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Gore Bike Wear Balaclava Mask $0.00
Your new riding nickname: Sub-Zero.
The Gore Bike Wear Balaclava uses Windstopper Soft Shell fabric to make winter rides possible. Windstopper Soft Shell allows this balaclava to stretch, and thus fit closer and more comfortably than other windproof face masks. Reflective accents enhance your visible profile after dark.
Reviews & Community
Great for snowboarding/skiing
DISCLAIMER: I have not yet cycled with this! I use this for snow sports and it's fantastic. I have not cycled with it--yet--but I can see how it may be problematic breathing if exertion intensity increases. As far as breathing on the slopes, there's no problem. I'm the only person in my group of 5 in Austria that didn't get a little chill blane or even frost bite on a -15 F degree day in the Alps. It's effective for warmth and wind protection.
Excellent concept but...
did not work for me.
I purchased mine in November to get ready for winter riding. Didn't use it until late December and once again in January. Here is my experience, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good: the wind-stopper fabric works as advertised. It keeps the windchill off your ears and forehead without over heating. It absorbed sweat well and I never felt the cold air chill when it got wet.
The Bad: one size does not fit all. Unless you have a melon the size of Peyton Manning its going to be too big on your head. I tried it on when I got it but did not actually fit it until just prior to my first ride. Other than my gloves and helmet it's the last thing I put on prior to leaving the house. After 5 minutes in front of the mirror trying to correctly position the mouth and nose opening I began to overheat due to the layers I had on. There's nothing worse than starting a cold weather ride already sweating before you leave the house. I got everything lined up as best I could and left. The eye, nose and mouth openings weren't quite right but how bad could it get?
The Ugly: I took it out on a 30 mile loop. I had some problems with the nose flap early on and kept trying to adjust it to keep it on top of my nose but found it very difficult to do with full fingered gloves on. It kept slipping under my nose making breathing difficult at times. 10 miles into my loop there are 3 rollers that are perfect for attacking, out of the saddle up the first one, a couple taps down to the 11 as you go down the other side, tap back up to the 15 to get over the next and repeat.
As I crested the last one with the heart rate at 175 I tried to take a deep breath through my nose. The flap got sucked into my nostrils and I got ZERO oxygen. I tried to inhale through my mouth and the holes had shifted, air flow was almost non existent. I tried pulling and tugging with gloved fingers desperately in need of air. My heart almost exploded as I tried in vain to get sufficient air into my lungs. It left me with the wobbles for the next half mile or so as I tried to recuperate. If it wasn't so cold out I would have taken it off at that point
The fabric that does such a good job of keeping you nice and warm makes breathing next to impossible if it is not lined up correctly. I have tried fitting it and adjusting it several times at home and wore it a second time on a short ride. I just cannot get the nose flap to stay where it is supposed to.
It's a high quality product and keeps your head warm into the 30s. If it fit me properly it would be my first choice for cold weather rides but my near death experience gasping for air will keep it in my drawer on training rides. I may wear it when I'm riding for fun.
I own both this model and the mask-only model. RealCyclist offers both. I'm writing a review for each.
The balaclava model is poor execution of a good idea. Specifically:
- It's not sized for my face. When I have my nose and mouth positioned properly for the breathing holes, there is too much material above the nose and it interferes with my eyes. I'm constantly toying with the mask as I ride, trying to find a comfortable position. I haven't found it yet.
- The breathing holes are insufficient. It's hard to breathe under average exertion, harder than it should be. A few more holes (or bigger holes) would make a difference.
- Warm air escapes above the nose, resulting in fogged glasses.
- Moisture quickly builds up under the mask. Better ventilation would positively affect both the breathing and glasses-fogging-over problems.
Unfortunately, I'm unaware of a better face mask option. So, I usually start my ride with a regular balaclava, and if my face is too cold, swap this one in. It's useable ... barely.
Great execution of a bad idea...
Turns out that - for me anyway - a balaclava is a great idea in theory, that just doesn't work in practice.
