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Winter undershirts: CoolMax or polypropylene?(16 posts)

Winter undershirts: CoolMax or polypropylene?nigel
Oct 8, 2001 12:37 PM
Experiences with either or both? Comparisions/contrasts?

PerformanceBike says that polypro has the highest moisture-transfer rate of any material; they make it out to be the wonder material.

Since I sweat a lot--even in winter--I need something that will move perspiration away from my body FAST so that I don't "chill out" too soon.


Thanks boys and girls,
re: Winter undershirts: CoolMax or polypropylene?bikedodger
Oct 8, 2001 12:44 PM
I've used both at one time or another and when I'm wearing them, I could not tell you which one I am wearing. The difference that I have noticed is that the polypro seems to smell worse quicker and can 'melt' in the dryer at a high heat. I hang dry both as they dry really quickly.

Either one is a great improvement over cotton for moisture management.

Depends on temperature and conditions...Cima Coppi
Oct 8, 2001 12:46 PM
From my experience, both do a good job of moisture wicking (I think Cool-Max does a better job), but the biggest difference is the thickness of the material. Polypro undershirts are thicker than Cool-Max, thus will keep you warmer when it's really cold or windy. Its not a bad idea to have both on hand, and use them in different conditions.

Not Much Differencejtolleson
Oct 8, 2001 1:00 PM
They are two competitors without much difference, in a sense. Polypro is a generic reference to a polyester based microfiber, CoolMax is a trademarked version that I think is a little softer to the touch. The wicking properties of both are too similar to distinguish in my experience. I'd get whatever's on sale.
Oct 8, 2001 1:17 PM
I use 3 t-shirts that were generic coolmax on sale. They work great when it's not too cold (40+). When it gets colder, I have 2 long-sleeved T's made from wick-tec, a type of polypro. They are nice and soft and do a good job of keeping me dry, + they were cheap! You can sometimes get good deals on this typer of winter wear @ That's where I got the longsleeved t's.
re: Winter undershirts: CoolMax or polypropylene?metty108
Oct 8, 2001 1:26 PM
Hi Nigel
Perhaps the most useful item of clothing I own is
a polyester long sleeve turtle neck shirt made by Gill
(its an English company) You can wear it under a jersey
in summer on cool evenings and not be too hot.And I wore it
last winter under a long sleeved jersey with a windstopper
front on a quiet icy day, and was pretty warm.
You Can Get This Stuff Very Cheaply....Greg Taylor
Oct 8, 2001 3:52 PM the hunting and fishing section at any Walmart. I use a long sleeve poly tee shirt (really thick, U.S. Army cold weather specification) that I picked up for less than $10. Wicks well, and if doubled up with some wind protection (like a vest or jacket) its comfortable down into the teens.
Anyone ever use silk undies like the onesLive Steam
Oct 8, 2001 4:18 PM
used for skiing? I have a few pairs and wear them on very cool - cold days. They seem to wick persperation well and have excellent heat retention. They are also very thin and don't inhibit movement.
Yes I have and they do keep you warm. A little tooSpinchick
Oct 8, 2001 5:37 PM
warm for me though. Even though silk does have decent wicking properties, I found myself somewhat overheated while wearing silk while cross-country skiing. I haven't worn them on any rides for that reason. If you're not prone to overheating easily they are probably good for cycling.
I love polypropylene, but love stinks ...Elefantino
Oct 8, 2001 4:48 PM
The odor-retaining quality of polypro cannot be overstated. It really reeks (although this is perhaps personal chemistry at work, too) but it also really does the job. I have a couple of polypros and one CM, which I only use as a backup if the stinkypros haven't been washed. There's not much difference, but I just like the feel of the polypro better.
I rinse my Jersey/Shorts out...jagiger
Oct 8, 2001 7:44 PM
I use a few drops anit-bacterial soap in a buck of water (1/3 full) to rinse my stuff out after rides. Keeps the rash away & smells fresher.
I shower with them on after rides. Wife says ...Elefantino
Oct 9, 2001 7:32 PM
the walk from the garage to the shower is hell.
So, in summary...nigel
Oct 8, 2001 9:00 PM
It seems that both CoolMax and polypro wick nicely; polypro's a bit thicker (possibly warmer), but it--being polyester--really holds the stink in (I have a thin polyester undershirt which I'd like to replace for just this reason--P.U.!!).

My final question: is CoolMax warm enough. I have a really warm jersey which I wear a lot in the wintertime (ironically, it's polypro, but it doesn't tend to stink), and I'd be all good with a warm, wicking, breathable undershirt except for the coldest days here in NYC. I suppose I'll try a long-sleeve CoolMax undershirt to see if it keeps me warm enough.

Thanks much to all who responded, and stay warm (but not stinky) out there,

Don't forget woolRay Sachs
Oct 9, 2001 4:59 AM
I can't believe nobody mentioned the miracle fabric. As comfortable and warmer than polypro, wicks as well as either, and IT DOESN'T STINK. You can go into a coffee shop during the ride and not get chased out. For winter rides, I always wear a long sleeve wool undershirt under whatever number of jersey / sweater / windbreaker layers I need. And in the cool spring and fall months, I wear a short sleeve wool t-shirt under my jersey. And again, it doesn't stink - I can usually wear wool stuff 4 or 5 times between washing before my wife or daughters start looking at me funny.

Great stuff,

4 or 5 times between washings? Yikes!!!!!!Live Steam
Oct 10, 2001 12:46 PM
Nothing personal, but I don't think I'd want to be pace lining behind you for too long :-)
re: Winter undershirts: CoolMax or polypropylene?metty108
Oct 9, 2001 1:06 PM
As I mentioned in my earlier reply that I use a top
by a company called Gill, well I found there website . Check out the base layer
section, the actual top I have is in the UK part of the
site, its the blue/grey one. It is a very good product
both in cooler summers and winter, and It does not smell.