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OK, what's the deal with knickers?(27 posts)

OK, what's the deal with knickers?pmf1
Oct 1, 2003 9:00 AM
On the ride in this morning, I noticed that it was evidently the right temperature for knickers. In the low to mid-50's. All the pro type riders were out riding in their knickers. I, obviously lacking all bike fashion sense, was wearing bib tights (Pearl Izumi thermafleece). I do not own knickers. My bib tights seem fine over a pretty large temperature range. I have some heavy ones for really cold days, but mostly I wear my bib tights.

So I began to wonder -- what is the point of wearing knickers? You have to buy essentially another pair of tights that is only good for a pretty narrow temperature range. Below 50 and you'd probably want full length tights; above 60 and why not just wear short? So, is it really worth the money just to have a garmet you can wear to expose the 12 inches of skin on your leg below the knee? Maybe it makes sense in warmer areas? Can anyone enlighten me as to why I need a pair of these?
I wonder that, too.KG 361
Oct 1, 2003 9:09 AM
Seems like something to buy if you have $$ to burn. Like you, I don't own a pair. I have knee warmers that are good for down to about 50 or so and a couple of pairs of tights for when it gets colder. If it warms up, I can roll the warmers off. Not an option with knickers. I don't quite get it, either.
knee warmers--i do the same nmJS Haiku Shop
Oct 1, 2003 10:00 AM
I've always been told that....Gregory Taylor
Oct 1, 2003 9:18 AM
...knickers keep your knees warm, and thereby preventing some sort of injury caused by putting a load on your knee when it is cold. Never had a problem with that myself.

Speaking of tights, I bought a pair of the A2GR bib tights from the website. Very nice, very cheap. Made by De Marchi, they are blowing them out for under $50. A steal.
you've been told alright..cyclopathic
Oct 1, 2003 9:44 AM
no, I don't own knickers but I wear knee warmers up to 80s, and they've been great to keep my knees from otherwise perpetual injuries.
The Glorious Result of a Misspent Youth...Gregory Taylor
Oct 1, 2003 9:55 AM
...spent playing rugby and football means knees that have passed through the orthopedic crucible and emerged unscathed. Rugby especially: I remember playing tons of games in the cold wet mud (upper 40's) bare-kneed. No problems.
lucky youcyclopathic
Oct 1, 2003 11:36 AM
I remember the days when I could ride in snow with no leg warmers. Not any more. It is amazing what a few hundred miles infested with 15-25% grades can do to your knees.

Now, if you could imagine riding 1000km with blown knees, three days in the same shorts, you'd have an idea what PBP is like 8-)
true but so do full tights and leg warmers (nm)ColnagoFE
Oct 1, 2003 10:05 AM
Hey Gregpmf1
Oct 1, 2003 10:41 AM
How do you like the tights from Longs Cycles? I need a new pair and checked them out.

1. They have a chamois. I like tights without personally. How is it?

2. Are the legs zippered? Do they have stirrups (a deal killer for me)?

3. How is the sizing -- large, small? I'm guessing small since they're euro. A medium PI for fat Americans would probably be XL for skinny euros.

4. How obnoxious (big) is the team logo? I'm not real fond of team logos. An ag credit union has its appeals though.

A new pair of PI will run me $85 whereas these are half the price. Cheaper than shorts. Kinda tempting.

Money is really tight these days. Just had a kid and day care bills are $2200 a month. Last year I would have gone for these without thinking.
ack ...j-son
Oct 1, 2003 11:01 AM
"Just had a kid and day care bills are $2200 a month."

Holy sweet Jesus ... $2200/ month for childcare!!! I'm sticking with Pugs!!! ; )
Oct 1, 2003 6:10 PM
Where's the kid going for daycare, Harvard? That's seems like a lot - I don't recall it being that much, but its been a while.
I lobbied hard for the puppypmf1
Oct 2, 2003 4:46 AM
My wife returns to work next week and we've got a nanny who comes to the house from 7:15 to 5:15 five days a week. She started about 3 weeks ago. We pay $500/week plus half SS taxes and unemployment. It was either that, or stick him in daycare for around $1000 a month. That was the original plan, but we couldn't do it. How much attention would he get in a daycare at that age (3 months)? How many times would he get sick too? This woman is very good with him, we feel lucky to have her. The last family she worked for had to move and wanted her to go with them. Its not a permanent thing and for the kid's sake, its not something worth skimping on so I can buy some new Dura Ace components.

Yeah, its alot -- we can barely afford it. My wife has a good job and unfortunately, she can't take a few years off and then go back.

Maybe its cheaper elsewhere, but I live in the DC area where a starter home is $350,000. Everything costs about 30% more than it should.

Oh well, no new bike for me for a while. The little boy makes me happy though. I'm saving my milk money for a Burley to use on the bike trail next summer.
agreed - kids are more important than cyclingDaveG
Oct 2, 2003 5:22 AM
I did not mean to criticize your choice, its sounds like the right priority to me. I was fortunate enough that my wife could stay home with our second child. Recommend you start him on a rigorous training program as soon as he can sit up on a bike seat!
agreed - kids are more important than cyclingpmf1
Oct 2, 2003 10:52 AM
No problem, I didn't take your comment as any kind of criticism. I was pretty damn shocked myself.

Oh well, like all the books say, child care is a transient expense and its not worth skimping on.
At least get a real dog ...pmf1
Oct 2, 2003 10:55 AM
My last one was a Great Dane. 190 lbs. 39" at the shoulder. Could pick up a soccer ball in his mouth. Ate a 40-lbs bag of food in less than 2 weeks.

