The Chainlink

So, the zipper on my Mountain Hardwear jacket is on its last legs and it has lost all its waterproofing (I just discovered in the sleet/rain/mess that descended this evening). It lasted me a good six years, and I'm looking for any suggestions on a great cycling jacket. The same model but newer version of my jacket still doesn't have pit zips and they really uglied it up since I bought mine.

The cons of my current jacket (which I'd like to address now that I'm looking again) are:

no pit zips (it's a bit like wearing a garbage bag after the first few miles, as it doesn't let any moisture out)
too short when riding so I end up showing off my drawers

Anyone had any luck with a jacket that's:

good for layering
doesn't have a hood (the extra bulk just gets in the way when riding)
waterproof (or at least very water resistant)
has a pull down butt flap for drawer coverage
has pit zips
is fairly nondescript
available somewhere in Chicago so I can try it on before I buy it

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Honestly, the Mountain Hardwear jacket I've been rocking for six years has worked for pretty much everything I need it to, which is why I'm looking for something comparable. Anything around 40 degrees and I just wear the jacket and a t-shirt. I pretty much add a layer for each 20 degree drop and it's been fine. I have never had a core that has been too cold with this jacket, more often I'll over-dress and sweat like crazy, hence the need for pit-zips to regulate temperature.

I dig the multitude of jackets scenario may work for some, but if I find just the right thing, it should work for just about every scenario Chicago has in store (while I'm biking, anyway. I always freeze my ass off waiting around for public transit).

Tim M Hovey said:
jackets are just like bikes. no one will do. buy high quality stuff that will last for years and buy different jackets that will be suitable for different conditions. mix and match as required. seldom do i wear the same combo for more than 1 or 2 days at a time. skip the "cycling" marketed stuff and check out what mountain climbers where. similar requirements in use, cept climbers stake their lives on the quality of the stuff they buy, no garbage!

in my stable:
patagonia das parka
patagonia down jacket
patagonia down vest
tnf insulated softshell
patagonia non-insulated softshell
mountain hardware gore-tex parka
mountain hardware windstopper fleece
patagonia windstopper vest
marmot precip jacket
big heavy thick cotton zip hoody sweatshirt with my company logo on it (surprisingly, this gets worn ALLOT)

similar delio with pants.

sorry that i just recommended you buy $3,000 worth of jackets, but being warm and comfortable under severe conditions is essentially a decision you make with you pocketbook.
i have been using an awesome NorthFace snowboarding jacket i bought years back. Pockets in all the right places, waterproof, windproof, snow skirt, full and secure cover over the zipper, arm pit vents (absolutely necessary IMO), adjustable hood. It is perfect for layering - aerodynamic, no - but warmth and comfort takes precendence here. i rode in it in the -16F days we had last winter and was quite warm.

The hood was a slight problem. Tho it offered great protection, there really is not room for a helmet (which i didnt start wearing till this year). I understand that most jacket makers now take helmets into consideration in their design.

i just lost the waterproofing in the last wash getting it ready for this season, but lasted bout 4 years.

Look for them in the spring when shit goes on sale (REI and the Northface just over the border), just be prepared for the ugly color selection, tho such ugly color selections might make you more visible on the road.
i just layer underarmor and mesh jearsys they keep the heat in and wick away any moister

Books Steve said:
I'm gonna have to take a trip to REI and check out the Taku. I looked at the Swrve Milwaukee Hoodie and a few Gore Cycling and Cannondale jackets at Cycle Smithy today, if not for the hood, I'd probably go with the Swrve hoodie though the zippers seemed a little dodgy and the non-zippered front pockets would make really sweet pools of water in a good rain. I may be so ridiculous as to have a tailor just hack off the hood if I like the Taku jacket enough to go for it...

Thanks for all the suggestions!



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