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Bad weather? What bad weather? That's the smug feeling you have when wearing Gore's new C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined Thermo Jacket. It keeps most of the rain out, is warm, fits well and isn't insanely expensive, though it's not cheap. But then, few good things in life are.
This new jacket combines the excellent Shakedry waterproof fabric with a soft lining and fleece insulation to produce a garment that keeps you warm and dry. Simples.
It's a key part of Gore's relatively new Infinium range. To make choosing a Gore product easier, the company now splits its offerings into Gore-Tex (waterproof) and Infinium (non-waterproof) lines.
Infinium utilises different fabrics to optimise performance, so with this Thermo jacket it's mostly made from what the company calls a Persistent Beading Technology fabric (Shakedry, basically) for waterproofness, and then Windstopper panels for comfort-boosting stretch, breathability and colour – there's a choice of red and yellow alongside the black pictured here.
Windstopper is used over the shoulders and across the back to enhance the fit and heat management, and inside is a fleecy fabric to provide warmth on cold winter rides.
The longer tail, tall neck and decent length arms enhance the fit and let you hunker down against a bracing headwind or cloudburst. It's all very well constructed with excellent attention to detail.
Talking of detail, there are many features to draw your attention to: a 3D pocket design that increases cargo capacity and works very well…
a tall collar with a brushed lining to keep your lower neck warm…
reflective details to help you stand out, and a zippered valuables pocket if you're paranoid about your house keys falling out of an open pocket (that's me!).
A wide elasticated and reflective rear waistband keeps the back of the jacket from riding up.
Fit is good, in a slightly more relaxed way, as expected from the C5 designation (C7 is race fit, C3 is even more relaxed, C5 sits in the middle). It's not a racing snake figure-hugging affair; there's ample space underneath for extra layers when you need it on really cold rides.
Worn over a short baselayer, the jacket lining is soft on the skin and this setup provides ample warmth for temperatures hovering around 6-8°C. Go colder and a long sleeve jersey provides ample insulation for between 0-5°C.
Whether it's raining, windy, cold or mild, the Thermo jacket is a reliable and useful top to keep you warm and dry. It provides adequate breathability so you never overheat, and while it's not 100 per cent waterproof, for most rain you're reasonably likely to encounter it'll keep you dry. It makes dressing for a ride very easy because you don't need to carry an additional rain jacket.
It's not called a waterproof jacket because of the various seams joining the 100 per cent waterproof Shakedry fabric with Windstopper, but the latter is water-resistant and in my testing the water beads off both fabrics extremely well. During cloudbursts or drizzle the jacket kept me dry, the lack of moisture on the jersey underneath at the end of the ride a clear sign of how well the fabrics worked.
So far durability has been very good. I've been wearing this jacket for off-road excursions and have slung a backpack on and it's been just fine. It goes through a regular machine wash cycle and doesn't need any special care.
The market for jackets that combine waterproof fabrics with insulation is small, but they are perfectly suited to UK conditions. They take everything we like from Gabba-style jerseys but massively improve the performance with better cold and wet weather performance.
It's a nice improvement on the Gore C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 Insulated Jacket I tested last year, with the four rear pockets much appreciated on long rides, and the Thermo jacket is significantly cheaper.
It's also cheaper than the £320 Rapha Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex Jacket I've tested recently, and is more useful because of the four pockets; and though it's not 100 per cent waterproof, in reality it's waterproof enough.
It's also a little cheaper than the PEdAL ED Yuki Winter Jacket, which was £270 when Stu tested it back in January, and is currently £238.
If the Thermo jacket is still out of your price range, the dhb Aeron LAB All Winter Polartec is one to consider, but it's nowhere near as waterproof as the Gore.
High-quality jacket that deals with foul weather impressively well
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Soft Lined Thermo Jacket
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the jacket 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: "Gore Wear's C5 Soft Lined Thermo Jacket will get you through changeable conditions and the colder months on the bike. Gore-Tex Infinium™ fabric features Persistent Beading Technology so light rain will roll off, and despite the jacket's windproof construction it remains highly breathable. There's plenty of space for nutrition, spares and more valuable items in the three open and one zippered pocket, and the jacket is finished with reflective details on all surfaces so other road users will spot you from all angles in low light.
"Our new, non-waterproof GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ products range builds on the quality and performance of the original GORE-TEX products range. It is not a technology on its own but hosts a variety of established and new product technologies that provide you with versatile aspects of comfort and protection.
"Whatever passions keep you moving, the new GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ series has best in class solutions. Made for when comfort and performance take priority over waterproofness"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Gore-Tex Infinium™ soft-lined garment
3D rear pocket construction gives more storage space
Draped cycling fit will not flap in the wind
Durable front zipper with zipper garage at neck to prevent chafing
High collar with brushed lining
Persistent Beading Surface is water resistant against light showers
Reflective details on all sides
Soft lined shell is quiet to wear with next-to-skin comfort
Three large rear pockets with fourth small zippered pocket for keys and valuables
Totally windproof and extremely breathable
Warm fleecy fabric for cycling in cold conditions
Temperature range: 5° - 15°C
Top quality construction as usual from Gore.
Excellent in the cold and rain.
So far durability has been good, but the 'Persistent Beading Technology' fabric (Shakedry, basically) isn't super-tough so you want to be careful.
It's not 100% waterproof because of the use of Windstopper panels, but in reality it'll keep you dry in most typical rainy weather.
It prevents overheating.
Gore's C5 is a slightly looser, more relaxed fit than its race-fit C7 kit, and there's space for extra layers underneath for cold days.
Sizes up well.
It's a little heavier and bulkier than some jackets but it's not excessive.
It's comfortable against the skin and feels nice on the bike.
It's expensive, but you're getting some impressive performance here – and it's cheaper than rivals.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps you warm and dry, what more do you want?
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Deals with rain, the insulation keeps you warm, and it's comfortable. Plus it has four pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Nothing really leaps out here.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than two direct rivals that combine similar fabrics, Rapha's Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex Jacket at £320, and PEdAL ED's Yuki Winter Jacket, now £238.
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
It's top-end money but the performance surpasses many rival jackets at this price which don't combine the same insulation and rain protection.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.