangeably in many cases.

    Still, the majority of my winter bike gear is not sport specific in any way. It's just synthetic or wool layers of different weights/thicknesses for different conditions. Some really affordable, some expensive. I make pretty extensive use of vests for winter riding, and just about nowhere else.

    I have some new conditions to deal with after a move abt a year ago. My existing gear sorta worked, but I need to make some new purchases to plug some gaps in my gear.

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  10. #10
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    cold weather riding gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    The only thing I'll add is that I've experimented with both loose and tight fitting base layers and found tight fitting base layers to be far warmer.
    As long as theyíre merino.

    Dido on the XC wear. Iím a Nordic and backcountry skier with BC guiding duty in the winter. You might want a wind block front panel on the top but personally I use tight woven soft shells; vest, pull over and full zip jackets made of both Schoeller Dynamic and Dry Skin Extreme. I rarely ever put on a hard shell WP or otherwise. It has to be nuking snow and or snowing hard with wind before I out on a shell. Wind is the big key as it enhances evaporative heat loss which allows you to use a hard shell in a higher activity like biking, skate or classic skiing or fast pace skinning uphill.

    The other dynamic is the intensity level. If youíre going relatively hard you need to start off on the cold side. If youíre too warm at the get go youíll be sweating heavily and in trouble in short order. My typical kit (of the action suit, which you never remove until done) down into the teens and single digits is 200 gram merino base layer top and bottom with soft sell pants and top depending on conditions. Warmer conditions Iíll sub in 140-190 gram merino base layers for the 200+ gram layers.

    The rule is you only add or remove layers on top of the ďaction suitĒ like a puffy when you stop to eat or.... then maybe a shell if the weather goes nuclear.

    Feet and hands are different and a tougher one to call especially feet. Me I run warmer so not much extremity issues but some folks have real struggles with their extremities.

    You also need to be in tune with your internal temp and how you run, hot or colder. Trial and error plus experience tells the real story.
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  11. #11
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    I'll add that I put a cover over my helmet in addition to a beanie or balaclava under it. And a thin wind blocking vest or jacket added over another makes a huge difference. On the road bike I wear a close fitting soft shell jacket with a wind blocking front and fully air permeable back, and in colder temps will put a vest with a mesh back over it. The permeable backs let out the moisture.

    My loose suggestions pertain to hands and feet so as to not restrict blood flow and allow volume for insulation.
    Do the math.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjc155 View Post
    Cool thanks guys. Not far off from what i was thinking. Yep Iíve never skied before so no experience dressing for it. But decades of fly fishing and ice fishing but while the theory of layering is similar the actual clothing is pretty different.
    The online winter biking guides online are usually not useful for midwest winters in the US - it's a completely different animal. Waterproof shorts don't cut it for windy, snowy and 0F . I think gloves, shoes, head items are most important for winter bike riding - you need high dexterity coupled with wind blocking and warmth. Those are the areas I'd splurge for nice stuff.

    @manitou2200 was spot on. 200g merino base layer top & bottom is essential, then some sort of softshell slim fitting bottom pant. For the upper core just rotate depending on weather and preference. I like vests for biking, as they keep your core warm, arms free, and vent better than any jacket could. Softshells aren't bad, but lately I've been liking superlightweight windshells like the Patagonia Houdini or OR Tantrum layered over breathables like merino/fleeces. They're free and airy, and not as restrictive as softshells. It's all about your preference though.

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    Chamois, ski suit, thin head covering that fits under helmet, moisture wicking shirt, and wool socks in single digit temps. I do a lot of night rides after work as long as I have other people to ride with for safety.

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    I wear shorts or knickers down to around 40F, after that, cycling pants with windblocker front panels. Up top, itís a thin base layer under a well-vented windshell, or a heavier rain jacket when it drops below freezing. I wear Cold weather mechanix gloves and toe covers for hands and feet; and I try to ensure that I can unzip vents if needed while riding.

    As was mentioned above- if you start the ride warm, youíll soon overheat... even in
    10-15F temps, with windchill well below 0F, Iíll be warm by the time I hit the first mile. Better to be a bit chilled and let your body provide the heat.
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    Awesome thanks for all the info guys, def have a good idea on the direction I need to go.

    J-

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by manitou2200 View Post
    As long as theyíre merino.
    I've found that part to be BS generally.

    There's a guy that's done studies on different materials and their insulating properties when wet, in short, it's all BS and even cotton isn't as bad as it's made out to be, when anything gets wet it starts to suck and there's no vast difference, it's mainly in our head and in marketing. Good stretch fabrics that can dry quickly are fine, no merino needed. There are lots of good base-layers to choose from. It's more about coverage and shape IME than whether it's merino. Things like turtle-necks that keep your neck warmer, long enough base-layer uppers that tuck in nicely and don't leave a gap on your a$$, long enough to overlap with your gloves, wind-blocking for your neither-regions, etc.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I've found that part to be BS generally.

    There's a guy that's done studies.
    What guy, what studies and whereíd you find this clueless soul?

    I donít really care if youíre misinformed. It doesnít mean shit to me. If you understood the mechanics and chemistry behind wool/ merino you would understand. But if you want to suffer because your choice of poor base layers, so be it. At least you own it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I've found that part to be BS generally.

    There's a guy that's done studies on different materials and their insulating properties when wet, in short, it's all BS and even cotton isn't as bad as it's made out to be, when anything gets wet it starts to suck and there's no vast difference, it's mainly in our head and in marketing. Good stretch fabrics that can dry quickly are fine, no merino needed. There are lots of good base-layers to choose from. It's more about coverage and shape IME than whether it's merino. Things like turtle-necks that keep your neck warmer, long enough base-layer uppers that tuck in nicely and don't leave a gap on your a$$, long enough to overlap with your gloves, wind-blocking for your neither-regions, etc.
    My sock experience would not support the conclusion that it's not much different than merino. I find merino socks to be way better when encountering moisture (and in almost every way). Synthetics are a little different. A lot of synthetics will insulate well when wet. Merino's advantage over them is that it gets a lot less stinky (and I think regulates temp really well, but again there is a lot of variance there in synthetics).

