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For those days when a full rain jacket is too much, but a paper-thin windbreaker just isn’t enough, the Gorewear Lupra mountain bike jacket fills the gap. It’s an interesting blend of fabrics that places their Gore Infinium Windstopper material across the chest, shoulders, upper arms, and hood, but with a far more breathable material everywhere else.
On its own, that would make it a decent jacket for cool-weather pursuits. But it’s the pockets and hood that make it great for mountain biking in particular.
Under the hood’s visor is a slim gripper panel that rests against your helmet’s visor. Cinch it down with the two elastic side cords and the rear adjustment to customize the fit and it hugs your helmet, then turns with it thanks to that grip strip.
If you’ve ever pulled a hood over your helmet and turned your head only to be looking at the inside of the hood, then you know how wonderful this feature is. The Lupra’s hood moves fluidly with your helmet and head, maintaining full visibility.
That capability is enhanced by three patches of soft, micro-fleecy material at the back of the hood that keeps that part sliding over any helmet parts, straps, etc. The Infinium material itself is very much a soft-shell, so there’s no crunchy wrinkling noises as you bob and weave through the trees. Meaning, no distractions, you can still hear your tires ripping across the dirt.
The Infinium material is windproof and highly water resistant (shown above from the inside, it’s the silver material).
From teh outside, it’s barely differentiated…until it gets wet or muddy. The lighter, more breathable stretch material across the back, under the arms, and around the forearms makes a great windbreaker on cooler days…it’s soft and comfy, unlike most wind shells. The placement keeps the jacket more breathable under a pack, and under a pack’s hip belt.
Speaking of, note the pocket placement in the top photo…they’re intentionally placed above the belt line so you can access them easily even when wearing a pack. Not wearing a pack? It’s even more breathable. Even on long climbs on cool days, I never felt like I got too sweaty or overheated.
The downside to the mixed materials is that the softer parts will get soaked if it really starts raining. A light mist or occasionaly splash is no problem, but when it started sprinkling and didn’t stop, the forearms got very wet, then cold. It’s a weird feeling having only part of my arm being cold and wet, so I wish Gore would put the Infinium all the way down the top of the arm AND all the way around the forearms. That would make this jacket really perfect for the intended use.
As is, I still really like this. A lot. It’s still looking fresh after numerous washes and wears, and all that dirt you see came completely out in the wash. Other key features include:
- Dropped tail
- MTB cut for easy movement, but not too baggy
- Taped shoulder and hood seams
- Dries quickly
- Four colors (black, olive, mustard, purple)
- Men’s and Women’s versions
- Five sizes (XS – XL, I tested size Large at 6’2″, 187lb)
- MSRP $200
If you’re looking for something that’s fully wind- and waterproof, Zach prefers their Endure Jacket. But for those rides when breathability takes precedence over complete waterproofness, but you still want some protection and warmth, the Gorewear Lupra hits that weird sweetspot between windbreaker and rain jacket.