Gore Bikewear are producers of solid pieces of cycling kit that tend to fall into the category of functional and understated, rather than being bling and brand-centric. Their pieces are manufactured to high standards, utilise quality fabrics and incorporate neat detail touches.Buy Jackets on
And so it is with the snappily named Power Trail Gore Windstopper Insulated (Partial) Jacket, a partially insulated, partially windproof hybrid jacket, which may just place it in the soft-shell jacket bracket thanks to its breathable panels and water-repellant finish.
The Power Trail Jacket makes use of PrimaLoft’s Gold synthetic insulation in select panels around the majority of the torso and on the arms. These are faced with Gore Windstopper for additional protection.
Contrasting multi-directional Thermo-stretch panels provide the wearer with both additional manoeuvrability at flex points and moderate insulation thanks to their micro-fibre backing. These flexible panels also double as moisture vents to aid breathability, with a large back panel in place to prevent overheating when a backpack is worn.
The sleeves and hem both feature a simple elasticated closure rather than toggles or velcro in order to keep the weight and bulk down, and the logos are reflective to aid with night riding. Two stealthy hand pockets and a decently sized Napoleon pocket complete the features on this no-nonsense bit of kit.
Cycling is a high output, high exertion activity which produces a great deal of heat, and mountain biking in particular, depends on multiple, sporadic bursts of energy - as we all know, it can be hot on a bike even on cold days. So how would the Power Trail jacket fit into this equation?
Moderating temperature in the Power Trail jacket is straightforward thanks to the vented panels and the full zip, though it’s not an item you’d want to be wearing during sustained climbing. Thankfully it never felt clammy and teamed up really well with a merino wool long sleeve base layer when temperatures were below 5℃.
With its close fit, the Power Trail is best worn over a base layer, making use of its broad spectrum of features as a windbreaker, insulator and keeper-off-of-showers. Thanks to its low weight and ‘packability’ it also comes in handy as an additional layer to go in your pack for stops, descents, or just when the conditions change. It’s equally at home in a casual setting as a lightweight autumn/winter jacket, though don’t expect it to keep out the coldest of weather if you’re not on the move.
Even at 188cm and with a large ape index I found the sleeves to be more than long enough and covered the awkward wrist gap between jacket and glove exceptionally well. The XL was surprisingly snug considering my 97cm chest and the length offered plenty of coverage over the waist, avoiding any sneaky drafts up the back.
The Napoleon chest pocket proved to be very handy for stashing sunglasses and a phone, and the seed-shaped zip pull tabs were easy enough to find and operate even in winter grade gloves.
Thanks to its water repellent treatment the Power Stretch kept off most of the drizzle and ground spray and was easy to keep clean - its high quality feel making it an item you won’t want to trash on a regular basis. Containing synthetic insulation also gives it the benefit of still providing warmth when totally wet through.
An exquisitely made piece of kit that blends high-quality materials with sleek design highlights. The fit is close without being restrictive and attention to cycling-specific details places it high on the go-to kit list for cold weather riding.
It’s ironic that such a well put together item with its high-end feel should excel in grimy winter conditions, but take good care of it and it should last several seasons.
There are options offering better warmth to weight ratios than the Power Trail jacket, but then that’s not its intention and it excels as an all-rounder in the coldest of high output activities.
At £219.99 in the UK just don’t fall off wearing it.
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By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.