GORE Infinium Bike Wear: Quick Review – by Grannygear
GORE seems to be unable to rest on their wind and water proof laurels as we have yet another fabric that can be woven (well, sort of woven) into technical clothing: Infiinum. When the label says “When performance is a priority and water fastness isn’t”, you know they are speaking my language. In So Cal, from fall into winter, we can get rain of course, but mostly we get cold winds. So having a layer that is wind blocking is key to happy riding. But we also ride in very digital terrain, meaning we climb and descend, climb and descend, over and over like some crazed monkey in the zoo. Add in the big temperature swings where it might be 40° when we start and 65° midway through the ride and you get the idea. If we start the ride dressed like some cloistered monk in three layers of robes, we pay big time later on. It ain’t easy being us. Not like you Minnesota guys who have it figured out. You just dress for ice age.
For me, GORE Windstopper has been revolutionary. It, and fabrics like it, have allowed cycling clothing to get thinner and lighter and breathable all while resisting the wind like a block wall. It’s amazing. I have some lightweight gloves form GORE that use that tech and they are a core item in my kit, usable in temps much wider than you would expect.
So we have a sampling of some Infinium based clothing to run through the paces. Let’s see what we have on hand as we are into winter here…finally…although I was able to use much of this gear beginning in the late Fall, that is when the temps got below 80° degrees and the fires went out. Sigh. So Cal…gotta love it…or not.
GORE-TEX C5 Infinium Jersey: “Pushing the limits of performance cycling apparel, the use of taped GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ fabric creates a race-weight jersey that is water resistant and very breathable. The modern cut will make it a favorite for any rides in inclement weather.”
- GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ garments with GORE®WINDSTOPPER® product technology, form fitting protection
- 3D rear pocket construction gives more storage space
- Full length zipper with zip port at neck
- Grip elastic at waist hem for snug fit
- Longer short sleeves and dropped tail for modern cycling fit
- Raised collar for added warmth in wet and cold weather
- Reflective details on all sides
- Taped seams at shoulder and arm for added rain protection
- Windproof, Extremely Breathable and Durably Water Resistant
A jersey like the C5 Infinium might be the only cool weather barrier some riders ever need. You know the person I mean. They show up to a ride with only a jersey and arm warmers…and maybe…maaayyybe a vest rolled up and tucked into a jersey pocket. Shorts only. Everyone else is in tights and jackets and wondering where those wool socks went to. With the ability to block wind and deal with heat and perspiration build up, a jersey like this is pretty darn good and for those days where conditions are likely to remain cool, but might warm up a bit, it can cover that well.
The cut is not race/euro tight. I asked for an XL as I have been burned a few times with LG sizes and overly tight fits, like cyclists cannot have broad shoulders or something. However this jersey is more generous in fit, so I likely could have worn a LG, but the XL is comfy yet not flappy and I could base layer under it with no penalty. The tail is cut long with a tacky, grippy section underneath and the pockets are deep and stretchy. The short sleeves are not that short actually, coming down well towards the elbow, something that I like and that works well with arm warmers. The collar is cut away and shaped to avoid annoying and there is a zipper garage. In the pics I had removed my base layer and stuffed it into the generous center pocket, so it is a bit looser looking on me.
So far GORE-TEX C5 Infinium Jersey has lived up to it’s promises. Wind is simply denied access to your body and yet it breathes quite well and the zipper allows you to break the cocoon of protection and vent a bit more. It does seem to shed casual moisture, but it is not intended for more than that. Of note is the “Durably water resistant” comment in the marketing spiel from the website. I take that to mean the water resistance is built in to the fabric, not a coating that simply wears and washes off over time.
I have used this in several roles where the temps were mid-40s to 60 degrees or so. Much of it has been with long climbs in low/mid 50’s temps with gusty winds that were looking to steal my warmth away. I have to say that it has impressed and that it is the real deal. I paired it with arm warmers and knickers so I had some flexibility as temps rose and fell and I always used a base layer, typically the GORE one mentioned here (not the wind blocking one).
It does a very good job of not giving you a clam-bake feeling when you are working hard and it allows moisture to get out of there over time. Wind is simply denied access to your torso. Pockets are large enough and the longish sleeves cover well.
$189.99. Not cheap, but so far quite functional and likely worth the cash.
GORE-TEX C5 Infinium Hybrid Hooded Jacket This trail jacket is made for mixed conditions riding, when you don’t need the bulk of a full rain jacket. Lighter and more breathable than a hardshell, this jacket will move with you when you ride, making it more comfortable and quieter to wear. It’s water resistant, extremely breathable, packable, backpack compatible and it weighs just 12 ounces!
Coming from the MTB side of things, the Infinium Hybrid Hooded jacket is not a bad choice for adventure or gravel as long as a super close fit is not a priority. Decently water resistant, certainly wind blocking, and with less bulk then you would expect, the Hybrid Hooded Jacket looks ready for changeable days in the saddle. It’s a bit bulky to fit in a jersey pocket, but packing it in a frame bag is very doable.
