How expensive should winter cycling clothes be?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by voidpointer, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. voidpointer

    voidpointer New Member

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    I live in Dallas, Texas and I'm looking to buy some winter cycling clothes. I have a road bike and I just cycle for recreation and fitness, I'm not into racing or anything like that. What I need:
    • Winter gloves
    • Long pants
    • Long sleeve jersy/top
    • Something to cover my ears so they don't get cold & ache

    From what I've seen here at my local Richardson Bike Mart, the Pearl Izumi pants are $155, and the jersy's I saw are all about $100. That's $250 bucks on just 2 pieces, and pretty steep!

    Also outside of a full cover face mask (like skii mask) I can't think of anything good for covering my ears. Suggestions here would be valuable.

    Does it really have to be this expensive? I like quality gear but I'm not sure if those are rip-off prices. Any ideas, suggestions, comments, recommendations, etc are greatly appreciated!!
     
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  2. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Try buying online. I deal with bike nashbar and generaly get most of everything for 29.99 or less. The Nashbar brand may not be of the same quality level as Pearl but has lasted me a few seasons. I live in New England and ride year round.
    What I am currently using here may be all you need during the winter in Dallas.

    Nashbar padded shorts
    Nashbar unpadded tights
    Long sleeve jersey
    Nashbar shell jacket
    Nashbar light weight full finger gloves
    Nashbar base layer skull cap

    Entire kit above around 150.00 will keep you comfortable in mid 30's.

    Dont over dress. You want to feel cool when you first set out. Add layers as you need. Layers are best because you can remove them if you over heat or the temp rises. Thats the reason why I wear both shorts and tights.
     
  3. voidpointer

    voidpointer New Member

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    So you wear pants over your shorts? Doesn't that give you too much padding on your buttocks? Also if you get too hot during mid-ride, do you pull over to undress? If so where do you keep your pants on your bike?

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding but I highly doubt you mean that.

    Buying online definitely helps save on prices but I can't try on the clothes before I buy. Trying them on is key because everyone will get a different fit and not all sizes are consistent. Normally I put them on in the store and move around in them a bit to see how comfortable they'll be.

    Also my ears get super super cold due to wind chill while I ride. They get so cold they start aching and it's unbearable pain. Do you never have this problem?

    Thanks for your feedback & advice.
     
  4. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Winter cycling can certainly be done on the cheap. As the weather gets colder, cycling fashion goes out the window. Apart from maybe the shorts/tights and shoes, you don't have to buy cycling specific clothing. You can also adapt your summer wear by layering it; I wear thermal underwear in between cycling shorts and tights on really cold rides.

    In the 50s to 30s you should be able to get by with a pair of long tights, a thermal undershirt, t-shirt/jersey, shoe covers and/or wool socks, earband, and full finger cycling gloves. This can all be had for cheaply if you shop around.

    If you really want to pinch pennies, you can tape the vents in your shoes and helmet. I used clear packing tape on an old helmet and dressed it up the seams with electrical and reflective tape for a winter helmet - it turned out pretty nice. In a pinch, I have also made duct tape shoe covers.
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    There is no constraint on how much winter cycling should cost, nor is there any rule that determines as much. It's all going to be a function of how cold you tend to get, what you want to spend, and what is comfortable for you. You can get by on the cheap with long johns under sweat pants and rubber pack boots. Asking "how expensive should winter cycling clothes be?" is like asking "how long is a rope?"

    I don't know what I spent on everything everything that I have because I bought a little at a time, and I watched for sales. I also put none of it in a spreadsheet so I could do a cost analysis. As for what I have....
    --one pair of bib tights
    --one pair of bib knickers
    --a pair of leg warmers
    --a pair of arm warmers
    --3 long sleeve jerseys
    --1 mostly non-breathable windproof cycling shell
    --1 waterproof breathable cycling jacket
    --1 pair of lightweight gloves
    --1 pair of heavyweight gloves (whose graph of mass in my house versus time is a heaviside function)
    --1 waterproof breathable skullcap
    --1 pair of waterproof booties

    Most of the stuff I have is from one brand 'cuz that brands kit fits me near perfectly on top and on the bottom. Some of it was inexpensive, and some of it wasn't. My stuff keeps me warm well down into the coldness. At 20°F I'm damned toasty, and the kit could easily take me much lower, likely into the single digits.

