The catchily named Gore Xenon 2.0 AS Jacket is a lightweight, windproof and water-resistant jacket made from Gore's Windstopper Active Shell fabric.
When you don't need it the Xenon AS is airy light and packs down tight and small so it doesn't feel a burden in a rear pocket at all, happily taken along for just-in-case duties (so most rides then) without being a pain in the arse, literally, and when you suddenly do need it, it works.
The Gore Xenon jacket is not just a panic 'throw it on to get you home sort of dry' bin-bag style jacket seemingly made by someone that likes parachutes, it's designed for riding in, and to be comfortable when doing so.
The tailoring of the Xenon 2.0 AS is unashamedly cut for being on a bike, in the drops. The arms are plenty long enough and sewn on the curve to perfectly conform with your bent elbow, and the body fits high up the front and extra-long out the back for perfect coverage when you're chewing the stem.
The overall cut of the jacket is racer taught so there's no annoying flapping in the wind, despite the fabric being quite crinkly if you scrunch it in your hand. It's actually tight fitting enough to make it troublesome to fit over exuberantly stuffed rear pockets sometimes.
Those carrying a bit of a sportive tummy might want to look elsewhere, or admit it and go up a size.
The Xenon 2.0 AS isn't overburdened with unnecessary details - that helps it to be light you see - but what there are matter. The full-length zip has protective docks top and bottom to stop chin and lycra chaffage. The top is augmented further with a leatherette anti-rub tab, which is also handy for holding the jacket taut with teeth when pulling on the zip on the move.
The collar sits high to keep the chill off, but the rear is scalloped so it doesn't runkle up against the back of the neck, which is also why the hanging loop is offset to the right. Neat.
The ends of the arms are adorned with light neoprene cuffs, subtly tailored to extend further down the back of the hand, where they fit comfortably snug, stopping breezes from rushing up the wrist.
The sides are meshed internally, as are the arms, which makes the jacket comfortable against sweaty skin if worn with a short-sleeved jersey. Reflective piping slashes down the front over the shoulders help with low-light visibility and the patterns and logos spotted on the sides, along the arms and in the tail are also reflective.
The AS in the name stands for Active Shell, a Windstopper fabric that's designed for 'highly active people', it says here, being a membrane that offers a total windproof experience but with maximum breathability and added water resistance. Windproof it certainly is, and especially useful for those last few hills home when the temperature's dropped and the body's feeling the cold.
It's water resistant too, in fact it's a bit more than that. Is there a rating somewhere between water resistant and waterproof? Worn on those days that gently waft between depressing perma-drizzle and annoying light rain, the type that usually makes other water resistant jackets weep, the Gore shows a defiant two-fingers to wretched weather.
The AS jacket doesn't have any mesh panels or vents, zipped or otherwise, to help with ventilation All the breathing of the jacket is left solely down to the efficiency of the Active Shell. And it's a job it does very well - it can get a little warm inside but it doesn't get clammy or sweaty, which makes grey drizzly climbs a little less miserable.
The Gore Bike Wear Xenon 2.0 AS Jacket is a lightweight jacket that's a bit pricier than most, but then it's more water resistant and breathable than most too, and cut to be ridden in comfortably with thoughtful details that'll help defer the cost.
Superbly thought-out lightweight packable jacket that you'll be glad to have in your back pocket.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Bike Wear Xenon 2.0 AS Jacket
Size tested: M
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?
The blurb says WINDSTOPPER® Active Shells are the lightest, most packable products offering total windproofness, maximum breathability, and water resistance. Keeping you comfortable for enhanced performance during highly aerobic activities.
I'd agree with that, it's a very good cycling jacket, well fitted with what details it does have being very rider friendly. It's very windproof and better than merely water resistant.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
147 g, size L, partial mesh lining, zip pocket on back, long back, front zip with semi-lock slider, zip-underflap and zip-port, elastic sleeve cuff, snap-insert on collar for easy, one-handed opening of the front zip, ergonomically shaped collar, partially elastic hem, reflective print on sleeves and sides, reflective piping on back and sleeves, reflective logo on front and back. Colours; white, red or black.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lightweight, packable, water resistant, yes, it was all of them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The light weight in the back pocket, the racer fit, the water resistance that veered towards actually being pretty waterproof.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. I like a jacket that I don't know is there until I need it, when I need it to work.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
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: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.