How A Waterproof Mountain Bike Jacket Is Made | Inside The Gore Wear Headquarters

How A Waterproof Mountain Bike Jacket Is Made | Inside The Gore Wear Headquarters


– In the realm of waterproof jackets, Gore-Tex, well, is a household name. But it’s the use of this magical membrane in cycling clothing is how Gore Wear have used the stuff to make really genuinely waterproof and
breathable materials. So we’ve teamed up with
Gore to make this video, and they’ve invited me out here to their headquarters in Germany to find out just what
makes it so specialist. And exactly what goes into developing some of the most technical mountain bike clothing on the planet. (relaxed electronic music) (metallic slicing sound) (relaxed electronic music) Taking its name from founder Wilbert Gore, Gore-Tex actually started life when he was working
for DuPont in the ’50s. And he was working with
what we know as PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene. And he actually discovered it had some very good properties
but it was something that DuPont didn’t want
to consider pursuing. And it was his son Bob, actually, that discovered that by
expanding this rapidly, it would actually have some
very unique properties. And you know what? He was right. ePTFE was actually later
released to the public under the trademark name Gore-Tex, although its manufacture is
still a closely guarded secret. There are nine billion microscopic pores per square inch of material, each of which is 20 000 times smaller than
a single droplet of water. Which means water simply cannot
pass through that material. But here’s the really interesting thing. Each of those pores is also 700 times larger than heat vapor molecules, which is basically, has to pass through in order to keep you cool. But what is it that makes it so good when using it in a technical fabric like this waterproof
jacket from Gore Wear? Well, if we go back to
the beginning a minute and just think about a
standard waterproof jacket, not one of these ones here, you’d think they typically have some sort of two piece construction. They have an inner PU layer, polyurethane, and that’ll be laminated
to some kind of outer skin. It could be something quite thick or it could be a nice thin shell that will be having some
kind of water treatment on it sort of a water repellency treatment. So it may well keep
the water off your back but you’re going to boil
on the back, on the inside. That’s why the use of a membrane like Gore-Tex in Gore clothing actually makes all the difference because of the fact that it keeps that water at bay, but it also keeps you comfortable while allowing that heat and moisture vapor to escape. So you’re ultimately
comfortable all of the time. So, really, that is the
best way to go about it. Now although Gore Wear
used Gore-Tex membrane in their materials,
it’s actually important to say that actually they make a lot of other technical cycling clothing, and that’s just part of it. Being at the forefront of mountain bike technical clothing though,
Gore Wear are now offering one of their new products in both a fully waterproof option
and also a hybrid option as you can see Ludovic wearing here. So what I want to know
is why you would pick a hybrid jacket over something like this, a full waterproof option. – 80% of the time when I go outside just for riding single trike, the weather is like today, so sometime there is rain, sometime there is wind,
sometime there is cold. But it’s not always rainy. So which means that with
the Gore-Tex Infinium we have the chance to
have a very good jacket which stays soft compared
to a hard shell jacket which is sometimes little bit noisy but very productive. And with the new Gore-Tex Infinium jacket we have the chance to
have the protective part where we need to have the protective part, and soft part when we
need to have softer part. And soft allow you, for instance, to put a back protective for instance, keep the jacket stretch
and you can still move on your bike and really
keep this softness. So that’s the reason why the mix between the Gore-Tex and the soft shell, under the names Gore-Tex Infinium. For me it’s one of the
future for the rider. – The concept of what this is about, it’s actually really quite cool. It’s a bit of a capsule wardrobe, something that’s really important for mountain bikers, in
fact, but more to it. Let’s find out exactly
how this hybrid technology actually works. (relaxed electro music) Once the concept of
the garment is briefed, it’s time for those
features to be designed. I got chatting to product developer of the Infinium jacket, Anita. – The hard shell Gore-Tex fabric is a woven fabric, and that means it’s more water-resistant
or more waterproofed. But it has not the stretch ability because it’s really, really difficult to have a stretchable, completely Gore-Tex waterproofed fabric. The soft shell Gore-Tex
Infinium fabric is a knit, and it’s itself with some
elastic yarns, also stretchable. So the advantage is in the whole body of the fit, you can
make a cut or a pattern of the jacket very slim. – [Andrew] So more like
a, almost a much more performance fit, I guess. – Performance fit, more
like a jersey maybe also. And you still have the
freedom of movement, yeah. There’s no restriction. If you would make the same jacket only with the Gore-Tex fabric, it would be very uncomfortable because
