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Tights, knickers or leg warmers?(16 posts)

Tights, knickers or leg warmers?tarwheel
Dec 18, 2001 1:44 PM
I've been putting off buying some more cold-weather cycling clothes because the weather has been so mild in NC. Currently, I've been getting by with bib shorts and leg warmers, but I've been shopping for tights and/or knickers in anticipation of colder weather ahead. Anyway, I'm somewhat confused by all the options available for cold-weather legwear. Should I get tights without a pad and just layer them over my shorts? Or would I be better off buying a pair of tights with pads? Are lycra tights sufficient for rides with temps above freezing, or should I get some of the ones lined with microfleece? Or are bib knickers sufficient for these temps (above 32)? Too many choices out there.

I'm having the same dilemma with tops. So far, I've been getting by with regular jerseys, arm warmers and a Pearl Izumi vest. Anyone have any recommendations on the warmer long-sleeve jerseys? I would rather not spend a small fortune on brands like Assos or Castelli.
Dec 18, 2001 1:48 PM
For the top half, i wear one of those hind jackets with all the zipper vents. that has the added plus of letting me ride in serious downpours without getting my core chilled.

as for tights and stuff, i'll monitor this thread 'cause i'm curious, too.
re: Tights, knickers or leg warmers?Js Haiku Shop
Dec 18, 2001 1:51 PM
i'm wearing lycra tights with the pad above freezing (basically shorts with legs). tights without the pad at (or close to) freezing and under, and when it's 30s and wet, with shorts underneath. the non-pad tights are neoprene, i think, or a neoprene mix. tried knee warmers--they worked well, but wouldn't stay up. perhaps t'was me, maybe the brand, who knows...

like you, i'm wearing a jersey, arm warmers, and a PI vest for cooler weather, but not cold. when it's cold down to the 40s, i'll wear that plus a PI zephyr (sp?) windbreaker. colder and i'll put fleece between the vest and windbreaker. the bad thing about fleece at this time of year is that you don't know if it'll warm up enough outside to take off the fleece, and if it does, fleece is bulky and hard to carry.

good luck!
re: Tights, knickers or leg warmers?cioccman
Dec 18, 2001 1:55 PM
Well, firstly, I cannot come to terms with calling anything I wear knickers. So, I don't do those no matter what. Just me.... I've got leg warmers and two different "gages" of pants. The therma fleece zip "pant" is the heavier of the two. The other is a cheaper less heavy duty pant.

I'm no pro on this stuff though. It doesn't get cold enough here to be. If I need more than my underarmour vest, Campy tech wear long sleeve, jersey, arm warmers and PI zephyr II, I won't be out in it.

Good luck, stay warm.
Outfitting for winter is a processdzrider
Dec 18, 2001 2:12 PM
There's an element of trial and error here. I don't like lycra tights. Without some polypropylene they make me colder. I do like leg warmers and the baggy shorts with a lycra liner like mtbers wear. I also like the wool jackets with a nylon front, a silk turtleneck, and wool sweaters from thrift stores - pre-shrunk are the best.

Having said all that, I ain't everybody and everybody ain't me. You gotta try stuff.
It goes in stages.look271
Dec 18, 2001 2:27 PM
50's-leg warmers, arm warmers, a PI vest, long sleeved jersey, perhaps a coolmax undershirt. I don't do knickers-seems to me if you have knee warmers you don't need knickers.
40's-tights, PI kodiak lite jersey, a coolmax T and a wicking long-sleeved T
30's and below-warmer tights (micro-fleeced lined), coolmax T, wicking ls T, Nalini winter team jacket (got it CHEAP @, maybe the PI vest if it gets really bad, or sub another ls T instead of the coolmax T.

I have 1 pair of padded tights-I don't recommend them. Padless are cheaper and you can be warmer by using shorts underneath. That's what works for me!
The rangesMcAndrus
Dec 18, 2001 3:13 PM
Above 60 - regular jersey and shorts.
50 - 60 - regular jersey, arm warmers, knickers, and at the lower end, a vest and finger gloves under riding gloves.
40 - 50 - regular jersey with undershirt, vest, arm warmers, shorts with no-pad tights over them, cap under helmet, finger gloves and at the lower end, full gloves and ear warmers.

I rarely ride below 40 (yes, I'm a wimp). I don't like long sleeve jerseys because I can't get cool if the temperature rises.
Pearl Izumigtx
Dec 18, 2001 4:03 PM
more or less....

50-60 Pearl Kodiak light jersey, shorts w/Pearl legwarmers
40-50 (w/rain) Pearl Kodiak jersey, shorts w/Pearl Therma Fleece tights w/light rain jacket
30-40 (w/rain) Pearl Kodiak jersey, shorts w/Pearl AmFib tights and Burley rain jacket

for me, must haves--Pearl Kodiak jersey and Pearl Therma Fleece tights.
re: Tights, knickers or leg warmers?badabill
Dec 18, 2001 5:35 PM
I try to layer so I like the arm warmer/leg warmer/vest route. Really cold days(around 50deg. in socal:-) get tights and poly long sleeve tops added to the mix. Performance has great prices on clothes.
Ideas for your cycling wardrobe!Greenie
Dec 18, 2001 9:28 PM
Here's what I would do considering what you already own.

