The Gore Wear C5 Thermo bib tights+ don't have a long distance chamois and they aren't perfectly tailored, but what they do well is handle day-in, day-out training at a reasonable price
- - Extra water protection above the chamois in the rear
- - Just the right compression in the front
- - Windstopper cup is great for a winter garment
- - Chamois could be denser
Gore is a company that is easy to find, easy to buy, and offers a wide range of options for every season. You can find Gore products in our list of the best winter bib tights and the brand even makes an appearance in our list of the best cycling clothing brands. It is a brand we enjoy but at the same time, every new piece lives or dies on its own merits.
After an entire winter season with the Gore Wear C5 thermo bib tights, we are ready to tell you about them. We've taken the time to ride with them and we've got a sense of what works and what doesn't. Keep reading to see how they might work in your collection.
Design and aesthetics
Some bib tight patterns are extremely minimal but, in the case of the C5 Thermo bib tights+, Gore has gone the other direction. These are a complex design with each leg using six different panels plus four darts at each knee and two more panels at the waist. Despite all the panels, most of them are there for fit and articulation and use the same fabric.
Instead of using a tight fit and a high-compression fabric to create the shape of each leg, these Gore tights use seams and panels. The legs take on a pre-shaped curve in each knee and there's a panel of low stretch material at the rear of each ankle. The leg taper comes from reducing the size of insert panels instead of an angled seam. It's a design likely to minimise material waste and help keep the price down.
The fabric for almost all of the pieces is the same DWR treated "Thermo-stretch functional fabric." The inside has a soft and fleecy feel that traps air and holds heat while the outside face relies on the DWR treatment to handle precipitation. In use, it will overwhelm with anything more than light precipitation so don't rely on these when the rain starts coming heavy.
If you do find yourself in light rain there are provisions though. Starting from the centre, between the front and back, the two panels at the centre use Gore Windstopper. Windstopper isn't entirely waterproof, it remains hard-wearing and flexible while also providing some water protection right where road spray is at its worst.
Another spot that you'll find Windstopper in the Gore Wear C5 bib tights+ is in the cup area in front of the chamois. Gore uses the same design across the entire lineup covering winter and summer as well as both genders. In the winter options, it makes the most sense. Wind protection is obvious but, depending on your saddle design, it can also be a help with road spray.
In terms of the chamois itself, it's an uncomplicated design. The C5 bib tights use the Advanced level seat inserts that represent a collaboration with Elastic Interface. It's a medium density two-layer foam construction that stays light and breathable. It falls in the middle of the Gore offerings for chamois options.
As you reach the waist of the C5 Thermo bib tights+ you find one of the highlights of the whole design. The same fabric used in the bulk of the design sees use in the waist. At the front, there's a double-layer with a fold at the top. In the rear, there's a single layer that attaches to a mesh panel that heads up the centre of the back. Just above the shoulder blades is where the bib straps attach before heading over the shoulders.
It had been a long summer since I'd last spent time in this offering from Gore. To get reacquainted I headed out for a road ride of around 100 miles and six hours. The forecast called for a cool, autumn day without much precipitation but the actual weather wavered from sunny and warm to heavy rain and back.
At the house getting them on is where you get a sense of what these are all about. Sliding them on is an easy affair. You don't need to spend time pulling on the thigh to get them in place, they slide easily up and you are set, and the material is comfortable. The waist is low compression making mid-ride toilet breaks easy. The bib straps are perfect, they're wide enough that they don't twist or roll up and they're easy to position over the shoulders. The fit is workable although there's more room at the ankle than I'd like to see.
Out on the road, the unexpected range of temperature and precipitation was a great test. Without Windstopper material in the legs, there's no issue dealing with overly warm temperatures and as long I kept moving, the wind regulated temperature well.
As the temperature dropped and the rain moved in, things were fine for a while. Between twenty and thirty degrees (Fahrenheit) above freezing (between around 11 and 16 degrees Celsius) and overcast was the sweet spot. With a little bit of rain, the Windstopper at the low back was great and the DWR coating handled things well, but when the rain got heavy it was clear a more waterproof pair of tights was needed.
As the time stretched on there were some weaknesses that started to show. For the first three hours, the chamois felt great. By hour four I was wishing for the extra density that Gore offers in its long-distance designs. At the end of the ride, it was clear that anything stretching more than 100 miles and I would have wanted a more specialised option. The seam at the back of the knee followed a similar trajectory. Fine for a while but towards the end of the ride it was noticeable.
The Gore C5 thermo bib tights+ are a quality, all-around everyday kind of bib tight. Pricing is good and they do what they promise, but if you ride more than six hours on a regular basis you will probably benefit from a pad with more density.
Otherwise, these will work well on cool, mostly dry, days in the spring and autumn. The addition of Windstopper in a few places is welcome with light precipitation, but if the heavens open regularly, there are better options available.
Tech Specs: Gore Wear C5 Thermo bib tights+
- Price: $170.00 / £149.00 / AU$288.17
Materials main fabric: 84% Polyamide, 16% Elastane
- Materials mesh: 75% Polyamide, 25% Elastane
- Weight: 300g
- Inseam length: 71.5 cm / 28.1 inches
- Size availability: XS-XL (US), S-XXL (UK)
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