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Longsleeve vs arm warmers - first time buying cycling clothes

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Longsleeve vs arm warmers - first time buying cycling clothes

Old 10-07-21, 01:50 PM
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Longsleeve vs arm warmers - first time buying cycling clothes

Hello everybody,

I am trying to get more seriously into cycling and have recently purchased some shorts and thermal tights, but am really struggling with what to buy for the top half.
I live in Glasgow and go cycling for ~3 hours at the weekend and approx an hour a day 3 days a week for commuting - Hopefully this should tell you what you need about the climate! This is my first winter here (uni student) so am not really sure how things work.

My body is generally pretty good at regulating temperature so often I find that I dont overheat too much when wearing multiple layers.
I think I am slightly leaning towards the short sleeve + armwarmers since I have a compression baselayer that can be worn as well, and a boil in the bag jacket I could use if its really cold. I am mainly worried that this will not be enough in Glasgow weather, of which I have no experience of in winter... The S/S jersey + arm warmer combo comes in at £10 more than the L/S, but id also need to factor in overshoes and gloves as well.
It would likely be a standard jersey (the boardman blue short sleeved version) and not a specific winter thickness.

As a student I am obviously trying to keep things as cost effective as possible and of course the short sleeve option would let me use it in summer too.

My apologies if this has been done to death!
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Old 10-08-21, 11:38 AM
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a good Gore cycling jacket might serve you well. quite windproof, breathes well. it's an investment, acknowledged (est 200USD), but mine has served me very well for many years. I'd buy another one if something happened to it. until the cold justifies that jacket, I'm doing an extra layer under the riding jersey and some lycra sleaves from castelli.
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Old 10-08-21, 03:52 PM
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I like Merino Wool Long Sleeve top and a windbreaker. I used to commute and would wear long pants down to 40 F then fleece lined pants below 40 F
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Old 10-12-21, 07:26 AM
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I like long sleeve base layers with zip up necks. sized not so tight. don't care for "compression" clothing. the long sleeves can be rolled up if necessary. no boil-in-bag jackets for me thank you very much ;-)

I have some go-to cycling clothing. I would say it take a soild year of year round riding to develop a set of favorites. then each year I have to remember what to wear, when. good luck with your choices!
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Old 10-15-21, 10:30 AM
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Congrats on deciding to get into winter biking! Unfortunately, your questions are a bit tough to answer. Climate and personal needs are well, so specific. What would be helpful is at least hearing what the range of temperatures and conditions (rain, snow) that you'll be biking in. It sounds like winters in Minnesota are a bit different than Glasgow (unless you're talking Glasgow, Montana!). And hearing what Glasgow is like, I can only tell you what would work for me, which may or may not work for you.

Other things to consider are that the same temperature feels different in the dark or sun or clouds or shade or Oct or March. Wind makes a difference in how I dress. For years I had a miserable time with a commute that if it was a strong northwest wind, my zig zag route would have me bike with and against and with and against..., and dressing was a compromise--get too warm with the wind and stay comfortable with the "into the wind" stretches? Or comfortable with the wind and cold going into it? Length of ride (one fellow was admonishing those who shelled out bucks for good winter cycling boots when his $20 pair of hiking boots worked just fine. I asked how long his commute was. "3 blocks!" One could about do that in flip flops in January even around here if needed...)

My clothing arsenal for 0F to 65F (-18C to 18C) includes: jerseys, short sleeve polypro t shirt; long sleeve light, mid, and heavyweight polypro shirts; cycling windbreaker, hooded double layer windbreaker; cycling shorts; light weight tights, mid weight tights; lined wind pants; light and mid weight polypro long johns; fleece pants; thin wool beanie that fits under the helmet. Over time I learned to make a spreadsheet with all the clothing, and what temps they were used. Hand and foot wear are also included.

