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merino or polyprop?

bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
edited March 2013 in Road general
Not quiet sure which is best, although very warm and stays warm when wet and you're moving holds onto the sweat, take it off and you can feel the weight your carrying around. Whereas polyprop seems to wick the moisture better to the outer layers and evaporation therefore lighter (not that the weight is an issue!), not sure i've noticed it being a lot cooler. Has anyone come to a conclusion based on their own experience. Although i love the merino for casual wear definitely edging towards polyprop on the bike.
All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....

Posts

  • RonBRonB Posts: 3,984
    Could I choose sport wool (merino blend) as it has the comfort of the 100% merino but the manmade fibre element helps keep things in shape for longer.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    There are some pros and cons to merino, which arent necessarily apprent immediately.

    The pros (that led to me investing heavily in Merino over the last year or so) are primarily that it keeps you warm when wet, keeps you warmer even when dry (generally), not too hot on warmer days and last but not least it doesnt smell.

    Cons are:

    Some brands are scratchy so the quality of the merino is important - most are OK and feel good, Icebreaker feel fabulous.
    The really thin merino tops can be a bit fragile and not hold up to repeated wearing/washing as well.
    Merino can lose its shape easier and jersey pockets could get baggy if you use them.
    When it gets wet, although it stays warm, it also gets heavy. I have synthetic long sleeve jerseys that I wouldnt worry if it was raining and I had no waterproof when out because they are still pleasant to wear, whereas merino soaks up the water, gets heavy and starts to sag or cling.
    Lastly Clothes Moths love it - I think I have have had one top, which seemed to be being eaten recently - although I threw it out, took some precautions and (touch wood) there doesnt seem to be any other issues (yet). This caused me to read around and while most of us dont think about clothes moths these days because they dont like cotton or synthetic fabrics, merino can be a problem so I suggest haning something in your closet to stop this.

    There are ways around some of the above and you will find some hybrid tops which have merino inner and synthetic outer surface - which seem to work well - I have a Helly Hansen top like this and it is almost the best of both worlds and also a GroundEffect top which uses the same technology. This apparently helps the garments hold their shape better.

    I will keep on using merino but I have also found some synthetic stuff which doesnt stink so easily which has its advantages too...
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    interesting, like the idea of the blends ie a polyprop merino blend sounds good, not sure if they exist as yet, i did look at the helly hansen dual layer, but expensive!
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • I used to wear Helly Hansen base layers ....since I got a merino one last year, the HH's have stayed in the cupboard.

    ...I've got an Icebreaker, which is excellent, and an On One Planet X one, which is ok. I've tried Endura Baba's but found them scratchy.

    A chum just got himself a bamboo base layer (google BAM) one at the Kentish Killer the other week, he swears by that now, though he has been wearing poly up to now...
    Incidentally, they gave us free bamboo socks in our goody bag at the KK, and they have a lovely feel to them and great fit, though haven't tried them in anger yet......bamboo, the new merino?
    Black and orange one,
    Red one,
    Black one.
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    I had several merino tops but have changed back to man-made (Craft ones), I just found them all slightly itchy (some moreso than others), had several brands inc. trekmates, endura and howies (didn't try Icebreaker though). I also wanted something a bit more breathable and that dried faster. Merino's only advantage IME was it does keep insulating when wet and it doesn't smell (although Craft baselayers don't stink like some other brands). I always wash my stuff after every ride so smell wasn't really a factor for me, I can see if you're going touring etc. though it could be an important quality.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    I have had a couple of tops made from bamboo or even coffee beans (!) but the supposed anti-odour qualities failed miserably...

    I have found some synthetic stuff smells more than others though...

    Good (non-itchy) Merino I have had from Icebreaker, DHB, GroundEffect, Helly Hansen and the Planet-X stuff has been OK, although has maybe felt a little coarse when putting on but never noticed on a ride and after a few washes gets softer.

    Got my blended Helly Hansen 1/2 zip long sleeve stops for £12 online 6 months ago - they are great but too hot for summer.

    Never tried Endura but lots of people rave about the Baa Baas
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    apreading wrote:

    Got my blended Helly Hansen 1/2 zip long sleeve stops for £12 online 6 months ago - they are great but too hot for summer.

    Never tried Endura but lots of people rave about the Baa Baas

    that's a great price, where from (if you don't mind me asking?) cheapest i can find are £30 but limited sizes :(
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Merino, always

    [/thread]
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Never really bought into the Merino thing until a few years ago & now I wouldn't go back. For the extra money I find they last longer than man made as no smell after washing & find they wick the sweat better in colder weather.

    I too have some craft shot sleeve ones for the summer and they are probably the best man made ones for ride/wash and repeat. Seem in good nick and not smelling either.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • I tend to use my DHB and Icebreaker merino base layers exclusively now and found both to be non-itchy but do stay quite damp.

