Freeze-Out base layers: a preliminary review. - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Freeze-Out base layers: a preliminary review.

Though I'd do a little write up here since winter's icy hands are clinging to so much of the country still, and even those of us freed of snow have to be on guard under the best circumstances. Get comfortable, since in my usual fashion, I will wander around the point a bit and perhaps poke it with a stick a few times before I come right out with it.

So, many of you may have noted Cycle Gear is in full-swing sale mode, hoping to grab what they can from those of us itching to ride and still clinging to tax return money. Lacy and I popped into the nearest store (which is in Meridian, about 2.5 hours away....been there 2 years...had no clue) during a ride a couple weeks back. It had been a bit cold running into the lovely 25-mph headwind above Mountain Home, so I gravitated to a display for Freeze-Out base layers. They looked pretty high-tech, seemed of fair quality, and the prices were nice, but no way was I gonna jump blind on this one. I got a closet full of riding gear that's mediocre at best, and I don't need more. Over the next couple weeks I read some reviews, priced things out, got the wife sized (never something a wise man WANTS to do, despite the possibilities for gropage), and decided to give 'em a shot. We ordered a long-sleeve shirt, long john bottoms, and glove liners for each of us. Ran to the tune of $120, all told (free shipping!).

Cycle Gear ships FAST. Order processed that night, rolled out on a big brown truck the next morning, and landed on our doorstep within 72 hours. But here, I must note, the plot thickens (see, I WASN'T kidding). Turns out Lacy's glove liners had to be shipped from a different warehouse in Ohio or Kazahkstan or something, and the dotcom operation wasn't very transparent about this. I didn't know they hadn't shipped till the box of stuff showed up and they weren't in there. When I started checking invoices, it shows I ordered and paid for them...but they weren't shipped. not why. Just not. Okay, fine, fair enough. Price is right anyway. BUT ALSO instead of my long-sleeve top, they accidentally shipped a third pair of bottoms. Now, that was a bummer. So, I rang 'em up the next morning, and man, they sent out my shirt in about 10 minutes. And let me keep the extra bottoms for free. Good enough for me, I've worked in the service industry for 12 years, and I try to be cool about stuff like that.

We are now much closer to the point.

Today, Lacy and I went out for a short scoot to check out the gear. It was about 45 degrees, and normally I would wear regular thermal top and bottoms under jeans and a long sleeve shirt, with chaps, zipper hoodie, and jacket. Lacy would be similarly attired. I left my chaps off entirely (still wore my hoodie since I don't have my top) and Lacy did the same, and wore here top as her only shirt under her jacket.

We got upwards of about 50 mph, and my legs stayed WAY warmer than thermals under jeans, or just jeans under chaps....probably about the same I would normally get from all three layers...maybe even better. Lacy reported about the same for her bottoms, but she was really impressed with her shirt. She said she was totally comfortable, and thinks an extra layer might be too much. Good enough for me, I'm now excited for when mine arrives.

Have not tried the glove liners yet, but will this week, I'm certain. Looking forward to that as well...cold hands is the worst.

The gear is a little bulkier than conventional thermals, but it pays off in spades (I'm not even sure what that means, but I know it's good). It's very comfortable...neither of us had any binding or seams rubbing. Downside on the long-sleeve top is the neck, tho...it's a bit baggy, and a snugger design would be nice. I would advise it be worn as an overshirt rather than an undershirt for that reason. The bottoms don't seem much more movement-hampering than regular long johns, altho I will say the sizing runs a hair big AND tall. They have rather thorough sizing charts available, but I would aim for the smaller sizes. Kinda wish my pants were a size smaller.

All told, I'd recommend this stuff...especially if you have a Cycle Gear nearby and can return if your sizing's not quite right.

I plan to bump this thread as I get out in higher speeds, colder temps, and more complete gear.

OURS
2011 Victory Cross Roads, crimson red

"There is only one God, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'not today.'"

Last edited by Luciferiad; 03-22-2014 at 09:12 PM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 06:23 AM
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Thanks for the review. Do you have a link to their site?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hazzardousmat View Post
Thanks for the review. Do you have a link to their site?
+1 on the link. Pretty entertaining write-up. Info plus humor, my kind of editorial.

