Over the years, one thing about my wet-weather riding experiences has remained constant: I never know if my gear is up to the challenge until it's too late. Sure, most jackets will do the job through light showers and easy pedaling, giving you the illusion that when the going gets tough you'll stay dry and warm. But far too often when you're laying down the hammer and the skies open up, it won't take long until you and your gear look like you've just been out for a swim.
Gore’s One Pro isn’t one of those jackets. It's a high-tech piece of kit that's ready for the most bitterly cold days that you dare ride in. And my first ride with the Pro jacket was one of those days. A thin layer of snow was covering the trail, and strong rain and whipping winds battered me as I slogged my way toward the summit of my local trails. The temperatures were barely above freezing, but I was struck by the warmth of this jacket. With no insulation to speak of, I wrongly assumed that its role would be solely as a water shedder and not as a heat retainer. And even though I was quite warm, I didn't experience any condensation build up inside the jacket--a common occurrence with inferior-quality rain shells. This is due to the Gore-Tex Pro fabric being windproof and waterproof, while still remaining extremely breathable. Additionally, smartly placed pit zips that open wide release body heat without distorting the shape of the jacket. There's nothing worse than feeling like pit zips are more like a parachute than a heat vent.
But, the true test of a jacket comes under a constant barrage of heavy rain. This is when you quickly find out whether you have a shedder or an absorber. The One Pro kept water beading up and rolling off during some truly nasty rides this winter.
As for fit, Gore has done a great job with the cut on the One Pro. It's a casual form-fitted cut that looks the part of a modern mountain kit. It has great ergonomics when your hands are on the bars, and won't expose any skin when you're throwing shapes or hanging off the back of the bike. A bit of extra length in the cut on the back is subtle but effective in keeping the water off. In addition, the Gore-Tex material has a healthy weight to it that eliminates excessive flap in the wind when you get up to speed.
Thankfully I haven't had any violent off-the-bike moments wearing the One Pro, but I've had my fair share of run-ins with low-hanging branches and brush that can pull at and tear your kit. The One Pro features an abrasion-resistant fabric on the outside that so far has been up to the challenge of any off-track moments.
At $450, the Gore One Pro jacket isn't going to appeal to fair-weather riders who keep a rain shell tucked away in their packs for emergencies. Gore calls its most durable, extreme-weather material ‘Pro’ for a reason--this is for hardcore riders who will brave the worst conditions to ride.