Winter Commute

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by triman11427, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. triman11427

    triman11427 Mud is my chrome

    Nov 3, 2011
    Melville, NY
    I've been commuting 20 miles each way here in NY and although I have Klim gear I've been getting chilled on my ride home below 40deg. I have heated gear but find it heats unevenly. I don't want to layer too much because when I'm at work, I'll roast. So, while looking for a 1 piece to go over my street clothes I see that unless I spend over $1000 for an Aerostich, there aren't too many manufacturers making one piece gear with built in protection. What are riders doing to get the protection and stay warm while commuting on their bike?
  2. LAFS

    LAFS Long timer

    Dec 15, 2016
    Get your heated clothing closer to your skin, and get a layer over it to hold it in.

    It is tough to do when you need to have work cloths on.

    You my laugh but I wear a union suit, then my heated gear, then thin liners from old gear and finally my Stitch 2 piece. Very little bulk but then I do not have to go to work or worry about changing.

    It may be you will have to carry clothing to work and change.
    kwthom likes this.
  3. PaulBarton

    PaulBarton Long timer Supporter

    Apr 14, 2015
    I agree with LAFS comments above. The biggest failing of heated gear is having it too far from the skin. any air gaps are air that has to be heated before it heats your skin/body. Of course, that may not be feasible when commuting to work with "normal" business clothes.

    Not sure what Klim gear you have but I assume it is external waterproof shell with no insulating lining - thus the heated liners. I commuted on my /5 for a couple of winters. No heated grips (or hand guards) and no heated gear. I wore a leather jacket with insulated liner and found it to be plenty warm in the 20's. It was my hands that would get cold at around the 50 minute mark. Fortunately, my commute was normally less than that. With full face and covered neck I really never felt cold. For below I would have waterproof overpants over my business slacks.

    Fast forward to now and I have all heated gear (haven't broke it out yet this year) and heated grips. Yesterday it was low 30's and I had my insulated Hein Gericke Dakar jacket. It was actually very warm while riding. Winter gauntlet gloves with heat not connected and no heated grips.

    I share this info because I've found that leather (especially heavy grade) helps retain warmth better than the textile jackets I have worn. While Goretex is guaranteed to keep you dry it is also designed to breath (translates to lets heat out). This fabric breathing is good for allowing body heat out in the warmer months and shoulder seasons but in the winter it's actually losing the heat you need especially if your heated gear can't get close to your body.

    For one-piece suits, the RoadCrafter is probably the hallmark. Revit used to make the Infinity but not sure that's available anymore. Looks like all of their suits are leather now -- more race-look oriented. With the textile fabrics you will still have the "breathing" issue depending on how it's treated.
  4. lewisjr1

    lewisjr1 Long timer Supporter

    Sep 26, 2008
    DC metro
    Wind protection from the neck to belly. Aerostich makes a good bib.

    Mufflers to fully cover the grips, though admittedly they also cover the switch gear.

    If needed, chem pack underneath each toe.

    A bulbous screen helps, too.
  5. triman11427

    triman11427 Mud is my chrome

    Nov 3, 2011
    Melville, NY
    I agree with keeping the heated gear closer to my body. I'll try putting the heated jacket under a thkn thermal jacket. Maybe a wind blocking over-pants would help.
  6. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

    Feb 25, 2009
    A rain suit over a normal riding jacket should be good to about 40 degrees without heated gear. I add a thermal base layer and a fleece vest when it gets into the 30's. This is for an hour each way, I am good down to the upper 20's. It doesn't stay cold enough here for me to justify any more than heated grips.
  7. Sumo64c

    Sumo64c Long timer

    Jun 10, 2008
    Clyde, NC
    Loose warm layers under a wind resistant/proof outer shell. I don't use any heated gear at all other than heated grips and have commuted to work....interstate speed x40 minutes one way right at 0 degrees F. I wear a underarmor type shirt, long sleeve tshirt, fleece type zip up jacket and then my tourmaster transition 4 with liner.
    millican likes this.
  8. davidji

    davidji bike curious

    Mar 16, 2009
    As far as the >$1000 for a Roadcrafter, buy used.

    As far as the heating unevenly from heated gear. It happens. Wearing a wind layer over it (or a jacket that blocks the wind well) reduces it. Between mid 20s and mid 30s F, I still might be hot and cold at the same time rather than warm, but it's good enough. If you're still uncomfortable with just a wind layer over heated jacket, try a little insulation over the heated jacket liner too.

    The only heated gear I use for those temps is jacket liner & gloves. For the lower body I might wear fleece pants over my work pants, under the Roadcrafter.

    You can to the same thing with a regular textile jacket and overpants. It probably won't be as protective or as convenient as Aerostich gear. But depending what it is, it might block wind better than the Roadcrafter and be better suited to Winter conditions.
    TonyKZ1 likes this.
  9. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

    Sep 21, 2015
    I wear thin merino wool long johns and a cashmere sweater under my leathers, keeps me warm until the freezing temperatures. I like them much better than synthetic liners which come with the gear.
  10. avster

    avster Been here awhile

    Feb 28, 2016
    Hampshire, UK
    It's amazing how much difference an extra windproof layer over the top of whatever you are wearing can make. At this time of year I wear an old walking GoreTex jacket (over 20 years old, leaks like a sieve if worn as a waterproof on its own) over my top. It zips right up to my neck, and covers the join between my textile biking jacket and trousers. When it gets really cold I'll also add a pair of army surplus GoreTex over trousers (bought because they are sturdier than dedicated biking overtrousers, designed to go on easily over boots, and very cheap - equivalent of US$25 brand new unissued!). I commute over an hour each way, temps go down to about -5C, 23F.

