Recommend a fleece jacket- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Recommend a fleece jacket

    Anyone have a favorite fleece jacket for cycling?

    I have a polar-fleece jacket I bought from Performance years ago that is pretty worn out. I would like to get something new, and possibly in a heavier weight (this one equated to the 100 polar-fleece weight). I liked this one because it had slightly longer arms and back that worked well for cycling.

    Suggestions would be most welcome.
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  2. #2
    since 4/10/2009
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    I don't like fleece for riding. It's TOO breathable and not remotely water resistant.

    softshell is better.

  3. #3
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    Anything by Mountain Hardwear that is cut for climbing works well... gussets in the underarms and long sleeves (designed for having your arms over your head)...they don't have a drop tail, but it's really unnecessary, since the back of the jacket literally does not move when going into a cycling position. I have a MH softshell jacket, and I love it for the bike.
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  4. #4
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    cheap fleece is great as an insulating layer but as Nate pointed out, it doesn't keep you dry on it's own. If it has at least a front shell and some coverage over the shoulders, then that's OK. I'm with you on the longer arms thing though, I've got gorilla arms myself and most stuff is short in the arms. Try to find something offered in Tall sizes.

  5. #5
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    My focus on fleece is not for wear when very windy or raining. I am in Northern California just to the east of Sacramento, and in the fall/early winter I wear the fleece over a merino baselayer/poly jersey combination. I like the breathability. When the weather gets inclement I wear a shell jacket over the fleece and the whole package keeps me warm and dry.

    I had an inexpensive soft-shell that would actually get me too warm on a lot of rides, even in December/January. No breathability at all. I like the idea of the form and fit of a softshell...do the better brands breathe better than a low end Champion soft shell?
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  6. #6
    since 4/10/2009
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    It depends on the softshell. I have a Windstopper N2S jacket that is super thin. It works really well in the 40's and even a bit lower if I layer it over a wool baselayer. its water resistance is minimal, but better than a fleece. fine for a light sprinkle or splash from the road.

    the only time I find fleece even remotely useful on the bike is when I need insulation underneath a hardshell in inclement weather. at all other times, I'd prefer a thinner jacket with a tighter weave that blocks wind better. and not just wind from the weather. wind from riding.

    I have a heavier softshell and it usually doesn't come out until the temps are well below freezing. I will overheat in it above freezing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bokchoicowboy View Post
    My focus on fleece is not for wear when very windy or raining. I am in Northern California just to the east of Sacramento, and in the fall/early winter I wear the fleece over a merino baselayer/poly jersey combination. I like the breathability. When the weather gets inclement I wear a shell jacket over the fleece and the whole package keeps me warm and dry.

    I had an inexpensive soft-shell that would actually get me too warm on a lot of rides, even in December/January. No breathability at all. I like the idea of the form and fit of a softshell...do the better brands breathe better than a low end Champion soft shell?
    Yes. The point of a softshell as opposed to a hardshell is increased breathability and movement. I have a Marmot and a NorthFace and I really like them both.

  8. #8
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    I picked up a hard-faced fleece hoodie from Patagucci recently. (The Slopestyle, bought it on backcountry.com.) I haven't had it too long, but so far, so good. It takes the edge off the wind a lot better than a sweat shirt, breathes reasonably well, and I can wear it all day.

    Before, I was wearing a Da Kine hoodie that had a wind-resistant layer in it. I liked that pretty well too, but I finally wore out the elbows.
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  9. #9
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    I almost forgot until I dug out the cold weather clothes yesterday... I have an REI brand fleece that I wear before it gets cold enough to wear the softshell... the fit is pretty good. (back rides up a bit, but the sleeves are long)... it's a bit beefier than a standard fleece, so it stops quite a bit of the wind, but lets enough of it through and breathes well enough so that it's comfortable in that mid-temp range (for me that means 35*F up to about 45*F). My Mountain Hardwear softshell is hot anywhere above 35. I've worn it down to -4 on the commute with just a quick-dry t-shirt under it.

    You almost have to go into a store and feel the fabric to know if a fleece is going to do what you want it to do... lots of variables in construction and materials out there.
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  10. #10
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    Anyone try 100% wool stuff?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    Anyone try 100% wool stuff?
    While I love wool and have some wool baselayer stuff, the thicker wool that I would use in place of a fleece is some seriously expensive stuff.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    Anyone try 100% wool stuff?
    yeah, I like wool sweaters as a middle layer instead of fleece (regular). I understand softshell fleece jackets have their place and are great in the right situations, but for an insulating layer I use wool instead of fleece pullovers. I got a cheap wool crew neck sweater that's relatively thick and rather tightly knit. Breathes much better than fleece, let's moist bodyheat out very well. In conjunction with a wind-blocking cycling vest with a vented back I stay warm and dry (from sweat, not rain).

    BTW, I'm talkin casual wear wool stuff here, not high-dollar heavy-weight merino from Icebreaker. Check out your local second-hand shop.

  13. #13
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    Check out the stuff by Polartech. Their fleece materials are often sold to other companies, who turn around and make fleeces/jackets from it. A Windpro fleece is densely knit, and blocks about 3-4 times more wind than a regular fleece, while being about the same warmth. It lies somewhere between a regular fleece and a softshell in terms of breathability vs wind protection. You'll have to check out some stuff in stores, like REI or such, as cut changes between manufacturers. You probably won't find a drop-tail that isn't considered a 'jacket', so look to spend at least $100.

    So there's that. Of course, you can also go for cycling specific stuff if you start getting into more expensive fabrics. You can often find old stock for a significant discount, and the Gore Phantom SO is among the best. About a 150 in terms of fleece weight, with a wind-proof barrier. The sleeves detach, as well.

  14. #14
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmctav23 View Post
    yeah, I like wool sweaters as a middle layer instead of fleece (regular). I understand softshell fleece jackets have their place and are great in the right situations, but for an insulating layer I use wool instead of fleece pullovers. I got a cheap wool crew neck sweater that's relatively thick and rather tightly knit. Breathes much better than fleece, let's moist bodyheat out very well. In conjunction with a wind-blocking cycling vest with a vented back I stay warm and dry (from sweat, not rain).

    BTW, I'm talkin casual wear wool stuff here, not high-dollar heavy-weight merino from Icebreaker. Check out your local second-hand shop.
    I was given some lightweight wool gear from my parents, bless their souls, from Mountain Designs. I find it comparable to UnderArmor gear for the same weight, design and style when dry, and slightly better when wet. They breathe a lot better though, which is excellent. I haven't had it long enough to judge whether it fares well against abrasion, both against fabric and environmental materials.

  15. #15
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    I use merino wool as a baselayer, but I have not yet found a mid layer that is cost effective. I will take the advice of jmctav23 and look for non-cycling specific wool garments.

    wschruba, I have scouted out the Polartech Windpro stuff. Saw some good prices at Eddie Bauer on one that has reinforced elbows and shoulders.
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  16. #16
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    I prefer thermal layers by BodyArmor so that it doesn't feel bulky while riding.

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