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The designers at Gore have obviously spent the last 30 years honing their skills, because this 30th Anniversary Phantom 2.0 Windstopper Soft Shell Jacket (hereafter: the Phantom) is an excellent bit of kit. It's quickly become one of my favourite autumn/winter jackets and it's versatile enough for a wide range of conditions.
The Phantom is constructed from windproof panels, with a breathable back panel to regulate heat. The Windstopper material does precisely that, and because of that the Phantom is pretty warm as a single layer, even when the mercury drops to single figures. It's comfortable on its own and works equally well with a base layer.
The sleeves zip off; each has two zips which generally stayed put when the sleeves were on, as they have locking heads. Getting the sleeves on and off isn't something you'll be doing while riding along as it's a bit of a fiddle, but it doesn't take that long.
The body of the Phantom has a secondary pair of Lycra short sleeves and it looks pretty much like a normal short sleeve jersey once you've pulled the arms off. There are three generous pockets at the back you can lob the sleeves in mid-ride, and the two outer pockets are slanted for easier access. The middle one is tall enough for a pump or a large jersey bag.
So what you have here is two tops in one, really. With the sleeves off the jersey is good up to temperatures in the low teens without overheating, and it's great for warmish, wet rides where you'd boil in a hardshell jacket. It's quite Gabba-esque in that regard.
Stick the sleeves on and it becomes warm enough to wear as an outer layer for a dry winter ride even when it's properly cold out. It's good in the wet too. It won't resist heavy rain for that long but the Windstopper fabric does a good job of keeping you warm even when it's wet. If you're heading out in a deluge you'll probably want to stick on a proper waterproof shell, but for those days when it's just damp, or showery, it's more or less ideal.
Breathability is pretty good, with the back panel helping with temperature and the softshell fabric in the rest of the jacket not getting too sweaty either, even when you're working hard. The white/black colourway I tested is nice and visible on dull days and there are fairly minimal gold reflectives dotted around the jacket to catch car headlights.
It's washing well too, coming out all white and shiny even after I foolishly tailgated a truck on a wet day and got covered in diesel and road grime. A helping of Nikwax helps the water to bead on the surface once it's been through the wash.
A word on sizing: I'm wearing a medium, and I'm 1.89m and 91kg, and even then it's not race tight. That means there's room under for a couple of layers when it gets really cold, but bear in mind that the sizing is pretty generous. At £160 it's far from cheap, but it's a top you can wear on warm, wet days in summer all the way through to cold, dry ones in the depths of winter. As such, it's easy to recommend.
Well made and versatile convertible softshell that's quickly become a wardrobe favourite
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Make and model: Gore 30th Phantom 2.0 Windstopper Soft Shell Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Black White
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?
Gore says: "One for all. Versatile and reliable WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell jacket with zip off sleeves for the ambitious cyclist. Windproof jacket, jersey and vest all in one."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Stretch inserts for optimum freedom of movement
Reflective logo on front and back
Reflective print on back
Reflective print on back
Reflective print on sleeves
Additional short sleeves
Detachable raglan sleeves
Wear-resistant elastic binding on sleeve-hem and on hem
Slightly slanted back pocket at side for better access
3-compartment patch pockets on back
Very nicely made.
Great performance in a pretty wide range of conditions.
Wearing well so far.
About right for what you'd want to use it for.
Good comfort levels.
Not cheap but very versatile.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Versatile, useful over a wide range of temperatures and in different weathers.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sizing a bit off, sleeve zips a touch fiddly.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's pretty expensive but this jersey/jacket is one of my favourite bits of kit now, and useful in a wide range of temperatures and weathers.
Age: 43 Height: 189cm Weight: 92kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, 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.