Gore Phantom Review – A fantastic piece of kit….


Of all the pieces of cycling clothing that I own – one stands out above all the rest – my Gore Phantom jacket. To cut to the chase – it's a fantastic 3 season jacket and I wouldn't be without one.

I bought my first one in early 2009 after deciding to keep riding through the winter and having read great reviews for it like this one at Bikeradar: http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/clothing/jackets/product/review-gore-bike-wear-phantom-jacket-28350/. After some googling I found a good deal and placed my order. It was my first softshell jacket and was a revelation straight away.

The Phantom is an excellent windstopper, it breathes really well thanks to Gore's excellent fabrics and it's best trick is that the sleeves are removable – hence the three seasons observation. At first I used a base layer and a jersey under it during winter but bravely decided to experiment with just a thick merino base layer (Icebreaker) and the Phantom. I have been comfortable wearing this combination of two layers down to zero degrees celsius. This is a big claim for me as being an antipodean living in the UK, I generally moan a lot about the weather and the cold (just ask my long suffering wife) – so this was a fantastic discovery for my winter cycling. Once you go below zero it starts to struggle but to be frank it's unlikely I'll be out riding when it's that cold.

Whilst it's not designed as a rain jacket, I've been caught in some very heavy downpours (sodden bibtights and shoes full of water) and it's taken a lot of rain before my upper half has started to get wet. It will get you through some heavy showers but if it's raining solidly all day – you'll need another solution – but how many of your rides is it raining that hard all the way round? You could ride for hours in drizzle in a phantom (I have done) and you'll stay dry and warm.

Because you can remove the sleeves when you get hot, roll them up and put them in the (three rear) pocketw – it's a great jacket for Autumn and Spring too. It's incredibly versatile and I wear mine a lot. If I'm ever not sure about the weather – I usually use my Gore Phantom – it's only rarely the wrong decision and that's generally only when the weather pushes past 15 degrees Celsius as for me, that's starting to be too warm for the Phantom.

Now the downside of the removable sleeves is that they can fall out of your pocket – last Autumn this happened to me and I was devastated. I didn't have the cash to replace it straight away and resorted to other pieces of existing clothing and I have to say I was freezing cold on the bike for much of the winter. The only upside of losing the jacket is that before I bought another I spent some time trying on Gore jackets to make sure I bought the right size. I'm reasonably tall and slim and typically fit a medium in cycling clothing but thanks to the looser fit on the Phantom it turns out a small is a better size. Gore's own sizing description that's it's slim fitting rather than race fitting, so you may want a size smaller than you'd normally order and if it all possible I'd try one on before you buy it.

As I mentioned earlier I'd been very cold on my bike this winter until the new Phantom arrived and I distinctly remember my first ride in the new one – I coasted down my road  and in the first hundred metres or so no wind at all got through to me in what was a cool breeze. I rode all the way down the street smiling.

So for me – I give the Phantom 9 out of 10 and I consider it a must have in my cycling wardrobe. I can and do use it between zero and 15 degrees (Celsius). I can and do use it in any weather except heavy rain and for 3/4 of the year. There is no other piece of cycling kit I use that much. If you're looking for a great all-rounder do go and try out the Phantom. You won't regret it.

In terms of where to buy one – Gore stuff is widely available and I think it's pretty honestly priced. However if you shop around you can find some great deals which make them an even better buy. There are available in a range of colours as well so hopefully you can find a colour choice that suits your bike/wardrobe.

Thanks for reading.