Questions about cyclewear

Ratchet21

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Hi everyone!!!

I am currently looking to buy some cycling wear to get ready for Autumn/Winter, so I have some questions in mind after reading around that I'd like to have some advise about. Taking the advise of fellow cyclist in the previous thread, I have decided to get some Pearl Izumi to start with, other than it's closer to asian fit I also heard good stuff about the durability, so am thinking of investing of a few and hopefully can use it for long time!

For current purchase I am just thinking if I can use it all the way till end of Spring will be good! (And if any part can be used all year long then it's great!)

For tops I am thinking of either of this:
Jacket: https://www.pearlizumi.co.jp/detail/60137
Jersey: https://www.pearlizumi.co.jp/detail/60141

I don't quite understand about the difference between a cycling jacket and a jersey and also Windshell, but I suppose you will not wear jersey and jacket at same time and still need to wear an inner with it. So I am thinking of pairing the jacket/jersey with another inner from here: https://www.pearlizumi.co.jp/list/underwear
As for the fit, I am choosing race fit because I am really skinny so I think it will maybe be better for me to choose slimmer silhouette. As for why 5 or 10c is because as I am from the southern hemisphere, so I am really weak against cold, so I think i might stick with it for Autumn, Winter and Spring, and adjust the inner wear for warmth level since it's cheaper, and maybe get something else for summer when it's here again next year.

For bottom I am thinking of either:

I'm not sure should go with just tights or bib tights, currently am just choosing one that seems warm enough for winter and have windproof material with it.
Also I have choose all around 5c setting, am just thinking is that overkill or should be nice for Japan's winter?

In general I'm just thinking of getting a set of jersey/jacket/windshell + inner for tops + tights/big tights, as these are really expensive I should be just wearing the same set for quite awhile... But if anyone think I might be overspending and have better ideas for beginner like me especially a better way to do the laying, I would definitely love to hear it!

Thanks in advance!
 
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PSB

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Hi - make sure you leave room in your budget for a decent pair of winter gloves and some warm socks. It is the extremities that suffer first. Next go for a good jacket that is windproof (Windtex or similar) on the front but with vents or a more breathable fabric on the back. For the rest, you can get inexpensive stuff if your budget won't stretch (made in China, secondhand, etc).
 
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joewein

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In cold weather it's all about layering. Typically on a cold winter day I will be wearing a base layer, a jersey and a jacket. During daytime, if temperatures are somewhat mild the jacket could be replaced with a windbreaker, or could even come off altogether during a sunny climb. OTOH riding at night there are times when I would be wearing the windbreaker on top of the jacket (4 layers total).

As for bib tights, I have some that are supposed to be wind-stopping and I wore them with thermal underwear (long johns), but never found them as effective as lined trousers from uniqlo, which is all I now use during winter (no cycling specific tights), with uniqlo heattech as the base layer for both the trousers and jersey.
 

Ratchet21

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Hi - make sure you leave room in your budget for a decent pair of winter gloves and some warm socks. It is the extremities that suffer first. Next go for a good jacket that is windproof (Windtex or similar) on the front but with vents or a more breathable fabric on the back. For the rest, you can get inexpensive stuff if your budget won't stretch (made in China, secondhand, etc).
Yes! I'm thinking of getting heat tech gloves and socks for that, not sure if that is good enough for cycling. The PI jacket I posted above have breathable fabrics on the back so I think it should be ok!

In cold weather it's all about layering. Typically on a cold winter day I will be wearing a base layer, a jersey and a jacket. During daytime, if temperatures are somewhat mild the jacket could be replaced with a windbreaker, or could even come off altogether during a sunny climb. OTOH riding at night there are times when I would be wearing the windbreaker on top of the jacket (4 layers total).

As for bib tights, I have some that are supposed to be wind-stopping and I wore them with thermal underwear (long johns), but never found them as effective as lined trousers from uniqlo, which is all I now use during winter (no cycling specific tights), with uniqlo heattech as the base layer for both the trousers and jersey.
I have both heat tech for top and bottom, but i read that if you are wearing normal wear and you perspire while you cycle, it will become wet and you will feel cold later, or we don't really perspire on winter even when we cycle?

