Photo Benji Haworth
Through the autumn and winter, this has been my most reached for outer layer and I’ve worn it much more than I’ve carried it. New for 2012 this Windstopper soft shell is ideal for cooler through to bloody freezing days. Regulating temperature whilst mountain biking in the cold is a tricky game and this jacket works so well because funnily it’s not too warm! It’s beauty is it’s adaptability. If things warm up a bit, just unzip the sleeves to make a great fitted gilet. Get to the lunch stop, or get ready for the after-night-ride pedal home and zip them back on. Need to be warmer? Then wear 2 or 3 base layers under the shell. For the ride I was on in the photo above, the ground was frozen solid and we were riding on high moorland trails. I wore a short sleeved and a long sleeved base layer, along with a long sleeved jersey under the softshell and was toasty warm all day. All I had to do to regulate temperature was pull the front zip down a bit for climbs.
Rather than being a roadie jacket for mountain bikers, this jacket is all about the mountain. There are 2 pockets at the hips, which are easy to access when wearing a pack. They make a good place to put the sleeves, or stuff a Buff, keys, sweets, money or whatever away, without having to take off the pack. There’s another zipped pocket on the chest and a mech pocket on the back.
This softshell is really windproof and it’s also pretty water resistant too, making it a viable choice to take on its own for rides of a couple of hours. The cut is fitted which adds to the nice snug feeling and helps to keep the wind out. There’s a high, light weight and non restrictive feeling neoprene collar and cuffs, which further help to keep the chilly air out. As with all Gore kit the quality of construction is excellent and the way the various panels go together makes for a really natural fit when you’re on the bike. Stretch inserts make the jacket really comfy when riding along and mean that it doesn’t have a nerdy “assume the position” look when you’re not riding. Reflective piping is subtly all over the place as well. There are other colours if you’re not into stealth and you can find out more here on the Gore Bike Wear site.
RRP is £169.99