    When I go out in the winter for high output activities, I usually wear a tight synthetic Under Armour Cold Gear mock turtleneck under a light merino sweater and take a light shell of some kind if there is wind or I'm likely to stop and rest. I change/wash the base layer semi-frequently but don't have to wash the merino sweater all season as long as I air it out. I use a similar system for my lower body.

    One thing about merino: I've found that basically any decent, high % merino works well as outdoor gear. No need to buy the special outdoor versions. Just go to Goodwill and buy a light sweater from Banana Republic or similar that someone gave away after it got pilly. I've had both Icebreaker and BR/JCrew/Gap/etc versions, and I didn't find the outdoor specific versions to be advantageous.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I've found that part to be BS generally.
    Just the fact that wool doesn't get stinky makes it worth it for me, plus they last longer and are more comfy. Cotton is dank in comparison. I find it's a better insulator than most materials and even if that's a marketed induced placebo effect it still works for me.
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  20. #20
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    cold weather riding gear

    I'll lay this out as simple as I can. It really isn't overly complicated. Wool and merino specifically with it's much finer micron diameter has very unique properties that make it the superior base layer in my opinion. It manages moisture differently than synthetics and overall is better at thermal management than synthetics. It works for the sheep in nature and works for us when we make it into clothing. Some of it's attributes are:
    • Merino/ wool which is made of Keratin and has natural anti microbial properties, that's why it doesn't stink from you sweating in it
    • It can absorb 35% of it's own weight in water without feeling wet
    • It retains the heat from the water vapor of your sweat and through heat of sorption uses it to keep you warm when it's cold out
    • It likewise uses the same moisture in warmer conditions in a slow release to cool you though evaporation

    Synthetic fibers can't absorb water vapor or moisture basically because they are extruded in a solid filament from petroleum based plastics. Synthetics dry faster and can wick away moisture quicker but can't retain the heat when you need it, when you're cold. The weaves in both merino and synthetics base layers are part of the insulation factor as they can trap air and insulate because of this.

    Merino (wool) is basically a fiber with a hydrophobic outer cuticle that is layered like scales on the outer surface. The inner cortical cells are of a hydrophilic nature so they absorb the water vapor moisture, hold it and the heat and release it slowly using your body heat to vaporize it and push it out of the fiber. The hydrophilic inner cortical cells are the reason Merino can hold 35% of it's own weight in water and not feel wet. The Meriino fibers used in clothing and good socks ranges in diameter from 17-22 microns (a micron is a millionth of and inch). The outer cuticle scales are so small that they don't really irritate the nerve ending in the skin (for most people) like coarser wool that is twice as or more than twice the diameter of the Merino. Some folks are also allergic to the natural lanolin in wool but it seems to be very few that are.

    Merino fibers and fabrics don't dry as fast as synthetic fibers or fabrics but you get more out of the whole moisture management process with Merino vs synthetics. I find that the quickest way to dry your Merino base layers is though activity and once you achieve your thermal equilibrium you tend to stay dry. You notice that as you get your body up to temp you'll feel hot and sometimes sweaty but as you regulate your heat, though venting, evaporation and natural body efficiencies you find that equilibrium and tend to dry out. When you stop for whatever reason the best thing to do is pull out a puffy and layer it over your base kit (base layer and softshell/ shell). You'll dry the Merino base layer out while you're stopped, when eating navigating or whatever you're doing. Adding a synthetic layer under the Merino is a little defeating as it will end up stinking out (it's made of petroleum) and it interrupts the natural breath-ability process of the Merino. adding synthetic mid layers over the Merino layer is the better way to go. Some days you don't need as much wind resistance so you can layer over with more open weaves and visa versa.

    This is nothing new really the Merino sheep live in mountain environments and a huge temperature range with well over a 100 deg F swing. Their own super fleece is breathable and insulating which allows them to survive. We humans have just figured out how to re-purpose it in in fabrics that we can use to do the same thing for us.
    Last edited by manitou2200; 09-29-2018 at 10:46 PM. Reason: tweaked it
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by manitou2200 View Post
    I'll lay this out as simple as I can...It works for the sheep in nature
    This article starts centering in on some of the actual performance and comparisons, also of note, high performance wear, like columbia, patagonia, etc., is treated and does not "stink up" like old cotton stuff:

    No Sweat: The Truth About Performance Apparel | Performance Apparel Information | Consumers Digest | Consumers Digest

    This is the study I was referencing before:

    https://backpackinglight.com/comfort...etic_clothing/

    In short, yes, a lot of marketing BS. Synthetics dry out faster and work just as well. Merino wool is no "wonder material". Could there be some slight advantages? Sure, but the advantages are "in the noise" based on the tests that I've seen and there are significant disadvantages too. The merino wool industry will hate this idea, just like the milk industry hates the science that you don't absorb calcium from milk as an adult, but that doesn't stop them from filling our heads with the ideas that these things are hands down better than anything else.

    I ride all winter and down to at least -20įF. I do a combination of materials, but honestly, the material is somewhat secondary to the design, such as wind-panels in the front and stretch fabric on the back side, or how tight and long the cuffs are, how it tucks down into my pants. I try to have a variety of weights of softshells and systems for my leggings. It's imperative for it all to be breathable. As long as you are at least dealing with decent synthetics, you are good to go IME. It's important to not over dress and manage your heat. Clothing needs to be able to breathe and deal with your sweat vapor. If you get wet, you are F-ed here, merino wool or not (yes, I've dealt with this before and I've done it with and without merino).

    Conclusions
    General Note: Differences between wool and synthetics for both water absorption and drying times were not as earth shattering as we initially thought.

    Choices we make for base layers should be based on conditions we hike in, and properties of fabrics. But even under similar conditions personal preference plays a big role. Each of us has different comfort levels for each fabric. Some people canít wear even the softest wool fabrics without breaking out in a rash, while others cannot tolerate the stench of wearing a synthetic garment for a week, and still others hate the clammy feeling of synthetics. Whatever your personal preferences, we hope the information provided here will help you make more informed choices about your base layer.

    Testerís Personal Conclusions
    The following are our personal conclusions from this series of tests and field testing.

