Kit for riding year-round (or close to it)

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
381
57
48
Fukushima
#1
For everyone who rides year-round, say, except for in pouring rain, what apparel and gear items do you consider essential? Japan's widely ranging weather makes it pretty clear to me that a short-sleeve jersey, hot-weather shorts, and half-finger gloves are not going to cut it if I want to ride regardless of the temperature.

What cheaper substitutions can you make using non-cycling gear?
 
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#2
You mean a winter kit on the cheap?

I would recomend investing on some nice wool based cycling specific tops. They last several seasons and make riding a lot more comfortable. As it gets cooler, I add more inners such as the uniqlo heat tech. I don't use a shell because I end up swamping. The inners could of course be used in other situations.

A buff is also useful to warm the air a bit before breathing it in and keeping the ears warm. This I use when temps drop below 10dC. The buff is versatile, can be used as cap or buff.

Don't skimp on gloves... Something wind proof. Unfortunately these only last at most two seasons. Your fingers will still get cold and you'll have to use coping methods like moving the hands constantly.

I use mountain bike pants but I think any technical fabric will do. You could get trousers meant for trail walking if you want to get more use out of it. And the fabric controls monkey butt well.

For the feet, I end up using those charcoal chemical warmers when the temps dip below 5dC. Under 10dC I use wool socks. Warm socks of course could be used elsewhere.

For short winter daylight days, I use ¥700 clear safety glasses. Heck, I'm still using them.
 
Likes: Forsbrook

Quicksilver

Maximum Pace
Jan 9, 2011
113
32
48
Tokyo
#6
If you are doing much cycling all year round then cycling clothes are going to be more comfortable and ultimately last longerIMHO. Otherwise, you might as well just wear your normal clothes. Going to Ys or Victoria or elsewhere to pick up bargains on out of season wear is a better idea. Basically, if you have long tights, a long sleeve jersey, shorts, a short sleeve jersey, long sleeve base layer (Uniclo, OK for this), light rain jacket, summer and winter gloves and some cycling shoes and socks you are covered. Beyond this you are just getting more comfort for winter riding and allowing yourself greater adjustability to temperatures and fashion. Of course, if you have more than one of said items there is less pressure on the daily wash-dry sequence...the safety glasses are a good idea too if you don't wear glasses already.
 

rommelgc

Maximum Pace
Sep 3, 2009
362
101
73
Setagaya
#7
Beyond this you are just getting more comfort for winter riding and allowing yourself greater adjustability to temperatures and fashion.
The basic setup (long tights, a long sleeve jersey, shorts, a short sleeve jersey, long sleeve base layer, light rain jacket, summer and winter gloves and some cycling shoes and socks) will let you ride anytime in summer but in winter it will be only at very specific times/temps only. You can't go out very early nor can you stay out when the sun goes down. If you stop long enough for your body heat to go down, you will notice it. You really can't ride comfortably and reliably in winter without some thermal wear.

The basic stuff and/or work arounds will get you by a season or two. For short distances (commute) it will definitely work. Longer distances meh. Then one day you buy the good stuff and ask yourself why didn't you just start with them in the first place.

trawling places like Ys Road
Going to Ys or Victoria or elsewhere to pick up bargains
Definitely the way to go to get cheap and usable stuff specially if you take an L or larger. Those are the only sizes I see in the sale section :-(

For short winter daylight days, I use ¥700 clear safety glasses. Heck, I'm still using them.
I always get wattery eyes in winter (definitely spring) and the glasses that I found to work for me are those sen-yen++ kafunsho glass from 711.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#8
One of the best bits of kit I can recommend is the Castelli Radiation Jacket. It is one of the ONLY products on the market designed to be worn all year round. However it's not cheap for obvious reasons.

Also a pair of 3/4 length thermal bibs will keep you warm from Autumn through to Spring and for mid winter you can either get some long wool socks (Old School style) or a pair of thermal leg warmers for that extra layer.

At the end of the day my recommendation is to just drop some money into some proper technical winter clothing - although you only wear it for a limited period over the winter it will last if washed and stored correctly for years - I still have my team issue KONA (Roubaix) thermal bib tights that I wore as a junior XC Mtb rider 23 odd years ago and they still look in tip top condition.

Dhb (WIggle's own brand) is a very good buy for winter base layers as well as Champion System (Shameless plug) and if you go for the team issue colours (Black and White) you can get some top end technical clothing for a very good price and if it's good enough for World Champions then its good enough for you :D
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,594
1,178
143
Setagaya
#9
@leicaman was singing the praises of his his "Shimano Performance Windbreak Jersey" late last year, so I bought one too, and paired with two cheap Uniqlo "Heattech Extra" (not the thin Heattech ones) base layers it allowed me to ride in total comfort through the whole of December.

Some other budget wares for winter riding were taping over the holes in my helmet, a cheap cap under the helmet and conbini neck warmer, 1,000-yen "thinsulate" gloves from a hardware store (ホームセンター), and toe hokkairo, among other stuff (winter tights, overshoes). The toe hokkairo kept my feet from going numb for about three hours. I might try replacing the Uniqlo base layers with some kind of merino in the future though.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#10
Ohhhhh - Neoprene socks and gloves from the hardware store kept me nice and toasty when racing Cyclocross in the north of Japan last year and this - also due to the price they are great for shoe covers as well - If you have smaller feet they are easy to come by as you'll need to get a pair two sizes larger then cut a hole in the bottom for the cleat and will cost you about 600 Yen.

It took me a while to find XXXL neoprene socks to turn in to outer's but they work and last great and I strongly suggest closing the edges of the hole with a lighter or match.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#12
GrantT, I don't think I got them from Workman in the end I think only my gloves came from there - the socks probably came from the ROYAL gardening center just up the road from my local workman. The thing is BIG sizes are out there as I also got some BIG wellies for CX days.