Whatever the reason – fat bikes, plus bikes, or just more riders overall, there seems to be an increase in the number of riders pedaling out in the cold. There seems to also be an equal rise in the number of clothing options as riders look for more purpose built pieces to keep them warm. Gore has always been one of the big names in outdoor apparel, so it should come as no surprise that they have a complete kit in their One Gore line. Between the One Gore Windstopper pants and the One Gore Thermium jacket, you’re almost guaranteed to be plenty warm…
The most unique piece in the group is easily the Windstopper pants. Cut with a slim fit, these are definitely more pants than tights, but they take an interesting approach to warmth. Instead of surrounding your legs in insulation, Primaloft Gold Insulation Active covers the front on the pants from the waist down to the bottom of the knees. It’s actually open underneath the insulation allowing the panel to articulate with the knee, though there is a thin piece of fabric underneath so you’re not completely exposed. This design accomplishes two things – it keeps the most critical bits that are exposed to the wind plenty warm, but it also makes for a highly breathable design to prevent over heating.
The rest of the pant is made from a thicker Gore Windstopper fabric which is fleece backed, and provides protection from the wind and moisture. The legs use a pre-curved shape to allow for better pedaling – which is a bit weird when you first try them on, but feels completely natural on the bike.
Since they’re meant for pedaling, the legs taper at the ankles enough so the legs won’t get caught in the chain. Even if they manage to get close, both have panels of highly durable material where rubbing may occur. The leg opening also have a large zipper to make them easier to get on. Because of the slim fit and pre-curved knees you won’t be able to fit these over boots though.
Equipped with a zipper fly and a single snap, the waist is elastic to provide some range of fit, but is not adjustable. The only pocket is on the back of the pants with a single zipper. The pants retail for $250 and run on the snug side. I’m in a medium here.
The pants were my favorite piece due to how well they breathe while still keeping you warm. They also fit very well making for easy pedaling. I prefer pants for winter riding off road and these enable me to run a summer weight chamois underneath and not have to add a number of layers to stay warm.
Up top, the Thermium jacket is there to keep you warm. Really warm. Like the pants, the jacket uses Primaloft Gold Insulation Active which is a special insulation for high intensity activities. Primaloft states that the manufacturing process locks insulating fibers in place which keeps the insulation from migrating and making the whole structure more breathable. The outside of the jacket is made from a Windstopper Active Shell that is DWR coated and uses taped seams to keep out moisture and the wind. I will say that even with the special insulation, this jacket is still best for only the coldest conditions. At 20°f and above, I found myself sweating more than I would like and without any sort of vents built in, the only thing you can do is unzip the front.
Because of that, I only reach for the Thermium on the coldest rides, and found myself using it more as a jacket to keep me warm at the trail head while I’m getting ready to ride. It also proved to be a great piece for other moderately aerobic activities when temperatures are below freezing – as in, I found myself wearing this just as much while I wasn’t riding. That can be an important detail in purchasing riding gear. If you’re shelling out $400 for this jacket, it’s nice to get some more mileage out of it than just riding. For me, it replaced my winter down jacket for the season.
Even though the jacket doesn’t have any vents, it does have a few features like the hidden Velcro cuffs to make it easy to get over gloves with a long gauntlet. The hood is insulated like the rest of the jacket and covers your mouth just below the nose with a drawstring to make it a tight fit. It won’t fit over a helmet but it will fit under. The jacket has three pockets, two in the front, and one on the rear along with a drawstring at the hem. The fit for the Thermium jacket is a little more relaxed and I probably could have gone with a small here, but the medium is still on the small side.
Similar Thermium technology is available in headwear and in gloves. The Windstopper hat uses Primaloft Gold Insulation around the perimeter, but stops short of the top to allow for venting out the top of your helmet. It’s a little thicker than your average skull cap, but it compresses to fit under your helmet surprisingly well. Then there are the Gore Windstopper Insulated Gloves which again combine a Windstopper shell with Primaloft Gold Insulation. The faux leather palm provides a nice grip on the bar, and overall the gloves are very warm without ever feeling bulky. They also feature a zipper at the side of the palm which is intended for venting – but could also be used to easily slip in a hand warmer on really cold days. Along with smart phone compatible finger and thumbs, the gloves have an absorbent pad on the thumb, and sell for $129.99.