The Chainlink

I'm looking to buy a not-too-expensive but decent outer shell, having traditionally muddled along with various semi-adequate solutions out of my closet. Couple of questions:

—Should I only go with something windproof or is anyone making 'wind-resistant' fabrics that will stand up to a 25 mph wind in January?

—Are there any bike-specific brands that are worth the money? Most of what I've seen doesn't really seem made for Lake Michigan winters.

—If not going with a bike-specific shell, are there any that are long enough in the back that I won't rue my purchase when in the drops?

Thanks!

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I've been wearing a North Face Summit Windstopper Jacket for the last couple of winters, that is quite nice. I only break it out when the temps dip below 20F. While it's not cycling specific, the back length has not been an issue, even when in the drops and I'm riding south with the hawk coming out of the north.

Don't know whether "Windstopper" is windproof or wind-resistant, but my torso is never cold when I wear it. (Wish it worked for my toes!)

I can't recall what I paid for it, but I'm thinking less than $100.

I've tried to find it on sale somewhere, but think that it may be a dated model. I'm currently only seeing stuff on eBay.
Dr. Doom! The last two winters I have used a North Face Venture
http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/mens-jackets-vests-filt...

It's pretty much wind proof and water proof, It's a light shell, so you will certainly need to layer, but 90% of the time I only wore a base layer, t-shirt and the shell. When it fell into single digits though, I would usually add a sweatshirt. It retails for about $100 which is considerable cheaper than the cycling equivalent.

I was given the Chrome Champ (retails $140) as a birthday gift and the fit is amazing, it's more wind resistant that wind proof though so I am likely to switch back to the northface jacket when the whether really drops.

Hope this helps.



The only downsides I have discovered are that I should have a gone with a larger size, the backside creeps up and exposes my lower back to the elements, but I feel the larger size would have made up for it.
i too will vouch for northface. ive used a snowboarding jacket (forget which line exactly) with the hyvent technology...windproof, water resistant, pockets in all the right places including a google pocket, armpit vents, high collar. i bought one a bit large. while its not the warmwest on its own, is perfect for layer options underneath. i think that some snowboard jackets nowadays will even include a hood big enough for a helmet...but thats just hearsay.

if you make your way to pleasant prairie/kenosha, there is a northface outlet store at the outlet mall. i have found a few awesome deals there.
Although not bike-specific, Marmot rain jackets have worked well for me - wind and water resistent. They tend to be long in the back and can cost between $50 - $200.
I have decided to go with these but I have no experience with the winter up here.


http://www.coolraingear.com/

they were suggested on the forums as a good rain suit but after reading a few posts it seems like wind is a big problem as well.

can anybody let me know if I should be worried and look into something of the northface variety?
those look like a great deal! I'd consider buying them. The website says that they are windproof, so you should be fine for that. I'd say get a size bigger so you have room to layer fleece or wool underneath.

garrett honke said:
I have decided to go with these but I have no experience with the winter up here.


http://www.coolraingear.com/

they were suggested on the forums as a good rain suit but after reading a few posts it seems like wind is a big problem as well.

can anybody let me know if I should be worried and look into something of the northface variety?
just came across this..

$150

http://www.mesfire.com/Portal.aspx?CN=2DC72A164770


even comes with a gun pocket...

A problem with the O2 rain jacket is that it is fairly fragile and will tear somewhat easily if it gets snagged on something. On the other hand it costs about $20 and is really light and breathable.



jamimaria said:
those look like a great deal! I'd consider buying them. The website says that they are windproof, so you should be fine for that. I'd say get a size bigger so you have room to layer fleece or wool underneath.

garrett honke said:
I have decided to go with these but I have no experience with the winter up here.


http://www.coolraingear.com/

they were suggested on the forums as a good rain suit but after reading a few posts it seems like wind is a big problem as well.

can anybody let me know if I should be worried and look into something of the northface variety?
I picked up a rain coat from campmor.com for about $30, I can't get their website to cooporate now, but they have lots of good "basic" shells and layers.
Thanks, all. I'm going to keep an eye out for a deal on North Face. Luckily it doesn't look like I need to be in any great rush, and at this rate my cheap Target soft shell might do fine through the whole winter.

Garrett, winter here isn't as bad as people claim. I don't know where you're from originally, but it certainly isn't any worse than in New York or Boston. The wind can be nasty, but I've always been able to get along with a thick hoodie over wool and fleece on less windy days and a pea coat on the windiest ones, and am only looking for something new because wearing a five pound coat is annoying. You certainly don't need a fancy jacket to get around.
thanks for the advice. We just moved from Austin so it will definitely be a new experience as any time ice is present down there business shuts down and schools close. I was warm on the coldest nights with a hoodie, a reasonably thick corduroy jacket, liner gloves and a scarf so the snow and wind will be an interesting addition

Trying to get pumped up and prepared for it up here. I am assuming that the people telling me it is impossible to ride straight through are the same ones that said that down south in the summer



Dr. Doom said:
Thanks, all. I'm going to keep an eye out for a deal on North Face. Luckily it doesn't look like I need to be in any great rush, and at this rate my cheap Target soft shell might do fine through the whole winter.

Garrett, winter here isn't as bad as people claim. I don't know where you're from originally, but it certainly isn't any worse than in New York or Boston. The wind can be nasty, but I've always been able to get along with a thick hoodie over wool and fleece on less windy days and a pea coat on the windiest ones, and am only looking for something new because wearing a five pound coat is annoying. You certainly don't need a fancy jacket to get around.
North Face makes some very solid products. I would definitely recommend checking out what Patagonia has to offer as well, though. I have a Patagonia soft shell designed for mountain biking and cross country skiing (it's called a cold weather track jacket--they don't make it anymore but they make similar styles) that has got me through 3 Chicago winters on a bike. With varying wool baselayers underneath, I have used the soft shell down to negative temps. One of the biggest benefits, though, is Patagonia is warrantied for life and will do exchanges literally on the spot in their stores--no matter where you actually purcahsed the product.

I had a seam seperate on a Patagonia hard-shell jacket that was well over 15 years old. When I took the jacket back to the Patagonia store on Clyborne to see if it could be repaired, they instead gave me the original cash value of the jacket back right on the spot with no questions asked or proof of original purchase required. Patagonia products are pricey, but they have probably the best customer satisfaction and quality policy I have ever seen.

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