    Wool is significantly better at resisting buildup of body odors than most synthetics Ė even the improved ones
    Wool feels warmer and less clammy on the skin when damp
    Wool takes approximately 50 percent longer to dry than synthetics (range 40 to 60 percent). This was consistent across the board under a large range of conditions Ė in lab tests of fabric swatches, whole shirts on hangers, shirts on warm bodies, and actual in-field performance of shirts wet with sweat and shirts intentionally saturated with water.
    In our soak test, the difference in water absorption (x increase over dry weight) between wool and synthetics was less than we initially believed. Approximately 3x dry weight for synthetics versus 4x dry weight for wool.
    Synthetic fabrics wick moisture out faster over a larger surface area. This may in part contribute to their faster drying times but also to a chilling effect in cool and especially windy conditions.
    Synthetic fabrics are lighter than wool for comparable warmth.
    Many synthetic garments are significantly less expensive than wool.
    Like I said, I think this is going to be one of those things where it's "ingrained" in people's minds that merino wool and wool in general is "far superior", just like Envy is somehow superior to Nextie or a situation where you pay a bunch more money. I would strongly suggest to look for function, like different weight base layers, ones that are long enough to not leave gaps, etc., rather than spending $140 for a "merino wool" top.

    -20 morning:
    cold weather riding gear-g0025081.jpg
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    Still, wool doesn't get as stinky.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Still, wool doesn't get as stinky.
    Yeah, but I wash my clothes I try to have enough I can rotate, they get dirty from mud anyway in the shoulder seasons.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Yeah, but I wash my clothes
    Well I guess I'll give that a try.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Well I guess I'll give that a try.
    Well there are valid points for something that doesn't stink as bad. When I ride to work I don't wash my stuff just because I rode one day, so I try to air that stuff out and not let it stink, I can definitely see the benefit there and there are obviously places where you can't avoid sweating, so definitely could be some benefit.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Interesting to see such a strong wool bash.

    It's amazingly comfortable. Almost all my outdoor stuff is synthetic, and it's all uncomfortable. It works well, but I take it off asap, it just feels nasty. Merino wool feels great, and it feels fine when it gets damp too. I'd own more if it wasn't so expensive.

    Performance aside, Merino wool stuff feels like a treat to wear. My synthetic stuff is purely functional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Whatever you do, get pogies. They don't have to be the most expensive ones out there (I run sub $20 scooter bar mitts), but they will allow you to run thin gloves while still having toasty hands.

    Other than that, you'll likely wear less clothing than you think. I run tights with a windproof panel in front and a simple, lightweight cycling jacket with varying light layers underneath (typically either short sleeve or long sleeve wicking shirt) to match conditions. I also like knee warmers and arm warmers because I can get a little extra warmth without any extra bulk and the option to remove it easily.

    But really, you'll have to find out what works for you.
    Good all around advice.
    The pogies will probably prove to be the deal maker in my case. Only used a few times but I know they will be the reason I venture out when otherwise I would not.
    Only mistake I've made in the cold weather was over-dressing and not having a good ventilated outer shell. Moisture build up from the inside without relief is to be avoided.

    The ski helmet idea isn't bad either (marcusbrody) and at least in my case, mine cover my ears just enough to minimize a need for a headband or head covering and my goggles will fit and work better if I need them than my current bike helmet.

    As for your clothing or layers, have the ability to carry something on the bike too so you can discard a layer or bring an extra option. Options are good and temps change by the hour or with the wind, sun or clouds.
    I dress for the temp as 5 degrees warmer than actual considering activity will be the off-set. Wind is really the only tricky part to most conditions where I live.

    I highlighted that last sentence because fabrics, high tech wear and all the stats sell stuff but many of us have found some tried and true methods or even old clothing that works well in various combinations or layers. You truly have to do the trial and experimenting yourself to figure it out. You'll develop your own recipe and favorites of clothing.
    "Before you criticize, you should walk a mile in their shoes. You'll be a mile away from them and you have their shoes"

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Interesting to see such a strong wool bash.

    It's amazingly comfortable. Almost all my outdoor stuff is synthetic, and it's all uncomfortable. It works well, but I take it off asap, it just feels nasty. Merino wool feels great, and it feels fine when it gets damp too. I'd own more if it wasn't so expensive.

    Performance aside, Merino wool stuff feels like a treat to wear. My synthetic stuff is purely functional.
    Well, maybe not so much a bash as just bringing to the surface the over-hyped properties and false claims. Not that it isn't good stuff, but there are legit reasons why it may not be the best material and why someone might choose synthetics over it, other than cost.

    To me, what feels comfortable has a lot to do with the fiber size and construction, synthetic can vary significantly, but so can wool.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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    cold weather riding gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    This article starts centering in on some of the actual performance and comparisons, also of note, high performance wear, like columbia, patagonia, etc., is treated and does not "stink up" like old cotton stuff:

    No Sweat: The Truth About Performance Apparel | Performance Apparel Information | Consumers Digest | Consumers Digest

    This is the study I was referencing before:

    https://backpackinglight.com/comfort...etic_clothing/

    In short, yes, a lot of marketing BS. Synthetics dry out faster and work just as well. Merino wool is no "wonder material". Could there be some slight advantages? Sure, but the advantages are "in the noise" based on the tests that I've seen and there are significant disadvantages too. The merino wool industry will hate this idea, just like the milk industry hates the science that you don't absorb calcium from milk as an adult, but that doesn't stop them from filling our heads with the ideas that these things are hands down better than anything else.

    I ride all winter and down to at least -20įF. I do a combination of materials, but honestly, the material is somewhat secondary to the design, such as wind-panels in the front and stretch fabric on the back side, or how tight and long the cuffs are, how it tucks down into my pants. I try to have a variety of weights of softshells and systems for my leggings. It's imperative for it all to be breathable. As long as you are at least dealing with decent synthetics, you are good to go IME. It's important to not over dress and manage your heat. Clothing needs to be able to breathe and deal with your sweat vapor. If you get wet, you are F-ed here, merino wool or not (yes, I've dealt with this before and I've done it with and without merino).



    Like I said, I think this is going to be one of those things where it's "ingrained" in people's minds that merino wool and wool in general is "far superior", I would strongly suggest to look for function, like different weight base layers, ones that are long enough to not leave gaps, etc., rather than spending $140 for a "merino wool" top.

