The C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket doesn't cut a unique path, but it fulfils its promise capably. What you get is a quality and well-made piece that you'll grab over and over in a range of conditions.
- - Excellent collar
- - Brushed fleece lining feels good against the skin
- - Options for visibility
- - Narrow pockets that sit high on the back
- - The light colours won’t withstand road spray
When it comes to changing weather conditions, versatility is key. The softshell jacket is the most versatile, and it's often the jacket you grab when it's a little cool and dry in the late spring or early fall. Many of the best winter cycling jackets are softshell in construction and they will carry you through most of the winter, perhaps aided by adding one of the best cycling base layers and perhaps a gilet as well. Depending on the weather you encounter, a great softshell jacket could serve as the only jacket you need, so it's important to pick a great one.
We spent time with the C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket, testing to see if it fits the bill. We tested it in a range of temperatures and situations, and we've got an understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. Keep reading to see how this piece from Gore Wear might fit into your cycling wardrobe.
Design and aesthetics
Depending on what colour choice you make, the C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket can be incredibly bright; in the Neon Yellow version, there's definitely no blending into the background. If you go for a more subdued colour there's also spots of reflectivity at the waist in the rear, both cuffs, and the bottom of the sides. Even when the background is grey, drab and rainy, you'll stay visible.
Those same panels that keep you visible also handle a wide range of temperatures. The majority of the jacket uses Gore Infinium fabric with Windstopper technology. The outer layer is a more breathable version of the classic Gore membrane. It will stop wind completely and a durable water repellent coating helps it handle light rain as well.
The exterior looks mostly the same but, on the inside, you can see there's a couple of different fabrics in use. The front panels, top of the sleeves, and rear panels all have a bonded fleece interior layer. There's generous stretch and it holds a lot of heat. Then on both sides and the bottom of the sleeves is an unlined strip that helps with breathability and adds extra stretch for a better fit.
All the reflective areas use the same dot pattern that shows up throughout the Gore line-up. There's a visually interesting pattern of small dots with a coating of reflective material. At the rear, those dots cover the lower portion of a strip of elastic with silicone for grip on the other side. At the ends of both sleeves, the dots cover a section of elastic material that's been thoughtfully tailored at an angle so as not to sit under the palms. The last place the dots show up is at the bottom of both sides.
The best jackets are about the details and the little things that let them stand out. With the Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket, I immediately noticed the way the edges are all stitched. Other than the raw cut edges on the cuffs and top of the collar, every seam finishes with a thick and quality stitch. Some of them use a flatlock stitch, though not all, and I've yet to find a popped stitch anywhere.
Once you put this piece from Gore Wear on, you notice more details. The collar is tall and complex. There's a zipper garage at the top and extra panels to give a little structure to the collar. On the inside, there's an extra strip of lining material to make sure none of the seams become a point of annoyance. The rear adds an extra bit of the same material from the sleeves to help seal against the elements without getting in the way.
These kinds of details are small things but they bleed into the bigger things too. The fit is tight but comfortable. It's a far cry from the more extreme fit you'll find in some brands but there's no extra material. The added elasticity at the sides helps with the fit too. This is a comfortable jacket.
As I headed out the door to test this piece from Gore, I had 90 miles ahead of me. The forecast called for a cloudy day with a low chance of precipitation. The temperatures called for were at the upper end of the recommended temperature range of 5-15°C and I decided to pair it with a summer base layer. According to the forecast I was looking at a cool, cloudy, autumn day that would be perfect for a softshell jacket.
Within only a few minutes the sun came out and I was riding in sunny weather around 18C/65F. It was too warm for the jacket and I opened the zipper for breathability. My arms were wet with sweat pretty quickly but I wasn't miserable, and I managed a couple of hours like this before I started climbing out of town.
As I headed for higher elevations the temperature dropped and I zipped up again. My arms dried out and the jacket was in the sweet spot. Then the weather changed again and the rain started. In the light rain, this jacket is still in the core of what it does best. Light rain beads up and there’s plenty of warmth.
The Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket is not designed for heavy rain, and like all softshell jackets, it will eventually get overwhelmed and soak through. If you ride in these conditions often, the best waterproof cycling jackets are a great addition to the collection.
On this day though the heavy rain maintained for less than an hour and the jacket did an excellent job. I was never uncomfortable and it was truly tested by the weather, with warm temperatures early on and later with heavy rain.
The only challenge I had with the jacket was relating to the pockets. There are three primary pockets plus an extra zippered pocket. The centre pocket is larger and fits my flat repair kit and mini-pump without any extra space. The two side pockets are very narrow and only just barely held my phone in one and my food in the other. When I needed to shed my gloves, I had to stuff one into the zippered pocket and the other barely fit into the centre on top of my flat repair pieces. I managed to carry what I needed, but not easily.
The Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket is one step above a long sleeve jersey. When you need protection from wind or light rain that a jersey can't provide, grab the C5 jacket and you'll be comfortable. If you miss the suggested temperature range, there's plenty of breathability to keep you comfortable when it's too hot and enough protection for short bursts of heavy rain. As the temperature drops the right layers will extend the usefulness of this jacket.
The downsides are not about keeping you comfortable on the bike. Instead, you might struggle with the narrow pockets. You might also run into issues getting the lighter colours clean again after a day of heavy road spray.
Tech specs: Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Infinium Jacket
- Price: £199.99 / $220.00 / AU$289.99
- Materials: Shell: 100% Polyester, Stretch Fabric: 92% Polyester, 8% Elastane
- Colour options: Bright Orange, Neon Yellow, Black, Orbit Blue, Lab Grey
- Size availability: S-XXL
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