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Winter riding & gear that fits

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Winter riding & gear that fits

Old 01-05-18, 02:13 PM
  #1  
DeviledTiger
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Winter riding & gear that fits

Fellow Clydesdales --

As I sit here looking at 10 degrees outside and wishing that I could go ride, I wonder how you guys handle winter riding (in places which actually have below freezing temps)...

Do you ride when it's below freezing....or even below 20 degrees F? Any special considerations?

What type of cold weather gear do you ride with?

I've also recently learned that size 2XL when put through the filter of some cycling apparel companies really means "pretty much a large....maybe a small XL". Where do you guys buy apparel (or what brands) that actually fit?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-05-18, 02:25 PM
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welcome to BF but check out the Winter Cycling sub-forum! there's more than a cpl nuts who ride in that stuff!

https://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/

BTW I recently decided that the Showers Pass brand has pretty good sizing! good luck!
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Old 01-05-18, 02:33 PM
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That's why God invented indoor trainers. I'm inside from Mid October until Mid March. Yech.
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Old 01-05-18, 03:12 PM
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End of November to late March, April or whenever the temps get above the high 40s, I'm riding indoors.

Beyond that ... layers, and for sizing, it's really trial and error.

I'll recommend Fat Lad at the Back clothing though ... sizes are true. The only issue is shipping from overseas.
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Old 01-05-18, 04:17 PM
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I hear you. I usually take an XL, but I've got a couple event jerseys in 3XL that won't fit. Aggravating.


Performance Bike clothing runs pretty true to (American) size. Specialized and Trek/Bontrager are pretty close. If you're near an REI, some of their cycling brands are sometimes good, but they change Novara suppliers every year. If you find something you like, hurry back and buy one or two extra.
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Old 01-06-18, 02:20 PM
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I have some insulated tights from PI. These are xxl and fit me fine, I think they are true to size. This year I will be riding outdoors if its above freezing, previously my limit was 45 degrees.
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Old 01-07-18, 05:52 AM
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https://www.aerotechdesigns.com/big-...caAsSQEALw_wcB
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Old 01-07-18, 08:26 AM
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Pearl Izumi and Gore have been good brands of high quality, effective clothing for me, sizes still somewhat small though. One of the problems with being overweight is that the clothing is too long, even though it may fit in terms of girth. Like others, I usually just bring the riding inside and/or move to different types of aerobic exercise like walking on a treadmill or running. It also is nice to take a break sometimes and not get burned out on cycling. The other thing people usually don’t consider until it’s too late is that the road salt is really hard on the bike, and will corrode everything it can in like 1 ride, so you really have to be meticulous about cleaning the bike well and quickly after every ride. That’s just too much work, which is why it’s now very popular to get a fatbike or a 29plus MTB and just ride unsalted trails, if you also enjoy frost bite.
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Old 01-07-18, 01:05 PM
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Winter riding will increase you wardrobe. I commute and those rides are under 30 minutes, when I do rides on my days off they are usually less than 1 hour 15 minutes.

This last week it was around 20 - 23F in the morning. I wore a thin long sleeve merino wool blend base layer, and then a medium weight merino wool sweater and a Sugoi ZAP jacket. I wear a snowboard helmet if it is below 32F, above that I wear a regular helmet with ear warmers.

If it is dry and daylight I'll wear don't wear the jacket and wear long sleeve bike jersey.

On commute days I wear jeans and on off-days I wear my regular bike bibs with either medium weight fleece pants if below 28F or a light weight running pants.

I have medium weight and light weight gloves with the medium weight used below 28F.

I've put flat pedals on my bike and wear regular footwear. I don't like being clipped in when it is icy out (possible ice).

I have a thin balaclava I can use, if it is cold in the morning and warmer in the afternoon and wear my regular bike helmet.

I also have face mask I tried it the other day at 20F and it was too warm for me.

As you can tell by my description I'm not a fashionista. I find buying non-specific biking close gives me more options and allows me to be comfortable.

