Gore Bike Wear Phantom II Windstopper jacket £119.99
Over a year ago, I took the plunge and shelled out on what Gore rather absurdly terms a ‘Windproof Soft Shell jacket for all ambitious cyclists’.
Featuring a combination of breathable Windstopper Soft Shell and stretch fabrics, the Phantom has been perfect for Yorkshire’s often inclement weather and has become the most versatile piece of clothing in my cycling wardrobe.
The brilliant removable raglan sleeves turn the Phantom into a gillet-like short sleeve jersey. In this guise, the garment keeps your core body temperature warm while allowing your arms to effectively manage your body heat.
Three large rear pockets are adequate to store the removed arms, plus tools and spares . They are slanted for easy access. Front and rear reflective patches give excellent night visibility although from behind, daytime visibility could be improved.
The jacket is designed to be wind and shower resistant rather than waterproof, however it has held up surprisingly well in everything short of heavy down pours or long periods of sustained drizzle. The Windstopper fabric is very breathable and keeps you very warm and dry in cold weather.
When combined with a merino baselayer, the Phantom II Jacket has kept me warm and dry in freezing midwinter conditions. Without a baselayer and with the arms removed, it has also been comfortable on warmer days up to around 22C.
The panels are cleverly moulded to provide excellent on-bike comfort with stretch sections offering extra give when moving about on the bike. The high collar, long back and arms means you don’t suffer form cold drafts or moisture egress. Stretch panels through the middle of the back wick sweat away efficiently. The removable arm zips double up as pit vents and, along with the full length front zip, allow you to accurately moderate heat and moisture build up from within the jacket.
Being picky, the arms aren't that easy to take on and off, particularly when wearing winter gloves. I can just manage to remove the sleeves while on the move but you have to take the jacket off or get a friend to help to reattach them.
The Phantom is also not cheap, however given the amount of wear you can get from this jacket, I believe it’s probably the most economical bit of clothing I have ever owned.
The jacket has been chucked into the washing machine at least twice a week making it a little less water resistant than when new. Wash-in reproofing has restored some of that but I recommend using an appropriate non-detergent soap.
After more than twelve months, only minor signs of wear and tear are starting to show. Despite my very impractical colour choice of white (it also comes in more practical black, red, neon, grey and blue) it still looks surprisingly clean especially given the filth which has been thrown at it.
A stylish, brilliantly versatile cycling jacket. Save up and get one. You won’t regret it.