It’s certainly not cheap, but Gore’s Alp-X Zip-Off repays your investment with excellent performance and versatility. The cornerstone of its performance is Gore’s Windstopper Active shell, which is nigh-on waterproof in all but the heaviest weather; that’s why it’s a current fave.
The mesh lining in the sleeves, shoulder yoke and front panels speeds up sweat wicking, while trapping warm air and making the jacket feel comfy next to bare arms – unlike a clammy full waterproof.
As a result, you stay impressively dry and comfy even when working hard, whatever the weather is doing outside – which makes the medium weight and pack size less of an issue.
The Alp-X ticks all the boxes for a flap-free fit – tall collar, dropped back, adjustable cuffs and articulated sleeves – despite the lack of stretch in the fabric. It’s a reasonably slim fit but with enough room for layers underneath, which bolsters its multi-season benefits.
You can convert the jacket from a full arm to a gilet, and you can do so mid-ride to counter varying weather conditions. This means you don’t have to ditch it when the going gets sweaty.
The removable sleeves are attached with twin zips on either side, which aids mobility and lets you create an armpit vent via partial opening. However, it makes the sleeves extremely awkward to get on and off.
There’s a rear cargo pocket to stuff them in to keep them safe though, as well as a chest pocket for essentials. There’s a smattering of reflective print to help traffic see you, too.
Our only gripe is all the zip tabs are a bit small, so are a little tricky to use with gloved paws. It’s a great investment for riding in a changeable climate nonetheless.