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Gore's SHAKEDRY™ fabric is class-leading in its ability to keep you dry both from water coming in and water that wants to get out. The Gore Race SHAKEDRY™ Jacket combines the material with stretch panels for a closer fit. If you want to go fast and stay dry, this is the jacket for you. Assuming you can afford it.
SHAKEDRY™ (that's the last of the mandated capitals and trademark) has been around for a while now. Membrane fabrics have been around a lot longer, and usually they're a hydrophobic, breathable membrane sandwiched between two layers of textile. The difference with Shakedry is that there's no textile outer: the surface of the jacket is the membrane.
This has two distinct advantages. Firstly, it makes the jacket lighter and more packable: at just 174g this jacket will easily fit in most jersey pockets with room to spare. And secondly, the surface of the membrane is naturally hydrophobic. It doesn't require any treatment to keep water beading on the surface, and having the water bead is what maintains the performance of the fabric.
If the surface is fully wetted it's impossible for vapour to escape; for this reason waterproof jackets generally have a water-repellent coating that can be renewed over time with something like Nikwak TX. With Shakedry there's no need for that, so the performance of the jacket doesn't degrade over time, and water beads so well that a quick shake of the jacket after a shower renders it basically dry. Yes, hence the name.
It also means that if you get caught in a shower and then have to stow your jacket in a pocket or bag, the next time you need to get it out it's ready to go again. That's often the problem with a traditional membrane fabric: it'll be damp when you stash it, and the next time you wear it the water won't bead on it and the performance will fall off.
When Shakedry was first introduced there were plenty of questions about its longevity, and sure: you don't want to be riding through a bramble patch too often as the jacket can catch and there's nothing protecting the membrane. But for road riding, so long as you stay rubber side down, you should be fine. It's proven to be hardier than it looks. Care is easy too: just wash at 40°C on a delicate cycle.
The only major downside is that the membrane is the colour that it is, and that's a dark grey. If you like a bright rain jacket, this isn't the one for you. There are some reflective details for riding after dark, but that's really it for visibility.
Shakedry is not stretchy, at all. So sizing is really important, and this is a race cut so it sizes up reasonably small. It used to be even more important when the jackets were made entirely of Shakedry, but this Race jacket uses panels of stretchier Gore-Tex down the sides of the back, on the cuffs, and at the bottom hem to add a bit of give.
That means you can get a nice snug fit, and the fabric doesn't flap about when you're riding fast. The fit is good: long arms, generous dropped tail and high collar for maximum coverage when you're in a racing position.
I've been out and about on the road bike in this jacket when it's been properly filthy out, and it's exactly the kind of thing you want to hand when you've got some proper weather to contend with. The waterproofing and windproofing is right up there with much heavier jackets, and it's combined with a breathability that's genuinely best in class. This Shakedry jacket really does shift an awful lot of moisture when you're working hard, so much so that when you're out on a ride that's showery there really isn't any need to take it on and off most of the time.
It works best if you don't layer up too heavily underneath, and with just a long-sleeve baselayer underneath it works well for fast riding even down to fairly low single-digit temperatures. Should it really hot up and you want to, there's nearly always space for it in a jersey pocket. It's not particularly easy to get on and off when you're riding, as the sleeves are pretty tight and it's snug to zip up, so it's one to stop and stash.
There's space in the zipped rear pocket for a bit of food so you can keep it on for longer; it's not that easy to access your jersey pockets when you're wearing the jacket.
No two ways about it, this is an expensive jacket. There aren't that many jackets out there that are more expensive, and as often as not – like the Castelli Idro 3 – they're made from the same material.
If you live in the UK and you're committed to going out in all weathers and riding hard, then you'll get your money's worth here. It's a brilliant jacket for fast riding and it'll do more for you over a season than a whole host of other ways you could spend the same money.
Top wet-weather performance from a very lightweight and breathable waterproof
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Race SHAKEDRY Jacket Mens
Size tested: Large
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?
"Prepare to ride fast and maximise your efforts in even the worst conditions, with our lightest and most breathable jacket, made with revolutionary SHAKEDRY™ fabric.
Ergonomic design for riders who seek speed and prioritise aerodynamics, stretch panels enhance the form fitting cut and ensure no watts are wasted.
You are committed to your performance regardless of the weather, we designed this jacket with SHAKEDRY™ to be incredibly light and durably waterproof with a persistant beading surface, to allow you to shake off the rain and focus on your ride."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
All weather conditions
Engineered for Cycling
Not suitable for use with a backpack
Weight: 174 grams
GORE-TEX product with SHAKEDRY™ product technology
GORE-TEX material with stretch technology to provide freedom of movement
GORE-TEX product: lightweight, extremely breathable, durably waterproof and windproof.
Revolutionary membrane construction eliminates face fabric preventing a chilling effect
Ergonomically shaped collar
Minimal pack volume
Back zip pocket
The best combination of fit, waterproofing and breathability you can get right now. Probably.
It's lightweight, but it's not fragile.
Doesn't let anything in.
Lets everything out.
Snug, and even with the stretchy panels you'll want the right size, but that's kind of the point.
Sizes up about how you'd expect for a race jacket.
Given the performance, hard to beat.
Not uncomfortable, but not majoring on comfort either.
You'll get a lot of use out of it in the UK which mitigates the high price to a certain extent.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple machine wash on delicate, comes up like new.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Lack of colour options, price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Right at the top end, but deservedly so.
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 really is an excellent jacket this for anyone looking for a performance-orientated waterproof. Make me an orange one and it gets a 10.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I've been riding for: Over 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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.