The Gore Base Layer Windstopper Shirt Long (try saying that after a few pints) is a clever combination of windproof panels, made from Gore's well-proven Windstopper membrane, and soft mesh that does a superb job of regulating your temperature by keeping the cold air off you while wicking away sweat. This long sleeved base layer is a great wardrobe staple for all seasons, bar summer.
When worn on its own it performs very well, preventing wind chill and remaining breathable. On colder or wetter days it goes well underneath a mid layer or waterproof jacket. The beauty of the windproof membrane is that if you're getting a little toasty you can unzip your outer layer for ventilation without subjecting your chest to an icy blast. However, if you're prone to getting very hot and sweaty, you may find the windproof panels can't wick moisture away quite fast enough because of course there is a compromise between breathability and windproofing.
The base layer is well constructed throughout. Windstopper membrane is sewn over the superbly soft polyester mesh base fabric to give two distinct layers to the windproof panels. There is a slight rustle to the top Windstopper layer but you only notice this when handling it, not when wearing it, and the membrane is stretchy for a comfortable, close fit. The windproof panels extend down the front, around the sides to protect your kidneys, and across the shoulders. The inclusion of Windstopper along the top of the sleeves is inspired as I often find my arms get chilly, but not with this jersey.
The remainder of the base layer, including underarms, is the open-weave mesh, which feels lovely and is very effective at removing moisture from your skin, as well as being quick drying. All the seams are flatlock stitched so there's no chafing, which further enhances the comfort of this top. There is a V-shaped stretchy material insert over the back of the right hip with a transfer of the size label inside, and a decent sized reflective logo on the front for night-time visibility.
The snug, body-hugging fit is exactly what you want in a base layer to maximise its fabric's technical properties. Gore clothing comes in three fits – comfort, slim and tight – and this top is a tight fit, as you'd expect. The website description says 'extra-long back' but in fact the back is the same length as the front. I would prefer it to have a dropped hem at the rear so it will stay down over your hips when you're stretched out on the bike. Similarly, the sleeve length could be a little more generous to keep your wrists covered when in the drops, although to be fair my arms are quite long.
The price tag of £55 is reasonable for a windproof base laye. It's available in white too. Gore also makes a short-sleeved version, the Base Layer Windstopper Shirt, priced a fiver less at RRP £49.99.
Warm and comfy base layer with windproof panels that keep cold air off your front and arms
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Base Layer Windstopper Lady Shirt Long
Size tested: Large, Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Gore says: "This shirt is ideal for windy, cooler days. The combination of materials ensures rapid moisture wicking and protects against wind chill when riding."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Elastic GORE® WINDSTOPPER® insert on front, over shoulders and arms, and on kidney area
Reflective logo on front
MAIN FABRIC: 100% POLYESTER
WINDSTOPPER® MEMBRANE: 88% POLYPROPYLENE, 8% ELASTANE, 4% POLYAMIDE
The fit is generally good, however the features list says it has an extra-long back but the back is actually the same length as the front. Ideally I'd like it longer at the back, and the sleeves could be a touch longer too.
I am a size 40 (L) which is consistent with Gore's size chart. (In the photos I'm wearing a 42, which is too big.)
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash inside out at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well - kept the wind off my front and was warm and wicked well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The windproof panels on the arms.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really, except the back and sleeves could be a little longer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This is a very good base layer – well designed and constructed well from quality fabrics – but would benefit from being longer at the back.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Audax