Motorcycle Owners Club

Honda CG125 but also some universal motorcycle information

GORE-TEX Motorcycle Coat / Jacket Review

This review is not about a particular brand or model of coat (since they keep changing),
instead it will show you what a massive difference a GORE-TEX lined coat makes to motorcycling
as well as the benefits of finding an aerodynamic coat (low wind resistance).

GORE-TEX is the top brand name for waterproof, windproof, breathable liners and are famous around the world,
for all types of outdoor clothing including walking, cycling, skiing etc.
Walk in to any mountain clothing shop and they will tell you how it is the very top of the range and the best.

A motorcycle coat is subjected too much harsher conditions than nearly all other activities,
due to the speed of the rain hitting it or the extreme cold due to wind chill or the extreme heat in summer.
So the massive benefits of the GORE-TEX liner really is needed and used all the time (as you will see in this review).

The coat reviewed below is no longer manufactured (finished around 2011),
it was made by Hein Gericke and was called the Nagano.
It was the cheapest one they made and used a GORE-TEX Performance Shell liner,
the liner was the bottom of the GORE-TEX range and so detached from the outside fabric of the coat.
The entire coat was built down to the cheapest price I have ever seen a motorcycle GORE-TEX coat,
£199 in 2009 and was made in Vietnam.
All Hein Gericke stores in the UK were closed down or sold to their competitors in 2012 and 2013.
The Hein Gericke brand (a German company) was purchased by a Chinese company in late 2013 or early 2014.

Trying to find a GORE-TEX lined coat today for that price could be very difficult, but there are often sales from time to time.
And I expect you will find the coats use more expensive materials making them more luxurious etc.

This textile coat stands out from all the rest (including leather)
for the following reasons.

Fit, it's tight making it very aerodynamic (low wind resistance),
including the arms, the coat is more aerodynamic than many leather coats.
Also has the advantage of making you look thinner and smart
(like a tailored business suit).

Waterproof yet much more breathable
than lesser materials thanks to its GORE-TEX liner.

Light weight and small.

Has a removable thermal lining for winter.

High quality.

Aerodynamics (wind resistance)

This textile coats shape, tight fit and lack of bulk slices through the wind incredibly well (including side wind),
much better than my existing high end motorcycle leather coat
(which claims to be sports fit, but I would say it's in the middle of sports and normal).
Despite being a textile coat, it is rigid in the wind like a leather coat (does not distort or flap like a normal textile coat).

The brilliant aerodynamics of this coat really shows what all motorcyclists need in a coat.
And also shows how terrible the aerodynamics are in the majority of other motorcycle coats (excluding the sports leather ones).
It does not matter if you're a learner on a 125cc bike
or an advanced motorcyclist on a 1000cc bike at over 100mph on the motorway,
we all suffer from the wind. We ether suffer from high wind speed or we generate it by riding fast.

Most motorcyclists (non-sports riders) do not realise what a massive difference there is between riding a bike,
with an aerodynamic coat verses a normal motorcycle coat.
They only realise something's wrong when the wind speed is so high they get blown around (by side wind),
buffeted or fatigue sets in due to fighting the bike.
They normally blame the wind speed, the distance they have travelled, their own speed or the bike, not realising it's their coat.
They also do not realise the problem also substantially effects how easy,
enjoyable and the amount of fatigue they get at much lower speeds.
Some people will think, get a big touring bike with a big screen and it will deflect all the wind away from the coat,
that never works 100% ether (arms, back etc.).

The best way to try and explain all this is, try riding your bike at 40mph when the wind speed is 0mph or 5mph max.
The wind will hardly have any effect on you or the bike,
your only problem is boredom setting in and you're not moving much (so seat ache etc. may set in) over distance.
Then try 50 to 60mph when the wind speed is 20mph or higher, headwind as well as side wind. Can you tell a difference?
I bet everyone will notice a substantial difference.

Now imagine this, get a normal motorcycle coat and ride in a strong wind
(try side and head wind as well as going round corners),
then try this aerodynamic motorcycle coat on the same stretch of road immediately after words
(so wind speed does not change),
and I bet you will swear the wind speed has dropped massively (or at least substantially),
over 50% speed reduction can easily appear to happen.
So to convince yourself that the wind has not dropped, put your normal motorcycle coat back on and try again,
it really is amazing the difference.

The secrets to the incredible aerodynamics is pretty simple and basic.
Tight fit, stiff material in the right places,
lack of bulk (so makes you thinner) and not letting the coat blow up inside due to air pressure.

The tight fit aerodynamics can be seen in the shop to a degree.
Put a coat on and look at yourself in a mirror,
ideally you need another person to look at you (women seem to be the best at this test).
Does the coat make you look thinner than a normal motorcycle coat?
Then turn to your side and look at your arm (this is the side wind test),
how thin does your arm look at the side of your body?
Now imagine the wind pushing the side of your arm,
is there much baggy material that will push flat creating a large surface area like the sail on a sailing boat?

Breathability

The breathability of the GORE-TEX (waterproof) makes it better than leather according to my tests
(even leather with massive ventilation zips).
I have tested cheaper waterproof materials than GORE-TEX,
often only in the shop and was unimpressed with the breathability results,
GORE-TEX really is worth the extra money
(GORE-TEX is famous as being the best for breathability in other sports like mountain walking, skiing etc.)

You can try this for yourself in a motorcycle shop,
try a GORE-TEX coat on and zip it up all the way (if it has a removable thermal lining, remove it first).
Then try a coat with a cheaper waterproof liner than GORE-TEX.
The coats will be at room temperature (not your body temperature) when you try them on,
but you should still get an idea after a few minutes.

