Winter Clothing, Southern Style

In my last post–a long time ago, I recounted purchasing some winter clothing in summer. Of course, since I live in southern Louisiana my version of winter is likely different than yours. We rarely get daytime temperatures in the 30s. Even during the recent east of the Mississippi polar freeze, our daytime temperatures were still in the

Gore WindStopper SoftShell Jersey, front
Gore Power Windstopper Softshell Jersey.

high 30s and low 40s, which is cold by the way.

With that out of the way, on to a quick review of Gore Bike Wear’s Men’s Power WindStopper Softshell Short-Sleeve Jersey.

 

Overall, it’s a good jersey. I run hot–see pictures below so I find it’s a bit warm for most of the weather I encounter. I’ve tried it in low 60s and 50s and have found it warm and that means sweat, which means chill. The first few rides I did in the jersey were afternoon rides that started in the low 60s and maybe dropped into the high 50s. They were spirited rides–tempo or better. I ended up unzipping the jersey. Recently I did a ride in similar weather with a heavier, but not a winter jersey and the same base layer. Overall, the level of sweat on the base layer was the same, though I felt a touch less clammy.

Gore Windstopper
A bit warm for the GGore Power Windstopper Softshell Jersey.

One ride I had a zipper malfunction and ended up fully unzipping the thing. Luckily it was warm enough that I didn’t have to stop or try to be pro and sit up and zip up.

I generally layer so on all occasions I had either a short or long sleeve base layer on–basically if I’m wearing this, I’m going need some covering on my arms, but I think the long sleeve version would be too much for my temperatures. Perhaps paring the Gore jersey with no base layer and arm warmers might be the ticket.

Perhaps Castelli is on to something with the lighter Perfecto jersey?

That said, I’ve ridden a few times in the low 50s and high 40s and it seems to be fine. The last time I wore it, I appreciated the windstopper fabric as the wind was blowing and while my arms were a bit chilly, my chest, shoulders, and back were comfortable. It was only the last three or four miles of the ride that I noticed I felt like I needed to unzip a bit–disclosure the pace picked up a bit.

What I Like

At first look I was skeptical of the long tail, fearing that it would get in the way, but it hasn’t.

It’s comfortable–other than the overheating issues. The high collar works. Even though I’m not a fan of things around my neck, I’m growing to like it early on in the ride.

It’s held up to four or five washings and a few repeat wearings with no washing. The reflective lettering on the back (which may not be to everyone’s taste) seems to be holding up well.

The rear pockets do their job–they’re not too big, not to high or low, and despite feeling stretchy don’t seem to droop with my standard load–iPhone 7, small wallet, three or four keys, asthma inhaler, and occasionally a bar or gel.

Back in July I thought the inside felt a bit gummy, but I haven’t noticed it on the bike and overall the fabric feels soft.

I’m not sure I’d pay full retail for the Gore Bike Wear’s Men’s Power WindStopper Softshell Short-Sleeve Jersey.

For me, this is best for temperatures that max out in the low to mid 50s and could probably work into the low 40s with the right base layer and arm warmers.

 

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Winter Clothing in Summer

Smart cyclists buy clothing off season. Add in the Tour de France sales and doing so just make sense. Over the past few weeks I’ve picked up two winter clothing items.

First is Castelli’s Gabba 2 Short-Sleeve Men’s Jersey. Second is Gore Bike Wear’s Men’s Power WindStopper Softshell Short-Sleeve Jersey. Both feature some version of Gore’s Windstopper. I’ve been a big fan of Windstopper since I raced as a grad student at The Ohio State University. Mostly I liked base layers since I could still wear my short sleeve race jersey. But now that I don’t do much racing and live in South Louisiana, I figured I’d give full on Windstopper jerseys a try. Add in TdF sales and I got two for basically the price of one.

Fit and Finish

Castelli Gabba 2 front
Castelli Gabba 2

The Castelli Gabba 2 fits traditionally Castelli and that means sizing up for most of us Americans. Add in a fabric that’s heavier and less stretchy than a typical jersey and the Gabb 2 fits even a bit tighter than most Castelli/Italian brands. It’s snug. Really snug.