    -20 morning
    So seriously youíve read a few articles and now youíre an authority on fabrics and fibers used in the design and manufacturing of these performance base layers. Letís just make this perfectly clear, you and I are debating base layers that are worn against the skin. Mid and outer layers are another matter and debate but I think we all mostly agree with those choices of garments based on conditions. I tried to keep this simple but you canít grasp it I guess.

    That consumers digest article is pure marketing crap and barely skims the issues and science in these products with no real practical or qualitative/ quantitative testing. Theyíre quoting manufacturers marketing BS like Under Armor, who makes very marginal performance stuff. UA is really good at throwing marketing, sponsorship and advertising money at categories to come off as legit. Consumers Digest is one of the worst rags out there to glean any real in depth look or the science behind their so called reviews.

    The Backpacking Light article actually pretty much reinforces most everything I stated in my last post. The most important being the ďheat of sorptionĒ reaction that Merino performs while you are wearing it. There is no BS in this unless you are a denier of science, something we seem to be seeing a lot of these days. With all due respect the testers here are performing their tests in very moderate recreational climate conditions so take it for what it is, kind of a surface skim on the performance aspects.

    Also whatís with the DA milk analogy, milk and for that matter the Enve rims both that have absolutely nothing to do with this debate. For that matter cotton also has no bearing or comparison to the fibers and fabrics weíre discussing here. Cotton is not a performance fiber or fabric, it doesnít have any of the properties Merino has other than its completely hydrophilic. Merinoís cortical cells are hydrophilic but itís cuticle sheath is hydrophobic and thatís partly why it can perform the heat of sorption process. This is not something that synthetics can do because they are solid filaments. Temperature regulation is much easier to control using Merino base layers because of the heat of sorption. If you get wet and chilled because of it synthetics are not your friends. They donít help you other than allowing you to super chill through evaporative cooling. Merino helps you giving back some of your own heat through heat of sorption so you stay in a more controlled thermal state when going hard when itís cold out.

    Then thereís the whole antimicrobial aspect of Merino and the fact that you can wear it for multiple days without having to deal with odor and poor performance. Iíve personally been on multi week mountaineering trips wearing some garments for most of the trip with occasional quick hand wash/ rinse when needed.

    Iím addressing only the synthetic vs Merino debate and from a perspective of practical use and the science behind the fibers and consequent fabrics constructed of them. Merino is really kind of a miracle fiber partly because itís natural, sustainable and recyclable. I have Merino garments that are almost 20 years old that I still use. How many of your synthetic base layers are that old and still ticking along?

    BTW, -20f is not that cold. We regularly deal with winter temps in the interior N CAN that are -40+ and then wet and cold a few weeks later. None of the clan that I hang and guide with in these conditions uses synthetic base layers against their skin. Mid and outer layers is another story and I have a mix of Merino and synthetic layers and shells that work when appropriate.

    We are talking about cold weather conditions here but Iíll say that in some hotter humid (read summer type) conditions that I prefer synthetics to Merino garments because of the faster wicking properties.

    If you want to bring sone solid science here in this debate that backs your beliefs and experience Iím glad to entertain it otherwise weíre done discussing this base layer debate as youíve brought no compelling reasons (other than its cheaper, maybe) or science to convince me or probably anyone else in this forum otherwise.

    Carry on!


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    How many people will agree with you that -20F is not really cold?



    I get that you have invested thousands in merino gear over 20 years. The point of the article is that the insulating and moisture wicking properties are way overblown and in some cases, downright false. Thatís what the science proves. Carry on.
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    Ha ha, fabric wars! And temp wars! I think for most of us -20 is plenty cold. IMO there's some very good synthetics out there that are also very comfy, personally I prefer quality wool because of my aforementioned reason but I'm fine with either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by manitou2200 View Post
    How many of your synthetic base layers are that old and still ticking along?
    I don't have much to address for any of your other topics. I have not delved into the science of fibers or fabrics. I really like how Merino wool feels. I have some that I love. A few base layers. But it's expensive AF, so I don't have much. I round out my stuff with synthetic. It works well enough.

    To the bit I quoted above - I do in fact have 20yr old synethetic base layers that still work about the way they did when new. They don't exactly look brand new, but nothing really does after 20yrs. I think my merino stuff is maybe 10-15yrs old roundabouts. It doesn't get worn a lot, so it still looks good, too. There have been some durability issues with frequently-worn merino layers in my house, though. My wife has worn out a couple things that she wore frequently. I tried merino underwear once and it didn't last more than a few months.

    I'll also say that merino wool doesn't "not smell". It absolutely does develop a smell. It's not the same as funky synthetics, it doesn't set in as quickly, and I haven't noticed it being as intense. But it's absolutely there. Every merino product I've ever worn has had it. It's probably the lanolin, I'd guess, which can get kinda musky, especially in combination with a person's own sweat and funk. But I also have a fairly sensitive sniffer and I notice things that many people don't.

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    This is so timely....

    I got rid off all my synthetic socks and went smartwool socks a few months back. Couldnít be happier. They just feel damn comfy

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    cold weather riding gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    How many people will agree with you that -20F is not really cold?



    I get that you have invested thousands in merino gear over 20 years. The point of the article is that the insulating and moisture wicking properties are way overblown and in some cases, downright false. Thatís what the science proves. Carry on.
    -20f is damn cold! I was just giving you shit about starting a dick measuring contest.

    No not thousands of dollars but over a thousand for sure. Best garment money Iíve ever spent.

    There was no proof in either of your linked articles refuting the Merino claims, so sorry no science there. Theyíre just surface skims of the subject.

    Just look take more time to read and learn about the science Iím stating in this debate and youíll be hard pressed to argue with me about it.

    I personally have spent quite a bit of time with biologists in NZ that specialize and work in the Merino industry and to be transparent I worked for Icebreaker for five years so I do have an intimate knowledge of this subject.

    I also was an early adopter of Patagucci Capilene and thought it and others like it was the bomb. I also worked for other outwear manufactures that made great synthetic base layers using the best tech and reputable fabric suppliers. So yeah Iíve got the experience with most of what weíre talking about, both from the science side and practical use side.

    We can get more specific on yarns if you like. Take for instance ring spun vs compact spun yarns. Itís a small detail but it makes a huge difference.

    Itís all good though and itís good to have intelligent debates. So thanks for this discourse.


