The way Gore-Tex is used in the construction of a waterproof motorcycle jacket is two-fold;
1. It’s bonded to the inside of the outer (Cordura) fabric
2. It comes as a separate detachable/non detachable zip out drop liner
I’ll go into the pros and cons of both the above versions in a later feature but for now lets just stick to the basics.
1. Bonded to the inside of the outer (Cordura) fabric
When Gore-Tex is bonded (or laminated) to the inside of a nylon face fabric it does not make that fabric waterproof. The face fabric will still wet out and become saturated over time but the water will not penetrate the thin layer of Gore-Tex that is bonded to the inside of the fabric.
That’s not to say that a jacket with Gore-Tex bonded to the face fabric will keep you totally dry as no jacket is waterproof, there are far too many exposed entry points for that to be so. Water will eventually penetrate any jacket through the collar or neck areas, cuffs, zips and lower hemline.
It’s also worth pointing out here that Gore-Tex does not make water bead up and roll off the outside of a waterproof jacket. That is the result of the outer fabric being treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating and nothing to do with the waterproof membrane.
Where Gore-Tex is laminated to the face fabric of a motorcycle jacket it’s unlikely you’ll be able to see the Gore-Tex on the inside as it will be protected by an inner liner or ‘micro scrim’ – a ‘scrim’ is an ultra fine layer of protective material more usually assossiated with hiking and climbing jackets and will give the inner a slightly furry handle next to skin. So, where Gore-Tex is used in it’s laminate form if you think of it as the meat in the fabric sandwich you have it.
2. Separate detachable/non detachable zip out drop liner
Gore-Tex is far more commonly used in motorcycle jackets as a removable waterproof liner, which you can zip out to make the jacket cooler running in hot weather. Despite what manufacturers will tell you the only real advantage of a drop liner is that it is far cheaper to make a jacket this way. But what about the advantage of extra ventilation I hear you say? Well, the best jackets come with a multitude of effective ventilation options such as pit zips, arm vents, back vents and mesh pockets which means it matters not if the Gore-Tex is bonded to the face fabric or a removable drop liner.
Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be expanding on the above with the following features;
Breathability; a great feature or just smoke and mirrors from the marketing departments
If you’ve any questions post them below or better still start a thread on the forum.