For rough weather conditions, the hard shell jacket sounds like the right tool for the job, at least on paper. You'll find quickly, however, that your hard shell is hot and clammy. That's because it just isn't breathable enough for the kind of work you're doing on a bicycle. All that vapor (and you're making a lot of vapor) is trapped inside the jacket and suddenly you're wearing a steam room. The hard shell fabric also flaps around like crazy on any downhill and it just doesn't feel very soft and comfortable. This is where a softshell jacket like the Gore Bike Wear ALP-X 2.0 SO Zip-Off Jacket really shines. Softshell fabric is ultra-breathable and allows your body to regulate its temperature naturally without trapping heat and moisture against your skin. Gore's soft shell fabric is also stretchy so it's able to give the Alp-X a more athletic cut that not only makes layering easier, but doesn't flap around every time you bury the needle.
The ALP-X 2.0 SO Zip-Off Jacket is constructed of WindStopper Soft Shell fabric. WindStopper Soft Shell is soft, stretchy, breathable, and body-contouring. It fits and breathes like a comfortable mid-layer, yet it offers a level of water and wind resistance that approaches the protection afforded by a hard-shell jacket. Gore Bike Wear gave the ALP-X its Slim Fit, which means that it contours the body closely to ensure aerodynamics and proper moisture management. Strategically placed stretch panels eliminate binding and add durability. Additionally, the elbows are pre-shaped so that there's no restrictive tugging when you reach for the handlebars. The jacket has a subtle drop tail for full coverage and to protect the seat of your pants from wheel spray. It also has a shaped collar to ensure neck comfort. The zipper is supplied with an underflap and garage to keep it tucked away nicely when the jacket is fully zipped. If you find yourself overheating during hard efforts, you can ventilate through two side zips.
The Alp-X Jacket has removable sleeves so you can quickly turn it into a vest on warmer days or for layering purposes. There are two zip pockets on the back for security and one mesh pocket for your water or a snack. the single chest pocket holds your music, keys, or whatever you'd like to keep close at hand. A partially elastic gripper at the waist keeps the jacket from riding up. Fall rides often happen under low-light conditions, so Gore Bike Wear put a reflective logo on the front and back of the jacket, along with added reflective print on the sleeves and back.
The Gore Bike Wear ALP-X 2.0 SO Zip-Off Jacket comes in sizes Small through XX-Large and in five color schemes: Black, Castle Grey/black, Navy Blue/black, White/black, and Red/black.
I chose the jacket mainly because of the zip off sleeves. I didn't want to buy a shell and a vest, and this fit the bill for both. I have worn it a lot over the past 6 months or so. I have found Gore bike wear to be great quality and functional clothing. The zippered chest pocket is great for cell phone and to keeps gels from getting too thick in the cold. The two zippered pockets on the back securely hold lots of other stuff and the open mesh pocket in the middle holds the rolled up sleeves perfectly. I have gone out and had to remove the sleeves when I got too warm and I have had to put them on when I got too cold. I love the ability to adjust like that. It is totally windproof and highly water resistant. I wouldn't want to wear it in heavy rain, but it doesn't have a hood anyway. The fabric is somewhat substantial though. This is not one of those super light windbreakers that rolls up to the size of a banana. You could put it in a jersey pocket, but you're not going to forget its there. The only negative about this jacket is that after a while riding in the cold, you get some sweat/condensation inside. Its mostly only noticeable in that stuff in the zipped up pockets will have some moisture on it after riding for a while. Any wind or waterproof garment isn't going to breathe like one that isn't. Gore Windstopper is about as good as you're going to get. I have worn this in temps ranging from the mid 20's to the upper 50's. I would definitely recommend to a friend or buy it again.
This is by far the best jacket I have owned. I am a size 38 waist and weigh 220 lbs. Gore tends to fit slim so I purchased the XXL which fits perfectly. If I had gone with the XL, it would have been too tight. I think the XL would fit someone who is 195-210 lbs. much better. I wore this jacket on a 1000 mile bike tour up the California coast and it was perfect for all weather conditions I experienced along the way. The two zippered pockets on the side rear are deep enough to hold all of your snacks, money and even a small pump. The wrist opening is perfect and did not chafe my wrists at any point on my rides. The front pocket is a great size for a smart phone and or money as well. The zippers that hold the removable sleeves are very well made and remove and zip up easily. The rear pockets easily hold the sleeves when you want to use the jacket as a vest. As for wind, I really put this jacket to the test as my entire ride north was against head winds. There were a number of days when I was on my tour when I was riding against 15-20 mile winds. The jacket kept all of the wind out, and still was breathable enough so that I would not accumulate sweat during long rides. The overall construction is excellent and looks great. I liked this jacket so much I purchased it in black and also red. The red color is bright but that keeps you visible to passing drivers.
I really liked the fit, feel and functionality of this jacket. However, after my second washing the breast pocket came unlaminated. I returned the jacket to competitive cyclist without problems. I wish I trusted that the same thing wouldn't happen again. My other Gore Bike Wear jacket has been really good.
So after my second ride the stitching came off on the wrist. Is it worth paying for shipping to send it back? Looks good new. after 10 rides the stitching is coming apart in other places. Made in china!!!! This jacket has been used lightly.