Editor’s Note: Winter is upon us but that doesn’t mean we have to stop cycling. Our Riding Gravel contributors, Grannygear and MG will be giving us the lowdown on some gear we have been sent that will allow you to stay warm and meet your Winter gravel riding needs. Next up in our Winter Wear Review is another post from Grannygear. This is a “Take 2” on the GORE garments with additional thoughts from Guitar Ted. The first post can be seen HERE.
GORE Winter Clothing: Winter Wear Review- Take 2- by Grannygear with Guitar Ted
C3 Gore Windstopper Jacket: I could not help but compare the C3 Windstopper jacket to the Castelli Perfetto jersey and in the end they are very different garments although both are very good at what they do. A true jacket, the Gore piece is a fuller cut, but not so much to be flappy. I could easily run a base layer and thermal long sleeve jersey under this and that combo would be pretty warm. Wind is denied access unless you unzip. Very nice. The fit for me was just right in the LG size, sleeves were good, length was good. The rear pocket is pretty tiny so not much will go in there, but keys or an ID would.
Most of the time I used it with just a long sleeved base layer under it. I would say that the breath-ability is not quite as good as the Perfetto but some of that might be due to the lack of any zipped venting. But what you do get is a much warmer ‘feel’ to the garment as there is enough dead air space between your skin and the jacket to have it seem more comfy in that way. The Perfetto is so tight fitting that you know how cool the air is even if it is not getting through the fabric.
If I was heading out on a fast paced, high effort ride, I might chose something else. There the Perfetto gains the upper hand. On the other hand, ultimately it is a warmer, more flexible garment than the Perfetto. If I was out for a long ride in changing conditions, maybe some rain, maybe some wind, and all in cool to colder weather, and I wanted to be able to layer under it as the day wore on…then this would be a top notch choice.
To see how it did in wet weather, I stood out in a rainstorm for a while and then, to up the ante a bit, wore it into the shower where I took the spray nozzle and pointed it at the jacket for a good while. I never did see any water ingress and I would take away from this that it would have to be a gully washer before I would be worried at all. The Perfetto is much less water fast.
I gave this jacket to a riding friend who was in need of a high quality cover up for the winter rides we do, many at night. Since I was able to see him wearing it, I could judge how visible it was in daylight and night time conditions. I would like to see the back of the jacket be brighter as it is one big, black, panel, which is nice for not showing road spray, but is also good for not showing you. It also is not very visible from the back in a reflective way, not really standing out when lit by bike lights from a distance.
At The Finish: The C3 Windstopper is very good at what it does. My friend has very much enjoyed the garment, using it on many windy and cold rides with great results. I would suggest this as a very good but not terribly exceptional outer shell. Upping the venting and visibility could take it up a notch in my book.
GORE C7 Windstopper Pro Bib tights
Every so often we get a product that just does not seem ‘finished’, like no one actually used it before they gave the go ahead to make 5000 of them for sale. To me, this tight is that kind of product. The legs are very snug, especially at the knee where the pressure was enough to bother me under the kneecap. Yet the upper area around the groin and waist is too big for me. Odd.
Then there is that devil seam in the fabric that is right behind the knee. Oh man…I hate that guy. It grates on you as you pedal, enough so that I wore it once for a short ride and swore I would not wear it again. But, for your sake, dear reader, I did wear them again. In the mountains on a winter day, with temps in the low 40s, I set out on a 2 hour ride. The fit is a shame as the material does a good job of keeping any wind from coming in. Oddly though, they did not feel as snugly warm as the Castelli tights did even though those tights are not windproof.
But for me, that seam and the odd fit are a deal breaker. Now, since I likely should have had a Medium, not a Large, and to be fair about that, I sent them to Guitar Ted to see what he thought and I did not say much other than what I wrote in the opening post. You can read what he thought after giving them a go.
Guitar Ted’s take: With Grannygear’s “not quite right” fit, the tights were sent along for me to try out. I tried them on immediately to see what I thought about the fit. They were serviceable for me, however, there were a few points where I was made keenly aware of what Grannygear had written previously on this garment.
The garment definitely does have a sort of dualistic fit. Grannygear mentioned that the legging part was very tight, and indeed, I was feeling this as well. This makes getting the pad and the entire groin area to fit together the way I want, which is snug, a difficult chore. The fabric around the top of the thigh area is so resistant to stretching that it left the pad several millimeters away from my groin area. A very uncomfortable feeling.
Next it was the upper bib area. Grannygear mentioned how the straps were not “medieval torture devices“, and in that, I completely agree. However, they are also so stretchy that they do not help at all with holding the lower parts up in where I need them to be. In fact, the entire garment above the thigh area was very stretchy. So, a dualistic feel- very stretchy up top, not at all stretchy down on the legs. It was as if two different designers made this garment and neither one spoke with the other.
Finally, there was that seam! That devil of a detail that really was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Grannygear, and I must say that I agree. That seam runs right across the back of the knee and over two major tendons. It isn’t just “there” either, it is tight. Who designs such a thing as bib tights and puts such an irritation in the design at a point that articulates thousands of times every ride? Weird.
Besides that, the tights indeed do keep wind out. I rode them on rides where the temperatures were in the 30’s-40’s and it was breezy. My legs felt nothing other than the strain of pedaling. as it should be. Despite the saggy crotch, I managed to have no snags on the saddle. The pad GORE used was not my favorite. I’ve been better impressed by Bontrager Inform and Louis Garneau chamois. So I was a bit let down by that as well.
At The Finish: (Guitar Ted) For well over 200 dollars retail, I was seriously surprised at the shortcomings here. I would have expected a much nicer pad in the bibs, and a structure that didn’t put a seam in an area where the body articulates during pedaling. Basically unforgivable in a garment at this level. That is besides the weird fit of the tights with the un-stretchy bottom half versus the very stretchy top part. Hopefully GORE will take this feedback and redesign these, because as is, I cannot recommend them.
NOTE: The GORE C7 Windstopper Pro Bib Tights and GORE were sent to RidingGravel.com for test and review at no charge. We were not bribed nor paid for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
About The Author: Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for RidingGravel.com in his spare time.