By Brandon Bilyeu
C7 Race Bibs: $270
C7 Jersey: $100
C3 Socks: $15
How obtained: review sample from company
Available: online, retail, GORE website
C7 Race Bibs: Black
C7 Jersey: Black, Red, Citrus Green, Ciel Blue, Cloudy Blue
C3 Socks: Graphite Gray, Red, Cloudy Blue, Neon Yellow
Website: C7 Race Bibs, C7 GORE-TEX INFINIUM Bibs,C7 Jersey, C3 Socks
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 15+ hours
C7 Race Bibs: S – XXL
C7 Jersey: S – XXL
C3 Socks: S – XL
Reviewer Measurements and Fit Comments: 5’10” (178cm), 150 lbs (68 kgs), 33″ (84cm) waist, 33″ (84cm) inseam, 37″ (94cm) chest. Please see review for product specific comments.
More Than Just GORE-TEX
Most everyone has heard of GORE because of its well-known GORE-TEX waterproof fabrics. While technical fabrics are a large part of GORE’s business, they are also a big player in many other markets including electronics, cables, filtration, venting, sealing, and pharmaceutical. GORE products have even been to the moon as their cables were used in Apollo 11. With close to 10,000 employees and $3.5 billion in annual revenues you might be surprised to learn that GORE is still a private company and plans to stay that way.
As cyclists and consumers we are most familiar with GORE’s technical fabrics that are typically found in other brands clothing. This is because GORE licenses their technology to others, but they also produce their own consumer products under the GORE Wear brand and this includes cycling kit. And they take their apparel design as seriously as their technology, case in point the new C7 line.
C7 – Designed in Collaboration with Some Guy Named Fabian Cancellara
Looking to make the best performing and most comfortable bib shorts GORE sought input from Fabian Cancellara, a multiple time world champion and Olympic gold medalist cyclist with 17 years of professional racing experience under his bib straps. The result is the C7 line of bib shorts which I was super excited to get my hands on for testing, but unfortunately sizing issues limited my ability to properly test the bibs. So, while I won’t be giving the bibs a rating due to limited testing, I would like to share with you my impressions.
First, the size issue. GORE recommends sizing up if you are unsure as their ‘sizes may run a little smaller than you expect.’ Based on the size chart I fall in the medium range, but I sized up to large due to the warning and the general need to size up for any cycling kit. Turns out I should have followed the size chart as the bibs I received, the C7 Race, were just a bit too loose, ok to wear on very short rides but on longer rides the extra material caused bunching and chaffing issues. Which is too bad as these seem like great bibs.
Starting at the top the bib straps are a one-piece elastic band that is soft and doesn’t bunch up. The straps connect to a waist band of the same material with no edge seam at the shorts to skin transition. The torso of the shorts is tailored to fit instead of just being a stretchy cylinder of lycra. This makes the fit feel very natural.
Probably my favorite feature is the GORE WINDSTOPPER Cup Technology used up front for your manly bits. The front panel is mesh for great breathability, but behind the mesh is a strategically placed WINDSTOPPER panel that forms a cup shape with the chamois. This design does a great job of cradling your manhood and is much more comfortable than typical shorts. It is worth noting that Fabian is a man and therefore could not offer much input on a women’s version, so there is no C7 for women unfortunately.
The main fit issue due to the wrong size was at the chamois. While I found the multi-thickness and density chamois to be very comfortable, wearing the wrong size bibs caused the chamois to move around and the extra material bunched up between my thighs and caused chaffing.
Bottom Line – Be sure to get the right size! They are expensive, but initial impressions are that these are good quality and should be very comfortable.
GORE C7 Jersey – Performs Great in the Heat
- Lightweight fabric is soft, stretchy, and breathes well
- Summer weight jersey that is not see-through
- Form fitting elbow length sleeves
- Classy solid color design with good color options
- Zippered rear pocket
- Reflective details on rear pockets
- No claimed sun protection rating
The GORE C7 jersey is a great summer weight piece. With a solid fabric front and fine mesh fabric everywhere else the jersey breathes and vents well, but is not see through like some hot weather jerseys out there. The thin fabric is held together with neat and small seams that create an uninterrupted soft feeling against the skin. With lots of stretch the fit is close to form fitting but with very light pressure. As with the bibs, I opted for a size large and the fit was a little too long in the torso. I would recommend following the size chart and only sizing up if at the upper end of a size.
In terms of features the C7 has about everything I want in a jersey. The full-length zipper helps with cooling duties and has a back flap plus collar zipper garage to guarantee comfort against the skin. The sleeves are long and fit snugly with no bunching up. Out back are three good sized and stretchy pockets with a fourth zippered pocket in the center. The zipper and two side pocket reflective elements provide for better visibility in low light. The rear waist hem is tall and checkered with silicone to help it stay in place. The only missing feature is a sun protection rating, but I still managed to stay pasty white under the jersey after hours in the summer sun.
On the bike the fit is good with minimal material flapping in the wind. I spent a lot of hot and humid hours in this jersey in relative comfort. Sweat evaporation was good and I was only able to soak out the jersey on long hot climbs. The generous pocket size and stretch allowed carrying lots of fuel and gear. The dropped rear waist hem did a good job of keeping the loaded pockets from tugging on my shoulders. And finally, I’m a big fan of the simple solid color styling as well as the classic color choices available.
Bottom Line – Quality and features I usually see at a higher price point. Super comfortable, good looking, and hard to find a fault with.
C3 Socks – They Don’t Hurt My Back
- Soft and seamless
- Lightweight but durable
- Breathe well
- Sizing is correct
- Still looking
It may sound a bit silly, but every pair of cycling socks I own comes with the risk of throwing out my back because they are so difficult to get on. I always get the ‘correct’ size for my feet, but without exception that means they are super tight and a struggle to get on. So I was pleasantly surprised when the C3 socks slid onto my feet with relative ease and a nice moderate compression. And the good experience continues when you hit the road.
If you like a sock with lots of padding the C3 is not for you, but if you want a mid-weight and airy sock the C3 is a good choice. The seamless design avoids any hot spots when locked into cycling shoes and the 6.7 inch (17cm) sock height is just right. The material is soft against the skin and dries quickly. The toe and heel are reinforced for durability and after many hours and washings the socks still look like new. GORE offers other patterns and heights also.
Bottom Line – Socks are not the most technical cycling accessory, but a good pair ensures comfort and that you look good. GORE makes a good pair.
Is the man-parts cup actually made of WindStopper material? The last thing I think I’d want in a summer bib is one that keeps additional heat in due to keeping a cooling (and drying) breeze out.
I have what I thought would be a great item, a WindStopper liner for those cold winter rides that leave things too cold down there — our weekly winter ride routinely hits 10-15F, plus wind chill. Unfortunately, I sweat so much and the liner’s front-center panel blocks so much wind that an uncomfortable, friction-causing sauna forms down there. Each year I try the liner with different clothing options and end up foregoing it the rest of the season. I’d hate to purchase another bib just to have it sit on the shelf.
Brandon Bilyeu says
My (limited) experience with the bibs did not feel any hotter/sweatier than other bibs and I am also a heavy sweater. If you look closely at the picture of the bibs the front panel is not lycra, but is an open mesh to allow airflow in that region around the windstopper cup. So while I can’t guarantee it’ll work for you, they did design in extra airflow in that region of the bib. Hope this helps!