Gore Bike Wear are a brand to themselves and helped me get through winter this year with a couple of neat tools. As Arizona winters are a lot like most peoples’ spring, I thought I would show you this season’s favorites.
This is Gore’s WS arm and leg warmers, their standard Ozon bib short and a fantastic Ozon WS Jersey.
“WS” stands for wind stopper but these add the “soft shell” qualifier as it relates to this gear. Wind Stopper itself is a 3 ply (layer) system with a stretch polyester out layer and a comfortable poly-fleeced inside layer as the “bread” and the Wind Stopper membrane as the meat.
They can make variations to the outside and inside layer to add insulation and thickness for colder temps, and thinner layers for those times when your own body is pumping out enough heat that the primary goal is to block wind chill and allow max flexibility and breathability.
The latter (thinner layer) is what we have for this kit.
Arms and Legs
The WS leg warmers are combinations of stretch panels and Wind Stopper Panels.
Wind Stopper is the darker shaded material on the thigh, knee and shin front.
They’re sewn with a pre-curved knee to allow for better on-bike fit. While WS Soft shell material is very flexible, it’s slightly less forgiving than plain stretch fabrics and this makes for max performance. Inside, the different fabrics feel pretty much the same despite the slightly different appearance.
The material against your skin is a soft touch and the warmers are probably most notable for their lack of bulk.
Both Legs and arms…
…are roughly half the thickness of any other warmers I own.
The Arms also have stretch panels (the entire back side and just at the elbow on the front). They also have easy indicators that tell your right from your left, but with the fabric and stitching, if you couldn’t do this on your own you should probably wear a helmet full time…
The cream of the crop here is really the Ozon WS Jersey
This features Wind Stopper fabric that covers the front (except that small section at the bottom of the belly area). The wind stopper also covers up and over the shoulder and onto the front of the sleeve…
And that one piece of Wind Stopper also wraps round the kidneys on the back.
The only break in the WS fabric in the areas it’s designed to protect is straight down the middle at the zipper, but that wasn’t lost on Gore…
My favorite feature with this jersey is at the back away from the wind…
Yes the material at the back is very breathable and comfortable, but this is late winter riding kit for me and that means lugging things along on dumpy longer rides and 4 pockets (2 big ones in the middle and 2 smaller outside in black) make things nice.
They’re also VERY deep pockets AND they’re smart enough to design a little bit of a billow to them so that they’re roomy and flex the right way. That means things don’t creep up after they’re stuffed inside. And having 4 pockets means you can get to your food or phone in their own space…
The long AND the shorts…
The last piece of kit is a well built Ozon Bib.
No WS here. 8 panels, 4 fabrics, good stitching.
Neat grippy-pebbles at the hem…
And an elastic Chamois that is a bit bulkier than Gore’s Xenon shorts reviewed here last year.
Now Chamois are obviously a personal taste thing and I prefer higher density like the Xenon, but these move very well in use and despite the thickness, I had no bunching. They’re shaped well and are very plush.
The construction of the Gore Kit (all of it, from the Xenon to the Ozon) is well done. It makes sense that Gore fuss about fabric details right?
Of course the stitching is well executed, but I noted that as I was wearing the warmers, they had no slide-down at all under use. The seams also sat REALLY flat where the shorts and jersey overlap… That made me look at the grippers closer…
Now most folks would stop there, but these things are not like other stuff which prompted me to look at them in a fashion I call “geek-close”.
That’s 6 uniform rows of a rubbery-like elastic… Individually tied down tight enough in spots to hold it perfectly in place BUT loose enough so that it’s allowed to expand round your arms and legs AND ALSO stitched in a pattern that creates little bulges so just enough of the rubbery part touches you and won’t let the grippers slide down in heavy use once they get a little wet…
Only genuine, high IQ, probably socially maladjusted, totally into their work type people come up with detail like this…
Just like they should. The fabrics are very light and thin but the warmth of the warmers is great. They breathe well enough to cover a pretty wide range of temps and without fear of going so hard you worry about overheating… These things are great from low 40′s to mid 60′s.
The Jersey is perfect kit for people who would start and finish a ride with a vest… The inner layer is supple enough that no base layer is needed (unless temp dictates) and the WS fabric flow over the shoulders and on to the sleeves takes care of an ALWAYS annoying gap in a “vest and warmers” set up. Full Zip means you can vent to your heart’s content as things heat up and you have loads of room to stuff warmers in those pockets…
The shorts are solid construction with a plush chamois… Mesh back breathes well and the reinforced fabric inside the thighs takes saddle and clamp scuffing abuse better than a lot of shorts.
Go see em at GOREBIKEWEAR.COM
By the Way!
GORE, GORE-TEX, N2S, PACLITE, and WINDSTOPPER (and VERY likely a bunch of other stuff in this article) are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.
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