Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/
I have gotten six months of good testing of the Gore Bike Wear ALP-X jacket and shorts, in varying weather conditions, and they have kept me warm, dry and comfortable. They have been a dependable and constant companion, and have been durable, useful and extremely functional. The attention to details, along with their innovations and features makes this set of GORE-TEX apparel a winning combination.
GORE-TEX is manufactured from expanded PTFE (puffed Teflon, properly called ePTFE) membrane layered with woven shell fabric to stop liquid moisture from the outside world and pass moisture vapor from the inside. By expanding the PTFE material into a thin sheet, tiny pores are formed, providing breathability. Water droplets (rain) are large in comparison to the PTFE pores so they get stopped from passing through to the inside, while water vapor (sweat) is smaller than the pores and can pass through to the outside. PTFE is hydrophobic, that is it repels liquid water, while letting water vapor pass through. PTFE, in its natural state, is readily contaminated with oils from our body and other environmental substances. The oil contamination eliminates the hydrophobic quality and the fabrics leak. To solve this, a protective inner layer made of an oleophobic (oil-hating) substance covers the PTFE membrane to protect it from contamination.
The ALP-X set is made from GORE-TEX Paclite Shell material, which is very lightweight, extremely breathable and obviously is waterproof per the always excellent GORE-TEX standards. The Paclite shell is comprised of a nylon face fabric, followed by the hydrophobic GORE-TEX membrane, and then a protective layer of an oleophobic substance and carbon. All seams and stitching are taped to prevent any leaking. I tested the ALP-X jacket and shorts, along with a helmet cover and hood, and all were made with the Paclite material.
Be Prepared, better safe than sorry
I have been noticing that when I go out for a mountain bike ride, that if I decide not to take something, I will surely need it. I think that by saving a few ounces and some mild back discomfort that I can gain the upper hand by having a lighter pack. I am always second guessing the weather to see if it might rain or storm, and instead of bringing my rain gear, I will bring my water resistant wind breaker. Not only that, I will go out when a storm is obviously brewing to tempt fate with the lightning. I have had more than enough close encounters of the lightning kind already in my biking and ski mountaineering adventures.
So the day I decide to leave my rain jacket in the truck I get stuck in a monstrous downpour, I mean it was coming down in torrents. Besides it raining cats and dogs, the wind kicked up, and it was raining sideways! I was huddled down in heavy trees with my wind breaker on, my pack on my head for coverage and hugging a tree for a rain and wind break. With the lightning blasting all around me, I was slowly getting wet, and I started to get mildly hypothermic, meaning I was cold and miserable. The rainstorm let up (not the lightning of course) and I gingerly made my way back to the truck. The trails were totally drenched, with huge long puddles on the singletrack, and needless to say I had to walk the rock sections since it was very sketchy for riding and it all made for slow going. I was extremely glad to get back to the truck! I met the family at a local restaurant and my wife had gotten me a nice cold ice tea to drink (the usual), I switched to a warm cup of coffee instead.
Moral of the story, bring everything you will need, better to be over prepared and safe, than sorry.