What a wonderful monster he was. I sure miss him.
I like them a lot...Gregory Taylor
Oct 1, 2003 11:20 AM
I like the Ag2r tights a lot --

1. The chamois is by Coolmax. It's not a big honkin' thing like you see in the latest PI shorts, etc.. Not very thick either. I find it to be comfortable.

2. The legs are not zippered, and there are no stirrups.

3. The sizing is skinny euro. I relied on the sizing chart on the website and it worked out. It works out to be a size or two bigger than with the Pearl Izumi stuff.

3. The logo is okay -- just like the picture on the website. The blue is pretty, and I don't think that the logo looks obnoxious at all.

A couple of other things -- the tights are made by De Marchi. The material is very silky and soft, and definately a lighter weight than the Pearl Izumi stuff. They are still warm -- I wore them in 45 degree weather and they were about perfect. However, they would not be a good choice for very cold weather.
Oct 1, 2003 12:14 PM
I like the PI because of the heavier weight material. I can wear them into the mid-30's and be warm. Maybe I'll just bit the bullet and get another pair of the PI. The ones I have lasted a long time.

Thanks for the response.
The real dealLC
Oct 1, 2003 9:29 AM
I wear them when it is 50-65 deg, which is pretty often in the Pacific NW. If it is raining I put Vasaline on my lower legs to shed water off, where tights would just get soaked, and feel cold and heavy. There are other lotions and potions that some riders use as well. They may not be as useful in other areas of the country. Keeping your knees warm is important to keep them from being injured.
The real dealwily in pacifica
Oct 1, 2003 9:37 AM
I ride with Bib Tights almost every morning on my commute. They are perfect so far in the SF Bay Area when you leave when it is slightly chilly but you know it is going to warm up to just warm, not hot. If I were to wear tights it would eventully be too warm and it is too cold to wear shorts to begin with. Great to have when you live in an area where the temps stay between the 50's and 60's. Eventually I will end up wearing the tights but if I wore them now I have to wear shorts under and eventully take the tights off and I have to carry them the rest of the way
i like my PI knickers_rt_
Oct 1, 2003 9:40 AM
they're perfect for fall and early winter riding in & around Atlanta. they keep my knees warm but don't make me overheat. also, i found them super cheap in the Performance clearance room in NC.

re: OK, what's the deal with knickers?MShaw
Oct 1, 2003 9:57 AM
Knickers are great things. I own several pair.

They're not as warm as a pair of tights so if things warm up on you, you can still keep riding without stripping. They're warmer than a pair of shorts, so if it is cool out, you don't have to load up with a pair of tights.

I found out the hard way one race back in college that tights in the rain are BAD. The tights got wet and "flappy feeling" and there wasn't a darn thing I could do about them. Shorts would've been too cold that day (hence the tights). Knickers would've been perfect.

When it gets really cold, you can always wear knickers under your tights for another layer over your knees... .

Till then, if you KNOW you aren't going to have to take off your knee warmers, why not try some knickers? I wouldn't go blow a wad on them till you know that you're going to wear them.

One more benefit: cool points. Especially when paired with the "stealth warmth" of a plastic bag under the jersey instead of a vest.

you don't need themColnagoFE
Oct 1, 2003 10:04 AM
I figure if it's cold enough to warrant knickers it's cold enough for full leg warmers or tights.
Yeah, my feeling toopmf1
Oct 1, 2003 10:08 AM
I guess the rain argument makes sense to me though.
I think that knickers generally are a little lighter materialbill
Oct 1, 2003 10:13 AM
than most tights. I think that some tights probably are of the same material as knickers, so that the difference between wearing those tights and knickers boils down to a few inches of exposed shin (which does seem to have some psychological effect, anyway, of being a bit cooler), but most tights are a bit thicker, resulting in a difference of both coverage and insulation.
re: OK, what's the deal with knickers?Trent in WA
Oct 1, 2003 10:42 AM
It all depends on how you deal, personally, with temperature and weather. Knickers or knee warmers make perfect sense for early spring and fall riding in mild climates. In Seattle, I wear them about six months out of the year, until temperatures drop consistently into the 30s and 40s in January and February. I'll wear knee warmers in the range from the mid-40s up into the mid-60s.

As much as I like knee warmers, I'll probably get a pair of knickers for early-season brevets this year. Knee warmers are a PITA in some ways--if not adjusted properly, they can slip down your leg and bunch around your knee.

re: OK, what's the deal with knickers?j-son
Oct 1, 2003 11:08 AM
I have a high tolerance for the cold (but a low tolerancee for pain, go figure), so knickers are perfect for me. In tights, I tend to overheat. With knickers, just enough skin is exposed to keep my internal thermostat regulated. I've found that if it's too cold for riding in knickers, it's too cold to ride.

My favorite knickers are made by Cannondale and they have a great chamois. I just saw these in Excel and I'm trying to rationalize a need for a pair:
knickers ruleChazWicked
Oct 1, 2003 12:28 PM
Everybody else's opinion is *wrong* ... ha

I wear knickers as a sort of personal rebellion. As a 7 year old kid my mom made me wear really ugly knickers and all the kids at the bus stop laughed at me and made me cry. I ran home and never wore those stupid knickers again. Now I cry for different reasons... but that's another story.

I have a set of cotton/felt knickers and they work under certain conditions. I thought I was getting wool as they feel scratchy enough to be & I assumed that swobo = wool but alas... in any case, having something of a closed system where heat can travel to and from the knee seems to keep it a bit warmer than skinny stretchy knee warmers. But if you've misjudged the temp, then you'll cook.

Plus it's never too cold to expose the calf... except for maybe <15 degree commuting.