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  1. #1
    take on me
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    Wow... Merino Wool is Awesome. Who Knew?

    Used to be a synthetics guy, even tho' a jersey would stink bad after just one ride in warm weather. But, it was what was available.

    Then I heard some ppl talking wool awhile back, so I got a Nike '100% wool' jersey 'bout a year ago.

    It was nice, but nothing earth-shattering. It felt surprisingly baggy and shapeless, don't know if I just got it a size too large or if these just don't hold up very well. I guess it not being 'next to the skin' contributed to it performing 'good-not-great' for me... it's not quite as warm in cool conditions as I would've liked.

    The 'skin feel' was a little off too. It wasn't coarse or itchy or anything, but it didn't feel as good as synthetics on my skin either, for some reason.

    Then, just recently, I got an Icebreaker 200-gram long-sleeve shirt. Wow.

    Hate to sound like a frickin' commercial, but this thing is awesome. Lightweight, fits right next to the skin, feels good on the skin, and has a nice wide temperature range... layered with even just a regular ol' short-sleeve cotton t-shirt over it, I can go hike with it in total comfort with temps in the upper 40s, yet by itself it isn't too warm exercising in the 70s. And you have to wear it 'bout a half-dozen times before it finally gets smelly enough to bother washing.

    Thinking 'bout getting some of their 320-gram stuff for cold-weather cycling... to deal with the cycling wind chill n' all.

    The weird part? Both the Nike jersey and the Icebreaker shirt are labelled as '100% merino wool'. Someone told me that New Zealand merinos produce better wool than merinos native to other regions (did Nike use those?), but for all I know that's just marketing.

    Whatever, it works.


    edit– My gf is piping in and pointing out that her Smartwool top is awesome too.
    .
    Last edited by SystemShock; 12-05-2009 at 05:24 PM.
    System: Fake news?? Trump is a Fake President™, for god's sake.

    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did – peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJ Dionne: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism. It's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  2. #2
    waterproof*
    Reputation: Creakyknees's Avatar
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    um... sheep knew... and us old roadies
    * not actually a Rock Star

  3. #3
    Eddy 53:11
    Reputation: JetSpeed's Avatar
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    I learned that wool REALLY does work well two winters ago. I have three
    pieces of nice wool of varing thicknesses I ride with below 50 degrees.

    With wool as a base and a layer of something on top of that, like an Assos longsleeve
    windstop jersey, I can ride down to 20-25 degrees with just those two layers. Amazing . . . .

    Checkout Craft and Jonesware wool stuff. Fair price, good quality.
    Live vicariously through yourself.
    There are no physical laws that govern the will.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Icebreaker, Smartwool and Ibex all make awesome products. Patagonia has also started making some nice wool stuff. Other then the cost it is great.

    Get on Icebreaker's email list, they occasionally throw out some good deals (50% off one item, etc). I've been replacing all by synthetic stuff with wool as I have the money and can find deals.

    One of the things I love about wool is that it doesn't get nearly as a stinky as most synthetics. Great for commuting and touring.

  5. #5
    take on me
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    The interesting thing about wool to me (aside from the fact that it works really farking well) is that it shoots a hole in the established 'man-made/high-tech/scientific thing always beats the natural thing' mentality.

    Sheep pwn armies of textile scientists. Again, who'da thunk it?
    .
    System: Fake news?? Trump is a Fake President™, for god's sake.

    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did – peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJ Dionne: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism. It's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Merino Wool Rocks

    For cycling I have: Smartwool socks (lots), base layer, beanie, glove liners; Ibex knickers (awesome); EWR long sleeve jersey (Belinky); Swobo short sleave jersey. For work and regular wear i have: Smartwool zip sweaters (3 that i wear around and to work), socks (many); Icebreaker zip sweaters (2); Jos A Banks sweaters (5 or 6).
    Some stuff is better than others but I wear them all and continually on the lookout for add'l stuff on sale.

  7. #7
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    .........
    Last edited by icebreaker; 12-21-2009 at 04:19 PM.

  8. #8
    Frog Whisperer
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    really....wool......hard to believe huh.....

