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    clothing ... Gore-tex vs other brands

    I was shopping today for a new jacket to use for biking. I bought a German brand (Schöffel) that uses Gore-tex and was wondering if there really is any appreciable difference between Goretex and 'gore-tex-like' products.

    Any thoughts on this? If this subject has been beat to death, my apologies. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    Not sure what "gore-tex like" is, but the difference between a gore-tex liner and a normal DWR (durable water repellant) coating is noticable and well worth the difference in price.
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    Gore-Tex is lousy for cycling, because it doesn't let body moisture through fast enough. It's OK for really cold rides, but that's about it...
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    there is a "new" kind of goretex called goretex XCR which is supposed to be 35% more breathable than regular goretex. it's really expensive, though.

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    Ich bin ein Lowlander! toolfreak's Avatar
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    What i`ve learnd in the years of cycling, climbing and camping, is that there`s no brand wich is fully waterproof after more than 3 years of hard use, especially not with heavy packs on the shoulders.
    Despite all the promisses of the manafacturers....

    My next buy would probably a more lightweight jacket, with a lot of freedom, but the brand is not my concern, because they are all waterproof for a while....
    I like my rainpants, MPC from Tenson, very light and flexible, just what you need for cycling!
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    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    I think its good for cycling, you just need to pay attention to other features on the jacket/rainsuit/whatever. Of course if your jacket isnt vented in any way it will hold moisture in almost as well as it keeps it out. Same goes for my "breathable" Columbia jacket... just gotta remember to use the vents
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    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    well, tough question and my full answer would be pages long, but i'll try and summarize:

    for general outdoor waterproof jackets for stuff like hiking/skiing, Gore-Tex is probably still the best, but there are a number of others that are also good. then there are some that are less good. but in general MOST of the waterproof-breathables are decent - and with a good brand like Columbia or Solstice it should be ---- note, i have Columbia "Omnitech" pants for skiing and they're good. i have a Solstice "watershed" jacket for skiing and it's great.

    there are a bunch of technologies, but the most common are 1) a layer/membrane like Gore-tex which is sowed in with the fabric. here you can can have 2-ply or 3-ply depending on how it's put togther. more is generally more water-proof but also heavier. 2) coatings which is rubber or some waterproof material that is coated on the surface. these tend to be a) less breathable and b) wear or peel off.

    virtually all of these jackets are not 100% waterproof and you don't want 100% waterproof anyway - especially for cycling anyway. and they will loose their properties over time, some more than others and some can be "revitalized" with chemical treatments or heat (gore-tex recommends dryer for most products)

    now for CYCLING: the thing is traditonal Gore-Tex does not let ENOUGH water vapor out to accomodate the high sweat rate you usually have cycling... thus, unless you are riding in the cold sub-freezing winter, a Gore-Tex jacket is probably NOT the best choice for cycling - or at least doesn't have any significant advantages. even in a hard downpour while cycling one is more likely to get wet from INSIDE from sweating than from outside rain coming through a "mostly waterproof" jacket.

    for cycling i recommend a Cycling-Specific jacket that has lots of VENTING - pit zips, chest ventilation, etc.

    i personally do not cycle in my Gore-Tex jacket (except in temps below 10F) and own a Burley jacket which is NOT gore tex and not waterproof, but in a downpour i get maybe a little wet from rain coming through but more damp from the inside from sweating. the ventilation is GREAT.

    recommmendation: find a good quality cycling jacket and it doesn't matter if it's Gore-Tex or not. the ventilation is #1 -- if it's ventilated AND Gore-Tex, then fine, it just means it will cost more b/c Gore-Tex is a patented brand with lots of marketing power. but you can definitely save a little and get a good jacket (the Burley costs about $120, a good Gore-Tex cycling jacket probably $150-250)... or you can try and get by with an even cheaper jacket, just make sure it is vented and not too "waterproof"- the worst thing is a jacket you can't wear b/c you sweat too much in it

    for cylcing you want: wind protection and water-repellant/slighlty waterproof but still "breathable" so you don't get soaked. then you want good ventilation...

    so your jacket should be find for cycling as long as it's not super-thick and without good ventilation - about half of the jackets sold for hiking do not have pit-zips. i personally won't buy a jacket for hiking/climbing/skiing without pit-zips, but for cycling you will BURN UP without good ventilation regardless of whether it's gore-tex or whatever.
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    nathank, thanks for all that info. I should have posted here before buying. Since I bike for pleasure, I think my new jacket will be OK. I didn't even think about arm pit vents ... my jacket doesn't have them.