you cannot move in it. – Of course, yeah. I see that the, so you mentioned the zip’s not a waterproof zip but it’s obviously waterproof underneath. What’s the reason for not
having a waterproof zip on here? – The reason is that
all waterproof zippers because of the treatment,
because it’s actually a normal zipper and has a
special treatment on top to make the zipper waterproof. And this treatment makes
the zipper very, very stiff. But we wanted to have
in this concept still a really light weight and packable jacket, and if you have a waterproof zipper you always need two hands– – To hold the fabric tight. – Exactly. And so with a normal
zipper it’s easy to use and with a underlayer, with a
completely waterproof fabric and taping, it’s also waterproof. (upbeat electronic music) – So can you explain to
us some of the limitations and issues you might have
when you’re designing products that really function over form? – Yeah, so, the most important thing is the fabric, of course,
for every product. And there you have most
of the limitations. So, for mountain biking
it’s really important to have a good balance
between abrasion resistance. So when you have your backpack on, that your jacket doesn’t fall apart after two or three wears. And then of course you
don’t want to be covered in sweat after 20 minutes. So this is a thing that
we always have to look at when we choose fabrics. Also, considering the
weight of the garment, because you want to have
the jacket with you probably and don’t want to have it too heavy. So this is a very
different, a very difficult combination to achieve, and I think in our jackets, in the C5 shell jackets, we really managed to do it very well. – [Andrew] And what’s your ethos when you’re choosing fabrics as such? So obviously you can see a whole bank of different samples and
inspiration everywhere. How d’you get to that? – It’s quite a variety. So it comes from different aspects of life and of different areas. So I look into work wear a lot. I also look into fashion, of course, because that gives you
a lot of inspiration in terms of colors,
textures, fabrics as well. And also the direction of style
that there is on the market. And of course for mountain bike I think sometimes it’s more
interesting to look in fashion because this is a more
style-driven area of the market than other areas in sports I think. When we choose colors we
always have to be aware that certain fabrics are not
taking every kind of color. So, for example, if you want
to dye a very bright shade, you have to be aware that polyamide is not workable for that. But it’s really interesting
that color itself has a history on it’s own. So the reason why dark blue, for example, was chosen for the marines was
that the natural blue color was the most durable for that and used because, you know, it’s exposed to sun, like, when you’re on the sea, you’re exposed to sun and salt water. And the blue dye stuff,
the natural blue dye stuff, was the most durable of all colors so that’s why marine
blue is marine blue now. – So it has great outdoor potential. (relaxed electro music) – We mark up the first prototypes, normally get it out to for
the consumers to test it off to an absolute certain matter. Or sometimes we test it ourselves just to get a first feel. And then directly you know it’s
going to do the job or not. But yeah, then step by step
you see on the prototypes are we coming closer
to the finished garment and then fulfilling the
desired outcome or not. And this all happens
outside of the standard and then suddenly, of
course, from the inside head. Now this is a garment
we see that can make it into our commercial
line, then we say, yup, now we got a standard process. I mean, there are criterias. Like in Gore, we have a principle that’s called fitness for use, so we guarantee that
the garment does the job that we want it to do. And if this is not the case we take it out of the line or we just take it back out of development and further work on it until it really reflects this. – After an initial
period of field testing, refinements are made to the
next round of prototypes, and this continues until
the product is perfect. I checked in with Maria about her role in this final stage of development. – So basically the way I approach it is I come to the fitting
room, I put it on the model. I try to recap the handover notes, and then to check point by point so I don’t lose track of anything, which is quite easy,
actually, among the process. And then once I have it all, and that means we got in trims, finishing and then down to the fit, probably one of the biggest chunks
of the whole process. I’ve measured a sample before
and then after pinning, like in this case, I
will remeasure it again. So then I can note down to
see what’s the difference between the measurement
that I have in the system and what will become afterwards. Then I always have to be super careful to understand if the
proportion is still there. If I’m not changing the shape that usually we’d have for mens, and
then for a very specific style for such a sport like road cycling. And then in order to tell to the factory into a very easy way of
course, very clear pictures. And that I’m very obsessed
with very high quality in all perspectives. I always do front, both sides and back. – Is that when a garment’s,
like, on a subject? – Yes, on a model. And once I have to address,
