Gore, creator of some of the most technical waterproof and windproof textiles on the market, has released a new range of women's-specific mountain bike clothing.
The Power Trail Lady range consists of jackets, jerseys and shorts, and combines performance fabrics with a street-inspired style. And, as Gore is of course keen to emphasise, the range isn't just a scaled down version of the Men's Power Trail range – it's been designed for women from the ground up.
BikeRadar spoke to Clemens Deilmann, Head of Design for Gore Bike Wear, to get the lowdown on why Gore has taken this different approach, and what's different with this range of women's mountain bike clothing.
"Understanding needs and problems of an athlete and solving them with the selection of the best available fabrics and the use of technical workmanships is a priority," said Deilmann of Gore's approach to kit design. "The additional challenge is to interprete contemporary design and favourable proportions to performance products.
"My principle is that we only do a great job at Gore when people feel comfortable and beautiful in our products – that combination counts especially for the women’s ranges," Deilmann added.
The Gore Power Trail Lady range consists of five items: three mid-layer pieces including short and long-sleeved jerseys, one pair of shorts and two functional jackets – one featuring Windstopper fabric and one featuring Gore-Tex waterproof textiles.
"We kept the range very tight and essential, at first; for the next seasons we plan to extend the offer with additional, meaningful gear-types for women." said Deilmann, adding that while cut and styling are very different, there's no difference in technical functionality between men's and women's ranges.
The range doesn't only look different compared with other products in the Gore Bike Wear range – it looks different next to much of the women's-specific mountain bike clothing available on the market in general.
Plain colours in a marl finish, batwing-inspired sleeves and loose fits with – of course – a women's specific cut combine in a range that has a more relaxed-looking style than a lot of available product, which often tends either towards loud and proud downhill style or cross-country inspired tight-fitting Lycra.
"We created different concepts which reflect more obviously contemporary lifestyle and the fashion industry, covering different levels of style and fusing them with technical performance features," said Deilmann. "To express the tough, high-achieving feminine woman we added camouflage print. We extended the classic bomber-style jacket and adapted the collar for cycling use. The standard cycling silhouettes were tweaked into a wider cut, bat-wing armholes and looser-look tops. Our inspiration comes from street style and the way our community members dress, mixed with our intuition and textile industry forecasts."
The design process included market research, textile selection, prototype construction and plenty of testing and feedback. Gore also involved two riders from the Rose / Vaujany mountain bike team to get an athletes perspective on the garments performance in action.
"The long-sleeve shirt is the favourite item of our athlete team cyclists. It is flattering to the female body: not too tight and still performance focussed. The long sleeves are so elastic and soft that they cover all temperature ranges and needs. The small, integrated secure pocket makes this piece even more sports friendly." Deilmann concluded.
Power Trail Lady Windstopper Soft Shell Hoody
Constructed from a polyester Windstopper outer layer, the Power Trail Lady Windstopper soft shell hoody has a relaxed, urban-inspired style and wouldn't look out of place worn off the bike.
The hoody features a two-way full length zip, two zip-closure front pockets, elastic cuffs and an elastic hem. The hood has a loose fit with a draw cord for tightening and a magnet at the back that holds it in place when down. There's also an additional small zipped pocket on the left sleeve, which is handy for loose change or lift passes.
A quick initial try-on indicates that the sizing comes up a little small, so if you want a loose, relaxed fit then consider sizing up. For reference, the model usually wears a UK12/14 and is wearing a size Large. The torso is pleasingly long in length, which is good news for taller women.
The jacket is available in a vibrant pink, a dark brown/black shade and a camo print, and in sizes XS to XXL.
- £169.99 / $229.99 / AU$TBC
Power Trail Lady Jersey
Constructed from a lightweight polyamide, polyester and elastane blend fabric that's designed to be highly breathable. The hems on the arms and waist are a softer, thinner fabric in a solid colour, that sit loosely against the skin. The sleeves have a raglan cut, and the waist hem is curved.
The Power Trail Lady jersey is available in pink, grey and blue, all with a melange finish, in sizes XS to XXL.
- £74.99 / $99 / AU$TBC
Gore Power Trail Lady Jersey Long
The long-sleeve jersey in the Power Trail Lady range is one of the items where the design influences show through. The jersey features a batwing style cut to the sleeves, where the top of the sleeve has a wide opening to the body of the jersey, the fabric joining further down the body creating a wing-light stretch of fabric visible when arms are held aloft.
The thinking here is not just aesthetic, but also that the wider opening allows more freedom of movement. The jersey cuffs are a long section of soft, stretch Lycra designed to hold the sleeves in place, and as with the short sleeved version the hem is shaped and features a similar section of soft jersey in a plain but matching colour.
An unusual fabric cut gives the sleeves a raglan finish at the front, and a panelled body construction at the back, eliminating seams on the top of the shoulders. A small zipped pocket at the rear gives enough room for stowing a little cash or some keys.
- £89.99 / $109.99 / AU$TBC
Gore Power Trail Lady Shorts
Gore has taken a rather different approach to designing women's mountain bike shorts with the Power Trail Lady shorts. Gone is the usual front zip or Velcro fly fastening. Instead, Gore has opted for a pull-on style constructed with stretchy lycra inserts and velcro fastenings on each hip, giving a clean line at the front and back.
The shorts features a zip-closure front and side pockets, two rear pockets and reflective detailing on the back. The fabric is lightweight and stretchable, with a water resistant seat reinforcement and an inseam length 30 cm / 12 inches.
The Gore Power Trail Lady shorts are available in raven brown/black, which looks more like charcoal than brown, and 'jazzy pink/giro pink', and in sizes XS to XXL.
- £89.99 / $139.99 / AU$TBC