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    cold weather riding gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I don't have much to address for any of your other topics. I have not delved into the science of fibers or fabrics. I really like how Merino wool feels. I have some that I love. A few base layers. But it's expensive AF, so I don't have much. I round out my stuff with synthetic. It works well enough.

    To the bit I quoted above - I do in fact have 20yr old synethetic base layers that still work about the way they did when new. They don't exactly look brand new, but nothing really does after 20yrs. I think my merino stuff is maybe 10-15yrs old roundabouts. It doesn't get worn a lot, so it still looks good, too. There have been some durability issues with frequently-worn merino layers in my house, though. My wife has worn out a couple things that she wore frequently. I tried merino underwear once and it didn't last more than a few months.

    I'll also say that merino wool doesn't "not smell". It absolutely does develop a smell. It's not the same as funky synthetics, it doesn't set in as quickly, and I haven't noticed it being as intense. But it's absolutely there. Every merino product I've ever worn has had it. It's probably the lanolin, I'd guess, which can get kinda musky, especially in combination with a person's own sweat and funk. But I also have a fairly sensitive sniffer and I notice things that many people don't.
    I can agree with you here Harold. The Merino garments take a little more care, I almost never put them in a dryer and only if Iím rushed. The lighter weight garments tend to develop holes around the belt area from the abrasion. Theyíre definitely not as tough as synthetics. I wear Merino underwear almost exclusively and itís the best when traveling. The Smart Wool stuff Iíve had doesnít hold up as well as others like Icebreaker, Ibex and Point6. I have industry connections to my benefit so I never pay retail.

    I have a good sniffer as well. Wool and Merino definitely has an odor, which is partly from the lanolin in the Keratin and cortical layers. But it almost never gets the body odor stink because it has the anti bacterial qualities that kill off that type of bacteria. Iíve pushed a few mid-weight garments past a two week period without laundering them and they were getting a little rank but Iíd never be able to do that with synthetics.


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    Quote Originally Posted by manitou2200 View Post
    Just look take more time to read and learn about the science Iím stating in this debate and youíll be hard pressed to argue with me about it.

    There was no proof in either of your linked articles refuting the Merino claims, so sorry no science there. Theyíre just surface skims of the subject.
    I suggest you go and re-read your claims about merino above and then re-read the article I posted. The point is some of your claims were over-blown and some were false. The 2nd article used plenty of scientific methods to determine this. I'm not sure how you see that as "no proof". In fact, I doubt you'll find any test of merino and synthetic fibers as comprehensive and unbiased as this (for the purpose of what was tested).

    If scientific tests aren't "proof", what is?

    I have nothing vested in this, but if I have a certain amount of money to spend on cold weather gear, I want the best bang for the buck. In many cases, that is not merino because it doesn't wick sweat as well, it doesn't insulate as well, and it takes longer to dry. There are other things like pogies, good cold-weather riding shoes, down puffy for real cold temps, balaclavas, and so on, that you can then put more money towards. If it's important to wear the same underwear 5 days in a row, then maybe merino is for you. I have gone out bikepacking when it's -20 and you aren't changing base layers in that weather (unless something goes wrong). -20 sleeping bags are amazing BTW.

    It's getting colder, I saw the temp gauge go 35, 34, 33, 32, 31, right before the trailhead this morning. I started early and with the low sun, there were a lot of frosty spots significantly colder. I'm gradually moving to warmer clothing as the cold is starting to set in, but luckily clear sunny skies means it still warms up nicely in the day, I was outside on the deck at the Girdwood brewery drinking a beer in a T-shirt this afternoon after the ride.

    One thing that makes a noticeable difference in the sun is wearing black. It feels like you instantly heat up when you hit the sun.

    cold weather riding gear-img_5704.jpgcold weather riding gear-img_5709.jpg

    I guess this is one place where I can be riding while below freezing and thinking to myself: "well, it's going to get cold soon..."
    Last edited by Jayem; 09-30-2018 at 09:27 PM.
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    cold weather riding gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I suggest you go and re-read your claims about merino above and then re-read the article I posted. The point is some of your claims were over-blown and some were false. The 2nd article used plenty of scientific methods to determine this. I'm not sure how you see that as "no proof". In fact, I doubt you'll find any test of merino and synthetic fibers as comprehensive and unbiased as this (for the purpose of what was tested).

    If scientific tests aren't "proof", what is?

    I have nothing vested in this, but if I have a certain amount of money to spend on cold weather gear, I want the best bang for the buck. In many cases, that is not merino because it doesn't wick sweat as well, it doesn't insulate as well, and it takes longer to dry. There are other things like pogies, good cold-weather riding shoes, down puffy for real cold temps, balaclavas, and so on, that you can then put more money towards. If it's important to wear the same underwear 5 days in a row, then maybe merino is for you. I have gone out bikepacking when it's -20 and you aren't changing base layers in that weather (unless something goes wrong).
    There are no overblown claims on my part and and not one false statement. Theyíre not even claims. I stated the scientific facts of how the fiber works. I didnít make this stuff up and if you actually did a little research about it you would understand that. So I suggest you do a little more research (try googling the subject, heat of sorption) before you bring your misguided opinions into a subject you so obviously no nothing about.

    Like I said the CD article was very lame and pretty much all marketing BS. The second article reinforces what Iíve stated but does not cover much of a range of conditions especially in the colder climates the OP is looking to use the clothing in. By scientific tests, do you mean the clown shirts?

    Merino manages moisture better especially in cold conditions and provide significantly more insulation for a given fabric weight. So what you just stated above is grossly false.

    You still need all the other ancillary things you mention regardless of your base layer type so Iím not sure why you even bring this up. Maybe itís just more rambling because you donít really know where youíre going with this.

    Why would you have to change your base layer in the field at -20? I never remove any of the base clothing kit in the field. If you need to do that then you screwed up from the get go and donít know how to dress for the conditions or the activity. This statement of yours alone proves you donít have a clue. Even if your clothing was saturated you still wouldnít need to remove the wool base layer. You would just layer over it with a hard shell and then a puffy and get in your sleeping bag to dry it all out.

    Just do a little more research, reading and apply the learned technology in the field and youíll eventually figure it out, maybe youíll even become enlightened and stop arguing with me.

