When it comes to base layers, we often think expensive is better. This year I took a chance on a product from Tesla called Winter Gear Compression. For the price, it was worth the risk. This has been an unbelievable find. I have used these as my primary base (remember, it is thinly lined with fleece and compression built) and then I’ve added another base layer if the temperature was under 50 degrees F. I’ve ridden at 41F in a rainy mist as well as 38 F with wind and this performed as well or better than other layers I paid $50+ for. Want something warm? This is it AND it comes in a wide range of colors! Price range is around $15.00. Click on the image to go to Amazon’s page.
Not sure what to buy? Bibs or Shorts? It is truly a personal choice, however there is one common factor to keep in mind, THE CHAMOIS! That’s the material between the bike seat and well, your seat. Thicker is not always better and cheaper is, well a “pain in the rear”, literally. I personally like the bibs as they are the most comfortable in the waist area. They are slightly tricky when it’s time for restroom breaks, however, over all I highly recommend Bibs to Shorts. Back to the Chamois. Buy the higher quality Chamois. The cheaper the shorts/bibs the cheaper the chamois and the increased potential for a poor experience on your ride. I recommend Primal Wear’s Evo or Helix level of cycling gear as the chamois contained on each of these offer the best ride. Castelli is another brand I highly recommend for the quality of product and comfort of the ride. Bottom line, (no pun intended) pay the difference for the better chamois and you won’t regret it.
If you think it’s too cold to ride, then you don’t have the right combination of gear. Fleece lined full bibs, jerseys, and base layers allow you to continue your rides in the winter. Both Primal and Castelli offer the same quality of chamois in their fleece lined products and again, well worth the money. Look for “Wind resistant” on the label and that, combined with the fleece lining, is the key to warmth. One final item is the jacket. A fleece lined cycling jacket that is wind resistant again is the key to warmth. I have a couple of different upper base layers that I select, based on the temperature. My favorite bib is the Castelli Sorpasso Wind Bib Tights. I’ve worn these at 37 degrees F with a 4 mph wind and at an average speed of 15 mph. My legs never felt the cold.
How much to spend?
My purchases are always around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When the deals hit or if I see them on sale during the year I’ll purchase. Otherwise, you’ll let the price overshadow the quality. Buy on sale and enjoy the higher quality.