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Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch jacket review

Has adding stretch panels and a decent pocket to Gore’s ultralight Shakedry waterproof jacket made it the ultimate all-weather shell or compromised its purity?

Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch jacket
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Incredible fabric finally gets the fit it deserves as well as a useful pocket upgrade creating the ultimate weather-beating jacket for fast and/or hard-working riders

For

  • Exceptional breathability
  • Outstanding waterproofing
  • Superb fit
  • Lightweight
  • Instantly packable
  • No chilling effect

Against

  • Huge price
  • Dark colours only
  • Shakedry is fragile

Shakedry was a breakthrough in the making of the best waterproof cycling jackets, offering outstanding breathability and weight in a fully waterproof fabric, but the fit of Shakedry jackets always suffered slightly due to a lack of stretch. 

Gore has now teamed the miracle membrane with strategically placed stretch Gore-Tex panels and the result is the Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch; a truly ultra-performance jacket that works superbly in the dry as well as the wet. 

 Construction

If you managed to avoid Shakedry tech for the past few years, this revolutionary fabric is basically the middle membrane layer from traditional Gore-Tex 3 layer cloth without the protective outer fabric and the inner mesh/printed dot face. Not only does this make it incredibly light, with no outer face to get damp and hold the water, rain beads on the surface and literally just shakes - or rolls - straight off. One downside is that it doesn’t stretch at all so even with very clever cuts from various brands, we’ve never found a Shakedry that fits snug in a variety of different riding positions - as highlighted in our Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Shakedry jacket review

That’s why Gore has added a new unidirectional stretch Gore-Tex fabric to the underarm and shoulder blade area, over the hips and at the cuffs of its new C7 Shakedry Stretch jacket.

That’s not the only clever fit element either as the rest of the jacket gets some really complicated panel cuts including a spiral arm seam and multi-piece front and rear construction. The YKK zip gets a generous beard guard ‘garage’ at the top with a tall soft-lined collar to stop drips and draughts. The dropped tail is super long with a broad gripper strip and more gripper strips over the hips. Gore has also added a stretchy rear pocket that’s big enough for a smartphone, energy bar and other essentials. There are subtle reflective striping and reflective logos as well as a ‘Storm Blue’ Cancellara collection version for £319.99.

Performance

If you’ve not ridden in Shakedry in the rain before, watching the first few drops hit the fabric and just roll off with the wind is both fantastic and fascinating. The fact they’ll still be doing it hours later is even more wonderful. The lack of an outer layer to get damp and stay damp means it actually insulates far better than a heavier weight three-layer jacket. Add the exceptional breathability (because again, there’s no outer face fabric in the way) and that completely stops the creeping coldness that means we rarely use full waterproofs unless we absolutely have to. As a result, we’ve been perfectly happy using this jacket as a windbreaker on cold dry days and even up to around 10 degrees, sweat build-up isn’t an obvious issue unless you’re plugging away hard on a long, slow hill when even a thermal jersey would start to get soggy too.

Obviously, this applies to all Gore Shakedry fabric jackets whether the jacket it made by Gore themselves or not. The difference with the Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch is that the stretch panels give an awesome, snug, flap-free fit. Not just one position but however you ride from sat up tapping out tempo to fully slammed into the bars in an aero tuck. Because there are no seams digging into armpits or wrists, blood flow isn’t compromised so arms and hands stay warmer. The deeply dropped tail extends protection down to your saddle and the grip strips on the tail and on the stretch panels over the hips mean the tail stays down rather than creeping up over time. While they don’t bead water off like the Shakedry fabric the stretch panels are just as waterproof and windproof too, so the weather protection is totally complete.

The stretch panels and pocket do add bulk, £40 and 60g compared to the pure Shakedry fabric C7 jacket at £239.99 and 110g, but it still rolls up to squeeze into a jersey pocket. The literal shake dry effect means it packs away drip- and damp-free, not soaking wet. The only real downside is that with no protective outer layer, the Shakedry material is very vulnerable to even the slightest scuff or thorn damage, so only venture off-road if you know you can stay well clear of crashes or angry vegetation. We’d definitely recommend trying it on before buying too as Gore has used an unapologetically slim, athlete optimised fit rather than a more rotund and recreational pattern.

Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch jacket

Stretch panels make for a jacket with a snug fit, no matter the riding position (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch review: Verdict 

Yes, the Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch is a very expensive jacket. Yes, the fragile fabric needs looking after. Yes, it’s a bit heavier and bulkier than a purist single fabric, minimal feature shell. But if you can afford it and regularly ride in cold or wet or windy - or simultaneously cold, wet and windy - conditions we guarantee you won’t regret investing in it. If you can, get the matching Shakedry hat for under your helmet as well, as again, breathability and weatherproofing is next level and it’s thin enough not to compromise fit or safety like thicker caps can.

Tech Specs: Gore C7 Shakedry Stretch

  • Price: £279.99 / US$369.95
  • Weight: 165g
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL