In changeable conditions it can be tricky to decide what to wear on the bike, but with the GORE Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off Jersey turning a jacket into a gilet, there could be one less decision to make.
Kit quandaries are one of the biggest time delays to getting out on the bike, with changeable weather conditions probably the biggest headache of them all. But the decision making process may have got easier thanks to the GORE Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off Jersey.
The two piece jacket is made from GORE proprietary Windstopper fabric, which is just about considered the industry gold standard by most clothing manufactures and used by the vast majority of brands in the production of windproof cycling clothing.
According to GORE, the dense 100% polyester windstopper membrane system totally blocks wind from penetrating the fabric, while still allowing water vapour (from sweat) to escape, which means as well as protecting you from chilly wind, it should also prevent you from overheating when pressing on. The 87% polyester and 13% elastane outer layer is also coated in DWR (durable water repellent) giving the added bonus of water repellancy, and thanks to an extended tail, your backside will benefit too.
The fit of the GORE Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off Jersey is relaxed, and it’s a women’s specific cut, so nicely contours the upper body, without being skin tight. The position of the zips allude to the jersey converting to a shoulder-less number, so it was surprising to see that once sleeves are removed, it actually becomes a regular length short sleeved windstopper jersey.
GORE has added in lots of subtle reflective detailing, predominantly at the rear of the jersey, which is great to see especially if, like me, you opt for the black version.
Finally, as is often the way with GORE products, the addition of zips to an already dense fabric does push the overall weight up with the Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off Jersey weighing 286g (194g without arms), although it’s certainly a lot lighter than most soft shell jackets.
When on the GORE Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off Jersey was comfortable and unrestrictive. With the arms attached, I found it ideal for a chilly morning start, and with the temperature increasing a couple of hours into the ride, I was ready for arms off – although this did mean stopping in order to do this (and was much easier with a spare pair of hands).
With the arms off, the jersey still retains its wind proofing and DWR qualities, but obviously, the weather and temperature needs to remain reasonable in order to continue sans arms. However, this is a testament to the breathability of the GORE Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off Jersey, as even though I was warm enough for a shirtsleeved jersey, I wasn’t over heating or pooling sweat beneath it (although this does somewhat depend on your baselayer selection).
The three rear pockets are a decent size, with enough space for spares, tools, nutrition, and the jersey arms, although I personally found them tricky to access as they are positioned quite high on the back of the jersey. The other tricky aspect is reattaching the arms. The colour coded zip stop on the right arm helps to a degree, but unless you have some hands-on riding buddies, you’re going to have to de-robe in order to put the jersey all back together, a chilly prospect if you’re reattaching arms due to poor weather.
Talking of poor weather, when under attack from the wet stuff, the water just beaded off the surface. The water repellancy isn’t designed to keep you dry in a total deluge, but it did its job in fine rain and road spray, with the longer tail being useful at limiting the soaking my shorts took.
The GORE Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off Jersey is almost certainly going to divide cyclists, with the zipping arms on and off concept too much for some. However, I do think it has, er, legs with many riders, especially if it’s treated as a two-for-one jersey/ jacket in order to keep the cycling wardrobe costs or volume down.
However, where I really think it has a place is as bike packing piece of kit, where you want to travel as light as possible. Even with the slight weight penalty, it’s still lighter than multiple items of clothing. I know that it would have been ideal when I rode End to End bike packing a few years ago, working out much cheaper and lighter than a jersey, arm warmers and jacket combination.
The DWR will eventually need reapplying, so there is an element of effort to keep the jacket functioning as well as it’s meant to, but like all GORE products, it’s likely to last several seasons.
A useful piece of cycling kit that takes the guesswork out of what to wear when the weather (or temperature) is changeable. The fit may be loose, but the Gore Power Lady Windstopper Zip-Off jersey would make the perfect piece of versatile apparel for bikepacking adventures.