Taking what it has learned over 30 years of building cycling-specific apparel, Gore Wear (previously Gore Bike and Gore Run) has announced the latest version of its two-layer Shakedry road cycling jackets, the C7.
In a launch limited to its own site and Competitive Cyclist of just 1000 jackets, the iconic brand says the Gore C7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Stretch Jacket brings together the lightweight, breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex Shakedry Fabric with the new Gore-Tex Fabric with Stretch technology.
New to the market, this stretchable material is a new kind of Gore-Tex fabric that allows the production of a draped cycling-specific jacket that fits and performs more like a jersey, while still being completely waterproof.
The new C7 is priced at $369 and brings increased freedom of movement combined with the two-layer (no outer fabric and no DWR) persistent beading surface technology, but gives up a little bit in packability. What it gains is a more aerodynamic fit for a wider variety of body types, better wearing comfort, and improved breathability due to reduced moisture-trapping air space between the body and the Gore-Tex membrane. It also has a very technical, road-cycling fit and aesthetic.
But it’s more than a rain jacket. The Shakedry line will take cyclists through three seasons of windproof and waterproof comfort, and many say this is the only jacket they carry anymore, due primarily to the fact that it packs down smaller than a fist, has no outer fabric to absorb water (and thus gain weight) and remains waterproof under all types of downpours for the life of the product. Thus, says Gore, it can be worn in warm but wet conditions, as well as very cold situations, whether or not it’s raining. And we’ve found this to be true through our own testing since the introduction of Shakedry in 2016.
Now in its sixth iteration, Shakedry was already among the lightest, most breathable, and most packable rain jackets on the market, and represented what Gore founders originally envisioned for the waterproof-breathable membrane, which, without an outer face fabric, is not durable enough for use with backpacks or rough outdoor wear and tear.
The W.L. Gore company itself was founded in 1958 and has come to be synonymous not only with “waterproof breathable” but also with product innovation across a spectrum of outdoor, medical, industrial and aeronautical applications.
Gore-Tex Fabric with Stretch technology is engineered to create a closer fitting and more sculpted jacket, brand leaders told media at a launch April 7-8, coinciding with the Paris-Roubaix bike race — not insignificant given that the jacket was in part designed by three-time Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara, who was on hand to talk tech with journalists.
“I’ve been waiting for this jacket and technology to come to production for a long time,” said Cancellara, who has been a global brand ambassador for GORE Wear since Spring 2017. “It’s ultra-lightweight and super breathable; it fits into any jersey pocket, it’s completely waterproof, and it fits like a second skin thanks to the stretch inserts.”
By strategically placing these low-force, three-layer stretch panels in key positions alongside Shakedry Fabric, the overall weight of the jacket is kept low, but the bulk and noise is reduced. The result is a very closely fitting jacket that flaps less in the wind, hugs the body closer, and provides unrestricted movement.
The Gore-Tex Fabric with Stretch Technology panels are placed under the arms and on the upper back, allowing a rider to move from riding on the tops of the bars or in the hoods to a fully tucked aerodynamic position in the drops, and the jacket responds to the position without restriction in the shoulders, back, elbows or waist.
On the front of the jacket, stretch panels above the hips reduce the amount the jacket moves during normal pedaling in a twofold effect: Potential chaffing and rubbing is minimized because there is less bunching of material, and the noise of the jacket is eliminated. Our testing verified that even with stuffed jersey pockets, you can still easily zip the jacket.
“We tested countless prototypes to find out how much stretch we really needed to achieve the result we wanted,” said Clemens Deilmann, Head of Design at GORE Wear.
Gore product leaders from Germany and the U.S. also explained that they methodically worked through every zone of the upper body to achieve the final result. They say Shakedry is the “new standard” in breathability, weight, and packability for the brand, and most closely achieves what Bob Gore originally envisioned for the extruded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane he accidentally discovered and brought to the apparel market in 1969.
The Gore-Tex membrane has nine billion pores per square inch, each 20,000 times smaller than a raindrop, but 700 times larger than a water molecule, thus creating a waterproof but breathable barrier. Stretch is the most expensive consumer fabric to produce so far, the brand said.
Still a family owned company with headquarters in Munich and in Delaware, Gore is known for its unique horizontal team member structure and its decades-long domination of the waterproof-breathable outdoor materials market, including its laboratories with rain rooms and cold chambers where they can replicate 95 percent of the world’s climates.
The cycling world wasn’t always keen on the technology, however. Gore developed its first waterproof-breathable jacket, the Giro, in 1985, but when no cycling apparel brands on the market at that time were interested in working with them, they started their own. It wasn’t until 2006 that Gore Bike and Gore Run entered the U.S. market, even though they dominated the German cycling apparel market, and still do today. Last summer they rebranded to form Gore Wear, which they say will allow them to better market the versatility of the highly technical products and more closely aligns with today’s outdoor consumer. Look for the Gore Wear brand in hiking and cross-country skiing apparel this Fall, along with more C7 jackets, in case you miss out on this first limited run.