Note that no arm or leg warmers are listed, which gives you my opinion of what I'd tell you to do.
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Old 10-15-21, 11:17 AM
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I like both long sleeves and armwarmers. In fact, in cooler weather I often use both. My dress to start rides starts with shorts and short sleeve jersey down to about 70. Then armwarmers that usually come off early in the ride. There's a small window where I will wear a long sleeve jersey; no warmers but I like it better when it's slightly cooler and I ride with a long sleeve under a short sleeve and warmers over the long sleeves.

I love warmers for the very quick and easy temperature control. Hit a hill, push them down. Starting down, pull them up.

And - off topic but quite relevant - newspaper if you are riding in mountains, not just hills. Stuffing newspaper down one's jersey is a probably 120 year old trick that the European pros still do. If you watch footage of a grand tour (and not the newsreel footage of the leaders) you will see the team workers who are well behind their team cars pull out a sheet to stuff their jerseys at mountain passes. In fact, I read in the Cycling News live coverage a few weeks ago of the prominent riders doing the same (it was either at the Vuelta or a monument). I often leave the house with a newspaper under my outermost jersey. Really easy to pull out, fold and stuff into a jersey pocket while riding. (Well folds take some quiet roads, but in a pinch you can always stuff.) And if it rains later - that newspaper could be a godsend. Newspaper also works really well on those long sleeve jersey only days,

And a comment on long sleeves - the really good ones for temperature control are the ones you can push up beyond your elbows without damaging the fabric. Again - the great hill temp moderators. (This often runs counter to sexy, trim, close fitting cuffs.)
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Old 10-15-21, 06:43 PM
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Arm warmers! Pair them with a cycling vest and you'll have a very versatile combination. Enjoy!
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Old 10-17-21, 11:29 AM
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Both have their place. I live in an area where the temperature can be 35 degrees f when I begin my ride in the morning and 80 degrees f when I return in the afternoon. Arm warmers provide great flexibility for this kind of riding.

I also ride in the (rather mild) winters here on days when the temperature never gets over 45 degrees. On those days I wear the long sleeve jersey all day.

Long sleeve jerseys are often made of a heavier material than short sleeve jerseys by the same manufacturer, so keep that in mind when making your decision.
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Old 10-17-21, 07:14 PM
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It's a progression, warm to cold, say 65° and cloudy down to 40° and raining: Start with thin poly SS T, SS jersey, sunsleeves. Add vest. Add arm warmers. Exchange vest for jacket. Start with LS moderate-to-thick poly baselayer, Thick but well ventilated LS jersey, add vest, change to jacket. I prefer non-waterproof jackets which one can barely suck air through. One can't be cooled by evaporation under a waterproof garment, thus some rain must be able to get in or I overheat at any pace above a dawdle.
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Old 10-18-21, 12:25 PM
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If its gonna stay below 60F ill use a LS jersey. If things are that bad/wet - I'd probably just stick to Zwift.
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Old 10-18-21, 08:06 PM
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Tight wool shirt first, then when its colder wool sweater, then combine the tight wool shirt and wool sweater when it gets below -5. If it is really really cold like -20 wear a jacket too and mittens. I am going to try the newspaper trick that may be just the ticket to stop my belly from getting cold.
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Old 10-18-21, 08:45 PM
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any goretex jacker will suck if you don't have enough on underneath. it will feel cold or clammy if it is raining.
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Old 10-23-21, 04:30 AM
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I’ve ridden out in Coatbridge, near Glasgow, in the early winter, and I cannot imagine riding without a windbreaker; it’s windy, wet, and chilly. The wind really sucks heat away fast if unbroken, so preventing that is job #1.

Beneath that, you can layer as needed, and I would recommend arm warmers as highly versatile. Additionally, you can get different weights in arm warmer material, and build a little collection for not much money. For example, the woven material DeFeet use is lighter and not as warm as typical thermal arm warmers, which have a fleece interior.

Paired with short sleeve base layer and jersey, arm warmers will get you through a whole lot of weather, and can of course be peeled off mid-ride if the weather changes…which is exactly what it does, t the drop of a hat, in Scotland!
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