    I'd say it's a pretty safe assumption that your LBS will not have the lowest cycling clothing options. If you shop wisely online, you can find great deals, especially if your willing to shop in, say, the UK. I get weekly notices about sales from online dealers I've used and liked. You can find good deals also at REI and at MEC (in Canada). You might also check Pricepoint. Performance Bike has some low prices, but IMHO, they sell a fair bit of kack. Nashbar is even cheaper than Performance Bike.

    Sadly, since winter is not far off, you're going to find fewer deals than if you'd shopped last spring or over the summer.

    When I wear leg warmers, they go under my shorts. Likewise, arm warmers go under my sleeves. My thick skull cap comes down over my ears on the days it's extra cold. Very few online shops will not exchange clothing that is the wrong size. Very few. Every cycling clothing manufacturer that's worth patronizing has sizing charts. Some companies tend toward a Euro fit (i.e., a fit for thin people), and some companies have sizing that is designed for the typical American (clothing for fat, lazy people). Of course, there are varying fits in between those two extremes. Your best option is to find clothes online that fit your budget and tickle your aesthetic taint. You can then ask on this forum or another, if anyone has used clothing and how it as fit versus their size (i.e., did the XL jersey fit the 5'11", 180 lb guy/gal well or not?). Likewise, when asking that question you can also ask how well the kit held up and functioned. That's about the best you're going to be able to do.
     
  6. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    I wear padded shorts and unpadded tights. Yes I do pull over and pull off the tights. I like to do so sitting on a stone wall along one of the farms.

    Rolled up in my back pocket.

    You can also get a Bacalava and skull cap made of polypro that will keep your ears toasty.

    I have been buying online with nashbar for quite some time. Some items I wear large and some I wear medium. You can return things that dont fit. You will lose out on the shipping cost but you will still be way ahead of the game. Once you know your size they are fairly consistant.

    With me the hardest thing to keep warm is the feet.
     
  7. doctorold

    doctorold Member

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    I just took the plunge to be able to cycle well into winter. I already had some Cutter Knickers and Merino Jersey. I also have a skull cap that was a gimme. I picked up a Gore Windstopper jacket, tights and a couple of merino baselayers. I also picked up a PI long sleeve thermal jersey (BRIGHT yellow). I have some sport gloves that are not cycle specific but will use them until I find a deal. The only thing left is something to cover the feet. So all together I've spent over $350 so far. What I have bought seems to be of pretty high quality. I trust that they will last for at least two winters (hopefully more). If so, I will be pleased. I have tried to go with cheap but I have found that many times you get what you pay for. The things I have bought from Nashbar have been inferior quality and didn't last any time at all. Not to mention they had a breach of their website and my info and credit card number were stolen through them and it was a mess. Needless to say I have never dealt with them again but that's another thread. My point is, it's not cheap to go warm but if you buy quality you should get some extended use out of it.
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It's as expensive as you want it to be...

    Sure the expensive stuff works well but if you can go old school and wear thermal bottoms that are designed to be worn over the shorts then you save a pile of cash. Put the saddle down 1/8". Can't afford lots of fancy thermal tops? Look for sales on the Under Armour gear in the local sports stores (in the baseball section) and use that to "layer up" on the cheap.

    The best insulator against cold winds on the chest is newspaper and the pro's use it while descending the big passes on Le Tour. Stuff it up your jersey and it's "insta-warm." I use it alot in winter and it works well - the wife bitches about the odd stain mark from the ink but then I remind her about how much I'd be spending on extra meds if I got frozen on rides and that ends that conversation really fast... ;)

    Cold head? A thin beanie under the hat - it doesn't have to be fancy. Want cheap speed? Search the sales for an aero helmet with no vents.... ;)
     
  9. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    To the OP: please note the emoticon at the end of the above statement. If you want to spare yourself mega emotional pain, don't show up at a group ride wearing an aero helmet, and don't wear one commuting to work. In fact, it's prolly best to only wear one when doing a TT. It's well known fact that wearing one in the situations I stated above will result inevitably in pictures showing up on the internet and in movies on YouTube. Behind dentists, the group with the next highest suicide rate are those that have been outed for wearing aero helmets in anything but TTs.
     
