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Howdy all,

Long time listener, first time caller. Oh wait - wrong medium. Anyway, you get the idea.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what sort of gear to buy for my climate. I live in Seattle and will probably be riding most of the year (I'm taking the MSF class in a couple of weeks). I've seen heated gloves and jackets listed for sale at University Honda and Sound Rider's sites. Are these worthwhile in such a mild climate?

Thanks
 

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Sarnali2 is an old salt that lives in your area. When he wakes up at the end of his shift, he'll no doubt have several recommendations for you.
 

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Doesn't Airhawk just wear a banana sack, bowtie, surgical gloves when he rides?
You forgot the mascara and eyeliner, dude.

OH! And the Icon TiMax socks - gotta keep me pedicure pretty for the LADIES.........
 

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Yeah, well.....

Sarnali2 is an old salt that lives in your area. When he wakes up at the end of his shift, he'll no doubt have several recommendations for you.
Huh..wha'...is it lunch time yet?....

(ahem)...If you want to ride year round here, your best bet is something like an Aerostitch or Olympia, Tourmaster, Joe Rocket etc armored textile
suit, some good goretex gloves and waterproof boots. While it doesn't rain all the time it does often enough in Fall, Winter and Spring that leathers really are not the best option, sooner or later they leak and there's nothing more miserable than being wrapped up in cold and wet leather.

I personally prefer a two piece suit so you can just wear the jacket with jeans in the summer or the riding pants with shorts or your drawers under them. I almost always wear at least my riding jacket, with the liner out and vents open and a wife beater or tee shirt they're not too bad once you're moving though textile does get clammy when it's in the 90's

I don't think it gets cold enough for electrics here but I'm well insulated, a lot of guys use electric vests and gloves so it's up to you, electric grips are a good idea for your hands.......

At any rate, take it slow, ride everyday and watch for cell phone yakkers, drunks and DWA's, there's really only a total of a month or so where it's just too nasty out to ride, most days it's do-able with the right gear.
 

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I used to live in Seattle - I'm a Swedish Baby in fact - so I know that climate well. I disagree just a bit with ol' Sarnali, so I figured I'd chime in.

He's correct that a good armored textile suit is a good choice. I owned a 'Stich and commuted in it from Seattle to Oly. However, I also had leathers and I wore those on my non-commute rides. If it rained I put on a rain suit, boot covers (Totes), and glove covers. Leathers are more protective and with a good rain suit (there's a ton of 'em - Seattle Cycle Center has a good selection) you can be dry and warm.

I do not recommend riding in jeans EVER. They offer no protection at all. A two-piece suit is definitely more convenient than a one-piece, but don't get one with the thought of skimping on protection.

I rode all year round. The only time I would not ride was if it was so cold that there was blue ice on the north end of Queen Anne! If there was no ice, I'd still ride - I think the coldest I ever rode in was 26º. At those temps, you will be happy to have an electric jacket. Gerbing is an excellent choice, and they are located in Union City off of Hood Canal. Warm N Safe is also a good choice -- I've used both. Even if the temps aren't in the 20s or 30s, electric gear is a good thing because you can keep your body temperature up. Having some heat helps you focus on your riding rather than on how cold you are!

One thing about clothing fit -- whatever you get, choose something that is loose enough for whatever you will need to wear underneath it.
 

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I'd say go out and ride and quit worrying about what to wear. It isn't a dinner party. You will soon figure out what to wear for your particular needs, and whatever someone tell you you need may not be right for you. Lots of miles will work better than any advice anyone can give you.
 

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True leather does offer more protection at high speeds due to better abrasion resistance. I however feel that a decent armored textile suit is fine for general street use without the hassel of having to stop and put on rain gear every time it sprinkles. I've done both, I have an excellent leather jacket and armored leather pants that I wore for years with a rain coat and rain pants over them in the wet and I've worn my 'stitch rain or shine for over a year and a JR Ballistic set up prior to that. For me it's just easier to wear one suit rain or shine than wonder whether I need to pack my rain gear 9 months out of the year, it's a personal choice.

I agree jeans don't offer much protection, most of the time I'm ATGATT but there's also times I just don't worry about it, jump on the bike and go. Again a personal choice, I'm well aware of the consequences of going down wearing jeans and a sweatshirt but sweating my butt off in the upper 90's in a suit is just miserable and takes the fun out of a nice spin around the backroads. I do however always wear boots gloves and my full face lid, those are compremises I'm not willing to make. Again a personal choice that as an adult I'm prepared to deal with.
 

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I live in Portland, and similar to Sachi I ride daily unless there something frozen on the ground. I typically wear a Stich one piece suit with an electric vest in the winter and shoulder seasons. In the Summer and it's shoulder seasons I wear a Tecnic Sprint/Spider jacket and convertible pants (can't remember who makes 'em). The nice thing about the Teknic jacket is it's incredibly waterproof, and has an outer layer that zips off to make it a perforated jacket for those 90-100 degree days. It could easily be your year round jacket. The pants do the same thing, but are a bit less waterproof.
 

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The 'stich (Roadcrafter, at least) is great - but a rain suit it isn't. It's got lots of unprotected zippers that are a sieve when it's more than drizzling. Also, it's not insulated so you need to layer for any real warmth. That said, I've ridden with mine in the 20's and was toasty warm (ok, not exactly...but it was bearable for the commute). The Darien model that they make is better geared for all-weather without additional layers, according to the company at least...
 

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The 'stich (Roadcrafter, at least) is great - but a rain suit it isn't. It's got lots of unprotected zippers that are a sieve when it's more than drizzling. Also, it's not insulated so you need to layer for any real warmth. That said, I've ridden with mine in the 20's and was toasty warm (ok, not exactly...but it was bearable for the commute). The Darien model that they make is better geared for all-weather without additional layers, according to the company at least...
The Darien is the one I have and it is excellent for this climate, no leaks and with the fleece liner and Aerostitch fleece pants it's warm down to freezing on an unfaired bike, rain or shine. Below freezing it's not worth the risk of ice to me so I drive but for everything else the Darien comes through
 

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I ride year round in Seattle as well. Now I'm commuting from Mountlake Terrace to Factoria, the only days I won't ride is when there is ice on the ground.

Sachi and Sarnali both had great advice. I personally use a two-piece that zips together at the waist. I do wear leather even when it's raining but I always have multiple layers on underneath, the rain doesn't get to my skin. I'm about to go buy an aerostitch suit however, just for the days when it's really horrible.

I wear fully armoured gloves, cortech racing gloves with titanium plating in them. They are fantastic gloves. They are also vented, and that sucks big time in cold rain. Heated grips solves this problem completely.

Buy heated grips! They are absolutely worthwhile in our climate; our climate is what they're built for. Much colder than our climate and you can't ride at all, unless you're crazy and don't mind riding when there is a potential for black ice.
 

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Something tells me that a banana sack is a wee bit abrasive and maybe not so warm. I think I'll go with Sarnali2's suggestions.

Thanks y'all.
Well, the 'nana sack is more like a "plantain sack" - as I'm not that well-endowed.
 
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