GORE Bike Wear Countdown AS Jacket Review

by Brian Mullin on February 25, 2011

I have been using the GORE Bike Wear Countdown AS jacket through this winter, and it has been a highly functional unit, with excellent wind stoppage and comfort, high breathability, water resistant, and has some great features, such as detachable sleeves and full front zipper, a tall collar and long back, and Velcro adjustable cuffs.

Countdown AS Jacket
The Countdown AS jacket, uses GORE’s WINDSTOPPER Active Shell, which offers windproofness, breathability and water resistance. It’s a 2-layer construction, in which the WINDSTOPPER membrane is bonded to the outer abrasion-resistant polyester fabric, and is finished with a loose inner mesh. The windproofness rids the cooling consequences of the wind and weather from robbing the body of warmth, while the breathability allows water vapor to escape, keeping down elevated body temperatures and profuse sweat, as the latter can also create chilling effects from dampness. The AS uses a lightweight fabric that is packable and very comfortable, and has good water resistance, shedding snow and light rain, and then drying quickly.

Features:

  • WINDSTOPPER® Active Shell
  • Mesh lining
  • Detachable sleeves
  • High collar, ergonomically shaped
  • Front zip
  • Zip-port on collar
  • Zip-underflap
  • Zip tags for easy handling
  • Long back
  • 2 side zip pockets on front
  • Zip stow-away pocket in back
  • Pre-shaped elbows
  • Adjustable cuffs
  • Hem-width adjustable by easy-to-use covered cord stoppers and elastic draw-cord
  • Reflective piping on front, back and sleeves
  • Reflective transfer print to mark right and left
  • Reflective logos on front and back

Impressions
I really liked the usefulness of the Countdown AS jacket, as it was easy to carry, and when used during variable weather condition changes, you reaped instant benefits. If you got slightly chilled, or the wind kicked up or the sun started to set, etc., and you got an immediate security blanket of warmth and protection without the need of another insulated layer.

The full jacket was quite nice on chilly days, but sometimes it was overkill, so the removable sleeve feature was highly advantageous for those more moderate days, since the vest was more temperate. The zippered sleeves were simple to remove while the jacket was being worn, and if they got snagged while unzipping, you could use your other hand to hold the material in place. To replace the sleeves did require the jacket’s removal, since it was a more delicate operation.

The jacket was extremely comfortable, and I really liked the extended back length, which helps cover the spot on the lower back (plumbers crack), which is always exacerbated by the hunched over aspects of riding. The jacket has a nice loose cut, so I never felt any binding spots, and it allowed fluid movement in any terrain or the typical contortionist ballet that riding requires. The sleeves were long and generous enough for armor, though it was slightly restricted, and it might not work with every variety of protection. The Velcro adjustable cuffs were useful, giving options for a snugger or looser fit, and in addition it gave some micro ventilation.

The full zipped front allows additional tuning for temperature control and ventilation and comfort, and the high collar, which was covered on its inside with a soft plush material, was a nice touch when maximum coverage was required. The front pockets were easily accessible and decently large, though with some waist belts you may need to pop them open to gain egress. The rear pocket was nice and quite huge, though you may need to scrunch forward somewhat to get under the bottom of most packs, so I think a lower placement might make it more advantageous? I do wish it had a Napoleon pocket, since I like those for my music player, and various sundry items.

I used the jacket in some pretty heavy snow storms, and it did just fine, and it shed the snow and didn’t get wet. In light rain, it shed and beaded the drops, and was quite adequate, but in heavier moisture conditions, it was out of its range (only water resistant), and the fabric would get wet.

Bottom Line
The GORE Bike Wear Countdown AS jacket is an excellent product, that is highly functional, with features to make it a great multiple condition garment. The highlights are the superb WINDSTOPPER AS material with its windproofness and breathability and water resistance, the full front zipper, long back, detachable sleeves (great functional feature) and adjustable cuffs. The rear pocket zipper sits too high, and it needs a Napoleon pocket, but those are some small nitpicks in this otherwise premium cycling apparel.

Strengths

  • Detachable Sleeves
  • Long Back
  • High soft collar
  • Comfortable
  • Adjustable cuffs
  • WINDSTOPPER material

Weaknesses

  • Missing Napoleon pocket
  • Rear pocket could be set slightly lower
  • Needs more breathability

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

COUNTDOWN AS Jacket Specs:

MSRP: $169.99
Sizes – S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors – Red, Blue, Yellow, Brown with Black Trim and Black with White Trim

Visit the GORE Bike Wear website at http://www.gorebikewear.com/remote/Satellite/HomePage

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