In the beginning, there was howling wind and lashing rain. Then came Gore.
The company practically invented the category of weather-defying fabrics. Gore-tex, Windstopper, patents galore. If you headed up Everest, into Monsoon country, sailed round Cape Horn or were just pinned down in some wind-cursed territory, your gear had the Gore stamp.
Thanks to Gore’s entry into cycling gear, that territory now includes your 40 mile Sunday group ride. We’ve spent the last weeks in the Gore Ozon long sleeve jersey and the wind hasn’t been too happy about it.
The Ozon features the patented Windstopper laminate over a breathable stretch fabric. We prefer to call it Wind Discourager but that lacks a certain marketing zip. Gore claims 2.5 times more warmth in windy conditions than comparable “windproof” materials.
Thermo-regulation is a personal struggle as every human body heats and cools at different rates. It’s as much a game of layers and zippers up and down as laminates. That said, we definitely noted the deflection qualities of the Gore Ozon. While it’s not the high-end Xenon, Ozon will make wind-whipped days easier to handle.
Things we appreciate: the high zip collar. Often function suffers because the designer thinks a minimalist collar makes a better photo shoot. The Ozon zips high enough to pull over your chin and mouth when the weather turns nasty.
The back grip lock. The line of gripper silicon on the tail means this jersey won’t go for a quick ride up your back. The double bonus is a flattering fit without bunched fabric.
The understated simplicity. Our initial attraction to the Gore line was the sturdy, solid seam, no-nonsense appearance. Both jerseys and shorts match without garish contrasts. Only faux pas? Why the massive Windstopper letters on the sleeves? Not exactly a new technology that needs consumer embedding.
The sad thing about patents is for all their brilliance, they eventually grow old and expire. Gore now has a fight on hand with competition from fabric technologies like eVent. These new patents claim even better performance in terms of breathability and perspiration wicking. The flip side is they cost a mint. For example, the Hincapie eVent shell is $300, about twice the price of the Ozon.
Our feeling is, Gore has been in the screw-the-weather business for a long time. The quality is there and so is the R&D budget. We suspect they still have a few tricks up their sleeve for us. The Ozon jacket being one of them.