Bought this for use in cold-weather road cycling and running. Very well-made and keeps you nice and warm. Typical high-quality Gore product.
Unfortunately, until you try to use one you'd never really understand that a balaclava has three huge drawbacks:
1.) You cannot wear glasses/sunglasses -- they WILL fog immediately and completely, and stay that way. The fabric covering your mouth and nose ensures that much of your breath escapes through the main opening for your eyes, where it is directed right at the inside of any lenses you are wearing
2.) Any moisture from you mouth or nose remains trapped inside the balaclava. I won't go into details, but anyone who has ever ridden in the cold understand that your nose runs a little bit. Not having access to your nose with the soft wiping fabric on the back of your glove? Bad idea. Enough said about this.
3.) Lastly, if you are exerting yourself and breathing hard the fabric of the balaclava gets pulled up against your mouth and nose - actually making it hard to breath. (This one has a slot/flap under the nose for air, and perforated fabric by the mouth, but neither are terribly effective.)
The Gore one fits nicely under a helmet, is well-made, and the Windstopper fabric works as advertised, but gosh I wish it didn't have these drawbacks. But I don't fault the Gore product per se. It's a good execution of a bad idea.
This winter I might take a pair of scissors to it - cutting out the fabric in front of the nose and the mouth.
how is breathing in this? say if your...
how is breathing in this? say if your exerting yourself, do you find your glasses fog?
I've used this extensively, though mostly skiing, and have not had issues with fog. There is venting over the mouth and over the nose so your breath won't come up through the balaclava and into the inside of your glasses.
Hope that helps,
Robert, Gore Bike Wear
Is it possible to pull the nose/mouth...
Is it possible to pull the nose/mouth portion down below your chin? In case I needed to take a drink of water, for example.
Yes! Very easily in fact. When it's slightly warmer, you can actually ride with the mouth/nose holes below your chin with the whole face exposed...
hope that helps,
Robert, Gore Bike Wear
When I breathe in cold outdoor air while...
When I breathe in cold outdoor air while exercising I come down w/ bronchitis that lays me up with a nebulizer for week/s. (This has just happened for the second time, and my doc confirms the problem.)
I don't want stopping outdoor exercise to be the problem, so I need a mask that will cut the chill of the air/wind as I breathe it in. I am a bicyclist, hiker, zipliner, and camper. Will this mask do the job, do you think?
I'm not a doctor, so I can't be sure, but in my experience, this balaclava makes cold weather activities a lot more bearable. I actually wear this thing a lot riding, but also under my ski helmet. Because it's Wind Stopper it can be a lot thinner than other balaclava and doesn't ice over the mouth.
I hope that helps!
-Robert, Gore Bike Wear
Are there breathing issues with this mask?...
Are there breathing issues with this mask? Vents to prevent moisture build up?
This mask is great at allowing the rider's breath to exit the mask. There are holes in the front of the mask and because the material is backed with the WINDSTOPPER® membrane, it is not prone to icing over like neoprene masks.
Dave - GORE BIKE WEAR
As an owner of this mask, I find the breathing holes too small and/or too few. It's too hard to breathe under average exertion, harder than it should be. Additional and/or bigger holes might have helped to alleviate this problem.
Also, moisture builds up quickly - again, I would have liked better ventilation.
Which parts of the balaclava have windstopper...
Which parts of the balaclava have windstopper material? Just the front part or all over? I'm follically challenged and need some wind protection on top of the dome, too. :-)
The forehead, face and neck area contain WINDSTOPPER®. It has been strategically placed to cut the effect of wind chill without adding excessive weight and thickness.
Dave - GORE BIKE WEAR
Is this thin enough to _easily_ fit beneath...
Is this thin enough to _easily_ fit beneath a tight helmet?
absolutely Dave - GORE BIKE WEAR
If I wear glasses with this mask while...
If I wear glasses with this mask while riding my bike will they fog up?
If you're biking, the wind from that should keep them clear. It is a concern, but as long as you're moving it shouldn't be a problem.