    I have nothing vested in this either other than trying to assist the OP in his quest for comfort and efficiency in his winter pursuits. My time in that industry was in the past. I do have quite a bit more knowledge on the subject matter than yourself. So give it up. Youíre just spewing misinformation and itís not contributing any value here. I canít actually believe Iím debating this with you. Iím done arguing with you on this subject.

    BTW, thatís a beautiful Bluebird day you had there. Thanks for sharing the pics. And yes itís getting cold. Had fires in the wood stove the last three days.


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    I just read the articles posted and the tests came out about as I would have expected from experience. My capilene definitely dries more quickly than my wool and if that's my concern, I go for it (or pair it with wool as an insulating layer). Again as the clownshirt tester found, I think that wool is more comfortable in some conditions (I feel less cold when I stop for a moment) and find the same weight wool garment comfortable in a slightly wider range of temperatures than the synthetics that I have. That being said, I wear largely synthetic baselayers and merino midlayers (save for socks). If I needed one layer for everything, I'd probably go wool, but as I don't, I combine them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ...and even cotton isn't as bad as it's made out to be...
    This canít seriously be true. My friends and I jokingly refer to cotton as ďthe devilís clothĒ. If I were in trouble in the back country, or even not in trouble, about the last thing I would want to be wearing is cotton. Heavy when wet, huge loss in insulating qualities when wet, takes forever to dry, etc.

    Then again, I run hot and sweat when I exert myself. Maybe for others who werenít similarly cursed at birth, there isnít much difference between cotton on the one hand, and synthetics and merino on the other. There sure is for me and pretty much every single person I know.

    Off to commute home in my cozy synthetics...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    This canít seriously be true. My friends and I jokingly refer to cotton as ďthe devilís clothĒ. If I were in trouble in the back country, or even not in trouble, about the last thing I would want to be wearing is cotton. Heavy when wet, huge loss in insulating qualities when wet, takes forever to dry, etc.

    Then again, I run hot and sweat when I exert myself. Maybe for others who werenít similarly cursed at birth, there isnít much difference between cotton on the one hand, and synthetics and merino on the other. There sure is for me and pretty much every single person I know.

    Off to commute home in my cozy synthetics...
    In cold weather, you want to do everything you can to not sweat. Stop, take off layers, etc. Ideally, you choose the right clothing, but things change on a ride. I've had rides where in the span of an hour I take my puffy on and off about 4 times, riding in -10 or so. The only time in recent times I can remember where I said "screw it" was on the last 15 mile segment on the Susitna 100 race last winter, I was over-dressed but pushed on with other fast riders and got pretty soaked, knowing I was near the end and it was hard to "mess up" made it worth it, but I'd never do that out on the trail in other circumstances. I was so over-heated at the end that I was standing around outside like it was nothing in -10, while friends were saying "it's too cold out here!". Things would have changed rapidly for me if I wasn't able to get inside myself. I can't stress enough to set up your clothing so you do not sweat, that means breathable stuff, starting off a bit chilly, adding layers if necessary, but not over-doing it and adjusting. In the real cold temps, it ends up that things like my balaclava can regulate my heat entirely, pulling it down or up to either expose my face or cover it up to my eyes. Going back to something mentioned above, we tend to see a lot of new riders over-dressed, either dressing to be "warm" while waiting around before the ride or wearing DH ski stuff. If you can imagine running 4 miles in DH ski pants and parka, well, that's what it's going to be like on a bike in 30 minutes in the same clothes Until we get to real cold temps of course, where you do go back to that kind of stuff, but now we are talking down pants and jackets...
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjc155 View Post
    Cool thanks guys. Not far off from what i was thinking. Yep Iíve never skied before so no experience dressing for it. But decades of fly fishing and ice fishing but while the theory of layering is similar the actual clothing is pretty different.

    Thanks
    J-

    Much of what you already own can be repurposed for riding. Don't buy new stuff until you've experimented with variations on what you already have.

    There's also a lot of info shared here: Jeny and The Race.- Mtbr.com

    Not all exactly pertinent to what you're doing, but you can still learn a lot and extrapolate from there.

    Good luck.

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    I am going to try some merino wool base layers now that I am back where winter riding is "cold" (moved from SoCal to NY). I am usually pretty good in the cold so don't need to bundle up as much as most.

    I was looking at the Icebreaker 260 Zone base layer shirt and pants. I would then add layers of various weight synthetic shirts as temperature calls for. My legs usually don't get cold but I have cycling tights and thermal tights I can layer as needed. I also wear knee pads on all rides which helps with warmth.

    Would the 260 Zone be too warm for 30F rides, even if I didn't wear much more than a short sleeved jersey over it?

    Any tips on what weight for what temps given our activity level when biking? They avoid that and just say "cold" and "warm".

    I could start with that and add to the collection, but prefer to find one that will work for the 5F to 35F range I need to shop for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    In cold weather, you want to do everything you can to not sweat.
    I could literally be biking naked in a blizzard and I will still sweat.

    I do have both merino and synthetic baselayers. My synthetic is new this season while my Icebreaker's 150's I have had a few years now. Will be interesting to see how the synthetics do once really gets cold here in Wisconsin.
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    Good to know there isn't a single topic that can't be trolled on Mtbr.

    Super useful topic cause I need to get gear for this winter although in Alabama, winter is like 32F pretty much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    I am going to try some merino wool base layers now that I am back where winter riding is "cold" (moved from SoCal to NY). I am usually pretty good in the cold so don't need to bundle up as much as most.

    I was looking at the Icebreaker 260 Zone base layer shirt and pants. I would then add layers of various weight synthetic shirts as temperature calls for. My legs usually don't get cold but I have cycling tights and thermal tights I can layer as needed. I also wear knee pads on all rides which helps with warmth.

    Would the 260 Zone be too warm for 30F rides, even if I didn't wear much more than a short sleeved jersey over it?

    Any tips on what weight for what temps given our activity level when biking? They avoid that and just say "cold" and "warm".

    I could start with that and add to the collection, but prefer to find one that will work for the 5F to 35F range I need to shop for.
    After some more research I think I'll go with the 200g max. Maybe even the 150 to start with. They make those in the "Zone" style as well.

