A quality softshell is one of the staple requirements in any cyclist's winter wardrobe where versatility is key to shrug off the wind, light rain and ice cold temperatures. Gore knows a thing or two about keeping the elements out and that's shown here with its Power 2.0 Windstopper Soft Shell. You can go cheaper but can you go better?
- Pros: Breathable, incredibly warm
- Cons: Generous sizing
After quite a few years of mild winters it's great to see the UK reverting to some frosts and even a sprinkling of snow over most of the country. It's certainly made me glad to have the Power 2.0 in my test kit pile.
Windstopper is the key here, a fabric developed by Gore and consisting of an ePTFE (expanded polytetraflouoroethylene) membrane sandwiched between an outer face material and a lining fabric, a laminate if we want to get all technical. It's this that gives the Power 2.0 its quite amazing characteristics.
No matter how windproof, waterproof or whateverproof a jacket is, if it can't breathe it's not going to work. You'll be sweaty, wet and cold whatever the weather. The membrane here has millions of microscopic pores per square inch which allows the fabric to remove body moisture without affecting the material's windproofing and water resistance.
The Power 2.0 is a warm jacket; even at -2°C I was wearing it with just a thin long-sleeve baselayer underneath and I was still toasty but never overwhelmed by clamminess. When you have to start climbing or really push up the pace, the jacket just copes.
Windproofing is great too. I've had quite a few rides out into the brisk northerly winds and my torso has probably been the warmest part of my body. Literally nothing gets through no matter what the windchill figures. If you want waterproofing then Gore-Tex is the fabric you are after, but Windstopper still manages to keep a lot of the rain out as it's water resistant. Light showers, snow, fog... all are dealt with by way of the moisture beading on the surface of the jacket.
A heavy downpour will find its way through eventually, but if rain is forecast you probably won't be wearing the Power 2.0. If you do get caught out, though, it'll get you by, and you won't be cold as the fleece-lined inner traps your body heat.
A lot of thought seems to have gone into the cut. Gore's long-sleeve jerseys and jackets tend to look like the long arms are seriously out of proportion, but that is because they are designed and shaped to fit you perfectly on the bike. Stretched fully out into the drops you'll never find a gap at the wrist between gloves and cuff, plus they are cut at an angle too; you can't really see it in the photos, but the underneath of the wrist is slightly shorter so there is no material rucked up between your palm and the handlebar. The wrist area also uses a thinner material so it can easily fit inside the cuff of a glove.
You get a long dropped tail to keep your rear end covered should the roads be wet, plus it'll stop any draughts getting to your lower back if you wear tights without bibs.
The neck is high and comes with an inner layer that has a 'v' cut in the centre to allow it to wrap around the neck without gaping – good attention to detail.
There is a zip garage at the top to resist irritation at the throat, but I'd also like to see one at the bottom to stop wear and tear on the front of your tights.
Sizing-wise things are quite generous. Looking at the guide, my measurements dictate I should be wearing a large but this medium test sample fits me easily with a little room to spare. It does give you the option to layer up if things are seriously cold but if you want a race fit it might even be worth dropping even a couple of sizes. Try before you buy, I'd say.
As far as the finishing details go, you get three pockets at the rear, plus a zipped valuables one on the outside of the middle pocket. The three main ones are taut enough to carry a lot of kit and deep enough too for a decent length pump and the like. What I do like is that the outer two pockets are sloped which makes access to them much easier when in the saddle.
When it comes to value, £149.99 is probably never going to be considered a bargain – especially when many softshells we see are knocking around the £120 mark. Jackets such as the Rapha Core Winter jacket or the top scoring Madison RoadRace Apex softshell which has an RRP of £114.99.
I will say this, though, the Gore Power 2.0 has a lot of neat little details and it really is very warm without becoming a sweatbox, which lets it go to much lower temperatures than most of the others I've worn. If it wasn't for the sizing quirks, and at a slightly lower price, this jacket would be looking at a score of 10 out of 10.
When winter bites this is the jacket to turn to – toasty warm and capable of shrugging off a shower
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Men's Power 2.0 Windstopper Soft Shell Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
Gore says, "The Gore Bike Wear Power 2.0 Softshell Jacket is for road riders who need a sleek windproof protective layer for cooler days of riding. Blocking the wind and repelling the odd shower makes this a great option for autumn/spring and early winter.
Using GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Gore have made the Power 2.0 Softshell Jacket soft and cosy, keeping out cold winds so that heat is retained. The highly breathable fabric also allows your perspiration to escape, minimising windchill and raising comfort levels.
For storage the 3-compartment patch pockets on back offer plenty of space for a lightweight jacket or gilet plus all your other ride essentials. A small zipped pocket is there for keys and valuables, keeping them safely and securely tucked away.
If you're out with the winter club run or hitting some solo miles the Power 2.0 Softshell Jacket offers the perfect balance of wind protection, warmth and breathability. Ideal as the bedrock of a winter riding kit."
The Gore Power 2.0 is the daddy when it comes to dealing with ice cold, inclement weather.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Windproof, water repellent and highly breathable 3-compartment patch pockets on back
Small, zipped pocket on back
Full length zip with semi-lock slider
Zip-underflap and zip-port
Fleece-lined, close fit high collar
Reflective print on sleeves
Reflective logo on front
It's only deemed to be water resistant and at that it's pretty good.
Well cut with a dropped tail, angled cuffs and so on for when you are on the bike.
Going by the size guide I should be in a large but this medium was about right. If I wanted to go super-close race fit I could probably drop another size.
At first glance it looks pricey compared to a lot of others but its performance easily makes up for it.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The Gore jacket can withstand a 40-degree wash rather than the usual 30 so it washes up very easily removing all of the winter grime.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great, the jacket is warm and cosy and feels so comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Check the sizing.
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
The Power 2.0 Windstopper jacket is great for when the weather turns really cold and nasty. The sizing can be a little off for what Gore describes as a slim fit, but get that right and there is very little to dislike about the whole garment.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.