    Try looking at the Torm.cc stuff for jerseys, they are made from Sportwool which is a blend as mentioned above, I have the T11 and it is fantastic.
    http://www.torm.cc/t11.html
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    I think the problem with merino is so many companies trying to make a fast buck and compromising on quality, offering grades labels as superfine and bulked out with coarser grades of merino or polypro. Merino sports gear made its fine reputation from NZ-made product but them migrated to large scale, big brand manufacture in China. If you want to try the genuine NZ-made product, try chocholatefish. I have 4 of their T shirts, some over 5 years old. I wear them daily and wash them after a couple of days of use. I took 2 on a long duration bike tour.
    They keep their shape and elasticity and don't pill.

    My Howies merino shirt fell apart after a year due to poor construction.
  • themekonthemekon Posts: 197
    Dare I say that the Rapha merino base layers are the best I have ever come across in 50 years cycling. I've had all sorts of other makes and materials but they don't compare. Only downside is the cost. However they wash very well and I wear them for walking, cycling, the odd jog and sometimes just as a warm vest on cold days.
  • Personal taste but I hate that soggy merino feel. polyprop for me.
  • themekon wrote:
    Dare I say that the Rapha merino base layers are the best I have ever come across

    You can say that as far as I am concerned as I bought mine from them. Quality item and IMHO you do get what you pay for.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    I agree with MichaelW about Chocolate Fish merino - the only genuine New Zealand sourced and made merino gear available in the UK. It's the Rolls-Royce of merino. Feels like soft brushed cotton to wear - absolutely no itching. It's obvious when you pick it up that it's in a different class to other makes - Icebreaker included.

    Icebreaker used to be made at the same factory as Chocolate Fish but they switched to China some years ago when they became a global brand. Other firms use factories in Fiji, Portugal and eastern Europe, but most is made in China. Sometimes firms, such as Howies and Rohan, state that their garments are made of genuine MAPP merino wool from New Zealand (the accredited quality stuff). Others, like Planet X, don't state the source of the wool.

    Chocolate Fish have an interesting website with loads of stuff about the technicalities of merino. Apparently many of the Chinese "superfine merino" garments on the market are made of chemically treated inferior wool with short fibres - which is why people find them scratchy. Tests carried out by New Zealand wool scientists on big name merino products bought in the UK suggest buyers are not always getting the superfine merino described on the label. There is apparently far more "New Zealand merino" clothing manufactured in China than is actually produced by New Zealand sheep.

    I'm living in my Chocolate Fish Taranaki zipneck longsleeve at the moment. I've worn it all week around the house and for a race pace 10-mile run, a two-mile jog with the dog and a 17-mile brisk cycle and it's not smelly yet. I can only use my polyester baselayers for one training session.

    Even better for high exertion activity is my Rab MeCo 120 T-shirt. This is ultra-thin and light, made in China of ethically sourced Australian merino and Cocona, a man-made yarn recycled from coconut fibres. It wicks brilliantly and dries as quickly as a polyester top. It is definitely more itchy than the Chocolate Fish top, but not unacceptably so. With 15 per cent CTC discount at Cotswold Outdoor, mine cost me less than £30. Both Rab and CF tops are cut well for cycling - a close but not skin-tight fit and long length in the body.
  • jermasjermas Posts: 484
    Personal taste but I hate that soggy merino feel. polyprop for me.

    ^^^Me too.
    Merino is great for hiking, but give me synthetics for cycling. Synthetics wick far far better and also dry quicker. Also synthetic base layers last years, are easy to wash, and cheaper too.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Merino is fine for bimbling but gets cold and clammy when riding hard for extended periods IME Been getting great results this winter wearing a mesh base layer next to the skin, under a polyprop layer - stay warm and less clammy
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    jermas wrote:
    Personal taste but I hate that soggy merino feel. polyprop for me.

    ^^^Me too.
    Merino is great for hiking, but give me synthetics for cycling. Synthetics wick far far better and also dry quicker. Also synthetic base layers last years, are easy to wash, and cheaper too.

    Got to agree, DHB Merino I purchased 3 months ago is coming away and wearing thin under arms, 3 year old DHB poly props are still in perfect condition, like the mesh idea with polyprop!
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • goonzgoonz Posts: 3,106
    i love my Rapha jerseys which are all either sportwool or merino. I rinse them after every ride and they smell fresh for much longer, shape wise I guess there could be some sag if you really overfill the pockets but I rarely do. I do think that poly does dry quicker and I like how the poly fits, perhaps longer rides I would stick to poly but shorter stints would use the merino?
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  • I use both but prefer merino although it does hold the sweat and I do get quite chilly when sat having a brew after a long ride. I always wash merino top on a cold programme and dry flat, has kept it's shape very well even though a few years old now.
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