    I would still like to know what some others wear at a given temperature. I expect most of my rides to be in the 25F (+/- 10F) range.
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    At 25F, I wear an Underarmour Coldgear mock turtleneck, MR Strgao winter jersey (an Amazon Chinese brand), 4uCycling Multisport pants (another Amazon Chinese brand), an Eddie Bauer down/stretch vest which I often end up opening/ditching once I'm warm, thickish ski socks, light ski gloves, and a ski helmet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyperx View Post
    I could literally be biking naked in a blizzard and I will still sweat.

    I do have both merino and synthetic baselayers. My synthetic is new this season while my Icebreaker's 150's I have had a few years now. Will be interesting to see how the synthetics do once really gets cold here in Wisconsin.
    Depends, a warm 30-34 blizzard can just get wet and nasty with enough precip, I've had that before, big potato-chip snowflakes that just soak everything, bags, pogies, jackets (even those purported to be waterproof), etc.

    But getting cooler, you gotta manage the sweat and have to ventilate properly, while covering up extremities that need to be covered.

    Mike has some great advice up there, you have to experiment and find what works and what doesn't. It's kind of "individual", but there are often multiple paths that achieve the same or similar results, so its not that you need a ski helmet, a balaclava works great most of the time unless it's real cold, but a ski helmet can also work and they are pretty warm. One reason that fat-bikes are nice is because you can use frame-bags easily and take some clothing with you, extra gloves (a godsend when you climb in warmer conditions and they get soaked from sweat), an extra outer layer, thicker balaclava, etc.

    I wish I had gotten into cold weather gear many years ago, I wouldn't have needed as much, but I would have been able to use it and ride on some real fun days in AZ when it was in the 20Fs or less and when you settle on the right combos, you can go out and enjoy riding in those temps and not feel like it's some kind of critical "race against time" where you are going to freeze in an hour if you keep riding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post

    I would still like to know what some others wear at a given temperature. I expect most of my rides to be in the 25F (+/- 10F) range.
    25F is usually XC ski-pants for me, usually chamois shorts beneath, but ideally I can find some lighter weight wind-blocker underwear or something eventually The XC ski-pants are breathable and have wind-blocker panels on the front. Craft is insanely popular up here.

    Usually wolfhammer boots with SPDs, those are good in the 20s for me and I can ride fairly indefinitely with them. Lakes get too cold for me, although there newer heavier-duty ones are probably fine, they were somewhat late to the game IMO though. I have the older 302s and they pretty much suck.

    Medium weight wool socks of some kind.

    A medium-weight synthetic base layer up top, I like a little tit of "neck" on the shirt, it helps keep your neck warm, so that's what I shop for at target and other places

    A medium-weight soft-shell jacket, ideally with wind-blocker front panels. 25F is kind of "in between" a light and medium weight one for me, it depends on exertion and what I need for the conditions. A race over 50 miles in the daylight usually calls for the lighter one for better breath-ability under higher exertion. Group rides with standing-around call for heavier ones. The light-ones I have are very light, not really "insulated", but still soft-shells. The medium ones are insulated, but not much.

    Then usually a ski-helmet. 25F is usually warm enough I don't need any face-mask, but sometimes going downhill over a long distance or before the sun is up it's helpful to keep your temp up, but I usually have to take it off in those temps if I'm wearing a ski-helmet. The ski helmet just makes stuff simpler in the winter IME. Otherwise, I'd use a fairly lightweight balaclava with a regular helmet.

    Then some softshell or liner-type gloves, not too thick, inside pogies, but again, IME 25F is a pretty warm "winter temp" and I'd possibly have to alternate with rolling up the pogies to expose my bare gloves when I get too warm, vs. on descents keeping everything inside.

    Bail-out-gear: A thicker balaclava in my framebags, a packable puffy I can throw over everything, some boot-heater chem heaters, a bag with my lighter, PLB, etc...on real cold rides, I'll throw my size-zip shell pants in there too.

    I'll obviously adjust all of this based on the temp, but again, I find the key to be breath-ability, not being overly "warm" when you start to anticipate for your body temp rising, having some bail-out just in case, etc. Most people need to experiment around a bit, some things like carbon bars make a big difference IME, making SPDs work can be difficult and expensive, possible, but not always practical. Thick gloves are dumb, my palms always sweat, my fingers freeze, and the bike-control is terrible.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    25F is usually XC ski-pants for me, usually chamois shorts beneath, but ideally I can find some lighter weight wind-blocker underwear or something eventually The XC ski-pants are breathable and have wind-blocker panels on the front. Craft is insanely popular up here.

    Usually wolfhammer boots with SPDs, those are good in the 20s for me and I can ride fairly indefinitely with them. Lakes get too cold for me, although there newer heavier-duty ones are probably fine, they were somewhat late to the game IMO though. I have the older 302s and they pretty much suck.
    I have been looking at craft. Looks well designed for MTB needs. They look a bit loose fitting. The riding here requires a lot of moving around the bike, would the craft pants snag on the saddle?

    Otherwise you confirmed my thinking that i donít need much. Itís hard to shop for winter riding gear while sitting on the sofa under a warm blanket when I am just 3 weeks removed from riding in 95F SoCal weather.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    I have been looking at craft. Looks well designed for MTB needs. They look a bit loose fitting. The riding here requires a lot of moving around the bike, would the craft pants snag on the saddle?

    Otherwise you confirmed my thinking that i donít need much. Itís hard to shop for winter riding gear while sitting on the sofa under a warm blanket when I am just 3 weeks removed from riding in 95F SoCal weather.
    You don't want loose fitting ones, for that reason. Craft makes a lot of good pants. Their XC ski ones are the ones I'm talking about. On Global Fat-bike Day we had a few hundred riders out and it was a bit ridiculous looking at how many people were wearing the exact same model pants. Other technical pants work decently, but Craft really nails the flexibility, fit, wind-blocker, breathability, etc. Lots of technical pants are much looser fitting, will snag on the seat, big concern for us getting on and off a bike in deep snow.

    I also generally find that loose stuff doesn't wick well (not in contact with your body ) and is much colder. You want at least ONE layer in contact with your skin for this reason. If it's not too cold, it can also be your outer layer. Where you get into problems IME is a loose base layer, whether that's a dedicated base layer or whatever happens to be fulfilling the role that day. If you have a loose outer layer you may be able to "trap" air pockets as long as it's wind-proof, but this only works with the base layer in contact with your skin.