Oooh, do you know what is the japanese name of the uniqlo lined trouser? Sounds like a great substitute with savings.
 

joewein

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I have both heat tech for top and bottom, but i read that if you are wearing normal wear and you perspire while you cycle, it will become wet and you will feel cold later, or we don't really perspire on winter even when we cycle?
You will, if you work hard but the air is also quite dry, so a little bit of sweat is no problem.

The key is to soon layer down when you notice you're getting too warm (either because of the time of day or the level of effort, e.g. climbing a hill, towards mid-day) and not wait until you're already drenched in sweat.

The part that you really don't want to get sweaty are the gloves because the hands (along with the feet and ears) is where you'll feel the chill first.

I normally start my rides early in the morning, still close to the coldest time of day (before sunrise), but within a few hours it gets milder.

Heattech and many other uniqlo products are made from technical fabrics such as Polyester and PU, not so different from cycle wear material-wise. Winter bib tights will have a pad but I ride with a leather saddle, I don't really miss a pad.

Just as long as you avoid cotton (which has exactly the problem you're describing) then you should be OK.

Oooh, do you know what is the japanese name of the uniqlo lined trouser? Sounds like a great substitute with savings.
I think the current version of it is called "ヒートテックウォームイージーパンツ" (Heattech Warm Easy Pants). The outer material is a rip-stop fabric that is wind-stopping while the inside is a soft fleece. At the ankles it has adjustable draw strings to make sure no draft goes up the legs unless you want it.

I do at least one 160+ km ride every calendar month, including December / January / February. I have also done a few 200 km brevets in January. I'll basically ride in any temperature as long as there's no ice or snow on the road.

First I chose either those trousers or something lighter based on the expected coldest part of the day. Then I adjust the layers on the upper body for changing temperatures during the day or with elevation or ascent/descent. The warmest combination is needed for descents at higher elevations (wind chill) and night time, especially early morning. Except for descents I always aim for something slightly on the cool side because I can always make up for it by riding faster (more body heat). On the descent you produce virtually no heat, so you might as well wear everything you've got :)

I use a few other hacks:
1) When it's really cold I fold a large handkerchief into a triangle, wear it on my head and tie it under my chin. It will cover my ears and cheeks. Toasty ears make a huge difference for feeling comfy on a winter ride.

2) "Belgian shoe covers". A pair of old socks worn on top of the shoes, with holes cut at the sole for the SPD cleats to still work. Makes all the difference! I never need "kairo" heat packs to keep my feet warm, which some other people rely on. They are also easily removable mid-ride if it gets warm enough.

3) My usual gloves are cheapo 980 yen conbini knitted smartphone gloves. With them I can still operate my phone on the holder on the handle bars. I can wear them on top of my normal half-fingered gloves if necessary. Since they are not wind-stopping, they may sometimes not be warm enough. Then I put plastic shopping bags around the drop bars and attach them to the bar ends with small rubber bands. Think of it as 10 yen Bar Mitts :) Completely removes the wind chill! You may even have to layer down on your hands so they won't get sweaty. As soon as it gets warm enough I remove the bags again and stow them away in my front bag. They're just a a temporary fix for the coldest part of a whole day ride.
 
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pedalist

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Just as one idea. In terms of wear I'm on the small budget (stingy) side. I get things only when I need them (no planning/guessing). And also I don't care for style much while on the bike (my wife would say at all).

Btw, nice bike wear can be sold with great discounts at seasonal sales and found within cycling communities like this one.

As @joewein wrote, layers it is.

My closet
Short version:
1 nice pair of bib-shorts
everything else at Uniqlo/Decathlon level or second hand

Longer version:
My best piece of kit is a nice pair of Assos bib-shorts. There were originally €199, but they were on season-end sale with a 50% discount. Everything else is simple stuff or second hand (mostly handed down from my brother).
Basically all my shirts are second hand. Some thin shirts for summer, 2 warm shirts for winter (one short and one long sleeved) and some regular ones for everything else. My base layers are at Uniqlo/Decathlon level and so are my socks. I've got no winter shoes. But I do have water/windproof shoe covers.
I'd definitly go for a solid pair of bibs or two for any ride from 3h up. In the winter I just wear a pair of simple warm unpadded long-bibs on top.
Beside that I've got some small stuff: a pair of really warm gloves for temperatures below 0°C and a pair of thickish 軍手 for below 5°C (maybe 10), light windstopper vest/jacket, leg and arm warmers, neckwarmer/beanie tube thing.