The best example to show how good GORE-TEX breathability is, is to try a pair of gloves on in the shop,
then try some with a lesser waterproof material and then try some with no waterproof material.
The differences in breathability should be obvious after only a few minutes, some people will realise in seconds.

Waterproof

I have used the coat in a torrential downpour at 60mph for 30 minutes in a strong headwind.
The rain was so heavy the road was totally flooded (standing water on entire road surface).

The coat was totally waterproof, even though the rain was angled towards the coat due to the wind and bike speed.
Not only was it totally waterproof, but due to the high breathability of the GORE-TEX liner it was totally fresh inside,
no sign of the usual cold humid moist atmosphere you get with low / non breathable waterproofs.
And the coat did not soak up much water; even the outside of the coat was resistant to most of it.
This resulted in the coat hardly increasing in weight and drying very quickly.

I am sure the coat could have been used for a much longer ride than I had,
the GORE-TEX liner is brilliant, just ask anyone in the waterproof clothing industry (mountain, skiing, motorcycle etc.).

Hot Weather

This coats brilliant breathability really shows on very hot days,
it really does keep you cool even in the baking sun when riding the bike.
Even when loads of other motorcyclists have resorted to riding with just a t shirt on.
The breathability is a bit like air conditioning in a car,
gets the moisture away from your body and breaths so you do not suffer from humidity.

When off the bike on very hot days the coat does become too hot and humid, especially when walking,
but considering no one else can stand wearing any coat due to the heat on such a hot day, you cannot blame the coat.
But the brilliant thing is this coat is so light, thin and small (especially with the original body armour replaced or removed),
you can take it off and throw it over your shoulder and hardly notice it's there.

Winter / Cold Weather

This coat is very good at stopping the cold wind getting through,
due to the GORE-TEX liner and double zip system
(you have one zip for the outside of the coat and another for the internal GORE-TEX liner).

The removable thermal lining works very well at insulating you from the cold.
On a 65 mile ride at -1c to -3c, headwind and no sun there was no sign of cold.
My chest did feel a little cool when I deliberately breathed in excessively (as a test)
to remove the insulating air trapped inside the coat.
There was not even any cold wind getting to my neck,
even though I was not wearing anything to protect it underneath the coat.

I was only wearing a thin mountain base layer underneath it (a bit like a shirt but more high tech and better).
Even if the thermal lining is not good enough in extreme cold,
it can always be removed and a thick mountain fleece worn instead.
Depending on how tight the fit is, you can also buy from a mountain shop what's called a mid-layer, which is a thin fleece.
With all those different combinations and thermals, mountain base layers etc.
it should be very good no matter how cold the weather.

Even with the thermal lining in, the breathability of the coat was still very good,
resulting in the coat still being comfortable when the weather warms up in the day.
Even in the cold the breathability is still very useful,
it stops the humidity building up which would make you cold and damp inside the coat.

Tight Fit and Armour

The tight fit does not reduce the comfort for the rider when moving around.
Except for the big, thick, pretty hard body armour.

For example it may (depends on your shape)
push the textile fabric against the other side of your elbow when moving your arms up to your helmet,
which may cause minor friction burns.

Luckily the armour can be removed very easily (undo velcro and pull it out),
and you can buy much thinner / lighter / more flexible armour which offers equal protection (at Hein Gericke for example).

Tight fitting armour from what I have read is far more desirable than loose fitting armour in an accident.
Nothing can be proved for sure since no one is going to crash test the theory,
but the idea is in an accident you do not want the armour to be pushed off the area it's meant to protect,
so it must be tightly fitted to your body.

For now I have removed the original armour (including the back protector), hope to try alternative armour later.
Even without the armour,
the coat still has lots of other protection including the strength of the fabric and double fabric in the important areas.
With armour in I had trouble putting my crash helmet on,
especially with the coats main zip all the way up (the arms were too restrictive).

What to wear underneath the coat

Breathability is the key at any temperature (very cold, hot or in between),
cotton is bad in comparison to modern man made materials.

I highly recommend for the ultimate in comfort and temperature regulation,
you wear between your skin and the coat what's known as a base layer
in the mountain shops or by another name in motorcycle shops.
I would go for full length arms like a shirt (not like a t shirt)
because the motorcycle coats liner is not as soft and luxurious (except when thermal lining is in).
I have never tried a thermal base layer, because they work my reducing the breathability.

These base layers should claim to be highly breathable and moisture wicking.
And they really do work,
as soon as you try one on,
you will realise how breathable they are and over time
or when you exercise you will realise they are removing the excess moisture from your skin.
This makes them ideal at all temperatures, including the coldest days and the hottest ones.
They make you warmer in the coldest days and cooler in the hottest.
Don't be surprised if you find that you like them so much, you use them all the time and not just for motorcycling.

The other advantages of these base layers is, they are very small and lightweight compared to cotton.
When washed,
they dry very quickly so you could even use only one every day and dry it overnight without the need of a dryer.
They are soft and smooth; some are silky smooth which also reduces friction between it and the coat.

Conclusion

I can say with confidence, this coat is the only one I recommend for everyone.
Even for learners and people on tight budgets, it really is worth the extra money.

This coat is so good; I have ditched all my others and use it all year round.

Also see my GORE-TEX Trousers Review which are the matching trousers.

You may also like to look at my GORE-TEX X-Trafit Glove and Motorcycle Boots reviews that I also recommend.

And my Waterproof Windproof Breathable Liners section in my Clothing page.

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