And yep, I said “heavier.” The Gabba is no lightweight. It’s got some heft to it and inside feels a touch rubbery. I’m not sure I’d wear it without a base layer of some sort–tune in sometime in February or maybe January for some long term testing.

The Gore Bike Wear’s Men’s Power WindStopper Softshell Short-Sleeve Jersey feels quite a bit lighter than the Gabba 2. It also feels a bit softer and not quite as stiff as the Gabba (I haven’t put the Gabba 2 in the dryer on low, which is supposed to soften it up.) And the Gore fits a bit less like it was designed for pro racers with 3% body fat and small frames. If you’re like me and have a bigger build and could stand to lose a few pounds, that’s a good thing. One thing I’m not sure about the fit on the Gore is the sleeves feel a bit long, but that might change once I get on the bike.

Gore WindStopper SoftShell Jersey, front
Gore Bike Wear’s Men’s Power WindStopper Softshell

Like the Gabba 2, it has a zipper flap, but it’s on the inside. Just trying the two jerseys on and walking around in them, I like the inside zipper flap on the Gore jersey. And there’s more zipper fun. The Gore has a nifty little zipper pocket at the collar that lets the zipper tuck in. It gives the jersey a bit of cleaner look. Again, long term testing will tell which design is better–though it looks like the Gabba 3 will have a similar design.

Both jerseys feature a tall collar, though the Gabba 2’s is a bit taller. One thing that’s nice about the Gore’s collar is that it has some contouring to it. It’s scalloped in the back, giving some room for riding with your head up a bit. Again, tune in sometime in the winter to see if it makes any difference.

The Gore’s back pockets are a bit of mixed bag. The center one is made of the same material as the main jersey while the two side pockets are made of a thin stretchy material that may prove troublesome once filled with stuff like keys, small wallets, gels, bars, etc. I haven’t seen a Gabba 1, but they may be similar to the pockets on it and that may be a problem.

Both the Castelli and the Gore feature a longer tail, which may be nice in wet weather, but may complicate things for those sizing up in the Castelli.

Aesthetics

Gore Windstopper Softshell Jersey, back
Gore Bike Wear’s Men’s Power WindStopper Softshell

Both jerseys are red. I like red. Both come in other colors if you don’t like red. The Castelli Gabba is a pretty understated design and I like that. It has the Castelli scorpion on the sleeve and center back pocket along with Rosa Corsa on the chest with a slightly darker stripe running across the chest for a bit of design. There is some reflective piping along the back of the jersey as well.

The Gore Power WindStopper Softshell is also pretty understated with the exception of the bold “WINDSTOPPER” reflective lettering  along the spine of the jersey. I’m 6 feet tall and a bit wide so I can already hear the jokes. But, it’s an ok way to add some low light visibility on the jersey (maybe a lazy way that no Italian designer would ever do, but…).

As you can see the back of the collar is also black for a bit of contrast. And there is some reflective piping above the pockets.

If you like team logos, it looks like Castelli offers versions of the Gabba 2 in team Cannondale colors.

Final Thoughts

Both jerseys seem like they’re quality pieces. It’s currently 90 degrees and 99% humidity in Louisiana so I have no idea how they’ll deal with cold wind and keeping out drizzle.

So yeah, I live in Louisiana, but the temperature ranges of these jerseys–high 40s to 60s is pretty much our winter. It’s humid here so temps often feel a bit lower and it’s windy in the winter; I’m looking forward to trying both of these jerseys out. For me, something that cuts the wind is as important as insulation, especially on tempo or higher rides.

I’m not sure I’d spend $150 plus for either, but if you can catch them on sale they look like good additions to your cycling wardrobe. Add in the slight waterproof aspect of the Gabba 2 and the Gore jersey and they beat out windstopper type base layers, unless you have no plans to ride in the wet.