Anyway, I don't ride that much. My best year was just shy of 10.000km, but usually way less than that. And I don't ride in the mountains or in heavy rain much. I do ride in the winter, though.
 
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GrantT

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Looks like Pearl Izumi make some nice technical wear.
About the bib tights/tights choice. Straps over the shoulders tend to help keep the pad in the right place when pedalling, and help the fit of the bib tights overall generally. Just tights may sag or droop more if there is any looseness of fit.
 
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joewein

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About the bib tights/tights choice. Straps over the shoulders tend to help keep the pad in the right place when pedalling, and help the fit of the bib tights overall generally. Just tights may sag or droop more if there is any looseness of fit.
To play devil's advocate, straps over the shoulders force you to almost completely undress for a subset of toilet stops which can be inconvenient, particularly in the winter. Having said that, that's not usually been a problem for me. I think most cyclists prefer bib tights to regular cycling shorts.
 

speedwobble

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I've never used them for cycling, but I'm a massive fan of the lined ripstop Uniqlo pants Joe mentions. I live in them all winter.

Joe's right about layering, especially if any climbing is involved. After a climb, descending is already pretty cold now as we move into autumn.

As a jersey/jacket going cheap, here's a short sleeve Castelli Gabba with zip-on long sleeves (they call this model a "Perfetto") in large for 6,000 yen. If it fits you tight as a jersey or looser as a jacket, this is beautiful and highly functional piece of cycling wear.

Winter in Japan is quite sunny, so there can be some very pleasant days. There is also less reason to worry about fluro colours, which may be advisable in countries where the sky is grey for four months.
 
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jdd

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I've used pearl izumi shorts for quite a long time, very happy with those. As mentioned the uniqlo lined pants are good, my variation is that I'd wear my pearl izumi cycle shorts underneath. The fabrics are slippery against each other, which is a good thing.

Neckwear is important for me, keeping that warm and the wind from coming in there. Again, uniqlo, or sports depo if you have one of those around.

A good beanie for under your helmet is nice to have.
 
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OreoCookie

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I wholeheartedly agree with the others. However, let me re-emphasize the Asian fit issue: for short sleeved jerseys and shorts, you can make do, in my case long sleeves are typically 5 cm (!) too short and the diameter is quite small. I would strongly advise you to try your clothes on and not buy it sight unseen. Another option is to order from European shops online, which to get European fit bike clothes. Or you go for another quality non-Asian brand. As I wrote earlier, my most beloved old piece of gear is a 10+-year-old Pearl Izumi Pro softshell jacket, so I am quite partial to the brand. But none of their stuff stuff that is sold here fits me.

I’m assuming you already own a pair of quality bib shorts. If not, you should buy a pair. A good pair is expensive, but well worth it.

According to me, the minimum you need is as follows:

Bare minimum
- Winter leg warmers, which you can use in combination with summer bib shorts. With quality bib shorts that works fine (you need bib shorts with softshell material protecting your nether region!). Note that there are all kinds of arm and leg warmers, some are designed just for UV protection, so make sure to pick warm ones.
- Winter arm warmers.
- Winter base layer. Merino wool is great. I prefer ones with turtle neck.
- Winter gloves. If you are prone to cold fingers, take warmer ones. Very often the manufacturer’s description is quite optimistic. Another thing about gloves: you need to try them on yourself. I had very bad luck buying gloves online.
- A skull cap. This is an absolute necessity. Otherwise you will get sick. (Imagine wet hair at +2 degrees in 40 km/h wind.)
- A buff. This is an absolute must IMHO. Mine cost ¥1,000, so this is great bang for the buck.
- Overshoes.

Nice-to-haves (for a beginner)
- Winter socks.
- Softshell jacket. You can combine it with a summer jersey and arm warmers if need be.
- Inner gloves for additional warmth.

