Gore has been at the forefront of weatherproof cycling gear tech since its original 1985 launch of its headline jacket. This tribute in name – the Gore C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 Viz Jacket – is bang up to date, using Gore's latest Shakedry technology to keep it at the top of the tree.
- Pros: Fantastic waterproofness, great breathability, packability
- Cons: Price
You may be more familiar with Gore-Tex Active and Windstopper fabrics that are used widely in the weatherproof garment industry. Whether you've used them in Gore's own products or through a third party like Castelli, you'll know that their performance is generally excellent. Shakedry takes this and turns things up to 11.
The idea behind Shakedry – compared to other fabrics in the Active family – is to have maximum breathability and waterproofness with minimum weight. It achieves this by getting rid of the outer textile layer, which can become wetted out, leaving behind what is effectively a technical membrane bonded to the lining.
The stats bear out the intention: it weighs in at a featherweight 127g in a size medium – although that's 11g heavier than Gore itself says a large should weigh. We're not going to pick bones over a few grams at this level, though. You'd never really know the difference, and actually the extra thickness at the neckline and wrist hems, as well as a quality shield layer down the length of the zip, helps add a reassuring level of resilience against the elements.
And this is probably the most weatherproof truly packable jacket that I've ever tested. The word 'packable' is key here, although not an indication of any actual shortcomings. The last jacket I tested was Gore's Power model, and while that impressed as a lightweight yet hardwearing outer layer, the Shakedry 1985 jacket is far, far lighter and more compact when packed away.
Yet, its performance in the breathability and waterproof stakes is, for all intents and purposes, as good as its heavier sibling. Gore doesn't quote figures, clearly preferring to rely more on hard-earned reputation than stats, but once again in heavy rain beading is superb, while warm air is allowed to escape with ease. It's also rated to be as windproof as they come too.
The benefit of the thinner Shakedry tech is most apparent in the harshest of wet weather. Where many waterproofs – Gore's included – bead for an admirably long time before eventually wetting out (normally, in my experience, due to a chance for water and dirt to settle on the fabric), Shakedry gets around this problem by simply not allowing it to settle. Beading performance is excellent, and because the outer surface is hydrophobic, water does literally shake off, leaving behind an effectively dry jacket to do its job all over again.
I've seen performance like this before in a clean jacket, but what's remarkable is how the Shakedry jacket can do it all day long, seemingly tirelessly.
Thanks to the constant beading and lack of wetting out, the fabric is left largely unencumbered to allow warm, moist air to escape. Running cleanly, it's a close match for any breathable material I've ever used (only overlayering on my part caused significant dampness in my clothes underneath), while it performs the job of wind protector very well too.
Obviously, if it gets dirty with dust or general muck its ability will be compromised just like any jacket, but because there's no DWR face fabric to worry about, cleaning is easy and won't reduce the waterproofing. (Gore says use a 'liquid detergent' and no tumble drying needed – so it's easier to care for than most.)
Its technical abilities aside, what about the practicalities? First off, it has a slim(ish) cut – Gore's statement that it's wider for added comfort is in relation to C7, its slimmest 'pro' fit – and it's perfect for adopting aggressive positions and for faster riding. Flapping is minimal despite the fabric's light weight, and the long, slim back provides good coverage around the hind area when you're leant over on the drops.
The front bunches only slightly when in that low position, while the sleeves are nicely tapered to fit around the natural bend at the elbows and are long enough to accommodate anyone with normal-to-long arms. Those with extra-long arms may find the sleeves ride up slightly, but unfortunately there naturally comes a point where Gore needs to settle on a length that suits most users – this is clearly it.
Handily, the wrists have an elasticated section to them, so they do stop draughts and water sneaking up, regardless of where they sit.
Inside are quality taped seams, which are super-low in profile and underpin the excellence of the fabric. These are used along the internal zip shield to stop ingress, as well as at the tapered neckline, which in turn stops water sneaking down when the Velcro is fastened. I found the zip a little restrictive when put all the way up – but it should be said I have quite a wide neck so this is nothing unusual (it IS me in the photos).
The two-way zip is easy to pull up and down with one hand, while the dropped back fits to the body with the help of elastic sections around the sides of the waist hem. These aren't adjustable, but the general slim cut means that it'll stay fast to the torso on most people.
The back features a single zipped pocket protected by a storm flap, and the jacket folds away into it for easy storage in a jersey pocket.
Those pockets could be the reason it comes out a bit heavier than 7Mesh's Oro jacket, made of the same fabric but weighing just 97g. They're the same price, bar a quid, though you could save £30 if you chose the non-1985 slimmer fitting C7 Gore Shakedry jacket. Castelli's Idro is £260, so you could pay more...
Gore provides the Shakedry 1985 jacket in four colourways – this grey and red one, plus black and high-vis yellow, and two non-Viz ones, plain black and navy. All have reflective Gore and Gore-Tex branding in the usual places, with a horizontal strip on the rear pocket flap too.
One thing to be aware of, although I have no doubts about its build quality after my time with it, is that after washing you need to ensure that you hang it up or spread it out because the fabric is prone to creasing when drying folded over a rack, for example. Other than this, as I said earlier it washes easily on a 40-degree cycle, with no tumble drying necessary to 'revive' its waterproofing.
Yes, it has a whopping £250 price tag, but treat it with a bit more care than usual and it'll be money well spent.
A brilliantly waterproof and breathable packable jacket – one of the best
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 Viz Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
Gore says: "Training to compete at the highest level requires total commitment, whatever time of day your training happens. This jacket has been engineered to keep you visible and totally dry when you have to ride in less than desirable weather conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- GORE-TEX® Active Product: Lightweight, extremely breathable, durably waterproof and windproof
- GORE-TEX® Active Jacket with new SHAKEDRY™ product technology
- Wider, comfortable cut
- Reinforced hem for easier closure of zipper
- Elastic hem
- 2-way front zip
- Zip tags for easy opening
- Ergonomically shaped collar
- Reflective logos
Despite its light fabric, the seams, zips and hems are extremely well finished and designed.
As far as I can tell, this fabric has nothing out there to rival it.
Naturally, a thinner jacket will be less resilient (long term) to multiple seasons, but I've been impressed enough so far to think I wouldn't need to replace it for a couple of years at least. Note that Gore says 'No backpack use'. It needs a bit more looking after than most.
Water beads and shakes off – the dream scenario for a waterproof.
Also excellent – even better thanks to its light weight. No vent zips, but I never really missed them.
The C5 fit is true to size and still slim on the body, if not as slim as C7 designs. Only shame is that the Shakedry fabric doesn't have any stretch to it.
True to size, but the sleeves might be slightly short if you have very long arms.
It's a feathery 127g in a medium, even though it doesn't quite meet Gore's 116g (large) claim.
There's no separate lining here – the lining is bonded to the Gore-Tex membrane – and it feels soft and cool against the skin.
Okay, £250 is a serious amount of money to spend on any piece of clothing, but the quality of the technology goes a long way to justifying it. If you look after it, it's a quality investment.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easier than you'd think, given its thinness. Wash it with a liquid detergent at 40 degrees, hang it up to dry, and it'll stay good. No tumble drying or tech wash necessary.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly – arguably second-to-none.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Fantastic waterproofness, great breathability, packability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, if they wanted the best packable waterproof available.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Shakedry 1985 jacket is a fantastic performer, and although expensive it's a great choice if you ride hard, whatever the weather. The price makes it hard to award it a full 10, and it does need a bit more careful looking after than most, but it thoroughly deserves a 9. It's exceptional.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding