Fusion Cross Windstopper Active Shell (12)
Strong fabric and features are all well and good, but ﬁt is the vital third F when it comes to jackets – and Gore’s new Fusion Cross feels custom-cut from the second you slide it on.
Gore have been reﬁning the cut of their slim-ﬁt performance range for several years, and while there have been a few tight-forearm, bunched armpit or narrow-shouldered moments along the way, they’ve certainly got their designs dialled now.
The pre-articulated sleeves (cut to ﬁt an already bent arm) and strategic stretch panels of the Fusion Cross are properly Saville Row for immaculate tailoring. The tall, softly lined and zip-guarded collar – and a subtly dropped but not penguin-long back – complete a gap-free ﬁt that keeps draughts out. But despite sealing you in so well it’s still superbly mobile, with no tightness or inﬂexibility to cause arm pump or shoulder ache even when you’re jack hammering over the roughest ground.
The long, tabbed wrists can be snugged over gloves or hoiked up for a bit of cooling breeze, and the zipped chest pocket keeps essentials out of the way of bag straps. The reinforced fabric on the shoulders and arm panels make it impressively bag and bush proof.
Despite the lack of waterproof taping on the seams it shrugs off fairly intense showers without getting you soggy, and it breathes noticeably better than even the best ‘fully waterproof’ jackets – in which you’ll still end up sodden after 40 minutes of serious storm anyway. Because it’s not classed as a waterproof, Gore allow themselves long pit zips for extra cooling on climbs, but the breathability of the fabric is outstanding anyway.
We’ve been riding in it loads even in the warm but wet UK ‘summer’, and the bottom line is we rarely get any sweatier in this and a thin base layer than we would in a ﬂeecy mid-weight shirt.
However, wind chill and rain protection on ridgelines and descents is far better, and you dry faster even if you do get soaked by a proper deluge. In other words, comfort levels are pretty much as good as you can hope for from a relatively thin shell, and in the face of our ever-changing climate.
Unsurprisingly, the slim ﬁt is not forgiving of lovehandles, but there are plenty of more generously curved coats in the Gore line up for better insulated bodies.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.