So hopefully this give you some ideas and lets you realize you don't need to purchase a bunch of new winter specific bike clothes.

Like all clothing suggestions your personal preference and tolerance is the key. My attitude with winter riding is it is bonus miles. I much prefer being outside instead of on the trainer inside. The goal is when the weather warms up I have some easy base miles in and will be a stronger rider for the regular ride season.
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Old 01-09-18, 02:27 PM
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As others have noted, lots of traffic in other BF's. But my experience, for whatever it's worth. Here in colorado we get some runs of extra cold, and many days with 30df swings, so layers are a must.

1) Buy several different base layers (thermal underwear), different weights. I've used up to three layers (for 10df). Most often 1 suffices.
2) Buy at least two pants, I find the normal weight ones work nicely with thermal layers; but if it's actively wet, or below 20df, the pearl izumi thermal pants are a good choice (the dedicated cycling/magic technical fabrics do a good job of letting moisture out, but not in. Helps a lot to make things comfy). As far as sizing, I've found Primal and Pearl seem true to size, and I upsized the extra cold pants, to accommodate the multiple underlayers.
3) For tops, pretty much the same strategy, multiple base layers, sweaters ... whatever works. I still tend to use Primal and Pearl jackets as much as possible. For really wet times, I carry non-cycle top waterproof layers. also if I've guessed wrong on the thermal layers, it can help (at the cost of getting damp from sweat.
4) Hands are tricky, I've found ski gloves that work well. Many prefer mitts or Pearl Izumi has "crab hands". I haven't tried those. However, one hack I've found is to add reflective tape to the gloves ... otherwise drivers can't see my signals.
5) Multiple weights of balacavas, too hot is worse than a bit too cold ...

Having panniers helps, as extra layers do take up a fair bit of space; but worth it for keeping on the road!

I've had reasonable luck with inexpensive chinese knockoffs for lighter weight stuff; runs several sizes smaller and the cuts aren't as comfortable ... so I've mostly restricted their use to the warmer months.
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Old 01-10-18, 06:14 PM
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I really cant stand to ride on the trainer, so I prefer to ride outside. With that said it has been super nasty lately, so I haven't ridden much in the past few weeks.

1) Aerotech winter cycling jacket + long sleeve Fila base layer from Kohls
2) Exercise pants from Target + thin matching Fila exercise pants underneath
3) 2 pair of socks, one is thermal with work boots and toe warmers if necessary
4) Cycling balaclava or face mask from the farm store
5) Mittens that fold back that allow your fingers to come out, with thin gloves underneath, with hand warmers if necessary
6) Hot water in the water bottle to avoid freezing

I try to keep my winter cycling attire together so it doesn't seem like too huge of a task.

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Old 01-10-18, 06:29 PM
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I found out quite abruptly that my Pearl Izumi XL shoe gaiters do not fit over my size 46 MTB shoes (streamlined racer profile type shoes) ---- This was especially bothersome as I was at an event in freezing weather --

long story short -- my darn toes froze that day

I feel the pain ---- and when is size 46 ever considered XL ? That's equivalent to a size 11 - 11.5 , which I would more equate to a medium or large
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Old 01-16-18, 12:08 AM
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Lots of good advice here about layering, etc so I won't repeat but will just add one point on brands. The better cycling brands make very nice winter gear but it is absurdly expensive. After trying lots of brands I've found that Eddie Bauer's "Motion" line of outdoor gear is as good or better than the cycling brands and a heck of a lot cheaper if you get it on sale. I have a pair of EB fleece-lined jogger pants that, when layered on top of PI tights, will keep me warm down to 0 deg F and not be nearly as restrictive as heavy cycling pants. On the top, EB makes a thermal hoodie with thumb holes that is a great layer under a winter cycling jacket. The hood is thin enough to go under helmet but heavy enough that when paired with a neck gaiter you get full skin coverage and can still breathe. Under Armour makes similar gear but their's are a bit more expensive. Last thought: when buying winter gear don't go too cheap (e.g. Walmart) because it's more than a minor annoyance if your winter clothes don't work for you. Nothing like taking a 10 deg ride and feeling cozy because you have the right gear on.
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Old 01-20-18, 11:46 PM
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Ski goggles are awesome. I just got a pair and I can't believe I was riding in the cold without them for years. Combine them with a clava and your head will stay quite warm.
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Old 01-21-18, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DeviledTiger View Post
Fellow Clydesdales --

As I sit here looking at 10 degrees outside and wishing that I could go ride, I wonder how you guys handle winter riding (in places which actually have below freezing temps)...