I just got a job a couple of weeks ago (been on hiatus for 11 months). I've been on days for training but starting tomorrow I start afternoons and the place is 45 minutes away. Since my truck is sucking up the fuel at a tune of $80 a week I want to start riding the scoot. Guess what, it's 23 degrees out and maybe near 50 at the end of the upcoming week. The ride in will be OK but at midnight I will be returning home in who knows what kind of hell temps. So I'm interested in this gear.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 01:16 PM
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Those of us still clinging on to tax return money.

Tax return money?

What's that?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 02:28 PM
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Good write up!

We have a Cycle Gear just a few miles from us. I like the store; wish I could say I loved it; but they have too much of their proprietary brand "Bilt" on the shelves.
Still better than the other proprietary-branded motorcycle clothing store.

I guess it's time for me to stop poking with a stick too.

I bought a pair of the freeze out glove liners last month.
They work well in my loose fitting winter gloves.
To test them; I wore them and my MESH summer gloves one morning when it was around 40F. They kept my hands as warm as my winter gloves alone.
This was at highway speeds; but my VV does have a fairing that re-directs SOME of the wind from my hands.

Anyway; I just wanted to say that I like my freeze-out gear too.

Scott

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazzardousmat View Post
Thanks for the review. Do you have a link to their site?
www.cyclegear.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
We have a Cycle Gear just a few miles from us. I like the store; wish I could say I loved it; but they have too much of their proprietary brand "Bilt" on the shelves.
Still better than the other proprietary-branded motorcycle clothing store.
Scott
the Bilt label is on the Freeze-Out packaging too. I'm wondering right now if anyone might be able to compare it against the more expensive stuff. I see lots of stuff from Sedici, Joe Rocket, etc...but all for more cash. Curious as to how this stuff stacks up.

OURS
2011 Victory Cross Roads, crimson red

"There is only one God, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'not today.'"

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-01-2014, 12:30 AM
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I just bought one of these thermal tops. I have worn it a few times. Nothing to fully write up on. I will add to this once I feel like I have a good handle on it.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-01-2014, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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We finally got all of our gear together and went out for about 2 hours yesterday, so here's a little more on this gear.

The weather here in Twin Falls was almost pleasant when we left, around 50 degrees and 50% humidity. I wore my Freeze-Out bottoms under regular blue jeans and even put my chaps on to get an idea of how warm they might keep me. Upstairs I wore only the Freeze-Out top under my jacket. While we rode through town I was actually TOO WARM. We rode east of town, crossed the Snake River Canyon, and then headed west again to make a loop. Once north of the canyon, the temp dropped about 6 degrees (not unusual) and the wind picked up some.

We were going about 65-70ish, and the gear kept me pretty comfortable. My hands did start to get cold, as I had not put on my glove liners. After a stop for lunch, I figured I'd give the gloves a shot too.

Well, I'm not completely sure on the glove liners. I use a pair of Thinsulate-lined leather gauntlets. One of the things I like most about them is they're warm without being bulky and the leather used for the hand section is quite light (I think it might be calfskin or sheepskin or something), so I have a lot of tactile response with them. Adding the liners reduced the tactile response and made my gloves feel bulky and my hands awkward. It was difficult to feel the throttle and levers under my hands. Even worse, I'm not sure they kept my hands any warmer at all.

On the whole, I think this stuff is pretty good, but I'd have to recommend it for rides that are long with a destination in mind so you can change out of it. If you're just out riding around a little and stopping here and there, I think the gear would keep you too warm, and you'd get uncomfortable pretty quick. Also, as I thought in my earlier post, the neck opening on the thermal top is baggy and franky, kinda stupid. Makes it uncomfortable to wear a shirt over it, altho some type of button-down or a zipper hoodie would be okay.

Don't regret the purchase, but there is room for improvement on it. I'd say 7/10.

OURS
2011 Victory Cross Roads, crimson red

"There is only one God, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'not today.'"

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2014, 02:44 PM
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Freeze-out gear is very good for it's price point. As other's have said, it can be too warm for short rides or if you are stopping at destinations such as dining establishments. That being said, I'd rather be too warm than risk hypothermia and possible crashing. I use a combo of freeze-out for the legs and feet and firstgear heated jacket liner and gloves. Works very well...
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