    Best bit of new kit this year is a revit goretex balaclava. The waterproof layer starts roughly chin height, and is big enough and with a drawstring to cover the collar of my walking jacket. Water therefore runs off my helmet, over the balaclava and outside my jacket rather than down my neck. It also stops heat escaping upwards - it's surprising how much warmth that added.

    I don't believe in heated gear; I know someone who suffered a burn on his hand when a glove failed (shorted?) when he was riding in heavy traffic on a motorway so couldn't easily get across to the shoulder. I also worry that a failure (broken wire, dodgy connector, broken down bike) would leave me dangerously cold in mid-winter. Not so much of an issue if you are in urban areas at sociable houres, but potentially life threatening at night in the middle of nowhere. I can see the advantage for comfort on short commutes.
  11. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    Another item that's amazingly good though probably not useful commuting is hard knee protectors. They don't need to be expensive but they completely block wind and knees not freezing makes an amazing difference.

    As others have commented just having a windproof layer on top makes a big difference. Just buy a heavy PVC rainproof suit to go over the top. (Fishermans gear was the goto when I had this problem). I also hated heated gear, but my cold problem was going back and forth over a range of mountains to see my parents. Having a shot at walking out was a priority.
  12. Nesbocaj

    Nesbocaj The NEW Soylent Green Deal???

    Jul 15, 2006
    Westchester NY
    Stich (used)(buy it big enough, you're going to look dumpy anyhow)
    When it is really cold> add Windproof layer (Rain gear, gotta carry it anyhow) (I get by with just the upper)
    Heated jacket
    Heated socks
    Heated grips
    Bar muffs or other wind blocking gear for the hands
    Tuxedo :lol3 License to chill.

    Failure gear
  13. ChaoSS402

    ChaoSS402 Been here awhile

    Jul 5, 2013
    You don't want to layer because you'll be too hot at work? Layer over you regular clothes and under the riding gear.

    I wear a hoody under my tourmaster jacket. The hood actually helps to seal the neck against wind, and the extra layer goes a long way to helping block out cold. You can wear more insulated stuff as needed. Just put it over the regular clothes.
  14. Tor

    Tor Imported Norwegian

    Nov 27, 2005
    South Carolina
    That's what I do. Using a Klim Badlands top and bottom, and heated jacket/pants. I never put the heated gear next to my skin though. I always use a fairly thin layer between. So basically the same outfit as I use when cold weather / fall touring.

    Always bring my work clothes in pannier.
    LAFS likes this.
  15. SocalRob

    SocalRob Long timer Supporter

    May 23, 2006
    Los Angeles @ base of Angeles Crest Hwy
    Just today I realized it’s time to ditch the mesh summer jacket and break out my more substantial coat that I can zipper all the vents on. As we get into colder weather I may start riding my GSA with heated grips instead of my other bikes without wind screens.

    If it get really, really cold, like into 50’s, I find a nice fleece helps a lot.

    Truthfully, some of the nicest riding all year is in n December.
  16. millican

    millican Been here awhile

    Oct 10, 2013
    Ocean Springs, MS
    I feel like this could get me excommunicated, but I've found the maxi-scooters to be nice in bad weather. Similar to what's been mentioned already, they keep a lot of the wind off.
  17. LudemJo

    LudemJo Iron Butt Dreamer

    Jun 9, 2014
    Leesburg, VA, USA
    I wear a Firstgear Thermo 1- pice suit over my office clothes. No layering. It keeps me warm on my 20 mile commute at 20*F.

    I can't emphasize enough how great this suit is, and cheap too.

    TonyKZ1 likes this.
  18. Boatman

    Boatman Membership has it's privileges ;-) Supporter

    Mar 9, 2005
    Mill Spring, NC
    Back in the early 80's a bike was all I had for year round transportation. This was in upstate NY. No heated gear. I did wear my ski bibs and that helped quite a bit. These days I have a heated jacket and have a pair of LL Bean overpants.

    If I was commuting I'd be looking at a one piece snowmobile suit.

    For me the heated jacket works best over a very thing micro fiber long sleeve shirt.
  19. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

    Jun 6, 2011
    Does a one piece snowmobile suit hold up in an accident when you're sliding on pavement? Does a snowmobile suit have any CE rated armour in the knees, hips, elbows, shoulder and back?

    I'm always amazed at how people think only of warmth in the winter for commuting, when the winter is also the slickest time of the year with the highest probability of crashing.

    I wear the same gear in the winter as I do through most of the rest of the year. I'll add another layer on for warmth and I use a heated jacket liner and gloves. And I do fine into the teens like that.

    triman11427 likes this.
  20. PeterTrocewicz

    PeterTrocewicz Been here awhile

    Nov 18, 2009
    Kincardine Ontario
    Funny no one's mention the old 'morning newspaper shoved under the jacket' trick. 1st stop was always the nearest variety store. :lol3
    el Pete and jeffeasy like this.