Tights. You should get tights like the PI thermafleece or if you want something cheaper, the Performance PolyPro tights. Get them without pads, so that you can wear it everyday, and change your shorts. Not need to be redundant here with the cost of cycling clothes. Tights are warmer than leg-warmers because they also cover your lower torse and rear end. It makes a big difference.

Baselayers. I like craft stuff. They are skin tight and keep you dry and hence warm. I buy the short-sleeve crew. They are just the right size to cover your upper arm where your arm warmers stop. They also have one with a windblock front. I haven't tried that one yet, but it might be nice.

Toe covers or booties. Keep your toes warm

Gloves. Pearl Amfib or Castelli Polar, if you are a cold-hand type. Get something lighter and less warm if your hands stay relatively warm.

Headband or earband. You can get a cheap headband that covers your ears from Performance or wherever. They go for like 6 or 12 bucks and fit with a helmet on.

Longsleeve jersey. Your arms are warmer with arm warmers than just a LS jersey. Good LS Jerseys cost alot. 80 bucks for the castelli cetus!

Budget solution:

-Polypro tights from Performance (no chamois) $35
-2 Craft baselayers $70
-PI or Castelli Gloves $50 (cheap gloves suck if you have cold hands)
-Earband (performance) $7
-Toe covers $20

That's around $182 plus shipping. Adds up fast, but this should keep you warm down to 35-40 degrees (depending on your constitution) and you have all your bases covered. I sometimes wear two regular jerseys and baselayer plus vest to stay toasty. The heart of the system is the baselayer. It really works!!

More money in your pocket?? I would upgrade the tights first to PI thermafleece or amfib. Keeping legs warm can prevent injury (a consideration if you have knee problems). Another option is to get a LS jersey. You may get some deals on Pro Team clothes from overseas. Get some team that no one likes...Nalini usually makes the trade team stuff, and they are pretty warm and wind resistant. I got a credit agricole LS jersey on sale a year ago for $45. You'll probably have to pay for Castelli or PI to make it worth it. I have some junky ones from performance that I got on sale that just sit in the closet when it gets cold. So much for the "savings". Oh yeah, tight jerseys are warmer (and more aerodynamic).

I hope this helps!

Thanks for all the suggestions ...tarwheel
Dec 19, 2001 6:01 AM
I initially had thought I would buy some padded tights, but now I'm thinking the unpadded stuff is the way to go. Sounds like the microfleece tights are for really cold weather, 30s and lower. The base layer clothing is a good suggestion and something I had not thought of -- but what exactly is "Craft" wear? I guess the real key is to buy stuff you can layer, because it's so easy to get too warm while riding, particularly the way days tend to warm up around here.
Some other cheap ideas...KEN2
Dec 19, 2001 9:45 AM
You asked about Craftwear. This stuff is great but it's the Castelli of underwear. Try $30-40 for an undershirt! IMO you can go with cheaper alternatives. I use the same wicking undershirts that I have for summer running, both sleeved and sleeveless versions. I do think that a wicking undershirt under the jersey offers advantages over, say, a fleece overshirt.

Also below 40 degrees I use cut-down plastic veggie bags from the grocery store inside the shoe, i.e. over my socks. Operates the same way as a jacket in that it stops the cold air from getting through to the base layer and also traps heat. You can also use large ZipLoc bags with the zipper cut off for a heavier alternative. Much cheaper and easier to use than those over-booties.
Dec 19, 2001 1:15 PM
Craft is a company from Scandinavia (Sweden I think) that makes nice cycling baselayers. Sure they are expensive but they are warmer than any other baselayers I have used.

You can get them a colorado cyclist and from craft's own website. I think these baselayers are worth it. Others may find them too expensive for an undergarment. REI has stuff too, but i feel the key is that the baselayer is skin tight. That pushes the moisture thru the baselayer and onto the jersey, leaving your skin drier and warmer.

Good luck and ride on!!

One more thingGreenie
Dec 19, 2001 1:20 PM
PI thermafleece tights are nice from below 30 to 55 degree F. They are fairly versatile.

I used to err on the side of being underdressed. Now, I err thebill
Dec 17, 2001 12:47 PM
other way. With high-tech materials, there actually is a broad temperature range in which you can be comfortable, but, if the stuff isn't on your body, you're just plain cold. In other words, more may be unnecessary, but it isn't going to mess you up.
As for particulars in a specific temperature range, I'm still experimenting. On a group ride last week, I was dressed in far more stuff than almost everyone else, but I was comfortable. Others were complaining about the cold (temp in the forties maybe into the low fifties by the end of the ride, a little sun). I was wearing a base layer (Hind something or other), a polar fleece middle layer on top with a PI cycling jacket, long fingered gloves, and bib shorts with tights over the Hind base layer. I may not have been manly, but I was comfortable. I probably could have got by with less, but, so what? Some of the folks with jerseys, knickers, arm and leg warmers with maybe a jacket (some not even) or a vest never seemed to warm up.
Good point.look271
Dec 19, 2001 10:36 AM
You can always take stuff off (to a point! :-) ), but it's tough to put stuff on that you don't have. I've already gone out with a vest and arm warmers on, rolled down the arm warmers, and then put them back on. Can't do that if you don't have 'em at all!