We’re big fans of GORE-TEX® gear here at Infinity. It’s a unique material that manages to tick lots of boxes for riders. But there remain some questions that exist around it, its suitability for motorcycle clothing and its care, so we decided to answer them.
What is GORE-TEX®? And why is it good for motorcyclists?
GORE-TEX® is an incredible invention. First created in 1969 by American Bob Gore, it has become one of the clothing industries most used technologies, and for good reason.
Because of its unique characteristics, GORE-TEX® enhanced clothing is most commonly used for outdoor activities. Motorcycling is no exception. Although there are lots of materials that motorcycle clothing can be made from (nylon, leather, rubber) GORE-TEX® is as important to modern riders as it's ever been. This is because it offers more benefits than any alternatives available.
What are the benefits of wearing GORE-TEX®?
GORE-TEX® is tough, waterproof and windproof making it perfect for riding. It’s also an extremely breathable material. Unlike leather, GORE-TEX® protects you from the elements whilst also allowing moisture to evaporate and escape. There’s no trade-off between comfort and function because GORE-TEX® can provide both. This material is well known for providing long-lasting, durable and comfortable weather protection.
What is GORE-TEX® made of?
GORE-TEX® is not a fabric, coating, outer fabric or an inner textile lining – if you’re wondering what else there is, here’s the techie bit... It’s actually an extremely thin layer of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) in membrane form. This membrane is then sandwiched between high-performance lining and outer textiles to form a laminate of materials. It has over 9 billion pores per square inch. It's these pores that give the GORE-TEX® fabric its characteristics.
How Does GORE-TEX® keep you dry?
This sandwich of materials is made up of three layers. The two outer layers are typically made of nylon whilst the filler layer is a type of microporous Teflon. The Teflon in GORE-TEX® isn't completely waterproof because it has tiny holes (or pores) in it. These pores are less than one micro-meter in diameter. This is why liquid in steam form can pass out through it and larger droplets of water (rain, snow etc.) can’t get in. Clever ey?
Do I have to treat my GORE-TEX® clothing?
Yes. In order for your GORE-TEX® clothing to keep being waterproof it needs to be kept clean. Perspiration escaping through the material - and we all know how sweaty those long rides can get - can cause a build-up of surfactants (detergent-like chemicals) that reduce the effectiveness of the waterproofing.
Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions and be sure to use proper cleaning and waterproofing products designed specifically for GORE-TEX®.
What are the different types of GORE-TEX®?
There are three different types of GORE-TEX® fabrics:
- GORE-TEX® Pro is the most rugged and extreme material
- GORE-TEX® Active is designed to keep you cool during strenuous and movement-based activity
- GORE-TEX® is a blend of GORE-TEX® Pro and GORE-TEX® Active
GORE-TEX® technology can be added to light or heavy weight clothing.
Will GORE-TEX® keep me warm?
Due to how GORE-TEX® material allows perspiration to escape whilst shielding you from the elements, it can keep you very well insulated. Wet fabrics conduct heat three times faster than dry clothes. By keeping water out, GORE-TEX® prevents this heat loss.
How do you reactivate GORE-TEX®?
All GORE-TEX® materials are treated with an ultra-thin treatment called DWR. This is a water repellent polymer that is applied to the outer fabric layer. This DWR creates a hydrophobic barrier allowing water to bead up and roll off the outer layer of fabric, instead of being absorbed.
This DWR treatment will need to be re-activated after extensive use. Exposure to perspiration, insect repellent and other chemicals will affect the DWR’s performance. Here’s how to restore the DWR on your GORE-TEX® clothing (instructions taken directly from the GORE-TEX® official website):
- Machine wash your garment as described in the wash instructions. Line dry your garment, or tumble dry it on a warm, gentle cycle.
- Once it is dry, tumble dry your garment for 20 minutes to reactivate the durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment on the outer fabric.
- If unable to tumble dry, iron the dry garment on gentle setting (warm, no steam) by placing a towel or cloth between the garment and the iron. This will help reactivate the DWR treatment on your garment’s outer fabric.
- When the factory applied treatment can no longer be reactivated, apply a new water-repellent treatment available as a pump-spray product to the garment's outer fabric.
- Following spray application, tumble dry your garment for 20 minutes to reactivate the durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment on the outer fabric.
So there you have it, all the questions you had about GORE-TEX® answered! To find your perfect GORE-TEX® gear, shop online or pop into one of our 15 Infinity Motorcycles stores and have a chat with our team.