Do you ride when it's below freezing....or even below 20 degrees F? Any special considerations?

What type of cold weather gear do you ride with?

I've also recently learned that size 2XL when put through the filter of some cycling apparel companies really means "pretty much a large....maybe a small XL". Where do you guys buy apparel (or what brands) that actually fit?

Thanks in advance.
This is a problem. Cycling specific clothing often runs very small. Aerotech designs makes gear up to 5 or 6 XL so if all fails, you can always order your stuff from them. Beyond that, it depends. I bought an Asics wind vest in XXL from a sporting goods store that works, and a Lands End windbreaker in 2 XL that is actually a little big on me. I bought a mid weight winter cycling jacket on clearance from Nashbar in 3 XL that works pretty well. Performance also has clothes in 2 X and 3 XL that seem pretty decent. I bought a lightweight hooded sweatshirt from them last year in XXL that fits pretty nice, and I use it for cycling and just casual wear. For summer and winter base layers Craft is very nice if you can find them on sale in XXL. Pearl is also not bad. Under Armour sometimes has deals on base layers and they are pretty nice and their sizing seems pretty honest. If you are on a budget, Costco sells a base layer for as little as $8 on sale.. I have one I use just as long underwear and it is not as nice as Craft, Pearl or Under Armor, but at less than 1/5 the price, it is hard to beat.

For shorts, the above mentioned Aerotech designs is probably the best fit overall, but I also have some Specialized, Gore, and Pearl Izumi shorts in XXL that fit me OK.

For tights, I just bought a pair of thermal tights with Chamois in XXL and they seem pretty good for the money. I would not do Nashbar for summer shorts, but for shorter winter rides, they are OK.

For summer jerseys, Bontrager Solstice Jersey seems to be honestly sized. One of the few brands where I can fit an XL jersey. I have had good luck as well with Primal, but I have to size up to 3XL.
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Old 01-22-18, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Khb View Post
As others have noted, lots of traffic in other BF's. But my experience, for whatever it's worth. Here in colorado we get some runs of extra cold, and many days with 30df swings, so layers are a must.
Just a quibble: You underestimate the temperature swings. 40F swings are more the norm and 50F swings are common. I've had some rides recently where it was 26F in my neighborhood and 60F at my work to the west. Kind of hard to dress for that kind of silliness. I did it but I was definitely sweaty by the time I got to work!

Originally Posted by Khb View Post
2) Buy at least two pants, I find the normal weight ones work nicely with thermal layers; but if it's actively wet, or below 20df, the pearl izumi thermal pants are a good choice (the dedicated cycling/magic technical fabrics do a good job of letting moisture out, but not in. Helps a lot to make things comfy). As far as sizing, I've found Primal and Pearl seem true to size, and I upsized the extra cold pants, to accommodate the multiple underlayers.
Pearl Izumi Thermal tights are very good but bib tights in the same fabric are better. With the base layers tucked under the bibs, you stay warmer. I would disagree about the Thermal fabric being good for wet weather. PI Amfib works well in wet weather but not the plain Thermal tights.

PI Amfibs, for me, are way too hot for any riding about about 35F. They work really well for below 20F but there's just no way to get the ventilated if the temperature rises too much.


I would also disagree about Pearl Izumi sizing. It can be variable and is worse the more expensive the clothing is. I have some bibs (I have about 10 sets) that fit well with plenty of room but other ones that are highly sculpted, nearly to the point of cutting off circulation in my lower legs.
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