One thing about winter bibs vs. summer bibs with leg warmers. I’m quite prone to feeling cold. But my 7mesh bib shorts are amazing, they keep me comfortable at +40 degrees and +5 degrees (with leg warmers). Pearl Izumi makes excellent arm and leg warmers for very little. I have their arm warmers and love them. Depending on your budget, if you have a fairly windproof jersey, you can try winter base layer + jersey + arm warmers first before buying a softshell jacket. But I‘m not going to lie: a quality softshell jacket is a godsend.
 
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Ratchet21

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Thanks everyone!

For top I think I will maybe try to get a good jacket and then try to use my heat techs as the base layer first (Since I have tons of extra warm and ultra warm to try...) and then upgrade from there if needed! And then get a good pair of glove.

For bottom I think I will wait for the uniqlo pants to come out this month, apparently this year's version is not out yet. I'm gonna use my bib pads + uniqlo tights and then the uniqlo pants for starter and try to adjust from there! Also getting heat tech socks for that!

Face wise I was thinking should I just get a balaclava since it looks like it will cover most of face and neck, might be cheaper than buying separate items.
something like this: https://www.pearlizumi.co.jp/detail/59993

I wholeheartedly agree with the others. However, let me re-emphasize the Asian fit issue: for short sleeved jerseys and shorts, you can make do, in my case long sleeves are typically 5 cm (!) too short and the diameter is quite small. I would strongly advise you to try your clothes on and not buy it sight unseen. Another option is to order from European shops online, which to get European fit bike clothes. Or you go for another quality non-Asian brand. As I wrote earlier, my most beloved old piece of gear is a 10+-year-old Pearl Izumi Pro softshell jacket, so I am quite partial to the brand. But none of their stuff stuff that is sold here fits me.

I’m assuming you already own a pair of quality bib shorts. If not, you should buy a pair. A good pair is expensive, but well worth it.

According to me, the minimum you need is as follows:

Bare minimum
- Winter leg warmers, which you can use in combination with summer bib shorts. With quality bib shorts that works fine (you need bib shorts with softshell material protecting your nether region!). Note that there are all kinds of arm and leg warmers, some are designed just for UV protection, so make sure to pick warm ones.
- Winter arm warmers.
- Winter base layer. Merino wool is great. I prefer ones with turtle neck.
- Winter gloves. If you are prone to cold fingers, take warmer ones. Very often the manufacturer’s description is quite optimistic. Another thing about gloves: you need to try them on yourself. I had very bad luck buying gloves online.
- A skull cap. This is an absolute necessity. Otherwise you will get sick. (Imagine wet hair at +2 degrees in 40 km/h wind.)
- A buff. This is an absolute must IMHO. Mine cost ¥1,000, so this is great bang for the buck.
- Overshoes.

Nice-to-haves (for a beginner)
- Winter socks.
- Softshell jacket. You can combine it with a summer jersey and arm warmers if need be.
- Inner gloves for additional warmth.

One thing about winter bibs vs. summer bibs with leg warmers. I’m quite prone to feeling cold. But my 7mesh bib shorts are amazing, they keep me comfortable at +40 degrees and +5 degrees (with leg warmers). Pearl Izumi makes excellent arm and leg warmers for very little. I have their arm warmers and love them. Depending on your budget, if you have a fairly windproof jersey, you can try winter base layer + jersey + arm warmers first before buying a softshell jacket. But I‘m not going to lie: a quality softshell jacket is a godsend.
Thank you! When you say softshell jacket, do you mean a cycling jacket or a windshell jacket? I'm sorry as I am not very familiar with the terms.
pearl izumi is selling that 2 as separate category:
Jacket: https://www.pearlizumi.co.jp/detail/60137
Windshell: https://www.pearlizumi.co.jp/detail/59916

The jacket seems like a great idea because it has both warmth and windbreaker technology as for windshell its only the something called windblock.
The jacket at 5c looks pretty good but just that not sure will it be overkill during early autumn or late spring haha. For heat tech I usually will wear extra warm or ultra warm, normal heat tech is not warm enough for me so I thought of getting the 5c instead of 10c from Pearl Izumi.
 

olykoek

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Are you riding in super cold weather?
Coldest rides, when it’s 4°C and really only need a fleece lined cycling jacket.
Layered of course.. one base layer and a short sleeve jersey (for the pockets).
Every other ride warmer than that, my thinner, long sleeve jersey, base layer and short sleeve jersey.
Bottoms - always bib shorts. Never anything else. Leg warmers when it gets chilly. And I’ve only worn my fleecy full leg bibs a few times, and both times I got too warm.

