Gore Bike Wear is one of the most established and recognisable brand names in the highly competitive outdoor clothing market, and they're constantly creating new fabrics to help make dealing with inclement and horrid weather much easier, and finding excuses to cancel a ride much harder to come by. The latest development from their tech lab is Thermium, which sits alongside its existing hard-shell Gore-Tex and soft shell Windstopper lines and aims to offer warmth as well as protection from wind and rain.
Gore Thermium Jacket Details
• PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Active fabric
• Three zipped pockets
• Adjustable (non-removable) hood and cuffs
• Reflective logos
• Colors/sizes: Black - Small through XX-large
• MSRP: £260, $400
• Contact: Gore Apparel
Thermium is a two-layer laminate that is windproof and water resistant and is wrapped around a puffy mid layer. It’s basically Windstopper with added insulation, which means you don’t need to pile on the layers to keep warm on a cold ride. It’s a response to the growing appetite in the outdoors market for soft and puffy mid and outer layers that provide more breathability and insulation than a typical hardshell jacket.
This jacket, the first to make use of the new technology, combines the Thermium membrane with a PrimaLoft Gold insulation and a durable water-repellent treatment on the exterior. It’s packed with features you need on a ride, including an adjustable hood, adjustable cuffs and waistband for tailoring the fit, and three zipped pockets; two on the front and one at the back. The seams are all sealed, there are reflective details and the zips have under flaps to keep out the elements and large tags for easy opening. The Gore Thermium jacket is available in just black and sizes S, M, L, XL and XXL. On the Trail
Cold, wet and dark, the winter (in this hemisphere at last) is a tough time of year for riding a bike. Summoning up the motivation to gear up for a ride gets tougher and the excuses for staying inside seem to flow a little easier. There is some bloody good clothing available now, though, that makes most of the well-worn excuses redundant, and the Thermium is another nail in the coffin for blaming bad weather for not being able to ride.
This jacket is good. Really good. What first strikes you after putting it on is just how soft and quiet it feels. It's much softer than any other Gore fabric and provides a level of luxury I’ve rarely experienced in a bike jacket - the closest comparison is a puffy down jacket I wear off the bike. But unlike a hiking jacket, this one is shaped and designed to work on the bike. I tested a size small and it measured perfectly in every key area, around the shoulders and torso with good length in the arms. The wave-shaped cuffs further the good fit and they're adjustable with velcro tabs.
Where the jacket really excels is in dealing with the unpredictable and constantly shifting weather I have to deal with in the UK. Biking is a tough activity for jackets - they have to deal with brief bursts of intense activity that produce a lot of heat interspersed with periods of low activity when descending or chewing the cud between trail sections. That rapid heating and cooling can be tough for most fabrics to cope with, bur this is where the Thermium jacket shines. When worn over just a short base layer it did a really good job of keeping the operating temperature at a nice comfortable level with no crazy highs or lows through a regular ride comprising lots of climbing and long descents, regroups at the top of climbs and snack stops.
With the PrimaLoft Gold insulation the Thermium jacket easily withstood below freezing temperatures. And far from having to layer up underneath, a long sleeve base layer was adequate to cope with the lowest temperatures I rode in, while allowing scope for warmer periods on sustained climbs. Regardless of how cold it got, I never felt it while wearing this jacket, and actually started looking forward to frigid rides just so I could wear this jacket. That may sound odd, but if the right clothing helps you get out on the bike and makes the whole experience more enjoyable, that can only be a good thing, right?
The Thermium jacket coped with the typical range of temperatures I found myself riding this winter. It was only on rides nudging above 12°C (54°F) at the start of the fall when I first began testing this jacket that I noticed some heat buildup. It was never excessive, but there is definitely an upper ceiling for the comfortable temperature this jacket excels in. Factors such as the base layer choice and the pace of the ride obviously influence how much heat you pump out. And even when it did get a bit warmer, the jacket copes with sweat and moisture build up well, and I never felt any soggy clamminess on the inside.
Though the Thermium jacket isn’t actually waterproof, merely water-repellent, it dealt just fine with most of the rainy rides I endured while testing it, and I never got a soaking. You wouldn't set off in heavy rain in this jacket (that’s the time to break out the hardshell) but if you get caught in rain halfway around a route, you’ll be okay. The real trick of Thermium is that the laminate ensures the down insulation layer remains dry, as insulation can only keep you warm if it is dry - when these materials get wet they lose their insulating value. So it keeps you warm even when it’s raining.
Along with its superb fit, comfort and performance in a range of weathers and temperatures, the Thermium offers first class build quality. It’s a durable jacket as well and has survived being thrown through hedges and down muddy banks, as well as being scrunched up carelessly at the bottom of my kit bag between rides. Details matter in a jacket costing this much and Gore gets them all just right. It’d be nice to see some more colour options, though.Pinkbike's Take:
| Make no mistake, this is an expensive jacket, but my god it's a damn good jacket. The Thermium technology brings some very useful performance to mountain biking and it works extremely well in the large majority of conditions and copes better than most with the extremes of weather and rider heat output. It also works well off the bike too. - David Arthur|
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