The name Gore is most associated with the best waterproof MTB jackets, but in targeting a style specifically at mountain bikers it has addressed the balance of what is probably the biggest single issue for the comfort of riders. Namely, how much waterproofing do you ever really need or is there a trade-off to be made that buys you improved comfort in the form of more breathability?
The Lupra is essentially a lightweight wind and weatherproof shell, but if the price isn’t a giveaway, diving into the specification shows that is too simplistic a description. And even if you think you want a waterproof, this jacket deserves a second or even third glance.
Design & Specification
The Lupra is made with a combination of materials – wind and light rain protection on the front, stretch breathable fabric on the back. The more exposed hood and shoulder areas also have taped seams. This strategic placement of different materials is designed to give protection where you need it the most, but with more breathability than a full waterproof.
Gore pays the same attention to the cut, with sleeves shaped in the riding position with cuffs that drop well over the back of the hand, even at full extension and a long back hem that can be adjusted to fit. A generous hood goes over a helmet and it features reflective detail on the arms, neck and chest.
The Gore Lupra is proof that mountain bike-specific does not have to mean baggy. A loose fit is an easy way to give movement, but it all too often means that when you lift, (or extend) your arms the jacket body follows them up. It creates cold spots and a constantly shifting jacket makes for a noisy ride. Articulated, or pre-shaped sleeves allow you to move your arms without the body moving too. It’s a feature you might never know you need until you try it – once you do it’s a game changer. This jacket is a quiet delight to ride in, it feels right the moment you put it on and then you will likely forget it’s there such is the range of movement. The only other brands that pay such consistent attention to getting this detail right are 7Mesh and Patagonia, with the Co Pilot and Dirt Roamer respectively giving that same ride feel, albeit in a full waterproof fabrication.
Over and over, it was the detail that made the difference in terms of features of this jacket. The back, which is long enough even for six-foot plus riders, is adjusted via drawcords that are positioned at the side. The advantage of this is that the drop tail is flat over your backside and remains protectively in position throughout. Again, it’s a solution that, always being used to the regular adjustment of a fully elasticated hem downwards, I never knew I needed, and now don’t want to be without.
Flipping the hood up doesn’t impact peripheral vision and the collar zips high enough to snuggle your chin into, but not so much you feel like you might choke. If there is a theme here, it’s comfort and that’s underlined by the material mix. The additional wind and water protection on the front and shoulders does exactly what it promises. In fact I found that, with the exception of a torrential downpour or those perma-rain days, when only a full waterproof will do, the protection was enough. Combine that with the enhanced breathability of the back and it hits the balance of dry enough on the outside, and optimum temperature regulation on the inside.
As an FYI, the Lupra has been paired with a merino base layer for testing and ridden through a UK fall with temperatures that have ranged between 7 and 18 degrees C . While it’s not meant to be a full waterproof, this is a jacket that works incredibly well for the variable conditions of spring/fall seasons, especially when you don’t want to compromise on some weather-proofing when you’re working hard. It also works well in tandem with the Gore Fernflow pants.
The Gore Lupra is an impeccable combination of on-point fit and highly specified materials. The balance between weatherproof protection and non-sweaty comfort is so good that it has become my go-to for transition season riding.
Tech specs: Gore Lupra Jacket
- Price: $180 / £179.99 / €179.95
- Sizes: S-XXL
- Colors: Uniform Sand, Utility Green, Black
- Weight: 315g