Gore, the company behind Gore-Tex, has long been in the clothing business beyond supplying its iconic fabrics to other outdoor clothing manufacturers. Creating clothing helps in the development and application of its fabrics, but it also leads to an interesting competition of supplier and customer.
Regardless, Gore has demonstrated excellent execution of products in the cycling real, making the garments a strong choice when compared to traditional cycling-specific brands.
Gore fabric technology is largely for protection against inclement weather. It is appropriate that Gore aims the new Gore-Tex Infinium line directly at the cyclist who wants to continue to ride outdoors as the weather transitions from autumn into winter. We found certain cycling garments in the Infinium line that were directly applicable to cyclocross and gravel.
Gore’s Gore-Tex Infinium is a non-waterproof technology for active athletes who need warmth and protection when waterproof is not a priority. That means cold, wind and perhaps dry snow (that’s snow in very cold conditions when all layers of the atmosphere are well below freezing, as well as the surface). That’s when you need maximum respiration of the garment so you don’t become wet from your own sweat, which would accelerate heat loss.
Our team put several Gore-Tex Infinium products to the bad-weather test, including the C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Bib Shorts, C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined Thermo Jacket and Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Gloves. We also reviewed the G7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Hi-Viz Jacket that is also cyclocross and gravel ready.
Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Bib Shorts
The Infinium bib shorts ticks all the boxes for bib shorts with a properly placed dense pad, soft front Windstopper cup, small strips on the bib straps to keep them from rolling or bunching and Gore Windstopper fabric that provides warmth without the added bulk of fleece lining.
A DWR provides fairly good water repellency for almost a half-hour before saturating, at least when new and after its first two washes. We’ll see how long the surface treatment lasts through wear and more washings. I rode with these and knee warmers in weather that began in the low 30s and warmed into the mid 40s in total comfort. The fit and seat pad alone have made these my new favorite cold weather shorts when knickers or tights are too much.
MSRP: $200 USD
Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined Thermo Jacket
The Soft Lined Thermo Jacket is a unique looking piece with Gore “Persistent Beading Technology” panels on the front, shoulders and down the middle of the back. This is essentially the same membrane that is on the surface of the Shakedry jacket but laminated to a thick fleece fabric.
Where the Shakedry fabric is not suitable for use with a backpack, this jacket is, according to Gore. These ‘Persistent Beading Technology’ panels have a sheen that gives a leather-like appearance. That, combined with the DWR coated Gore Windstopper fleece panels in contrasting red color, the jacket looks like something Michael Jackson wore in his videos of the 1980s—in a good way.
I’m not sure where this jacket fits into your cycling wardrobe. The Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined Thermal Jacket is warmer than a thermal jersey alone. but with a vest or Gore’s own Shakedry jacket layered over, a regular thermal jersey may serve the same purpose as the Infinium Soft Lined Thermo Jacket.
We have not had enough rain to give the Jacket a good wet weather test, but I’ll guess with the ‘Persistent Beading Technology’ panels, this will be a good jacket for hard rides and warm-ups in cold, wet weather where you don’t want to feel too clammy.
I did stand in the shower with the GoreC5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined to see if it leaked at the seams or if the Windstopper panels saturated, and it held off the driving water well for the short 5 minutes of the test—water merely bounced and rolled off. Water running down the back of the jacket filled the large rear pockets which have no drain holes, which is an oversight given the level of protection this jacket claims to offer in the rain. In a downpour, for which the jacket was not intended, the pockets become heavy with water that does not evacuate quickly.
I hope Gore adds either mesh or laser cut holes at the bottom of the pockets or reconfigures the pockets to be zipped and/or side opening. The Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined jacket is warm, and in the worsy conditions of wet snow or cold rain, will keep you dry and warm.
I liked the idea that in those cold, wet conditions, you could pin your race number to this jacket on the side panels and over the rear pockets without damaging the waterproof panels, something you wouldn’t do to your rain jacket, but with the pockets configured as they are you may end up collecting more water and mud than you’d like.
MSRP: $280 USD
Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Gloves
The Infinium stretch gloves are shaped like the hand and have a good fit, excellent dexterity and they are totally windproof.
Water resistance is moderate, just like the Infinium shorts, but with the wind suppression, the hands stay a bit warmer even as the gloves saturate. The finger and thumb pads work with a touchscreen. The palm has some padding, but not really a grip fabric, so they are a bit slippery if bar tape is not grippy like with Fizik bar tape or bike ribbon.
I picked these out of the Infinium line since I like the low bulk and only had cold fingers when my ride started with temperatures in the low 30s. As the day warmed up, the gloves kept my hands warm.
Gore C7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Hi-Viz Jacket
This is not really part of the Gore Infinium line, but the lightweight, waterproof fabric from Gore always intrigues us. We reviewed a Castelli version last year.
Absent of the face fabric on the outer surface, the naturally hydrophobic Teflon membrane is on the surface. The fabric is indeed waterproof and windproof, water beads on the surface without any additional treatment, breathability is amazing and it is lightweight and compact.
Durability has some limitations. The surface can tear if snagged. Gore says Shakedry fabric is not compatible with backpack wear. All that said, our sample Women’s Small weighs a mere 100 grams and rolls up to be smaller than a softball to fit easily into a typical jersey pocket. The fabric does not stretch and the jacket’s design is minimal with only a small zippered pocket for wallet or keys.
Our tester found it to be so breathable, she wore it in place of a wind jacket and felt no more sweaty. She mentioned that with other rain jackets, no matter what the material, she always felt clammy and would thus relegate its use to only absolute necessity. Additionally, the other jackets are certainly less compact, so she was reluctant to carry unless rain was imminent.
With the Gore Shakedry Jacket, she feels the need for only one jacket that was easy to carry, which gives the confidence that you have good weather protection with you. She was not bothered by the lack of pockets or other frills and was not willing to sacrifice the light weight, compactness and impermeability.
The previous problem with Gore Shakedry fabric was the only available color was black. With the Hi-Viz model, the jacket is now available in a navy blue or charcoal grey. Gore combined the lighter colors with bright color contrasting forearm panels made of more traditional laminated waterproof fabric. Our review sample is charcoal grey and is certainly more visible than the black version. Our tester highly recommends this jacket and says it is well worth its expense.
MSRP: $279 USD
More Info: gorewear.com