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Gore Explore Shirt Women’s

7
£79.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Comfortable, breathable, fast-drying and soft – a great low-key gravel and touring jersey, but the price is high
Soft and comfortable
Attractive casual style
Great fit
Dries quickly
Slightly stiff collar
Long body won't suit everyone
Zipped pocket is tiny
Expensive
Weight: 
126g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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I'm a big fan of a casual jersey that quietly delivers on performance too. The Gore Explore Shirt Women's combines low-key gravel and touring looks with a soft, stretchy merino blend that's easy to wear and does a great job of staying comfortable and dry. It's not for the short of stature, though, and it's expensive.

If you're nipping out for a gravel ride, a spot of touring or even just a trip to the shop, tight lycra isn't always what you're looking for. This jersey from Gore is aimed squarely at gravel and touring, and uses a light, stretchy knitted fabric that's 47% merino and 53% polyester. The cut is contoured but not snug, with a stretch that doesn't cling too tightly or flap either. It really is a pleasure to wear on the bike.

The features are minimal, with a Henley style neck that fastens with four press studs, a couple of reflective logos and a small zipped pocket.

Sizing

The fit is accurate, with the size 42 fitting me (dress size UK14) well, although Gore's size chart claims this size is a UK16-18. The body length is quite surprising though – great for coverage even in aggressive positions, but probably a bit long for the shorter of torso.

2021 Gore Explore Shirt Womens - back.jpg

Despite that quite high merino content, the fabric is superbly soft and extremely comfortable next to the skin. I found it a touch on the warm side for really hot weather, but it remained comfortable even then, as it breathes really well. It doesn't get unduly sweaty or smelly either.

It dries very quickly too, both in use and after washing – a handy characteristic in a touring jersey.

> The 11 gravel specific products you never knew you needed - bar tape, shoes, helmets and more

The neckline features a slightly stiffened tape for the press studs, and it does mean the collar only really sits either fully up or down – very slightly irritating in terms of ventilation, but by no means a deal breaker. Personally, I think good old-fashioned buttons would have been a better choice.

The zipped pocket proved another niggle – it's so small it's only really useful for cash or cards, or maybe an old-school clamshell mobile if that's still your thing. There's no way a smartphone would fit in there, though such stretchy fabric would struggle to support the weight anyway.

Value

At a penny under £80, the Explore is on the expensive side for a casual top, though isn't too far over the odds for short-sleeve tops using this kind of fabric. It's nearly £15 more expensive than the Rapha Women's Explore Technical T-Shirt at £65, and nearly £10 more than the already-pricey 7mesh Desperado Merino Henley at £70. It's also £20 more than the arguably more stylish Endura GV500 Foyle T at £59.99.

Overall

The Explore is a lovely top – it's light, soft, comfortable and breathable, and does what it's designed to do very well. It's definitely worth considering if you have the money.

Verdict

Comfortable, breathable, fast-drying and soft – a great low-key gravel and touring jersey, but the price is high

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Gore Explore Shirt Women's

Size tested: L/42

Tell us what the product is for

Gore says: "Designed for gravel riding and multi-day tours, to keep you feeling fresh even on long days in the saddle."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Gore lists:

Highly functional material mix for optimum comfort, high breathability and quick redrying time

47% merino wool (mulesing-free) 53% polyester

High moisture management

High next-to-skin comfort

Lightweight material

Buttoned placket with snaps

Back zip pocket

Reflective logos

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made from high quality fabric (including ethically produced merino), and nicely finished.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Washes well and the fabric is a good balance of soft but tough. The merino content keeps bad smells at bay.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10

Soft stretchy fabric makes fit very versatile. No bagginess.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

Sizing was pretty accurate as per Gore's online sizing chart, but quite long if you're shorter than 5ft 5in.

Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10

Very light.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Great fit plus the fabric stretch, softness, breathability and speed of drying make this extremely comfortable.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Quite expensive against similar jerseys.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Very easy to look after, and dries very quickly.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Soft and comfortable fabric, casual style and fit, quick drying.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Slightly stiff collar, long cut won't suit everyone, zipped pocket is tiny, expensive.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At a penny under £80, the Explore is on the expensive side for a casual top, though isn't too far over the odds for short-sleeve tops using this kind of fabric. It's nearly £15 more expensive than the Rapha Women's Explore Technical T-Shirt at £65, and nearly £10 more than the already pricey 7mesh Desperado Merino Henley at £70. It's also £20 more than the more stylish Endura GV500 Foyle T at £59.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Very much

Would you consider buying the product? I already have, but not at full price

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is a very effective and extremely comfortable jersey that does a great job for gravel and touring riding. Only the price counts against it – there's excellent competition out there for significantly less.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Liv Invite  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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