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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
in a race like the Saturday's Nieuwsblad. Temps look like they started at 40 and 50 by the end. I see the pics but I was wondering about base layers, thermal shorts, socks, heavier weight arm and legwarmers etc. I've raced before but a 1-2 hour race is much different than 5+ hours. I understand the domestiques can take jackets, vest, and all but seeing Sep in shorts and short sleeves for the last 50+ kilometers makes me wonder.

As long as it's dry, 50 and up is not a problem but wet and less than 50, I'm turning for home even with a rain jacket. Back in the day, (lycra shorts and wool jerseys) I raced in 35 degree rain and sleet for 2 hours but was lucky the race ended because I couldn't have gone much further.
 

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I remember Kiel Reijnen saying at Liege last year he and his teammates and most of the peloton were wearing 5 layers and he was told most of the Movistar riders were wearing 7 layers. I'm pretty sure 1 or 2 of the Movistar riders confirmed they were wearing 7 layers to start the race. Otherwise if they have something extra for warmth than what the rest of us can purchase I have no idea.
 

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It doesn't matter what the pros wear.

Every person is different, we all react differently to the environment.

One pro could be in summer gear while another could be in warmers and thermals. It doesn't matter.

The only thing that matters is that you're comfortable and safe.

If you're racing, the aerodynamics of whatever you're wearing will always matter, no matter what it is.

I'm often out in tights and thermal stuff but see people out in summer gear. When I get cold, I'm worthless. The whole "ride harder and you'll warm up" doesn't work with me. If I go hard, then I just sweat through everything and get cold that way. Some guys I know don't care about being cold, they can ride just fine when they're cold.

What the guy next to you is wearing is immaterial.

What some guy in some other country with a completely different level of fitness is wearing is even less consequential.

What works for you is all that matters.

I have a chart, one that's been refined over the years. Each 10 degree difference is a different combination of gear. I wear what the chart tells me to and never have a problem.

As for base layers, 100% merino wool if it's cold out.
 

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It doesn't matter what the pros wear.

Every person is different, we all react differently to the environment.

One pro could be in summer gear while another could be in warmers and thermals. It doesn't matter.

The only thing that matters is that you're comfortable and safe.

If you're racing, the aerodynamics of whatever you're wearing will always matter, no matter what it is.

I'm often out in tights and thermal stuff but see people out in summer gear. When I get cold, I'm worthless. The whole "ride harder and you'll warm up" doesn't work with me. If I go hard, then I just sweat through everything and get cold that way. Some guys I know don't care about being cold, they can ride just fine when they're cold.

What the guy next to you is wearing is immaterial.

What some guy in some other country with a completely different level of fitness is wearing is even less consequential.

What works for you is all that matters.

I have a chart, one that's been refined over the years. Each 10 degree difference is a different combination of gear. I wear what the chart tells me to and never have a problem.

As for base layers, 100% merino wool if it's cold out.
I pretty much agree with MMs here. Apparel design improves all of the time, but I am a warm weather creature no matter what. When it's cold (chilly even) I need to layer up regardless of what others are doing, but I can endure the heat better than most on the other end. Probably a lot like the Movistar guys referenced above. I second the idea of paying attention to your body.
 

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I get what steelbikerider is asking, and also have to admit what MM's saying is SO true.

I watch the pros race and it sure doesn't look like they're wearing enough to be warm in that 40-50 degree range. Unfortunately for them, they can't pick and choose what they wear so the tech and layers may suck, but they're stuck with sponsors' gear.

The only issue I might take a different viewpoint than MM is regarding aerodynamics. Keeping warm trumps aero any day. If you're cold you won't perform. Sure; a flappy jacket can be a hindrance, but it should be easy to wear extra form-fitting layers to maintain some sense of aerodynamics while keeping comfortable.

I, for one, learned a few years ago it's okay to layer more than one short sleeve jersey or even more than one base layer in chilly temps. It's made all the difference. I wonder if the pros do the same?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm looking for the magic base layer that works in all conditions and doesn't add bulk. Why doesn't anyone make a wool base layer with wind protection on the front and shoulders? I guess having team cars and domestiques available makes it a non-issue for the Sagan's of the world.
 

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No idea, although I'd guess the Spaniards would have some of the best ideas for warm base layers, esp the ones from southern Spain as that group typically does not like cold weather and will wear tons of layers of clothing to keep warm when they are training or racing in colder weather.
 

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I use a pure merino base layer and a jacket with a wind stopper front and sleeves.

I find that pure wool is far superior to any blend or anything of any other material. I've yet to find a winter baselayer that's synthetic that can hold a candle to wool when drenched in sweat.

Good, real, pure wool baselayers are pretty hard to find at a reasonable price. If it helps, I use the Hasyun brand. I don't know of any cycling specific branded ones I can recommend.

So finding a good one to start with that's affordable is hard enough, let alone one made by a cycling company with additional wind block material added.