My options were always whether to wear my gillet (wind vest), long tights (under armor), or another layer or so.
I always wear/wore cheap gloves.. ones I can layer as well (mornings, late afternoons are always colder than midday), and toe covers for my shoes.
The last few years I have been wearing a light fleece neck warmer. And on those cold cold days, a helmet liner cap thing..

I’m kind of long and skinny as well, so it’s difficult to find arm lengths long enough. I always find everything a few cm’s short than what I like. ‘Medium’ in the body, but ‘Large’ in sleeve length. So I’m usually wearing my arm warmers for most of the day.

Other factors might include if it’s going to be sunny or cloudy.
Mountains (uphill/downhill?)
Flats?
Group ride? / solo? (Group rides I tend to stay cooler since you don’t have to work so hard the whole time)

all that and more I guess...
 

OreoCookie

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For top I think I will maybe try to get a good jacket and then try to use my heat techs as the base layer first (Since I have tons of extra warm and ultra warm to try...) and then upgrade from there if needed! And then get a good pair of glove.
Heattech shirts (I assume you mean the ones from Uniqlo or similar) are a very bad idea. They are not made for wicking sweat, so what happens is that they get wet and then you will be cold for the entirety of the ride. I got non-cycling specific Mizuno base layers, one of them made of merino wool for the coldest days. You should not skimp on this.
For bottom I think I will wait for the uniqlo pants to come out this month, apparently this year's version is not out yet. I'm gonna use my bib pads + uniqlo tights and then the uniqlo pants for starter and try to adjust from there! Also getting heat tech socks for that!
IMHO leg warmers would be a better and cheaper investment (prices start from 2,000-3,000 ¥). The huge advantage is that you can take them on and off depending on your needs. (Temperatures may change drastically over the course of your ride, e. g. because you start very early in the morning or because you are at elevation.) I’m typically very cold, but the leg warmers I got kept my legs warm and toasty.

Plus, no matter what socks you wear, you will want to have overshoes.
Face wise I was thinking should I just get a balaclava since it looks like it will cover most of face and neck, might be cheaper than buying separate items.
something like this: https://www.pearlizumi.co.jp/detail/59993
A balaclava is complete overkill of the temperatures that you have in mind. And unlike a buff, you cannot remove it depending on the temperature. I can pull my buff over my mouth and nose if I have to. Or I can pull it down again. Think of situations where you are climbing and it is cold when going up and especially when going down, but the temperatures at the bottom are actually not that cold. You’ll be miserable with a balaclava. I rarely see riders wearing them (on the road), and if I do the temperature is <0 degrees and/or the people are riding offroad.
Thank you! When you say softshell jacket, do you mean a cycling jacket or a windshell jacket? I'm sorry as I am not very familiar with the terms.
pearl izumi is selling that 2 as separate category:
Softshell is a type of fabric that is water and wind repellant from one side and yet breathable from the other. When it first became commonplace, it was a game changer as it was a goldilocks material. Good bib shorts will use softshell material around the nether regions. There is a huge diversity of softshell jackets. My Pearl Izumi Pro has a fleece liner that keeps me warm also when I am not cycling. It was made for mountain biking, and mountain bikers wait more at the top. Plus, it is baggier. My other 7Mesh softshell jacket is the opposite: it has no fleece liner except for a thin strip around the neck, it very tight-fitting and only keeps me warm when I am putting down power.

A windshell is more like my 7Mesh in that you wear it to block, well, wind, but not necessarily to keep you warm.