like, a particular point, like in terms of length, I will shoot with a model on the bike. If not needed, always standing, so– – Yeah, so you can see it for relevance. – Yeah, exactly. And then, also because you
want to see wrinkles possibly, once you are standing,
when you’re off the bike, or when you’re biking, you know. It needs to be looking very
sharp in any situation. You and the technicians at the factory will speak the same language,
and that’s the easiest way to get there in a very
efficient way, I would say. – Yeah, that seems like an incredible part of the process, and
really interesting to hear how it doesn’t get lost in translation when you’re doing things like this to very specific panels on the clothing. I think it’s amazing and there’s certainly a lot more tech that goes into
Gore Wear than I realized. (relaxed electro music) Now, I’ve used Gore
cycling clothing for years. Knew it was tech, but I didn’t realize just how much tech went into it. Impressive stuff. Now, you’ve seen how much goes
into developing a product. Wait ’til you see the
testing side of things. (relaxed electro music) As you might imagine, a
company like Gore Wear takes its testing very, very seriously. Its testing facilities here for just about every eventuality when
it comes to fabrics, just like this one right here that kind of reminds me a bit of an espresso machine, actually. It takes a portion of
fabric, locks it down and forces water against it to simulate what it would be like in an environment perhaps kneeling down or something. Water cannot get through that fabric. And again with other
machines like this crumpling tester here, that tests the lamination of the fabrics you have
inner and outer layers. And it tests it for
durability in what simulates what it would be like in
a real life environment. Again, after processes like this, everything is waterproof tested again. It’s tested in things, in
fact, like this big drum old washing machine, particularly brutal, 500 hours’ worth in there. Air permeability test,
environmental testing, and even abrasion testing. It’s time to get a picture
that Gore take things very seriously when it comes
to product manufacturing and testing. So in addition to all
the other fabric testing goes on, they’ve actually got this proper, well, a rain chamber, I
guess you can call it that. And just to say, this is
actually the waterproof jacket, this is not the hybrid jacket
that I’m standing in here. And I probably wouldn’t
want to stand here, in here, wearing that because apparently I have to be in here for half an hour, just a standard protocol for testing in a situation like that. And that equals eight
hours of consistent rain. Basically just a torrent of abuse. And it has to test the overall product when it’s finished, and to test all of the features in it. But it just sprays on
wall aiming at me as well. Generally it’s not a
very nice place to be. Reminds me a bit of home if I’m honest. (rushing water) So this is known as the Storm Cage, and here you can see,
just watching the water beading on top of the surfaces of the fabrics here. It’s pretty cool. Actually, what they use this for is testing for wind chill factor. Now this is something you have to have on a waterproof jacket or some sort of wind stopper jacket like that brand new hybrid jacket we were just checking out. They actually have a heat camera in here and it can detect what
your body temperature is doing in correlation to that. It’s pretty good, but my face
is getting pretty cold now, and we’re going to get out of here. Well as you can, Gore Wear take things very seriously when it
comes to product development and testing, both here
in their laboratories in Germany, and also out in the field where they have their
prototypes tested thoroughly at every possible stage of development. Think that’s the key part in what makes some products like this fully waterproof and breathable jacket featuring that famous Gore-Tex membrane. And it’s why they can also
guarantee it to keep you dry. But I have to say, the things
that have really stood out to me, the attention to
detail that they have on all of their technical fabrics. The small things like
having elasticated cuffs at the sides of the waist
opposed to having them all the way around so the
fabrics don’t bunch up. And things like this Infinium jacket which at a glance it could
be lost in translation, but it makes common
sense, just perfect sense, for mountain bikers to
have waterproof uppers, waterproof shoulders
and arms, and maintain that windproof body but in a much lighter, more comfortable stretchy fabric. They’re definitely
pioneering different styles of fabric when it comes to optimum stuff for getting out and getting
dirty out in the environment. If you’ve got any questions about Gore, anything you want to
comment on this video, let us know in the comments
underneath this video. And for another Gore Wear related video, click down here to see
myself, Blake and Neil getting wet and wild out
in the hills around Bath. And as always, don’t forget
to leave us some comments in the comments section underneath. Give us a big like if you like technical mountain bike clothing that helps you enjoy your bike out in the elements. Hit the subscribe button and don’t forget to also click the notification bell, which means on your device
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a microphone in there, you’ll get a little notification every time we upload a new video. Cheers guys.