Spartacus 2.0 – GORE Cancellara Kit Review

Even if you don’t ride like Spartacus, you can ride inspired by him in the next iteration of the GORE Fabian Cancellara Collection of jerseys, bibshorts, socks and gloves. Here’s a much closer look at the streamlined and updated collection.

A lot of PEZ readers will know that I reviewed and loved the original GORE Fabian Cancellara C5 kit: Even if I can’t ride like Spartacus, I can feel like Spartacus and be a little bit inspired the next time a steep hill rears its ugly head — visions of Fabian Cancellara crushing the climbs of the Muur, Kwaremont, and Paterberg to help get me to the top. Well,  GORE has come out with version 2.0. So, of course, I had to check it out.

xpedo cxr pedalbanner with Brian McCullough

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Previously, the GORE Cancellara kit came in two levels: the C7 top-shelf race kit and the C5 kit that was less expensive but still high-end quality (and what I reviewed). This year, the GORE Fabian Cancellara Collection is just the C5 level. That’s not a bad thing — as I previously said: it’s high performance race quality kit with all the style and function — but at a more wallet-friendly price point.

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C5 Cancellara Jersey – $100

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There are two things that set the new Cancellara kit apart from the previous iteration. The first is the addition of red instead of a blue-on-blue color scheme. The new version of the jersey is solid blue (what GORE calls “orbit blue”) that fades to red at the sleeve ends and with a red front zipper and red zipper for the back secure zipper pocket.

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xpedo cxr pedalbanner with Brian McCullough

The second thing that’s different is GORE’s sizing. Per GORE:

We have updated our sizing names to better align with the industry standard. For example, if you were a Large in the past you will now be a Medium size. Additionally, for this product we have made our larger sizes even roomier. Please be sure to check the size guide.

According to their size guide:

This new product has been made to an improved sizing standard designed to further improve the functionality and comfort of our apparel. Please use the table below to find your best size and bear in mind that your ideal size may vary for other products that aren’t yet using this new sizing.

Following feedback from our consumers and athletes we have also changed the way we name our sizes to better match the sizing you are used to. Products we had previously called a “Medium” we now call a “Small”. So if you already own a GORE Wear product and want to ensure you get the same size again please bear this in mind.

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I can attest that GORE isn’t kidding about their changed sizing. I’ve previously worn size small in all my other GORE kit. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about sizing down to XS (I’ve only done that for club cut jerseys), but the new extra small fit me the same as the old small. But given the change in sizing, try before you buy is probably a good idea. Or if you’re buying online, make sure you can exchange it for the right size.

NOTE: The hang tag on my kit was labeled US size XS and Euro size S. So not sure how GORE’s re-sizing affects those across the pond from me.

Design and construction-wise, the new Cancellara Jersey is the same C5 as the previous C5 jersey – which is a good thing IMHO, i.e., no need to fix what ain’t broken. That means the jersey body consists of five panels that are serged seam stitched. What’s different from a lot of other jerseys is that there isn’t a full-length side panel between the front and rear panels. Instead, there’s a v-like panel under the sleeves that joins with the front and rear panels about halfway down. The sleeves are raglan sewn and the sleeve ends are flat stitch hemmed.

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The side panel on the C5 Cancellara Jersey is different than most other jerseys. And the “FC” logo is just a reminder of whose jersey you’re wearing.

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Laser cut is de rigueur in the pro peloton, but GORE uses a flat stitched hem for the sleeve ends

The jersey material isn’t vented but is relatively “sheer.” Despite any lack of obvious venting, I can attest to riding the previous C5 Cancellara jersey in the heat of summer and not overheating (which is a relative thing when it’s 90F sweltering hot with high humidity because at that point — short of actual air conditioning — you’re going to be hot no matter what). I expect that riding the new C5 Cancellara will be the same.

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Cam lock zippers (GORE uses YKK, the gold standard of zippers) are becoming more popular. L: Flipped up to zip up or down. R: Flipped down to lock the zipper in place.

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Wrap around gripper at the waist to help keep the jersey in place

There are, of course, three rear jersey pockets. The outside pockets are ever-so-slightly angled, which makes it just a little bit easier to reach in and out of them. #marginalgains And the middle pocket features a secure zipper pocket for stuff you want to make sure you don’t lose, like ID, credit/debit card, keys. NOTE that it’s a top entry zipper pocket, which I find a little more fiddly to use than a side entry zipper. But that’s just me and a minor quibble.

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The GORE logo and piping on the side of the pockets are reflective for some added visibility/safety at night

GORE calls the actual fit of the C5 Cancellara Jersey “slim fit”: These items are designed to follow the shape of your body, to create a smooth silhouette, without being skin tight. I would call the fit pretty close to race fit. The jersey hugged my 5’8″, 130 pound ectomorph body comfortably without being constricting.

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If it’s not full-zip, it’s not a jersey

• Shop the Cancellara Jersey at Amazon here

C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+ – $120

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Like the jersey the new C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+ are much the same design/construction-wise as the previous version — again, this is a good thing IMHO because I’ve enjoyed many long rides in them.

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The shorts section consists of nine panels — including the leg gripper panels. The leg gripper panels are flat stitched but all the other panels are serged seam stitched. In addition to compression, the leg gripper panels have a strip of silicone/rubber-like material near the bottom that’s impregnated into the stretch material to keep them from riding up while pedaling.