    A "cheap" way I've done it that works just as well is to use a thin base-layer thermal underwear synthetic pant and over that just nylon running pants. Pretty versatile for temperature range and does that "trap air" trick, much more efficient than heavier pants.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    You don't want loose fitting ones, for that reason. Craft makes a lot of good pants. Their XC ski ones are the ones I'm talking about. On Global Fat-bike Day we had a few hundred riders out and it was a bit ridiculous looking at how many people were wearing the exact same model pants. Other technical pants work decently, but Craft really nails the flexibility, fit, wind-blocker, breathability, etc. Lots of technical pants are much looser fitting, will snag on the seat, big concern for us getting on and off a bike in deep snow.

    I also generally find that loose stuff doesn't wick well (not in contact with your body ) and is much colder. You want at least ONE layer in contact with your skin for this reason. If it's not too cold, it can also be your outer layer. Where you get into problems IME is a loose base layer, whether that's a dedicated base layer or whatever happens to be fulfilling the role that day. If you have a loose outer layer you may be able to "trap" air pockets as long as it's wind-proof, but this only works with the base layer in contact with your skin.

    A "cheap" way I've done it that works just as well is to use a thin base-layer thermal underwear synthetic pant and over that just nylon running pants. Pretty versatile for temperature range and does that "trap air" trick, much more efficient than heavier pants.
    These?
    https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858702282811

    They have a few pants and tights. Those look like the best option. I may try XC skiing and will also hike in the cold so want something without a chamois that I can use for any outdoor activity.

    Ive ridden with regular cycling tights and a base layer. Ok, but not great if there is any wind, snow, or unexpected dismounts.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    These?
    https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858702282811

    They have a few pants and tights. Those look like the best option. I may try XC skiing and will also hike in the cold so want something without a chamois that I can use for any outdoor activity.

    Ive ridden with regular cycling tights and a base layer. Ok, but not great if there is any wind, snow, or unexpected dismounts.
    Those look good.

    If there's snow and dismounts in snow, I use gaiters, we all do around here.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Consider buying a pair of edgeness pants from amazon. They are less than $50 and I have found mine to be quite good at temps of -25c.

    They are a soft shell material. They are quite nice for the price.
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky Mtn View Post
    Consider buying a pair of edgeness pants from amazon. They are less than $50 and I have found mine to be quite good at temps of -25c.

    They are a soft shell material. They are quite nice for the price.
    Looks like they no longer exist.
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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    This article starts centering in on some of the actual performance and comparisons, also of note, high performance wear, like columbia, patagonia, etc., is treated and does not "stink up" like old cotton stuff:

    No Sweat: The Truth About Performance Apparel | Performance Apparel Information | Consumers Digest | Consumers Digest

    This is the study I was referencing before:

    https://backpackinglight.com/comfort...etic_clothing/
    Thanx for the link , very interesting read.

    What I've learned over the years around here is that Harsh condition or cold is a hot and shinny day for another.
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  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    Thanx for the link , very interesting read.

    What I've learned over the years around here is that Harsh condition or cold is a hot and shinny day for another.
    No dispute there. Winter finally dropped here, well at least initially. Tonights ride was 25-20įF, finally put on some of the winter clothing, although a base layer+ sweater was plenty for my upper, but broke out the pogies and ski-helmet. With the right gear, riding like it's 70 degrees out, but for other people I know they can't conceive riding in these temps or colder. Earlier today I was in Texas. It's a world away...

    cold weather riding gear-img_5866.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    After some more research I think I'll go with the 200g max. Maybe even the 150 to start with. They make those in the "Zone" style as well.

    I would still like to know what some others wear at a given temperature. I expect most of my rides to be in the 25F (+/- 10F) range.
    I find the 190-260 gram weight merino base layers work best in the temp ranged 30F to -30F. Especially if used under a light or mid weight soft shell. I vary my merino base layers depending on the ambient temps, using mostly 190-200 as the lighter base and 240-260 as my mid weight which sees most of the duty for me.


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    I used to loathe the synthetic stuff just because of its feeling. This was true even after they started "teching" it up.

    At least a little bit of it is bias as I grew up when the shine was wearing off polyester and it became reviled. This was before the techsynthetic revival.

    But I have bought some very cheap (but still allegedly techy) polyester shirts/baselayers that are really quite comfortable, even when not exercising.

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    good stuff here, keep it coming.
    I would suggest trial and error for that individual. Try wool or a synthetic baselayer and see what works for you.
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  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt diggler View Post
    good stuff here, keep it coming.
    I would suggest trial and error for that individual. Try wool or a synthetic baselayer and see what works for you.
    The only time I use a synthetic base layer against my skin is when itís hot and or hot an humid. And it just for the quicker dry time.

    When itís cold youíll never see a synthetic base layer on me. There is absolutely no contest between synthetic and merino base layers. The synthetics are not even close to what the merino fiber and fabrics can achieve in the comfort range and thermal management aspects. Unless you are allergic to the lanolin in merino wool, youíd be crazy not use a merino wool base layer and socks.


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  61. #61
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    An update for anyone who happens across this thread. I took advantage of some sales and got a few base layers and mid layers to experiment with. Here is what I found:

    TLDR: merino wool is great, you need less than you think, pogies are for real.


    -dress for temps 15-25 warmer. Ie if it is 20, wear what is comfortable at 35-45.
    -wind is the real factor, block the wind and youíll be able to be much more comfortable
    -at 15F the following was too much: bottom- 150 weight wool base layer, pearl izumi thermal tights, Craft thermal pants with windbreaker; top - 200 weight wool, 250wt polyester, 350 weight wool hoodie, gore windstopper shell. I could have left the wool hoodie off. I had to unzip the shell any time I was riding uphill. However standing around I felt perfectly comfortable. So great lazy ride clothing.
    -35-40 long sleeves and maybe tights with wind blocker up top if windy. When itís close to 40 itís very easy to overdress. It feels cold yet when you get riding you really heat up.
    -vasque ???? Boots with the lace covers are great winter footwear. Work great with flats, good hiking shoes, and very warm. No issues at all and if anything gets cold itís my toes. Not so with these andnjust one layer of sock
    -regular gloves and pogies really are great. I went with cheap neoprene versions off amazon.
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