  10. voidpointer

    voidpointer New Member

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    lol... I don't even know what TT is or what the helmet in question looks like. But thanks for the warning :)
     
  11. Born2bWild

    Born2bWild Member

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    Check out the CyclingForums Review Contest we are getting ready to launch in November. BellWether is going to be offering their Cold Weather riding package again valued at over $500.

    You might not have to buy anything at all!
     
  12. Myosmith

    Myosmith Member

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    Merino wool hiking socks
    Polypropelene or silk socks (worn under the wool socks for wicking and comfort)
    Long sleeve Underarmor type shirt (fast drying, wicking action, store brands will do for a lot less than UA)
    Underarmor type leggings (same as above)
    Heavyweight 50/50 blend t-shirt (long or short sleeve depending on temps
    Wind and water resistant breathable shell (Goretex or similar material)
    Warm skull cap or balkava to go under helmet, headband for milder weather just to protect the ears
    Full finger gloves (my favorite for moderately cold weather have a neoprene back with padded goatskin palm and underside of fingers, good for 32-50 degrees F)
    I wear straight leg denim jeans, but I know a lot of riders prefer something more bike specific

    This is what works for me but I don't ride much when the temps stay below freezing as the roads around here get very rough and icy.
     
  13. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I presume you intend to ride around Dallas. How cold are you expecting it to get?
     
  14. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    A rain suit with hood makes a great outer layer.

    Polypro long underwear will keep the cold rain suit from making contact with bare skin.

    Polypro or wool socks with a plastic bag over them makes good foot protection.

    Light polypro gloves are good for hands.

    real cheap at Campmore.
     
  15. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Unless a hood fits your head snuggly and closes tightly to your face it is not a good choice for cycling. Hoods block your vision when turning your head.
     
  16. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I have found that with a helmet on over my rain jacket hood I could look back at traffic.

    A mirror helps for those a bit less flexible in the neck.

    ---

    I will say my hood had a draw string that would allow me to tighten it around my face. But most of time I was working hard enough that I would loosen the drawstring and let the cold air in. But unless the temps are below 40 there is no need to wear the hood. And for Dallas one can plan on riding on the warm days (above 40).
     
  17. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    It's got nothing to do with neck flexibility. Davereo was commenting on the hood possibly obstructing the field of view of a rider if the hood is not designed to fit snugly and follow the head. Decreased field of view decreases a rider's globe of awareness. Given that, how well a hooded jacket works is an essential consideration for riders considering a hooded jacket for use.
     
  18. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I hope that works for you.

    In general it's best to avoid wearing cotton fabrics as they do not move moisture away from the skin. Many hypothermia tales start with the subject of the story wearing cotton stuff.
     
  19. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    People bicycle in the rain and in the dark (with lights). Both situations limit one's field of view more than any hood ever would. Bicyclists deal with it.

    As I said a MIRROR will help those who have flexibility problems. Whether the flexibility problems are caused by the rider's physical problems or choice of clothing.

    ---

    My neck is somewhat stiff. So stiff I chose to stop put a foot down and turn my whole body as I check for cars before I cross roads. Roads that most bicyclists can easily turn their heads and check as they slow. I have learned to adapt. People with even the poorest fitting most restrictive hoods can adapt.
     
  20. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    You're my new hero. Unfortunately, my new hero didn't pick up, again, on the idea that was being pointed out: not all hooded jackets are designed or built well so that that hood fits snug. It's that point that people, when considering using a hooded jacket or when shopping for one might want to consider. Generally, it's considered smart to minimize limits on field of view. That's why a lot of riders are using much brighter lights than others, and that's why some riders won't ride with hooded jackets, and some others will only ride with close fitting hoods on jackets that articulate well. Simple. Hopefully my hero will understand now and realize that it was a general consideration for people considering riding in adverse weather and that my new hero...and likely the hero of everyone else....wasn't under attack. Simple. Very.
     
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