Technical clothing questions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Technical clothing questions

    I swear by layering and technical gear...no cotton here. Each company seems to make their version of a wicking base layer...Do I HAVE to spend the big bucks for a base layer? I see that I can p/u polyester long sleeve undershirts at the local K-Mart for $17, as opposed to Nike/ Pearl Izumi/etc for $35 a shirt. Does Poly mean wicking? or is there "something" to the specialty products?

  2. #2
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    Those will work just as well as the more expensive shirts but they might not last as long and the quality of the material isn't as nice. But, you do have to pay close attention b/c even some of the more expensive brands aren't THAT much better.

  3. #3
    Crash Gordon
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    There are lots of cheaper alternatives

    I do believe there is a quality difference between the cheaper K-mart stuff and the name brand stuff. However there are a lot of places you can get good stuff cheaper than $35/shirt. The REI house brand stuff is good and is often quite cheap at REI-outlet.com. Also Sierratradingpost.com has a good selection of base layer shirts for ~$12. I just got 6 shirts for under $60 from them and they are quite nice.

    -tim

  4. #4
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    I seem to stay drier with a "name brand" wicking base layer than with a generic CoolMax/polyester shirt. "Polyester" alone on the label does not mean much. There are many, many ways the yarn can be made and many ways it can be made into cloth that effect the way it "wicks" (or does not wick).

    The Craft base layers are my favorite. Wick very well and they have long tails that stay tucked in when on the bike.
    Last edited by shiggy©®™; 01-19-2004 at 12:45 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Base layer

    I've found Helly Hansen LIFA base layer shirts and LJ's online for about $20. They work great. I live in Michigan and bike commute everyday. My core has always been toasty using that stuff. Don't think the K-mart quality stuff would last as long.

  6. #6
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    Hey Shiggy,

    Do you know of any online retailers that sell Craft?

  7. #7
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpicha
    Hey Shiggy,

    Do you know of any online retailers that sell Craft?
    You can but direct from Craft < http://www.craft-usa.com > and they have a dealer locator on their site.

    Colorado Cyclist sells Craft online.
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  8. #8
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    Ah, that's it. I forgot the dash. Thanks!

  9. #9
    jrm
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    I for one like the REI house brand stuff. Also look into the Craft baselayer shirts. Either will run around $25 but there worth the bucks.

  10. #10
    Midwest crank turner
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    Some thoughts

    I did a part time stint at REI for a year and a half and got to sit through a lot of presentations from various clothing mfr reps.

    What is mentioned above is basically true. All the wicking stuff starts life as simple polyester. Where the differences come into play is how that polyester is treated. Different knitting processes will affect the wicking characteristics of the garment. For instances a waffle style knit provides small air pockets so the garment doesn't contact the skin as much compared to a standard knit. This is a way to eliminate the clingy feel of a sweaty jersey.

    Another example is how the polyester fiber is treated. Anyone who's worn a synthetic garment for a couple of seasons can tell you that they tend to develop a certain "aroma" after a while. higher quality garment mfrs will treat the fibers to prevent this from happening. This typically involves some type of coating or washing process. I've even heard of some fabrics where silver threads are intermeshed with the polyester to prevent bacteria growth (the cause of the stink).

    Is it all worth it? Well if your a daily rider who lives in wicking clothes then "yes". My Patagonia Capilene long underwear is a miracle product for commuting in the winter and has withstood three seasons without getting too funky. I cannot say the same about some of the generic wicking clothes I have owned.
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  11. #11
    Midwest crank turner
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    Agreed

    REI Power Stetch Tights, while not cycling specific, are the best tights I have ever used. They are comfortable from 30F to 50F and can go to colder weather with some long underwear. Great for biking, jogging, etc.
    "Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand." -- Jim Burlant

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-O
    REI Power Stetch Tights, while not cycling specific, are the best tights I have ever used. They are comfortable from 30F to 50F and can go to colder weather with some long underwear. Great for biking, jogging, etc.
    that's good to know b/c I've been wondering about those pants. My local REI is going to have a "garage sale" at the end of the month so I'll keep my eyes open for them. How long have you had them?

    So, far I've been really pleased with the REI stuff I've gotten- two pairs of shorts that still look new after two years, a jersey that fits great and still looks new and a couple of other things that don't get as much use. I've never been a big proponent of those outdoorsy type stores but REI won me over.

  13. #13
    rohloff rich
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    Capilene rules.

    WRT Sierra trading post stuff: They often have Duofold Coolmax shirts for cheap. I have found these to be completely inferior to Patagonia Capilene. Cheap (um, relatively) Capilene can be had through the Patagonia web site 'web specials' section, or you can call up any of the Patagonia outlet stores and ask what they have in stock.

  14. #14
    Midwest crank turner
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpicha
    that's good to know b/c I've been wondering about those pants. My local REI is going to have a "garage sale" at the end of the month so I'll keep my eyes open for them. How long have you had them?

    So, far I've been really pleased with the REI stuff I've gotten- two pairs of shorts that still look new after two years, a jersey that fits great and still looks new and a couple of other things that don't get as much use. I've never been a big proponent of those outdoorsy type stores but REI won me over.
    I've got a couple pairs of the REI tights and have 3 years on one pair and about a 1-1/2 years on the others. Their not a windproof design but seem to insulate very well and breathe nicely so you don't feel clammy. The material seems to be the same as the Ice Bike tights you read about here http://users.rcn.com/icebike/Clothing/lowerhalf.htm

    I wore a pair commuting this morning in 15F weather with a pair of nylon running pants over them to help block the wind.
    "Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand." -- Jim Burlant

  15. #15
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    If you can afford it, try out a wool jersey. Cool in warm weather, warm in cool weather, and doesn't hold the stink like synthetics. Nothing like Merino wool. A little pricier than polyester, but nice.
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