    I'm going biking today and see how this turns out. I was told at the store yesterday that if I am unhappy with how the jacket performs, and I can take up to two or two and a half years to make a decision, I can bring the jacket back for a full refund.

    Thanks again!

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    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    hey Dave, i didn't notice before that you are also in Europe - so i was suprized that you that had a German brand!

    yeah, try it out. just make sure to ride for at least 20 minutes as it takes at least this long to "get warm". if you can ride for 45 minutes comfortably in the jacket i'd say it's fine. in general Schöffel makes good stuff.

    if you do end up getting something else, i can only think of one brand that i commonly see in Europe that i know is good, although overpriced, and that "Gore wear" or "Gore bike wear" and i'm not sure what their relationship to Gore-Tex is, but one is a company and the other a patented technology. i got a Gore rain jacket and rain pants for free b/c i am a bike tour guide (with my company's logo) and they are good -- although my burley's better (made in rainy Oregon) --- but there are lots of good cycling jackets in Germany at least.
    why drive when you can ride?
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    I've seen North Face over here with gore-tex. I really love the colors of their jackets ... excellent colors, but they are priced higher than anything else. If I hit the lotto I might buy one.

    I tried on a North Face last year and did not like the fact that the hood could not be removed on the model I saw. I wear glasses and I can't wear a hood for too long - my glasses get too fogged up and it's just a pain if it's raining.

    Have you done any biking in Holland? I've biked a little in Switzerland ... fantastic country! I have never seen such a clean country. The Swiss must pay a fortune in taxes!

    I've not done much biking in Germany, but have spent sometime in Wiesbaden biking around. At that time I was using my Brompton and I was stopped many times and asked about that bike.

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    I have a goretex cycling jacket that I use for fairly low-intensity commuting/shopping/touring cycling.
    In cool to cold weather it is OK, but it is a bit to clammy for warmer weather.
    It is always too clammy when climbing steep hills, but that may not be a problem for you. On longer rides in the rain, the water does soak into( but not through) the material, and seeps up the hem and cuffs. It is generally pretty uncomfortable.
    I only wear the jacket when it is actually raining. As a windproof, goretex is not very good. A cheaper more breathable material like Pertex or other micro-fibre fabric is more effective. This will save your goretex jacket from wear and tear, and leave you more comfortable on dry, cool days.
    For occasional use, the lighter weights of goretex are suitable.

    Even when it is raining, I find that pertex, in a pile and pertex jacket, provides a more comfortable ride
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  12. #12
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    Have you done any biking in Holland? I've biked a little in Switzerland ... fantastic country! I have never seen such a clean country. The Swiss must pay a fortune in taxes!
    i have cycled in Holland, but only a few days and not on tour - i rented a tandem with my girlfriend when i was in Leiden and rode out to the coast.

    in the summer i ride all over the Alps - last year was in Switerland for 2 days on my TransAlp trip (expensive!). i love mountains, so Germany/Switzerland/Austria/Italy/France is more my style in Europe.

    actually Switzerland is a _funky_ country and is like no other. i think they have the lowest taxes in ALL of Europe while still having a great standard of living - great social care system as well as education and public services (like train and subway/tram service) and military. i've been meaning to find out more, but the income taxes are roughly half of what you pay in Germany (i think Holland is close to Germany), but the cost of living is VERY high (debate between London, Stockholm and Zurich as to the most expensive city) - although if you get paid in Swiss Francs it might not be so bad.

    i have considered living in Switzerland and almost moved to Zurich instead of Munich. i'm not sure, as Switzerland is just a different place: not part of the EU, strong LOCAL government, 4 official languages, required military service, requirement that every house/structure has a "military bunker" stocked with guns (there may be exceptions, but that is what i understand - that you have to have functional weapons in your cellar or else get taxed/fined for not fullfilling your citizen obligation)

    to me Switzerland seems like a libertarian United States _with_ a social system and public services!

    anyway, we've got a few Swiss on this board, maybe someone will provide better info. i think one way the Swiss save so much is other than international business they have very little to do with international politics and issues --- they have a strong military but never USE it to attack/invade anyone, but just to defend themselves if ever need be and/or discourage others from trying. the country i would least want to invade is the Swiss! i think they have more firepower/personnel per capita or per area than even the US or Russia or China (Switzerland is small)
    why drive when you can ride?
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