At 6’2” and 185lbs, I think I could have worn a LG in this instead of an XL, as the fit is relaxed a bit and the sleeves are very long. However, it is okay as is with a single, long sleeve base layer under it and I have room to top-coat over a thermal jersey if I need to and not feel restricted. That, along with the hood and side pockets makes it versatile enough to wear on hikes or whatever.
One ride was a 3 hour mixed surface gravel ride in between storms. I had only a long sleeve, medium weight base layer on under this and I expected rain showers, temps in the low 50s or less, and muddy, gritty roads. I have to say that the Hybrid Hooded Jacket was excellent for this, shedding any casual rain that came my way and venting well enough to keep me happy and warm without overdoing things. After the ride I grabbed it and went on a hike with the family dog and the front pockets and hood came in handy. There also is a drawstring that can close in the fit at the hem of the jacket for extra warmth.
$229.99 – If the casual-ish fit and versatile nature rings your bell, check it out.
GORE-TEX M Infinium stretch glove:
- Water resistant
- Extremely breathable
- Designed for cool weather
- Ideal for Cycling, Running, Fast Hiking and XC Ski
- Stretch fit
- Weight: 1.4 ounces
- GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ Stretch Glove product technology
- 3D construction is pre-molded into an ergonomic active shape
- 4 way stretch for ultimate movement and versatility
- One seam construction minimising seams and weight
- Optimized tactility for gloves-on use with touchscreen devices
- Reflective details on all sides
- Slim and snug cuff construction will not move during activities
- Totally windproof, extremely breathable and water repellent
When we tested some GORE Wear items a year or so ago, I loved the gloves in a good way. They were a wind blocking, lightweight, comfy marvel of warmth, pulling much more than their weight on shoulder season days. Mrs. Grannygear saw them and took them, even if they were too big for her. Sigh. So I ordered a set of GORE gloves for myself from our local REI and they have a treasured place in my gear bag. Its about all I use from Fall through Spring. In this review, we have an even lighter weight glove in the Infinium line. It had a tag on it that called it out as an ‘M’ product which in GORE-Speak, I think, is M for Multisport. It’s a lightweight glove that can be used for running or hiking or XC skiing, etc.
And it is very much like the gloves I bought. from REI, They are thin, comfortable, warmer than you would think, and block the wind like magic. This particular glove is not cycling specific, so it falls a bit short for riding a bike. I find the fabric sticks to the bar fine, but allows my hand to move within the glove and slide forward, putting pressure on the finger tips. Annoying. My other GORE gloves do not do that. Whether that is due to the non-cycling specific build or the Infinium fabric or perhaps I need a smaller size? I cannot say. However, that said, the idea of a lightweight glove like this is too good not to have in your repertoire. I even used it as a liner under a warmer glove for temps in the high 30s-mid forties and that worked well, really well in fact.
But based on the loose feel on the bars, I would suggest a dedicated cyclist look at this glove within the same line, the C5 GORE TEX Infinium Glove.
I actually re-gifted these M gloves to a friend that is a marathon trail runner and he absolutely loves them.
GORE also sent out two base layer shirts. The first is the GORE M Base Layer Shirt. I have used this meshy base layer quite a few times now and it has been comfortable and effective, basically being invisible as it worked to move moisture away from my skin and add warmth. I tried an XL and it was too big as I feel a base layer should be very close to your skin. A LG was better. As I said, it’s meshy and not a wooly-type, snugly layer, but I was quite pleased with how well it did on cool days, drying out quickly and completely after hard efforts. In fact, when I am wearing this, I might just be wearing the best base layer I have. $49.99
The second base layer is the more controversial GORE Windstopper Base Layer Shirt. I say controversial, as the idea of a base shirt that blocks the wind is very interesting. It would keep the chill from your core when you have a regular jersey on as the wind would be prevented from treating you like a big swamp cooler. But that swamp might work both ways. A vest does the same thing for me, right? Keeps the chill off my core. But here is the thing. I can take a vest off if it gets warm on the ride. A windproof base layer is like a vest you cannot take off. I have two good rides in this so far and one was a ride with a couple hours of climbing. I had only a long sleeve thermal jersey on with the windproof base under it.
Normally that amount of clothing would have been inadequate as the wind was up and temps got into the high 30s at the top before we flipped. Snow on the ground, even. As long as I was climbing I was fine in the gear I had on, but the winds were gusting and it was getting colder as we ascended. The base layer did a great job of buffering that wind for me just like a vest would have done.
At the top we slipped into light jackets for the long descent, and I was decently dry at the end. However, if I thought I was going to be doing a more typical ride where we see a near 20 degree rise in temps, then I would hesitate to use this as there is no easy escape. For the right application, it is useful though.
PS: I redid that ride with a normal base layer, arm warmers, a regular jersey, and a vest. The temps were more moderate but the chill was up still there. I bet I took that vest on and off 6 times on that ride and it would have been a perfect use for the GORE Windstopper Base layer shirt. I think this garment deserves more saddle time and is a viable piece of kit. $69.99
NOTE: GORE sent over the Infinium clothing items at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.