Perhaps that should read “Apparel Update that is Brief,” so as to avoid the appearance that this post is about…nevermind.
I’ve previously posted reviews on the Shimano MW81 shoes (that’s the update), Gore Fusion GT AS Jacket and Pants, and Gore Phantom jacket. As the forecast is for 80s today, here’s my end of season update.
The Shimanos held up perfectly all winter. They look like new. They’re one of the best pieces of kit I have. Instead of wearing road shoes + toe covers, when it’s 40s or colder, I just throw them on. Warm, waterproof, solid and comfortable. Rubber tread for reasonable traction in most conditions. Great on the road (with the Crank Brothers Candy 3s I run on the Ridley), and great on the Vaya, Rumblefish, and Mukluk. And that’s why I use eggbeaters and Candys on all of my bikes. I can wear the Shimanos with any of them, without swapping pedals or cleats. The MW81s still get an A. If it’s super cold, two pairs of socks fit swimmingly.
As for the Fusion and Phantom, it’s still amazingly good as well. Over the winter, my dressing habits changed dramatically. At the start of the winter, I’d wear a long-sleeve shirt, long-sleeve jersey, sometimes a polar fleece, plus the Fusion and Phantom. On the bottom, I’d wear short bibs, plus insulated tights, plus the Fusion pants. No, really.
As the winter wore on, I’ve gotten more comfortable wearing much less.
If there’s a ton of wind or moisture, I’ll bust out the Fusion kit. Last weekend, riding the Vaya in the rain for Secret Training, the Fusion kept me nice and dry. It was 40-ish, windy and raining. I had on a long sleeve jersey and the Fusion coat, plus a stocking cap and knickers. That’s all…and I was plenty warm, as long as I kept riding.
If it’s not raining, the Phantom performs admirably.
Dropping into the 30s, I’ll perhaps throw on a skinny long-sleeve performance shirt of some kind under the jersey. I’ll probably switch from stocking cap to the Bontrager balaclava.
Into the 20s, I’ll maybe add a vest somewhere in the layering.
For the few times that we dipped colder than that this year, I did use the Phantom and Fusion together, and was unzipped for much of the ride.
In short, I’m wearing a lot fewer layers. I’ve subscribed to the “if you’re cold standing in the parking lot, you’re probably warm on the ride” theory. In wearing an appropriate amount of layers, the excellent breathability and zippered-adjustability of the Gore wear has been great–and greatly appreciated. If I’m properly attired, I will most likely finish the ride mostly zipped up, and very comfortable. When I was wearing too many layers, I would finish the ride mostly unzipped, and soaked.
Anyhow, the long and the short of it is that I highly recommend trying fewer layers. You feel better, remain warm, ride harder, and finish drier. And if everything goes to pot, you can zip up and bunker down. (The versatility of the garb I wear is greatly appreciated when unforeseen weather is encountered).
So in that picture above, on the Mukluk, if I were doing that ride today I’d probably ditch the Phantom and one of the layers underneath, and ditch one layer of pants…and be just as warm without all the bulk.
Final thought: Gloves. When it’s really cold, I use Bar Mitts on the Mukluk. I have tried them on the Vaya and Ridley, and frankly do not like it. Too constricting and uncomfortable. You’re down to one hand position.
For moderately cold, I use a pair of Garneau Super Prestige convertible gloves, often with warmers.
I’m still looking for an ideal setup. I share Reynaud’s syndrome with many of my family members…in even mildly cold weather, blood circulation in my fingers shuts off, they turn cold and gray, and look dead. It’s moderately uncomfortable. I still haven’t come up with great solutions for hand warmth…because if my hands get wet or cold once, they freeze up until I can truly warm them. That’s a story for another day.
Long story short:
- Gore wear is amazing. Holding up perfectly. Incredibly versatile. Highly recommended.
- Shimano MW 81 boots are also amazing and highly recommended.