    I am a 57 year fan of wool and other natural fibers.....Merino being my absolute favorite of all time


    edit: WOOL is what the synthetics are TRYING to copy!
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

    "that was like trying to teach a goldfish how to play basketball over the phone."

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray
    really....wool......hard to believe huh.....

    I am a 57 year fan of wool and other natural fibers.....Merino being my absolute favorite of all time


    edit: WOOL is what the synthetics are TRYING to copy!
    Kinda like steel, eh?

  10. #10
    Frog Whisperer
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    yep!..............
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

    "that was like trying to teach a goldfish how to play basketball over the phone."

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I discovered Merino wool this fall and have to jump on the bandwagon. Works just like the ads say -- keeps you warm when its cool and then with its incredible wicking properties it really does keep you cool as that morning ride warms up.

  12. #12
    Frog Whisperer
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    some stuff copies better than others, ever tried to photocopy blue pencil? (called non-photo blue) for a reason
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

    "that was like trying to teach a goldfish how to play basketball over the phone."

  13. #13
    Frog Whisperer
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    for what it's worth, wool is just as warm wet as it is dry!
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

    "that was like trying to teach a goldfish how to play basketball over the phone."

  14. #14
    take on me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott B
    Get on Icebreaker's email list, they occasionally throw out some good deals (50% off one item, etc). I've been replacing all by synthetic stuff with wool as I have the money and can find deals.
    Thanks for the info.
    .
    System: Fake news?? Trump is a Fake President™, for god's sake.

    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did – peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJ Dionne: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism. It's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  15. #15
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    I've been wearing a layer of wool for winter cycling for years; just cant beat it.

    Smartwool also makes a nice lightweight wool Balaclava, that is very warm, and thin and fits under my helmut with very little bulk -- it really cuts the wind burn on cold days.

    Joseph

  16. #16
    take on me
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragweed
    I discovered Merino wool this fall and have to jump on the bandwagon. Works just like the ads say -- keeps you warm when its cool and then with its incredible wicking properties it really does keep you cool as that morning ride warms up.
    Yeah, it's really hard to screw up and be uncomfortable with this stuff, 'cuz of the wide temp range, and the wide variety of weights (something like 140-gram to 380-gram, I think).

    You'd have to guess very wrong on what the weather's gonna be like and/or just not be aware of what the different weights can do. Even then, you can be pretty far off, and it's still fine. Pretty close to idiot-proof.
    .
    Last edited by SystemShock; 12-05-2009 at 06:31 PM.
    System: Fake news?? Trump is a Fake President™, for god's sake.

    Monk: I want to go like my Dad did – peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    Plat: I'd rather fellate a syphilitic goat than own a Cervelo.

    EJ Dionne: Modern-day conservatism isn't conservatism. It's reaction rooted in deep pessimism that isn't in keeping with the American character.

    Seam: Saw Bjork poop onstage back in the day. It blew my teenage mind.


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock
    Someone told me that New Zealand merinos produce better wool than merinos native to other regions (did Nike use those?), but for all I know that's just marketing.
    It's the area in which the wool is grown that matters - in cooler areas it is easier to produce ultrafine wool (<18 micron). The finest grades in Australia and NZ are sold at special auctions, with Italian suiting manufacturers paying astronomical prices (partly as marketing for their wares).

    The wool you are discussing is not purely a natural fibre - it has been treated with an oxidative process invented by the CSIRO to shrinkproof it.

    Another thing that should be mentioned is that for some people (myself incuded) no amount of treatment makes wool wearable next to the skin. I believe it is the scale on the fibres which causes the reaction but whatever it is we find it unbearably irritating.

    Since I live next to what was once the busiest wool port in the world and about 20 k from the place where the treatment mentioned above was invented this seems a little ironic.
    Last edited by Mark Kelly; 12-05-2009 at 08:36 PM.

  18. #18
    Baltic Scum
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    I agree. The only wool item I will wear are DeFeet winter socks. Everything else has to be synthetic.
    Was juckt es die stolze Eiche, wenn sich ein Schwein an ihr kratzt?