I also have a Pearl Izumi fleece jacket (European fit, obviously) that at first I didn’t wear correctly. It is meant to keep me warm while standing, but gives very little to no warmth while riding.

Personally, I’d go for a jacket — unless you ride non-stop.
The jacket seems like a great idea because it has both warmth and windbreaker technology as for windshell its only the something called windblock.
The jacket at 5c looks pretty good but just that not sure will it be overkill during early autumn or late spring haha. For heat tech I usually will wear extra warm or ultra warm, normal heat tech is not warm enough for me so I thought of getting the 5c instead of 10c from Pearl Izumi.
Let me emphasize my point about heat tech again: you should not wear it as a base layer. Softshell jackets rely on base layers wicking sweat away from your skin. As soon as moisture gets trapped, you will get cold.
 
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OreoCookie

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Are you riding in super cold weather?
Coldest rides, when it’s 4°C and really only need a fleece lined cycling jacket. [rest of the post]
Overall, great advice 👍
I’m kind of long and skinny as well, so it’s difficult to find arm lengths long enough. I always find everything a few cm’s short than what I like. ‘Medium’ in the body, but ‘Large’ in sleeve length. So I’m usually wearing my arm warmers for most of the day.
Yes, and arm and leg warmers are more forgiving. I think some arm warmers even come in a single size, so they have to have a certain length.
 
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andywood

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I don't know if it has been covered but the extended chain of Workman stores, 'Workman Plus' do cycling specific windbreakers, arm warmers etc. at unbeatable prices.

Andy

 

TheAussieinJapan

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This is a dilemma I faced a few years ago. Did tons of research and visited lots of shops.

I’m @ 191cm & now 98kg so sizing is always an issue, but wife does remind me I used to fit into UNIQLO L shirts when I was 23..... anyway...

looking at the price of jackets and jerseys of Pearl Izumi take a look at Rapha. They have a collection called Core. Super value, even cheaper if on sale but jacket is only ¥1000 more than Izumi. I’ve got one and have worn it in all kinds of weather with just a base layer. In really cold weather, a bit of snow I had a jersey as well I think.
https://www.rapha.cc/jp/en_AU/shop/mens-core-winter-jacket/product/CWK01XXSCA

Their jerseys are cheaper, have more colours and I think look nicer than Izumi, but everyone has different tastes.


They have bundles as well and you can get a discount for buying jersey and bibs at the same time. Couldn’t see the Core bundle anymore As I think they dropped the prices on Core collection.

bibs:
 

jdd

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Along the lines of KISS (keep it simple), I'd suggest starting with the most basic kit (good shorts) and then trying to "make do" with whatever you can (uniqlo, workman, home center, etc). This will be cheaper, and a lot of it will be dual use/purpose. Eg, I use the lined uniqlo pants and heattech as general winter wear and certainly not just for cycling. The other way, dedicated cycle wear doesn't cross over to use outside of cycling.

Then, when you figure out what's nice, what's truly worth getting or that you want, or when you stumble across a deal, or something that actually fits(!), long enough sleeves, etc., you can jump on it.

But then, I'm a crotchety old, anti-fashionista...
 

speedwobble

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I have some Workman rainwear that was 5000 yen for jacket and pants. The quality is great, very close to Goretex. It's great for low intensity stuff like hiking. The same thing from Patagonia would be 20,000 yen.

Workman's cycling stuff looks pretty good too. The other obvious route for cheap lycra cycling wear is AliExpress, where its 3500 yen for summer bibs and jersey. A long sleeve winter set with fleece lining goes for about 5500 yen. In my experience, they take about 40 days to arrive. In terms of quality I think they are similar to the cheaper stuff in cycling shops. High-end cycling gear, I buy it second hand, is on another level above. Unlike some other countries, no-one in Japan will give you grief for wearing lycra, so feel free to look as "pro" as you like. You'll get some free speed compared to regular clothes. Aero jerseys are way cheaper than aero bikes.

As a general comment, the more climbing and descending you do, the more your wear will matter. You can go from overheating to completely freezing in two or three minutes cresting a hill. Under 8C and I'd want shoe covers, neoprene type ones. If you don't have them, or decent gloves, those pocket warmer things will do a job.
 
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