Earlier this Spring Gorewear sent over some samples for testing. First up is the Lupra jacket, which slotted in nicely with the indecisive and inclement weather over the last few months here in the Idaho panhandle. The jacket is fully windproof, water resistant and highly breathable. Let’s be clear, this is not a fully waterproof shell aimed at riding in heavy rain, but rather a safe option for variable conditions. However, it is worth mentioning that Gore does make a fully waterproof shell. Anyhow, read on for the full scoop…
- GORE-TEX Infinium / Windstopper technology
- Water resistant
- Fully windproof
- Over the helmet hood
- Weight: 10.9 oz.
- 3 colors
- 5 sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
- $180 USD
The Lupra features two zipper pockets which are located a bit high in the midriff. While this makes them feel slightly unnatural to use, it means they play nice with fanny packs and waist straps on hydration bag, so it’s a win on balance.
The tail of the jacket features significant drop at the back to help prevent mud/water/dirt/loam from going in places where you don’t want it…
There is also an easy to use cinch at the waist to further keep wind out on breezier days.
The elbows features a pre-articulated dart stitch which ensures there is no pulling when you’re in a standard riding position on the bike. And while most mountain bikers don’t spend much time on the road, occasionally we find ourselves commuting back from a ride in traffic. Having reflective arm bands is a safe and smart touch.
I found the wrist cuffs to be a bit unconventional with the elastic cinch located on the inside. This design never bothered me while riding, but I’m not 100% confident in what the reasoning is for that design approach. Regardless, no complaints…
Interestingly, the paneling on the Lupra varies quite a bit – more on that soon…It is clearly aimed at mixed weather. The coating on the outside repels water nicely but over time will likely need to be reapplied.
As shown above, the mid-back area features a stretchier and more breathable section but the chest, shoulder and hood sections are comprised of a significantly more water resistant fabric. Overall the paneling is strategically chosen to keep water out where it is most likely to penetrate, while keeping a strong focus on breathability in other areas.
I think more engineering went into the hood of this jacket than most of the drivetrains we ride these days. I’m kidding, but there’s a lot to unpack and it is a brilliant hood…
I’m not 100% sure what the three black panels are intended to do, but they are soft and smooth – so my theory is that they they help make it easier to look around side to side with the hood deployed as they limit friction and sticking. I could move my head more freely than usual in the Lupra, so I’m going with that.
There are elastic sections on the sides of the hood which help keep it cinched down – even in heavy wind. Another nice touch is a thin, flexible plastic rod at the front, which helps it play nice with the visor.
And you can further tighten things down at the back.
Located above the helmet visor is a grippy section which helps prevent slipping.
Lastly, elastic shock cords to tighten or loosen the opening of the hood.
On the trail
Starting with fit, at six foot tall and 180 pounds the size Large fit me perfectly. Gore lists their apparel in US and EU sizes and for what it’s worth, my jacket is an XL in EU sizing. Anyhow, all the proportions were just right and the Lupra is incredibly comfortable. It is soft and highly flexible – thus, it allows for excellent freedom of movement. One of many things that I did appreciate about the hood was that it was easy to deploy with one hand without stopping riding, and yet somehow it held its shape well enough that it didn’t want to blow off in heavier winds. The zipper is easy to adjust while on the bike as well – personally, I appreciated the larger sized teeth, which seem to help it move along effortlessly when needed.
As far as breathability is concerned, I think the Lupra strikes about as fine a balance possible for a jacket aimed at mixed weather. On days that started cold and got warmer, I rarely felt that I was getting so warm that I had to remove it altogether – at worst, I would simply leave it fully unzipped. It features panels with more waterproofing in all the critical areas – hood, shoulders, upper chest and back – while utilizing more porous fabrics where rain is less likely to penetrate, yet internal heat/moisture is more apt to build up. Now, the only slightly downside to this approach is that since the back area is made from a fabric that is aimed more at breathability than it is waterproofing, when you ride through standing water or have spray coming off of your rear wheel, it will eventually permeate. After all, everything comes down to tradeoffs…Fortunately, in my experience the water repellant coating has generally fared well in keeping most of the water out on most of my rides thus far.
All told, I’ve really been enjoying my time in the Lupra. It’s the perfect jacket for unpredictable Spring or Fall weather in terms of duty. That it’s incredibly well thought out in terms of features, and flawless in terms of fit and comfort earn it even more points. Lastly, at $180 the value is excellent given the craftsmanship and quality of materials on offer. Yes, $180 is still in the range of a premium product, but I’ve tested $400-$500 jackets that were less deserving of praise. At the end of the day, I can’t find any major complaints with the Lupra, so if you’re in the market for a good shoulder season jacket, it should be high on your list of considerations.