Gore Bike Wear Baselayer WINDSTOPPER Shirt
Robin Kyle, July 7, 2011
Given the weather we’ve had over the last few months, a testing of the Gore Bike Wear’s new Base Layer WINDSTOPPER Shirt could not have been more appropriate. After logging the driest April on record, 2011 continued with similar flare during the windiest May and June months. The Base Layer and I have sampled a wide variety of riding together; from mountain biking in the Pentland Hills to a tour of the Isle of Arran. On a number of occasions, I have been glad of its company.
The first impression you get of the WS Shirt is the combination of materials used; A windstopper membrane on the front of the garment works with polyester panels under the armpits and on the back. I found that this mixture of selected technical fabrics allows for a snug and regulated fit whilst riding.
Two key performance strengths of the WS Shirt came out during testing. Over a 55 mile tour of the Isle of Arran, the WS was taken through driving rain and gale-force winds as my three companions and I rode in a tight bunch, taking it in turns to bear the brunt of an unrelenting headwind along the north side of the island. The WS Shirt was in its element all the way, keeping me warm against the significant wind-chill (no mean feat), whilst it successfully wicked away much of the moisture that had, by this point, penetrated my outer jersey. In spite of the conditions, I remained comfortable – a hugely important factor on a ride lasting almost four and a half hours.
The second ride was in Aviemore which included an ascent to and descent from the Cairngorm ski centre. The sun was making a cameo appearance during my testing and as I settled into the climb I began to really warm up. The moisture wicking of the WS Shirt was excellent but it quickly became clear that, in spite of its thin fabric, this was a baselayer for cooler days. Indeed, as the wind whipped up on the excellent descent (the sort that would see the pro peloton reaching for a copy of L’Equipe to stuff down their jerseys) the WS shirt did its job and impressively so. I reached the bottom feeling noticeably warmer than on previous occasions.
In short, the WS Baselayer is certainly impressive product and ought to be recommended as a staple of any cyclist’s kitbag, certainly in the UK. Retailing at £49.99, its not cheap but nor is it overpriced and it is a product that will last. Although it is a bit warm in the sunshine, in this country that precludes its being worn about 5 days a year!