The Gore C7 Gore-Tex ShakeDry Stretch Jacket provides total rain protection with incredible breathability. The stretch panels help to give a perfect fit that lasts through machine washing and tumble drying.
- Pros: Total waterproofing combined with excellent breathability and a great fit
- Cons: Price
This jacket is packed with tech features. The Gore ShakeDry fabric that made the last iteration so good is still present, and it works really well in heavy rain. Put simply, nothing gets through.
Added to this latest edition, which we first looked at in May, is Gore's new Stretch technology. It was developed with the military for use with body armour and is also windproof and completely waterproof.
These Stretch panels require extra stitching but these have all been taped internally. This stops any water ingress, but also gives a very clean look. The taped seam joints have an additional piece of tape for extra durability.
There's a rear pocket accessed via a zipper with an overhang of Gore-Tex material. It's the only non-taped bit of the jacket, but I've noticed no water ingress. The pocket is large enough for a couple of bars and a gel and it's a better place to store food when you know it's going to be raining all ride, as you don't need to pull the hem up to access food.
I've been wearing the jacket since May, and I've had plenty of unpleasant weather to test it in. In fact, my first ride in this jacket, at the Wiggle Ups & Downs Sportive, gave the perfect conditions for testing. It was 8°C, damp and windy, and the rain and road spray mix quickly covered the jacket. With a decent pace to our ride, this is where I usually find myself boiling in my rain jacket bag. The absence of that damp feeling was very welcome.
Back on home roads, I headed out for some chaingang rides that take in a few Mendip hills. The jacket continued to perform perfectly, even when climbing.
After a more prolonged break than I'd anticipated, with not a cloud in the sky, more recently we've had wet weather along with relatively warm temperatures of 17-20°C. The only time that I felt too warm was when I mistakenly wore a winter jacket underneath: at 17°C with high humidity, this caused a lot of sweat buildup so I went for the jacket only on the next ride and the problem was solved. With just a breathable jersey underneath, I was dry and comfortable, showing that the C7 will breathe really well, if you let it...
The fit is designed to be close, with the stretch panels allowing total freedom of movement. I'd usually take a small for the closest fit, but I've found this medium a great option for layering underneath the jacket. If you're intending to wear this in cooler conditions, probably over a few layers, it's a sensible option for most of us to go for a larger size. If you're going for the racer's aero fit, go for your normal jersey size.
The sleeves are well proportioned with good length. At the start of the test period I used these with my Shimano winter gloves with no issues around the cuffs.
The collar is also nicely cut with good height. The fit here is close but doesn't irritate, and there is space underneath for a jacket or jersey that also has a high collar.
The hem is cut higher at the front with a tail that is long enough. On the bike, it's the perfect fit and everything is held nicely in place by the gripper section. One of the main reasons the Stretch fabric was added was to aid the fit over full pockets, and they work as planned. You can still pull the jacket up to access your jersey pockets, although as with other jackets, I find the two-handed method works best.
While the ShakeDry feature lets you remove excess water (by shaking, as it happens), washing is needed for bacteria and mud residue. When I saw the washing instructions I must say I was concerned: wash at 40°C and tumble dry. Reading this, I was convinced the jacket would disintegrate, or at least lose its shape. My concerns are unfounded; the jacket is still performing perfectly, making it one of the easiest bits of kit to care for that I've come across.
This jacket is pretty much perfect; the only thing it is currently lacking is strength in the fabric at the shoulders for carrying a backpack, but commuters fear not, Gore hasn't forgotten you and is working hard on a version that will work with a rucksack. It will then, surely, be the ultimate all-round jacket.
If you're considering this jacket then the price is probably the only drawback. Even at £275, this is still cheaper than the Assos rS.sturmPrinz EVO jacket. It's not an unjustifiable price but that doesn't change the fact that you're paying a premium. Thankfully, the performance is also premium so at least you get what you pay for.
This jacket represents a solid investment for UK conditions. You can race in it, and warmer weather isn't a problem. When worn in the heaviest rain, it didn't flinch and has kept me perfectly dry. If you regularly ride through poor weather, this is well worth the money.
Great fit from a totally waterproof jacket that breathes brilliantly – worth the cash
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C7 Gore-Tex ShakeDry Stretch Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
From Gore: "This close fitting and sculpted jacket combines the fit of your favourite jersey with the protection of GORE-TEX® material. Reducing the bulk of the jacket results in higher comfort while riding, allowing unrestricted movement while cycling."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
MAIN FABRIC: GORE-TEX®MEMBRANE
SHELL INSIDE: 100% POLYAMIDE
STRETCH FABRIC: 37% POLYAMIDE
The fabric that Gore used before is back but the main new feature is the stretch panels. These are also waterproof and provide stretch just where you need it. The way they have been joined with the main fabric is impressive. The seams are taped with extra taping at the seam joints.
Totally waterproof and windproof while also being amazingly breathable.
It will go through the wash with no issues, so should stand the test of time in that respect, but it is a very thin fabric, so don't go crashing in it.
Nothing gets through. The taped seams are perfect and the water really does just run straight off.
Top marks. The only place I could get a little moisture buildup was when climbing hard in muggy conditions. Then I just unzipped it.
It's designed as a racing coat so it is cut pretty slim. The sleeves are nice and long and the hem is front hem is high so you avoid bunching when on the bike.
I think the sizing is spot on, but you do have to consider your intended use. It's designed as a race jacket, but most of us will have other intentions.
Racing - Pick your normal jersey size.
The rest of us - Size up to leave room for warm layer(s) underneath.
Slightly heavier than the previous versions, but still super-lightweight at only 160g, so it won't be this that's holding you back.
It doesn't restrict movement or make you feel sweaty. I was comfortable on all the rides I did.
Gore has worked hard to develop a jacket that works perfectly and it's charging a pretty fair price. It's still cheaper than Assos' jacket, and for the performance it's very good value.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Super-simple. It can handle machine washing and a tumble dry.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. Totally waterproof with excellent breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Grotty conditions are easy. The combination of waterproofing and high breathability is just excellent.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
I'd like some more colours but Gore says that science is getting in the way.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Very much so. I love that a threat of rain is no worry now.
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yep. I predict that rainy club runs in January will produce some envious looks towards this jacket.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Yes, it is expensive, but it isn't the most expensive and the performance is perfection. Gore has improved a near-perfect jacket. It's good to see a company listening to feedback and using it. Now can the price come down please?
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.