The Gore C7 Windstopper Pro Jacket is a smartly designed, feature-packed jacket with a close aero fit that is ideal for riding in cold and windy weather backed up by the warmth from the excellent Polartec Alpha insulation. There's a lot of choice for this sort of money but the Gore is a serious contender for your hard-earned cash.
Pros: Great fit, superb performance, details, warmth, breathability
Cons: Pricey, more reflective details would be good
Gore is a trusted name in the cycling jacket market because the fabrics it has developed are amongst the best and used by a large number of cycling brands. Windstopper is one of the most recognisable names in the outdoor clothing world and this new C7 Windstopper Pro Jacket is obviously made from it. As its name suggests Windstopper is exceptionally good at stopping the wind from beating through to your base layer and skin while still being breathable enough to prevent undue heat buildup on warmer days or when riding up lots of big hills.
To provide a good level of warmth on colder rides, the jacket features the excellent Polartec Alpha synthetic down insulation. I'm a real fan, I've tested it in several jackets from Rapha and Sportful and have always been impressed at its ability to provide the necessary warmth for chilly rides whilst being breathable to prevent overheating, and all without much bulk to speak of. Gore gives a 5° to 15°C which is a fair indication but provided you wear a chunkier base layer and ride at a brisk pace, it'll go closer to zero.
The Polartec Alpha is well utilised in this jacket and combines brilliantly with the Windstopper fabric, resulting in a really good fitting jacket with an emphasis on hugging the body closely for an aero fit, ideal for fast training rides where you want a minimal bulk and weight. I wore it over either a short or long sleeve base layer, the weight picked to match the conditions and temperatures and found good warmth, protection and comfort down to really chilly temps. It gives the protection and warmth of a jacket with the fit and comfort of a jersey.
The C7 Windstopper Pro is packed with features that make it a pleasure to wear and use on a daily basis. You have the usual dropped tail for lower back protection and a high neck for hunkering down into like a turtle on cold morning rides. The arms are pre-shaped with a good length to the cuffs, which feature two long zipped vents if you need some cooling airflow up the arms. Another two zipped vents on the chest also provide additional cooling when you need it, helping you to regulate temperature nicely.
For the safety conscious reflective details abound, from the wide angled cuffs, the back of the collar and the logos, but I do feel they could have added a few more on the back panels. On the back are three large pockets, the two outer pockets a little taller than the central pocket. A zipped pocket is ideal for storing your house keys safely.
I found the fit (I was testing a size small) to be really good. The cut is close, but the pre-shaped arms, the elastic waistband and the shape of the panels all combined to ensure the jacket was nothing but exceedingly comfortable in all situations. There's enough space for a good thickness baselayer underneath but you won't be getting another jersey underneath, but even in the coldest temps I wore it I never felt the need for extra layers.
Windstopper is extremely effective at stopping wind but it's also adept at keeping you protected in light rain showers. It's not waterproof, the heaviest downpour will eventually breach its ability to keep the water put, but for brief showers and drizzle, it's enough to prevent the waterproof jacket from making an appearance. If you want a close fitting fully waterproof jacket Gore have that covered too in the shape of the Gore C7 Gore-Tex ShakeDry Stretch Jacket at £279.99 fifty pounds more than this. There is also a women's version of the C7 Shakedry Jacket – while there doesn't seem to be a female version of the C7 Windstopper Pro.
It sure is an expensive jacket though. By comparison the Gore Power jacket is a snip at £150 but it doesn't feature the incredible insulating properties of Polartec Alpha. Better to compare it to similarly priced rival such as the Rapha Classic Winter jacket or the Castelli Alpha RoS jacket.
Fit and comfort of a jersey with the protection of a jacket excels in cold, windy and miserable conditions with lots of nice details that help to mark it out in a crowded market.
Warm and close-fitting jacket for cold and windy rides and is very breathable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C7 Windstopper Pro Jacket
Size tested: small, white and black
Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Expert cyclists need a jacket that sits comfortably when riding in an agressive position, but will move freely both off and on the bike. The use of GORE® WINDSTOPPER® material gives protection from rain and wind, while still conforming to the rider.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Polartec® Alpha® insulation protects against cold,wet conditions whilst offering max breathability
Zipper garage at neck for optimum comfort
Zipped sleeve with mesh gusset to accomodate for glove access
Ventilation zippers at side of chest with mesh screening
Three rear pockets
Pre-shaped arms for ultimate riding comfort
High collar with brushed fabric for extra warmth and comfort
Grip elastic at waist for secure fit
Dropped tail at rear to prevent splash
Soft and versatile GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Product: windproof, water repellent and highly breathable
It's really well made, solid stitching throughout
Works well at keeping you warm and protected from the wind for autumn and winter cycling
It has stood up fine in the time I've been testing it, but the white arms on this colour version are vulnerable to marking
It's not a waterproof jacket but it is water resistant which is more than enough for a lot of typical British winter weather
Really impressed with how well it keeps your body temperature nicely regulated
The fit is perfect
No problems here, the sizing is spot on
The fabric is soft against the skin and the pre-shaped arms and the shape of the materials provide really good comfort
Yes it's expensive but it provides a lot of performance for the money
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It goes in a regular washing machine cycle with no problems and comes out looking new
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Bridges a wide range of temperature and weather conditions well, with vents for warmer or higher intensity rides
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Great fit, comfort, details, protection, insulation and breathability
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Would love a few big reflective panels on the back of the jacket
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It actually compares well especially when you factor in the addition of the Polartec Alpha insulation
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It is high-end money but the performance is high-end, a great combination of Windstopper and Polartec Alpha combined in a well-designed jacket that is as good as any other jacket in this price range.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.