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The inside of the gripper panels is textured and there’s a gripper strip that’s invisible to the naked eye

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A reflective strip on the back seam of the gripper section

The bib is a traditional Y-back design that has five sections. The back and straps are stretch mesh material for ventilation and moisture wicking. The bib straps themselves are laser cut, lay flat for comfort.

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Laser cut, lay flat bib straps are the new gold standard in comfort

Of course, what matters most in any pair of bib shorts is the “down under” part. Here, GORE has its Windstopper Cup above the chamois — a windproof soft, felt-like material (bonus comfort for the “important bits”) that helps protect against cold/wind chill but is also breathable to release moisture and heat build up.

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GORE’s Windstopper Cup is like “air conditioning/temperature control” for the down under parts

The chamois pad is what GORE calls its Advanced level seat insert (made by Elastic Interface who make top-level pads for a lot of different clothing manufacturers and I’ve had good experience riding) that uses a two-layer medium density foam. It’s the same  “delta” shape as in the previous iteration Cancellara bib shorts with very shallow channels in the surface material and a full-length center channel to relieve pressure on soft tissue and to increase blood flow.

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Chamois aka pad aka insert has a shape that’s more angular than curved

I have more than enough miles (including lots of longer rides, i.e., metric century, which is long enough for me these days) in my older model GORE Cancellara Bib Shorts+ to know that my butt will be more than happy in the saddle with the new bib shorts. But (no pun intended) if I had one wish, it would be for slightly firmer/denser padding. It’s not a deal breaker or means that I’m uncomfortable or unhappy riding the GORE C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+ — it’s just my personal preference. YMMV.

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No doubt about who makes the pad for GORE

Fit-wise (XS for me per GORE’s new sizing), the new GORE C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+ fit me as expected. Which is to say, firm compression without being too tight. The leg grippers gripped comfortably without any “sausage” effect. And the laser cut, lay flat bib straps were as comfortable as comfortable gets.

• Shop the Cancellara Bibshorts at Amazon here

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Cancellara Mid Socks – $18

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If red is the new blue in the Cancellara Collection, then these socks are a “must have” to complete the look. The solid red socks pick up the touches of red in the jersey and bibs. A little bit of flash without being too flashy.

The socks themselves are a tight weave, mesh construction to provide some venting and moisture wicking. The toe and heel are reinforced and are the only parts of the socks that have any seams. Cuff height is 18 cm/7.1 in (GORE’s specs) and I particularly like that the top of the cuff is doubled over at the top to create a “band” to help keep the socks up.

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BTW, pay attention to sizing. I generally wear a size medium in most other sock manufacturers’ socks. But the correct size for me (US size 9 shoe/Euro 42) in GORE’s socks is L.

• Shop the Cancellara Socks at Amazon here

Cancellara Short Gloves – $45

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I’m not a gloves guy (at least not in warm weather), so I’m maybe more like Tommeke than Spartacus in that respect. But the Cancellara Short Gloves are pretty minimalist to the point that they almost feel like you’re not wearing gloves. The palms are a thin, single layer (GORE doesn’t say what the material is but it’s grippy) for road feel, which is why I ride glove-less. But they aren’t padded so if you need gloves to provide extra padding beyond your bar tape, these are not the droids you’re looking for. The backs are a semi-stretchy mesh material for ventilation. There’s a tab at the base of the palm of the gloves to help pull them on and loops in-between the fingers to help pull them off (although I found it easier to use the tab at the bottom to pull the gloves off by turning them inside out).

• Shop the Cancellara Gloves at Amazon here

Spartacus 2.0 is a GO!

Let me start by saying that I love the original GORE Fabian Cancellara kit. As I wrote: GORE’s C5 Cancellara jersey and bibs means I can look like Spartacus without being a total poseur wearing trade team kit. The blue on blue is an understated and timeless look. Think of it like a classic blue blazer. But don’t ask me whether I like the new kit better (or vice-versa). That’s like asking a parent which one of their children (I only have one) they like better.

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Functionally, the new Cancellara kit is the same as the old Cancellara kit. In that respect, GORE kept a good thing going. The fit is comfortable for long days in the saddle. And the cut is stylish for a very pro look.

Plus you have to love the fact that this is pro level kit that doesn’t break the bank. You can get both the jersey and bibs for just a tad more than what some other manufacturers want for a pair of bib shorts.

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What’s different is the look. The original Cancellara kit was all blue (primarily orbit blue but also lighter shades of blue) and used a seven sided polygon as a visual motif. The number 7 being significant for Cancellara because he won seven Spring Classics and won the prologue of the Tour de France on 7.7.2007. The new iteration of the Cancellara kit uses the same orbit blue but with touches of red to provide some contrast. The blue maintains what I call a classic “blue blazer” look but the red gives it just a little bit of “pop.” Some flash without being too flashy. Yet subtle enough that the overall look is still relatively understated. I liken it to a cycling kit take on an English prep school look.

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Everyone has their own taste for what they like and find appealing to the eye. For me, the new GORE Fabian Cancellara Collection is a winner – like its namesake. It’s not a question of better or worse than the original, just different. I like the look and it gets a lot of looks (and compliments) when I ride in it. At least for me, Spartacus 2.0 is a GO!

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Not quite dropping Tommeke on the Muur van Geraardsbergen


Note: If you have other experiences with gear or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCyclingNews ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products you see here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper / safe use, handling, maintenance and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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