Spring Clothing Round-Up: GORE – by Grannygear and Guitar Ted
Right as winter was ending and a so far, quite warm spring, was hitting the balmy shores of So Cal, a big bag of mixed items from GORE showed up for review. Once we worked through some sizing issues, we got into the items enough to get a feel for the performance of each one and we can now report.
We split the products between Grannygear and Guitar Ted based on sizing and any whims we might have had in the moment, so this will be a collaboration. Granny Gear is up first.
Well, this has been a very odd year for lots of reasons, but among them was a train wreck of personal injuries that kept me completely off the bike or in a constant state of re-hab and fitness rebuilding. Think Sisyphus and that rock of his. But along the way, I have been in each of the items enough to get a decent feel for them, even if the time all told is less than normal. It is what it is.
GORE Windstopper Pro Zip-Off Jersey: $209.95.
It was a bit late in the season to receive such a warm garment, but there were a couple of times that I used it in moderately warm (for the ability of the jersey) conditions: Mid 50s to 60, breezy, and overcast. I wore only a light base shirt underneath each time. Two long rides is not enough, but it is just too warm to do any more and this did not fit Guitar Ted. It is almost a ‘shacket’ in that it somewhat blends a jacket and a jersey, providing for wind protection, some light rain shedding, and breath-ability. It is not like the Castelli Perfetto where it is skin tight, and even though the XL sample was one size too big for me, even a large would allow for layering. I would call it a ‘Club Cut’.
The sleeves zip off and that is the trick to this pony, allowing for a pretty wide range of temperatures you could use this in. The windproof parts are the torso in front (like a Gilet) and the sleeves. Other parts like the back are meshy and more jersey like.
There are 5 pockets: one zipped chest, one zipped back and three traditional back ones. That should do. I did find that they were very deep and easy to get to but a bit saggy when loaded, however, the XL oversize fit was likely some of that. The sleeves easily store into the jersey pockets.
The color is something I like but I would add the brighter green to the back of the garment where vehicles can see it better, The collar is high enough and soft to the skin and overall it was comfortable to wear with long arms to spare. Again…might have been the XL sizing here too.
In use, I found it to do quite well with built up moisture from exercise, and although I could get the sleeves to feel a bit clammy, if I reduced my pace for a short time, the excess sweat would move out of the fabric and it would be dry again. Quite well done. Certainly no wind will get you from the front…pretty much blocked. The usefulness of the sleeves I find conflicting for the way I use things. Certainly you can add and remove sleeves, etc, and go from jersey to light jacket, but the process, if you are riding alone, requires you take off the jersey unless you are a gifted and very accurate contortionist. And when bad weather sets in, the thought of standing around in my wet base shirt while I figure out the zippers is unappealing. They are color coded by the way, for clarity in installation. The zippers, I mean.
With the sleeves removed you are left with a jersey that is windproof enough to act like you are always in a gilet, and that might be good or not. I see the appeal, especially for someone touring or adventure riding/bike packing as you are ALMOST getting three garments in one here…jersey, vest, jacket. However, I remain conflicted about the Pro Zip Off jersey. That might explain why I have never kept a single cycling garment, where the sleeves zip off, in my clothes closet for any length of time. Link to site.
GORE C7 Pro and C3 cycling jerseys: Quite different animals.
C7 Pro: $149.99 – Johnny Cash would love this thing. It’s good fitting, wears nicely, looks classy, and says I am fast enough, boys and girls…just try me. I walk the line. I really enjoyed this one. It never binds at the arm sleeves or armpit like some race cut jerseys do yet it still was tight enough to make my last vacation diet obvious. It just works for you, not getting in the way, breathing really well. Meshy back and side panes, big grippy tail section, zipped valuables pocket (and two nearly hidden side pockets that are easy to miss…and might not be official pockets, but still…), this is a nice piece of kit.
But……. that color. Black on black on black is very cool looking, very ‘pro’, but it is hot in the sun and they do wear black to funerals, you know? I prefer brighter colors if I am to be on the road, but gravel might require less visibility in that regard, depending on the route.
That aside, it’s as good as any $150.00 jersey I have tried and better than most in the fit, at least for me. And this was a LG, but the way. Link to site.
C3: $79.99 – “Simple, comfortable and absolutely essential. A basic jersey for warm weather riding that keeps you cool and comfortable no matter where the ride takes you.” That is what the GORE website says about the C3 jersey. It’s simple, a bit relaxed in fit but not overly so, stretchy, soft, and well, pleasant, if a jersey can be that. Mr. Rodgers would have approved of the C3 jersey. Link to site
I have no complaints or suggestions really, it was nice enough on warmer days, gave me a zipped security pocket, never offended or stood out either. It’s a safe bet. Even the color is ‘nice’ and earth friendly.
GORE C7 Pro Gloves: Any more minimalist and they would cease to exist. $49.99.
GORE has these in the MTB category but there is no way I would wear them for that as I want more substance between me and bushes and branches and for dirt sampling when I am on the mountain bike. That said, I do like wearing long fingered gloves even in the warmer days on the gravel or road bike, so the C7 Pro gloves are about as lightweight a glove as I have seen that still hides your fingers. Seriously, these are nearly sheer and let air pass though nicely. No padding, no cuff closures, just minimal fabric.
I wish I could have swapped the XL’s for a LG as I do want a bit tighter fit just for the sake of dexterity, but even if they were a bit loose, I still liked them very much. I never felt like I was struggling for grip. A summer glove with long fingers? I think so, yes. Link to site
C7 Cancellara Socks: These will do fine for summer, thanks. $24.99
Even if these were one suggested size too small for me, I don’t care. These are simple, classy, sweet, socks. Socks have become a statement of late…wild colors, lengths, whatever. You can get a bag of cycling socks from China for pennies. They are not great quality, but this is America. We celebrate cheapness here.
