What is it
Intended for early season rides when temperatures are cool to cold and rain and wet roads are likely, the Gore Oxygen Classics Windstopper Jersey and Bibshorts provide an alternative to carrying extra just-in-case layers. The combined outfit utilizes Gore's Windstopper technology, with the jersey using lightweight four-way-stretch fabric, and the bibs using an ever-so-slightly thicker version for increased support.
Both top and bottom are full Gore Windstopper soft shell pieces (save for the bib portion of the shorts), and are windproof, water resistant, and breathable. The chamois is made from a fast-drying, open-cell foam with a recessed channel and smooth transition at the edges. Gore also integrated a baselayer into the bibs, rather than requiring a traditional baselayer. This is designed to decrease weight, reduces bulk, and enhance comfort. The end result is a form-fitting, comfortable, aerodynamic package intended for use is in the 40-60 degree range.
- Windproof and water resistant
- Jersey can replace jacket or vest
- Built-in base layer is brilliant
- Subtle reflective hits for safety
- Jersey has ample pockets
- Lined pocket compartment keeps items dry
- Small zippered pocket for valuables
- Extended tail on jersey
- Both pieces breath well
- Taller neck cuff to keep cold out
- Less bulky than expected for windstopper pieces
- Both pieces are expensive
- Smaller use window than standard kit
- Not very exciting to look at
- Bibshort legs a tad loose and tend to ride up
- Loose fitting sleeves on skinny arms
- Must unzip built-in baselayer to pee
- Not world's most comfortable chamois pad
Dressing (and packing) for cool and cold weather rides is tricky. How much clothing must you wear and carry to stay comfortably warm, but not overheat or feel like you've got an entire wardrobe stuffed into your jersey pockets?
The answer will always differ from day to day and rider to rider. But pieces such as Gore's Oxygen Classics Windstopper Jersey and Bibshorts make the decision process simpler. By incorporating windproof and water resistant properties into reasonably breathable and lightweight fabric, you get protection from the elements, but not at the expense of being overdressed.
We tested this kit in all manner of weather, from chilly but sunny spring afternoons, to wet and cold fall mornings. And while not perfect, both pieces provided a competent last line of defense. I especially like the bibshorts' built-in baselayer, which cuts down on bulk, but still delivers critical core heat retention, which is the key to staying warm during cold weather rides.
There's also an impressive amount of cargo space, with the jersey boasting three standard pockets, plus a waterproof zippered pocket for small valuables. It's not big enough for most smartphones, though. The jersey also has a tall neck that helps keep out the cold, and the sleeves are a tad longer with mesh on the underarm to both enhance warmth and breathability.
Points are taken off for loose fit of both the sleeves and leg cuff, as well as a chamois that just didn't work very well for my backside. This was in part because it would move out of place as the legs cuffs slid up my legs due to the loose fit. It's also not the most exciting kit, continuing Gore's trend to focus on function above fashion.
Bottom line, while this kit has a somewhat narrow range of use (and is a tad on the expensive side), it's well suited for days with frequently changing weather when you want one piece of apparel that can handle a variety of situations. The windstopper fabric keeps cold wind at bay, and the fabric does a solid job of repelling rain and road spray. But when the sun comes back out and temperatures climb, you don't need to do a strip tease on the side of the road in order to stay comfortable.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 for both pieces
Price: $180 for jersey, $250 for bibshorts
More Info: Jersey - www.goreapparel.com | Bibshorts - www.goreapparel.com