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review

Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket

8
£129.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Well shaped, well made, comfortable and warm – if not quite breathable enough for mild weather
Great cut
Warm
Windproof
High, comfortable neck
Two of three rear pockets are narrow
Lack of waterproofing reduces usefulness
A bit sweaty as a mid-layer on warm, wet rides
Weight: 
415g

The Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket is an excellent defence on cold rides – it's warm, windproof and really well shaped. Gore makes no claim of waterproofing but it can cope with brief, light showers; while pairing successfully with a waterproof in single-digit temps, it's not quite breathable enough as a mid-layer at the upper end of its claimed range.

The softshell Infinium Thermo Jacket is very comfortable for a variety of reasons. The fleecy lining is soft against the skin should you have short sleeves, and the thick fabric holds warmth very well from the off.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Cold draughts do little to change that, thanks to excellent windproofing, a well-dropped tail that stays firmly in place on a wide, silicone-backed elastic panel, and neat inner cuffs that block winds effectively.

2020 Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket - back.jpg

The neck is a highlight. It's tall and cosseting without ever feeling restrictive, and the soft lining feels plush. I found myself constantly adjusting the zip from collarbone to fully up to regulate heat – it makes a surprising difference – and the chunky plastic zip slides eagerly. No need here to bite the collar and stretch just to get the damn thing to move...

2020 Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket - collar.jpg

Gore says this is for 5-15°C, but I personally found it a bit too sweaty at much beyond 12 degrees, even with a single short-sleeve layer beneath. I don't particularly run hot, either. I never got so hot I wanted to take it off – which is good, as it's a bulky thing – but the build-up of moisture does get distracting.

Fill the thick, spray-resistant pockets with stuff and your lower back only gets sweatier... although as the two outer ones are rather narrow and not very stretchy, there's only so much you can fit in (a big phone fits in the outer ones fine, but my waterproof is centre-pocket only).

2020 Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket - pockets.jpg

It has a zipped pocket too, always appreciated.

2020 Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket - zipped pocket.jpg

In cooler air (10°C or less), the Infinium Thermo does a great job of staying warm and a perfectly acceptable job of ditching vapour. As an outer layer, it's fantastic, and this almost violently yellow version is extremely visible on winter days. So visible, in fact, that I seemed to suffer fewer close passes whenever I was wearing it. It's not infallible – a tactical nuke wouldn't be bright enough for some (do BMW X5s have opaque windscreens? Asking for a friend) – but there really does seem to be an effect.

2020 Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket - shoulders.jpg

There's also a (slightly) less shouty red version, alongside blue and black options for the ninjas and traditionalists out there.

The sizing and fit is spot on, too, as is Gore's description of it as form fitting but not body hugging. It has room for layers and easy movement, but nothing to flap or form a sail. It's not me in the photos – that's Liam, who's 6cm shorter than me and a few kilos lighter.

2020 Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket - chest.jpg

Its Achilles heel is any mild, wet day when you need a waterproof on top for extended periods, and your own personal humidity spikes. Like the rest of the Infinium range, this jacket is not designed to be waterproof, and though water does bead a little – principally on the black bits – the majority sinks through. Gore makes no mention of DWR or similar at all.

2020 Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket - back detail.jpg

It's okay in very brief or light showers, but nothing more. On cold, wet days it works as a mid-layer just fine, but once into double figures I found it eventually got uncomfortable beneath a waterproof.

At £129.99 it's hardly cheap, though the quality, fit and performance justify it – and you can spend more. The Chapeau Men's Club Windstopper Jacket is £149.99, for instance, though its windproof panels are also waterproof and the rest is more breathable. It only comes in black, though.

The Pearl Izumi Pro AmFib Softshell Jacket is even more at £199.99, though that is water resistant enough that you could avoid buying a separate waterproof altogether.

Undercutting both considerably is Lusso's 50 Shades Thermal Jacket at (hilariously) £69.99, although that's neither windproof nor waterproof. It's still very good though.

> Buyer’s Guide: 29 of the best winter cycling jackets

If you want fantastic warmth and comfort AND great breathability alongside low weight and good packability, the Endura Pro Primaloft Jacket II is only £10 more than the Infinium Thermo at £139.99.

Overall, the Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket is warm, comfortable and very well shaped. It's great to ride in on cold, dry days or cold, wet days with a waterproof, although reasonable rather than amazing breathability means that mild rides, whether wet or dry, are just not its forte.

Verdict

Well shaped, well made, comfortable and warm – if not quite breathable enough for mild weather

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket

Size tested: Medium

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: "Fleece lined thermal soft shell jacket provides insulation and wind protection on cold rides. Cut to be form fitting in your riding position. Use of reflective GORE® logos enhances nighttime visibility, ideal for committed winter cyclists."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Gore lists:

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

Totally windproof

Extremely breathable

Cool 5° - 15°C

Engineered for Cycling

Weight: 468 grams

Product Details

3-compartment spray resistant back pockets

Big tonal logo on sleeve

Fleece lined backer for warmth protection

Form fit

Inner cuffs

Modern, aero road cycling fit: lengthened sleeves and dropped tail

Reflective details

Secure zip pocket on rear for keys or valuables

Zip with zip port

Elastic grip on bottom hem

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
8/10

Warm, comfortable and pretty breathable.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

Stitching and fabric choices give zero concerns.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
7/10

Gore doesn't put a number on it, just claims this is 'extremely breathable'. I wouldn't go quite as far as that, but while it can get a little sweaty on mild days, as an outer layer it breathes well enough to stay comfortable no matter what.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10

A very well judged cut that's slim and flap-free without being at all tight.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
8/10

Just right.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10

Warm, windproof and with a great high neck, this is a pleasure to wear on cold rides.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
5/10

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No problems. Can take 40 degree washes.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Comfortable, good sleeve length, excellent neck, very visible.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Narrow rear pockets.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's cheaper than several recent softshells we've reviewed, though they offer at least some waterproofing too – and the only one to beat if for price isn't wind or waterproof.

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 very well made, very comfortable and a great barrier against chilly air. If it were a bit more breathable for use under a waterproof it could be a nine, but perhaps this level of fleece-lined warmth makes that impossible... it's hard to say. Either way, it's very good just as it is and a solid eight.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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