On the face of it, the multi-panel, slightly bent cut of the Universal Arm Warmer should spell 'great fit'. But on my ectomorphic self (what my wife calls 'skinny'), the fit was too loose around the bicep for a proper length at the wrist. The grippers didn't really help, even when paired with the perfect match in jersey, Gore's Oxygen Windstopper.
In use they certainly block the wind. No argument there – as you'd expect from a company with Gore's pedigree. But comparing them with my usual Castelli Nanoflex warmers, which cost a tenner less, their wind blocking/thermal properties weren't noticeably different. On a number of long rides, wearing Gore on one arm and Castelli on the other, I couldn't pick them – until it started to rain, that is.
Gore has used different materials in the Universal Arm Warmer, and this is most obvious when the clouds open. The lower sections over the forearms bead up nicely and shed water, but the elbow and bicep sections soak up the water and eventually get soggy. They are not sold as a waterproof garment and the product description says they will 'keep out...drizzle'. Now 'drizzle' in Scotland probably means biblical torrent in Southern California, so context is key.
Fundamentally, by southern English standards, even a 'light shower' saw them retain water. Often in cooler weather the chance of a light shower increases. It would be nice not to think you had to carry a shell as well or risk riding with damp arms for a few more hours.
Windproofing is very good, drizzle resistance less so – and check the fit if you're skinny of arm...
Make and model: Gore Universal Windstopper Arm Warmers
Tell us what the product 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?
They're for people who want to keep warm, but not necessarily dry.
UNIVERSAL WINDSTOPPER® Arm Warmers
Accessories for professionals: these arm warmers made of warm WINDSTOPPER® material help keep out cold, drizzle and wind.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Highly functional material mix
Reflective transfer print to mark right and left
Gripper elastic on top edge
Elastic sleeve cuff
Reflective logo on side
MAIN FABRIC: 92% POLYESTER, 8% ELASTANE, WINDSTOPPER®MEMBRANE, SHELL INSIDE: 92% POLYESTER, 8% ELASTANE, INSERT: 85% POLYAMIDE, 15% ELASTANE
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
They certainly keep the wind off, but their inability to shed even light rain was a downer.
Rate the product for durability:
Still looking good after a load of washes.
Rate the product for fit:
They might suit some arms, but not the best for me. Despite multi-panels, they wrinkled.
Rate the product for sizing:
Could have been a little longer, I feel. And the bicep gripper didn't stay put.
Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:
The combination of cut, sizing and fabric didn't annoy, but didn't impress either.
Rate the product for value:
A tenner more than Castelli Nanoflex armwarmers, for example.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
OK. That's about it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Being marked L & R made getting dressed easier. Seriously.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fit. Not great for me.
Did you enjoy using the product? Middling
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
Technically, water-shedding capability aside, they did a good job keeping the wind off. But the poor fit, price and lack of resistance to moisture let the value package down. They might suit other arms better, but that still leaves the value and water resistance. That adds up to somewhere between average and good in my book, so 6.
Age: 43 Height: 183cm Weight: 72kg
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling
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