I have to say that at first I was like, “Socks…blue socks. Plain socks. OK”. But then I wore them and went. “Nice socks”. I wore them more and thought, “Really nice socks.” Classy. Link to site
Now for the clothing from GORE that Guitar Ted got to check out……
When this review got started it was a result of some sizing mix-ups and I got some items that weren’t right for Grannygear, so some of these things weren’t even on my radar to try, but I did anyway. We do our job for you, dear readers. No matter….. Let’s see what worked and what maybe was not so workable.
GORE C5 GORE-TEX Infinium Gloves: Cool weather protection for the paws $59.99
Fortunately, Spring weather can be a mixed bag here in the Mid-West so the C5 Infinium gloves were not only appropriate, but I maybe could not have had a more perfect glove for the conditions I used them in. Wind? Copious amounts of it. Cool weather? How about upper 30’s to 40’s on many mornings starting out? GORE says these will keep your hands warm but not at the expense of dexterity. This is spot on. You will not feel any wind and I was able to manipulate my Olympus Tough TG-5 camera’s buttons with these gloves on with no issues whatsoever. The touch-screen finger tips actually worked as well, making cell phone use a breeze.
I maybe would have liked to have had the gloves come up a bit more on the wrist, as they are cut more like a Summer glove- right at the articulation of the wrist joint, which made keeping the sleeves of my windbreaker over the gloves a priority. There is no “nose-wiper” on the backside of the thumb area either, which, for me, is a big let-down. Finally, the tags on the inside of this glove are outrageous. Do they need to be THAT big? Uggh! Compared to other full fingered gloves I have, this was a bit excessive and annoying while wearing. I suppose you can cut them out…… Link to site.
GORE C3 Windstopper Knee Warmers: When tights are too much. $59.99
Grannygear has waxed poetic about the powers of arm and knee warmers on the site here previously, but I have never used leg or knee warmers before. Well, not purpose-built knee warmers. I have used wool arm warmers as knee warmers several times with good results in the past. This test of the C3 Windstopper Knee Warmers would be my first go-round with a real piece of kit for the job.
Again, the weather was perfect this Spring for such an item as this. I liked that the Windstopper fabric does what it says. The fit of these knee warmers was nice due to the pre-curved, form-fitting way they are constructed. They were easy to put on and take off over my cycling shoes, but I used laced shoes mostly. A buckle strap closure may prove to be a bit snaggy.
While the fabric and fit was top notch and these did keep my knees warm, they were a hassle to keep up on my thighs. The tops of the C3 knee warmers have a silicone gripper area, but the tops were so thin and lacking in structure that they would roll down on me, essentially pulling the silicone away from my bibs, and then it was only a matter of time before I was annoyed to the point that I would take them off in frustration. What do you use to keep these up? Garter belts? Maybe I’m not a knee warmer compatible animal. Link to site.
GORE C7 2 in 1 Bib Shorts+ Baggies and bibs in an unusual hybrid. $209.99
Now, I have used a pair of baggies over bibs plenty of times. Usually when it gets colder, or say, when I want pockets. Keep that in mind……
The C7 2 in 1 Bib Shorts feature GORE’s Windstopper Cup Protection. This refers to the chamois in the shorts which protects against cold winds and yet is engineered to release perspiration. It is also pre-formed for comfort while riding. Now I will admit that I am not sensitive to cold in the ‘nether regions‘, but if you are, this technology does what it claims, as far as I can tell. The chamois was incredibly comfortable, I will say that much.
The fit is great, not too long in the straps, and those are not so narrow that they are annoying- just comfortable, thin, and out of the way. The leggings are snug- not too tight- and the baggy part doesn’t flap in the wind or snag on saddles. The fit, in XL, was spot on and worked well despite my more ‘football’ than ‘bicycling’ build. This is a great design but for one, glaring oversight. No pockets!
To my way of thinking, there are only two reasons to attach a bib short to a baggy bottom. One- modesty. The other- pockets! GORE didn’t give you any pockets here, and but for how well everything else works on the C7 bibs, this one negative would make these bibs a non-starter for me. C’mon GORE! Give us pockets or, ya know…..just leave the extra fabric off. I fail to see the point here otherwise. Link to site.
GORE C3 Bib Shorts+: A budget bib that gets the job done. $89.99
These are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the rest of the clothing here, for the most part, being more of an entry level apparel item and geared more for warmer weather riding. The C3 Bib Shorts+ are the recipient of much of GORE’s past features and experience in making bib shorts and it shows here.
The fit is much like the C7 2 in 1 bibs- Very comfortable, unobtrusive, and they have a nice feeling chamois insert. This insert in these bibs is not at the premium level of the C7 2 in 1 though, and you can tell the difference. That said, these feel fine for shorter rides and commuting, or for that low-key, fun ride with friends. I wouldn’t be pulling these out of the drawer for that century ride attempt, but you could do it. I’m spoiled. I have nicer stuff at hand.
Really, for less than 100 bucks, these are the hit of the bunch I got to try out. I can see training rides, shorter rides and even racing shorter events in these shorts. They are light, breathable, and well constructed. By far above and beyond many other ‘budget friendly’ bibs I have seen and have tried. Recommended. Link to site.
GORE sent out the items tested and reviewed in this article at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We are not being paid nor bribed for these reviews and we strive to always give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
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Just an FYI – I picked up a pair of the C7 2 in 1 bib shorts and discovered three pockets – one in the back (covered by your jersey – probably only for valuables or ID), and then one on each thigh of the liner, between the two layers. Holds my phone well, keeps the dust off it. Otherwise, my experience is the same as yours; great fit, comfy for long rides.