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Looking for a winter outer shell

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Looking for a winter outer shell

Old 09-19-19, 09:22 AM
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Looking for a winter outer shell

Anticipating winter here and hoping to gear up. I live in Colorado where typical winter mornings are 10-25 F / -12 to -4 C, though there are a handful of mornings in the single digits or even below zero now and then. My commute is mercifully only 1.5 miles, but since I donít own a car, sometimes Iíll go as far as 3/4 miles to go to the store or visit a friend, etc.

What I think I need is a hard outer shell to keep the wind out and to provide some reflecty material for those dark mornings and evenings. I'm less concerned about 100% waterproofness because it never rains in the winter here and if it's dumping snow I won't be biking anyway. Beneath the shell I am hoping my synthetic midlayer (Arcteryx Atom LT) and, when needed, a fleece or wool layer below that will be a good set up to get me through the upcoming Oct-Apr cold weather season.

Does anyone have a recommendation for the hard shell? Trying not to spend too much. Need some room to breathe so I can comfortably layer underneath. Thanks!
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Old 09-19-19, 01:21 PM
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Welcome JohnnyJorbin. I’m moving your post to Winter Cycling so you’ll get better responses from the hard core winter riders
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Old 09-19-19, 01:26 PM
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I really like my Marmot hardshell with Gore windstopper for winter riding. But honestly this is an area where low tech works well. Just find a large untreated nylon shell (those are low tech so they're getting harder to find) and layer underneath it.

Something like this wind jacket will do the job,

Wind Jackets from People Who Really Know Wind Jackets!

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Old 09-19-19, 02:17 PM
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I think a simple windbreaker (non cycling specific) would suffice so long as it was long enough. got any pre-owned / consignment clothing stores near you? I would def. suggest trying it on & assuming the cycling position to test for comfort/fit

last year I got lucky & got a pre-owned Marmot Wind Stopper jacket XXL for $50. it's thin but provides a strong stop to wind & drizzle. nothing reflective on it tho so a cpl times I wore a vest over it. especially during hunting season in the woods where I like to ride

another favorite is a Novara (REI Brand) cycling specific rain jacket I got on sale a looong time ago. I added reflective tape cuz I was commuting at night, etc. it's still holding up & it's roomy enough for a cpl layers underneath

when I want to "blend" I used this shell I got from a Dick's sporting goods store (I think) still want to get matching pants just for fun

but, yeah, layering is key (2 of these are just vests)

before I got that Marmot I used to use a nice thick fleece jacket with a wind break vest over

last spring I left the house w/o my Marmott & had to buy something. the stores near where I was didn't have anything I could use so I had to go to an EMS, which I love & got something I like, but I didn't want to spend that much money for something I really didn't need. but now that fall is here, I'm glad I have it. it's a Columbia brand jacket, thin wind & rain resistant w/ a hood. it's very comfortable, long sleeves, very light & rolls up nicely so I can attach it to my trunk. colors OK for off road, but not on road

Columbia Evolution Valley Jacket $130. I see it now on Amazon for $80

Last edited by rumrunn6; 10-02-19 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 09-19-19, 04:19 PM
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I'm in the same predicament as you. This is my first winter commuting. I stopped at my local bicycle shop yesterday and spoke with a salesman. He recommended a mid thickness bicycle jacket. He stated that below 30 F the jacket with a base layer and jersey would work well. As you know, Colorado winters can be dry and bicycle friendly. Last year, when it was in the 50s I used a light weight regular shell jacket and probably over dressed. After watching Ryan Van Duzen on Youtube, I followed his advice about using merino wool base layer and sock. I rode scooters all year round for the last five years in Denver. The longer that it's cold the more your body adapts to the temperature. I am more concerned with black ice than gear.

I have purchased used gear from Bikes Together and Arc Thriftstores. They have a great selection of stuff throughout the year. I wish you luck and want to hear what you discover. This weekend it will be in the 40s in the morning. I commute at 4 am and 3 pm. I will always see the dark some part of the day. I've been cycling since March, commuting since may. You will love the peace and tranquility of cycling. I have lost 25 lbs so far and my insulin levels have been decreased by 60% since I've started riding to work 4 times a week. My goal is to lose 100 lbs by next summer sometime. I hope that you enjoy cycling like I do.
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Old 09-19-19, 04:23 PM
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I have a Columbia rain jacket that is windproof, waterproof and surprisingly warm. It is spacious enough for anything beneath it, including a polar fleece. Good to look into!

I also recommend the Columbia rain pants, which are more aimed at hunters, but they do a great job of insulating the core
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Old 09-19-19, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
I'm in the same predicament as you. This is my first winter commuting. I stopped at my local bicycle shop yesterday and spoke with a salesman. He recommended a mid thickness bicycle jacket. He stated that below 30 F the jacket with a base layer and jersey would work well. ...
Exactly what I do, around 20į and make it heavier long sleeved base layer and heavier jersey below 20, and I'm fine on commutes. You might want warmer if you're out longer. Under 10 or 15, maybe another base or thicker bike jacket, below that don't ask me because it doesn't get any colder here.
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Old 09-25-19, 09:49 AM
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A couple of years ago I (re)discovered an old ski ensemble I have left from back when I was skiing. The jacket is a bit more 'snug' these days...but I can still get it on...which is actually perfect for road cycling. I put a thin insulating shirt under it, and a typical long-sleeve cycling jersey over it. It's perfect for winter riding in New England. Usually, my thicker tights, with standard cycling shorts underneath, or maybe an old pair of wife's yoga pants, are good for the lower extremities. And, I've recently found a (relatively inexpensive) pair of weatherproof mittens that are MUCH better than the Pearl iZumi lobster gloves I have.

Sometimes I just shake my head at the cost of some of the supposed "quality" winter cycling gear I have whose performance is considerably inferior to other items I've discovered that aren't considered cycling gear at all. In other words...look outside the box.

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