  19. #19
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    It is good stuff. I guess the US millitary has been doing some reseach with it and the scientific mumbo jumbo about how well wool works for clothing is really impressive compared to anything else that's ever been used for clothing.

    Personally for cycling the quality of a shirt as long as it's not cotton doesn't enhance my experience so I ain't going to pay $50-$80 for undershirt.

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock
    Used to be a synthetics guy, even tho' a jersey would stink bad after just one ride in warm weather. But, it was what was available.

    Then I heard some ppl talking wool awhile back, so I got a Nike '100% wool' jersey 'bout a year ago.

    It was nice, but nothing earth-shattering. It felt surprisingly baggy and shapeless, don't know if I just got it a size too large or if these just don't hold up very well. I guess it not being 'next to the skin' contributed to it performing 'good-not-great' for me... it's not quite as warm in cool conditions as I would've liked.

    The 'skin feel' was a little off too. It wasn't coarse or itchy or anything, but it didn't feel as good as synthetics on my skin either, for some reason.

    Then, just recently, I got an Icebreaker 200-gram long-sleeve shirt. Wow.

    Hate to sound like a frickin' commercial, but this thing is awesome. Lightweight, fits right next to the skin, feels good on the skin, and has a nice wide temperature range... layered with even just a regular ol' short-sleeve cotton t-shirt over it, I can go hike with it in total comfort with temps in the upper 40s, yet by itself it isn't too warm exercising in the 70s. And you have to wear it 'bout a half-dozen times before it finally gets smelly enough to bother washing.

    Thinking 'bout getting some of their 320-gram stuff for cold-weather cycling... to deal with the cycling wind chill n' all.

    The weird part? Both the Nike jersey and the Icebreaker shirt are labelled as '100% merino wool'. Someone told me that New Zealand merinos produce better wool than merinos native to other regions (did Nike use those?), but for all I know that's just marketing.

    Whatever, it works.


    edit– My gf is piping in and pointing out that her Smartwool top is awesome too.
    .
    Funny, I'm wearing a Bodyfit 260 as I type. I like the tall zip collar and the fact that I can wear it for weeks without washing it. The stitching is coming loose on the collar, but I can get that fixed easily. Durability of the Icebreakers may be an issue. I had an identital shirt I wore for two winters in Maine. It got pretty ratty and thin. It might just be from wearing the damn thing all the time.
    Try some of the generic merino wool socks on Ebay. They're every bit as good as the Smartwool stuff, but much cheaper.
    The shirts are best combined with a light wind-proof jacket. The combination of a Mountain Hardware Tech jacket and an Icebreakers shirt is the perfect combination for a very wide range of temperatures.
    Last edited by Jesse D Smith; 12-05-2009 at 10:59 PM.

  21. #21
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    I thought everybody knew. Well I guess System is the last to know. I feel sorry for the very few who cannot wear wool for whatever reason. Just like down being the best insulator wool is the best fabric for managing temperature and moisture. Welcome to the club System

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I really like the feel of rough wool fibers of Filson Mackinaw Wool against my skin. I'm often outdoors inspecting stuff in below freezing weather, and I stay comfortable in two layers, inner 18-oz/yd^2 and outer 24-oz/yd^2 with buttons, no zipper.

    I rode my touring bike today in 24-degree ambient weather albeit somewhat slow at 15-mph wearing the two wool layers along with my Campagnolo balaclava and Pearl Izumi lobster gloves. In really cold weather perspiration condenses on the inside of the typical nylon outer shell, but with wool the perspiration escapes leaving the garment dry.

  23. #23
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    I agree wholeheartedly that wool is the wunderfabric. I've used Ibex stuff for a while and just discovered Joneswares. They make great stuff and are very accommodating.

  24. #24
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    I am a HUGE Icebreaker fan and have a wide range of their shirts. The 200 is great as a cycling base layer and the 260 is nice when the temps get lower. I also wear them all winter as undershirts and I just love them.

  25. #25
    Yet Vertically Compliant
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    Merino Addiction

    Careful, that IceBreaker stuff is seriously addictive. One hit is all it takes. I tried an IB baselayer for cold weather cycling last fall. Now I have a whole drawer full of that sh!t, and an empty wallet.

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