Jacket for colder weather- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Jacket for colder weather

    I'm getting ready for colder weather riding this fall/winter, and I'm trying to acquire cold weather gear now to hopefully get better deals. So far I think I have everything but a good jacket. I currently own a fleece and a non-breathable rain coat, neither of which I think would be ideal for cold weather biking.

    I'll be riding mostly in the Atlanta, GA area, and it's temperatures in the 40's and sometimes 30's that I need something for. If it's warmer than that I'm set, and if it's colder I'll wear ski gear or just stay inside! I can't remember what I did last year- I think I just didn't bike so much when it was cold. This year I'm gearing up to ride no matter what the weather is, and I'm hoping to get some more night riding in.

    I have a couple base layers and insulation layers of various warmths, so I need a jacket that blocks most of the wind but still breathes well. Water resistance would be nice, but if it's raining hard I will wear my raincoat or not ride. Any suggestions? I'm thinking a softshell jacket would be good, but I've never owned one.
    Matt

  2. #2
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    In Denver I almost never wear a jacket even down into the 20's unless it's wet out. I usually wear various layers and a Pearl Izumi Barrier Vest. It keeps my core warm and is also water/wind resistant. They make a barrier jacket too that sounds perfect for what you want.

  3. #3
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    80's style track sweatshirt has never failed me, but neither has my newer one. My opinion, you're going for a ride, work hard: stay warm. If you don't: wear more stuff. Your decision. Maybe try that?
    We runners are a dignified, understated bunch. If we weren't, we'd be golfers.

  4. #4
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    I'd suggest a long sleeve merino wool shirt, slightly loose, a vest and a light shell jacket. Lightweight is all you'll need for cycling unless it get's down to 20F or colder. Almost any tights will work for your legs, I wear my SWOBO merino ones when it's below freezing. A set of knee warmers will probably be more useful than tights, espically with baggy shorts unless it's below freezing. IBEX makes great ones. Then get a ear band or hat that'll cover your ears for the coldest mornings. You'll want warmer gloves, too. Merino socks rule.
    I've been skiing for 37 years, am slim and get cold easily coming from hot Tucson. I tossed most of my synthetic and fleece, but also because fleece attracts hair and I have dogs.
    Regulates temprature way better than synthetics and much less smell.
    On the down side it's pricier and you can't throw it in the dryer, must air dry so it takes a day or two.
    Ibex and Icebreaker are my favorite wool companies.
    Last edited by abegold; 08-16-2011 at 10:34 AM.
    agmtb

  5. #5
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    Sharp

  6. #6
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    I found a '10 Raceface Tempset jacket on sale at Jenson for $65. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I got it today and I think it will be perfect. It is really light weight, and the fabric is breathable (I can literally breathe through it) with some stretch. It looks like there will be plenty of ventilation with zippers under the armpits that extend to the back. It should be water resistant enough for light rain, which will be good for scattered or unexpected showers.

    I also picked up a pair of '10 Ambush pants for $60 intending to use them for for chilly wet weather commuting. I will probably only wear these if it's really wet, which usually means it's too wet to mountain bike. They are not very breathable, but they should be plenty waterproof.

    I bought a pair of these Windstopper pants earlier in the year. I think these are meant to be cross country ski pants, but they are amazing for cold weather biking. I went for a winter ride in June (it was a long winter in Nevada!), and it was about 40 degrees with a mix of light rain and snow flurries, but I was perfectly dry and comfortable. I was never too cold when I stopped or too warm when I was riding. The fronts block wind, but the backs and sides are breathable so they don't get hot or sweaty, and they are waterproof enough not to get soaked in light to moderate rain or snow.

    Like I said, I have plenty of base layers. I have some synthetic T-shirts, a merino T-shirt, a long sleeve jersey, some synthetic long underwear, and a merino base layer. Some of them are not intended to be base layers, but if it's the only thing I would wear in the summer, I have no problem using it as a base layer in the winter. I probably don't need much insulation, so I'll just wear a combination of those layers and a jacket. I have a fleece too but I probably won't wear that while riding.

    I got these gloves recently, and I'll have to wait to try them out. Last year I bought a pair of full finger gloves that turned out to be meant for summer riding, and my hands were almost colder with those than with fingerless gloves. Instead of those, when it was cold I wore a pair of $5 walmart fleece gloves, which were alright but not great. If it was too cold (less than about 30 degrees) my fingers would still get cold since they didn't block wind, and if it was a bit too warm (above maybe 45-50 degrees) my hands would get really sweaty.

    I have some wool bike socks that are good for anything from summer heat to cooler fall weather, and I have a pair of ski socks too thick to ski in for when it's colder. For my head I have a head band that covers my ears and works most of the time, and if it's colder I can fit a hat under my helmet.

    Last year the best thing I had for cold weather riding was a synthetic T-shirt under a cotton sweatshirt, and a pair of pants that are almost mesh and do nothing for wind. My legs were always cold, and under the sweatshirt I got hot when I was riding, but I would get cold when I stopped. There was no way to adjust for changing conditions.

    I spent a few hundred dollars on new cold weather gear on clearance throughout this summer, and I think I'm ready for this winter. Some of it might be overkill, but I want to be comfortable. Normally I don't like winter because I'm always either too cold or too hot when I'm outside, on or off my bike. I've found that the past few winters in Atlanta I often feel sort of depressed, and I attribute it to being cold whenever I go outside since I don't have adequate clothes for the weather. It doesn't help that I get cold easily, especially my feet. Sometimes it will get to the point where I just sit around inside unless I have to go somewhere, and the boredom of sitting around and not doing something active combined with not wanting to go out when I have to makes me feel down. I want to change that, and my goal for this winter is to be comfortable outside in any reasonable weather. My bike is my preferred means of transportation, so now I should be able to bike in most conditions. Plus some of this gear, like the base layers, will be good if I'm just walking around. I'm ready, bring it on!
    Matt

  7. #7
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    In the Washington, DC area (Maryland for most of my rides) it definitely gets below freezing for extended periods of time during the winter months. I've had the most luck with lighter shell jackets from the sale rack at a local REI store. They are synthetic and breathe exceptionally well. Along with a few layers of thin synthetic shirts underneath, I do not get cold down to ~10 degrees. I wear medium weight Performance winter tights on my legs most of the time and break out Gore Cycling Windstopper pants when it is blustery out (snagged them off eBay a couple years ago). Performance Zonda windproof gloves are cheap and work exceptionally well for me also. I do not wear cotton over synthetic layers because it traps moisture and can make you extremely cold if you are out in the elements for a long time.

    The main challenge I face is keeping my feet warm during longer (3+ hour) rides when it is below freezing. Wool socks tend to work better but I resort to chemical heat packs on the toes some of the time, particularly when there are a lot of water crossings that aren't frozen on the trails.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    The main challenge I face is keeping my feet warm during longer (3+ hour) rides when it is below freezing. Wool socks tend to work better but I resort to chemical heat packs on the toes some of the time, particularly when there are a lot of water crossings that aren't frozen on the trails.
    Do you wear shoe covers or duct tape the vents on your shoes?
    Matt

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