In terms of waterproofing, the Gore C5 Women Gore-Tex Shakedry Jacket (previously known as the Gore One Power Lady GTX Shakedry) is the best rain jacket I've ever worn. It's probably the best windproof cycling jacket I've worn, given the right temperature. And it's not the most expensive.
I turned into a bit of a green-eyed monster on last September's rain-lashed Ride Across Britain, every time I saw someone in their Gore One/Shakedry jacket, as I donned and undonned my very-good-at-keeping-rain-out-but-not-so-good-at-breathing Sportful NoRain Hot Pack, as we went from storm to sunshine and back to storm (on repeat for five days).
Since reading about the first Gore One jacket that Dave reviewed in 2016, and the newer one Ash tested more recently (and other jackets using the same fabric, from 7Mesh and Castelli), I've hoped to get my hands on one to see if what they said was really true.
Yes, it's true. It keeps out rain superbly – the taped seams and waterproof fabric ensure you stay completely dry underneath. Okay, a little bit might seep down inside the collar, but that's not the jacket's fault.
It's not down to a surface treatment, it's all in the fabric. There's no outer layer, like in a typical 3-layer jacket, as Gore puts it succinctly, its 'membrane construction eliminates face fabric'. You can wash it with no need to reproof, it just keeps on working. I've washed it a few times – guess who forgot her mudguards – and it's as waterproof as ever.
In the rain, water beads on the surface and nothing gets through. And when it stops raining, you give the jacket a shake – hence the name – and most of the beads of water fly off, if they haven't already blown off in the wind.
It also breathes really well – I've yet to produce any condensation on the inside, and I've ridden in it with too many clothes on underneath, on rides where I've had to work really quite hard. You can open the zips on the sleeves for venting, but I haven't felt the need.
I've also ridden in it with what I've thought were not enough clothes on underneath, and it's kept me surprisingly warm. A long-sleeve merino baselayer and the Gore jacket on top, on single-digit days, no problem.
It's also incredibly light, and rolls up small enough to go in a jersey pocket.
Fit-wise, it's 'C5' – Gore's code for keen rider but not pro (that's C7) – and has a 'women's specific cut', but I fall in between sizes, so if the stretch built into the latest men's version makes its way to the women's, that should help here. (There is a more minimalist C7 Shakedry jacket for women, if that's more your thing – and for less money.)
As it is, the C5 is shaped using a slightly elastic sewn-in 'belt' on the rear, which brings the waist in but allows the bottom to flare out for your hips. There's no silicone gripper, the bottom just hangs in place – something I prefer actually; it doesn't ride up and get 'stuck' in place, needing pulling down.
Off the bike (and running), it feels tight across the chest, but works perfectly when you're on the bike, with your arms reaching forward to the handlebar. (Gore makes one for running, too, if you do both activities.)
It also has two handy zipped pockets on the front, which the more pro C7 doesn't. I can fit my iPhone 5 in the lower one, and keys, card or cash in the chest pocket.
Mostly, it's a superb jacket, with just a couple of things that could be improved. One already has been since I was sent this jacket to test – a bigger reflective logo on the rear and reflective cuffs. The dull colour means it doesn't exactly stand out on the road, so you'll need good lights. (Blue is an option in the running models, so hopefully there'll be more choice before too long.)
The zips are a little stiff to use, including the main front zip – if you can't ride no-handed it can be quite a fiddle to hold the neck in place with the same hand you're using to open the zip. I'm also fearful of the poppers breaking; I don't have a good record with poppers.
I also find it a bit of a bugbear that you can't use it with a backpack. The fabric isn't robust enough for that, and Gore states 'No backpack usage' on its website. I tend to commute with panniers on my Paulus Quiros, but if I wanted to nip to work on my Vitus I use a backpack, which means I have to think twice about which jacket to take. Okay, the Gore's purpose isn't exactly daily commuting, but if you've shelled out 250 quid on your jacket you might want to wear it everywhere.
That price is a little hard to swallow – until you start thinking about how much it might mean to your enjoyment on a ride. Take the RAB... If you've spent two or three grand on a bike, and something like that on entry to the ride (or similar holiday, challenge, whatever), being able to just continue riding comfortably without worrying about getting wet or overheating could be well worth the outlay.
I spent over £200 on a Rab (not RAB!) jacket back in January, just for keeping warm on dog walks. Okay, I felt a bit queasy at spending that much initially, but crikey oh riley have I been pleased I got it. (Hurrah for the long, cold winter!) I suspect if I had to actually pay for the Gore C5 Shakedry the same would be true: pay, feel sick, relax and enjoy.
A superb jacket you can wear in heavy rain and between showers
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C5 Women Gore-Tex Shakedry Jacket
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the jacket is for
Gore says, "This completely waterproof jacket is designed to be your go-to item when the clouds are low and the rain is pouring. With its women's specific cut, you'll be comfortable and dry on long road rides in consistent rain."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Concealed front zip pocket
Revolutionary membrane construction eliminates face fabric preventing a chilling effect
Chest zip pocket
Reflective transfers for higher visibility and safety
GORE-TEX® Active Product: Lightweight, extremely breathable, durably waterproof and windproof
Weight 95 gram Size L
GORE-TEX® Active Jacket with new SHAKEDRY™ product technology
Ventilation zippers at sleeve cuff
Room for use with protectors at elbows
Zip tags for easy opening
Close fit collar
Waterproofing is excellent; breathability is excellent. If performance includes 'being seen at night' it loses a point.
It needs careful handling if it's going to last. Gore states 'No backpack usage' on its website.
Unlike the very latest iteration for men, with stretchy panels, there's not a lot of accommodation for slighty deviating from the average.
I'm a medium in some jackets, large in others. Large in this one. I'd say it comes up slightly small.
Looks heavier than it is; slightly heavier than the 95g weight Gore quotes for this and the C7 version.
Its smooth, slightly 'oily' feel is extremely comfortable on the bike.
Against the competition, it's on par with Castelli, 7Mesh etc (or slightly cheaper). Against other 'waterproof' jackets it's expensive, but performs better. Is it 'worth' £250? As long as you promise to look after it, yes, I'd say it is. For the performance.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Look after it, in use and when not in use. Washing is easy – wash at 40 degrees using normal detergent. No surface treatment to worry about, no reproofing required.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Its waterproofness without making you boil, and how light it is.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Dull colour and lack of visbility/reflectives, though that's been addressed to some extent in the latest version.
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 drawbacks are price, its somewhat fragile fabric, and the rather dull colour. I'd say those lose it a point, but it's an exceptional jacket.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
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: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.