In the spring/fall I wear an intermediate jersey from Assos with a windblock front panel. In the winter I wear an 851 Airblock jacket from Assos that has thick windblock material all down the sleeves and covering the front and shoulders. I wear either one or two merino baselayers underneath, all depends on temps out. This system is flawless for me. Windblock on demand with the zipper and the wool works well soaking wet or dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My Defeet wool baselayers are my favorites. I don't have a chart but I layer according to temps in 5 degree increments, cloud cover and wind. I'm good down to 30 but it only does that a couple of times a year in a cold year. My Castelli Motorillo jacket works well but I consider it bulky. I will look for a wind blocking jersey for next year or maybe a Castelli Perfetto jersey. I know lots of pro teams use them even if not sponsored.
 

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I have Rapha merino wool base layers and their softshell base layer. The merino wool layers get a lot of use, with the softshell only coming into play when it's wet and cold during a race. Wool socks. Occasionally a merino wool neck warmer. A cycling cap under the helmet. Long-finger gloves.

Other than that, lots of Roubaix fleece. Arm/leg/knee warmers.

I spend my whole winter out in the cold, so 40s and 50s in the spring seem rather pleasant. That, and I'm fat.
 

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Another vote for merino wool base layers and socks. I've even been accumulating merino wool jerseys, summer and winter.
 

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Not so far from Belgium here in the UK, and weather conditions are pretty similar. Yesterday I rode and it was a windy 5 Celsius (41F) and I was toasty in string vest, merino base layer and trusty Castelli Gabba. Everyone wears Gabbas these days - just the job. On my legs I was wearing ordinary bib shorts and leg warmers, with merino socks and splash proof overshoes. If it goes negative (<32F) I'd wear a jersey under the Gabba, Roubaix tights and some glove liners.
 

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I wear Assos synthetic base layers. For some reason I prefer synthetic undershirts for cycling and wool for nordic skiing. For any longer rides in lower temps than 10C I'm wearing Assos all over: Habu or Bonka.
When I train I keep my knee warmers until 14C, when racing it's "Belgium knee warmers" down to 8C. Below that knee warmers. Warm socks.

I've noted that BMC riders wore wind/rain vests with rear pockets this weekend. They were probably wearing those Tiburushorts too, and some choose knee warmers and some full lenght leg warmers. The races this weekend were more or less flat out from start to finish, btw.
 

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I wear Assos synthetic base layers. For some reason I prefer synthetic undershirts for cycling and wool for nordic skiing.
So let me ask you this: What happens when you soak through with sweat? Do you find them to work equally well in keeping you warm when you're soaked through? At the end of every cold weather ride my baselayer is completely soaked, I'm guessing you're not the same? Or are you the type that doesn't ride hard enough to soak through in the winter and tries to stay dry from sweat? If that's the case I can understand.
 

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There is a lot of polypropylene in those Assos base layers. That helps with the wicking. Also, those modern Assos winter jackets (Habu and Bonka.6, I don't know the BonkaMille) breathe better than the 851 did. I also try to vent when possible, but it quite often happens that I'm soaked anyway when I'm done with the effort. For rides like that I bring a Falkenzahn vest to keep me warm when I spin down.
 

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There is a lot of polypropylene in those Assos base layers. That helps with the wicking. Also, those modern Assos winter jackets (Habu and Bonka.6, I don't know the BonkaMille) breathe better than the 851 did. I also try to vent when possible, but it quite often happens that I'm soaked anyway when I'm done with the effort. For rides like that I bring a Falkenzahn vest to keep me warm when I spin down.
My problem with the Habu jacket is that the thermal sections are see-through. No wonder it vents better... it's see-through. Also the wiggly lines on the arms are dumb. The entire front part of the arms should be wind block... and the arm pouch... the jacket is very poorly designed if you ask me.

Looking at what you wear at what temps, you obviously run much, much hotter than I do. So I'm going to just leave it at that. If you run hot, you can get away with what you wear and what you do. If you run cold, like me, there isn't a chance in hell, you won't be able to stop crashing from the constant violent shivering of either being under dressed or soaked through with nothing but synthetics for warmth.

And yeah, you wear vests too, certainly not in the same ballpark as me in terms of temperature regulation. I guess that's sort of the point of my first post. We're all quite different in terms of running hot vs. cold and you and I are quite far apart.

Just to give you an example to prove my point: Anything 50 degrees Fahrenheit or less I have to be wearing two layers of tights. The S7 Bonka will take me from 50, where that's my lower limit with them, up to 65. From 65 to 75 I can get away with the Tiburu knickers. The Habu tights and Bonka tights perform the same to me, both only work from 65 down to 50. No tights on the market will bring me below 50 F and keep me warm through a ride. I have to use overtights over the Bonka below 50. And no, I never overheat wearing tights when it's 60-65 degrees out, it's completely appropriate for me.
 

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We are different indeed. I'm wearing the BonkaMilleTights down to -8 C without being too cold. Mind you, that's on a slow old MTB with 300 studs in each tyre. Not much of a wind chill then. If it's colder I'll pull a pair of Sturmnuss knickers over the tights.

Also I never wear the Habujacket below +6 C, and I tend to press the Bonka.6 jacket up to +8C together with a spring/fall Assos baselayer. That said, I'd probably use the Habujacket more if mine was the modern 3+2 pocket version. Mine's a 1+2. Not good for long loaded days out.
 

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We are different indeed. I'm wearing the BonkaMilleTights down to -8 C without being too cold.
That kind of blows my mind. Well good for you. I can tell you that it's no fun being someone that runs as cold as I do.
 
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