Be Like Spartacus – GORE C5 Fabian Cancellara Collection

GORE Clothing Review: We can’t all emulate Fabian ‘Spartacus’ Cancellara, but we can dream and feel and look as stylish as the big Classic and time trial winner in the new C5 collection by GORE. Our PEZman in DC, Chuck Peña, managed to get some good rides in to check the Spartacus range.

If basketball was your sport in the 1990s, no matter what team you were a fan of, you wanted to be like Mike and you probably owned a pair of Nike Air Jordans (a shoe that is still in the Nike lineup two decades later). We all have our cycling heroes, but who wouldn’t want to be like Fabian Cancellara? Beyond his palmarès — winner of three Monuments: Milano-San Remo, Flanders and Paris-Roubaix both three times (including twice doing the Flanders-Roubaix double); Strade Bianchi three times (with a sector of the gravel roads named in his honor); four-time world time trial champion; and twice Olympic time trial champion, just to name a few — he is undeniably ruggedly handsome and then there is his nickname, Spartacus. Be honest, who amongst PEZ-sters wouldn’t want to be like Spartacus?

Spartacus’ last time up the Paterberg in a last gasp attack to try and catch eventual 2016 Flanders winner Peter Sagan

Now, thanks to the new GORE Wear Cancellara collection, you can be like Spartacus. Designed with input from and testing by Spartacus himself, the Cancellara kit is high performance road kit that comes in two flavors:

  • C7 is GORE’s top-shelf race kit
  • C5 is supposed to be more versatile, but is race kit by another name (what PEZ received to review)

The weather in my part of the world (Babylon on the Potomac) is still in-between cold and warm so more often than not, I’m reaching for my GORE Oxygen Classics kit that’s tailor made for shoulder/transition season riding. But we’ve had a few days that have been warm enough for me to have a go in the new GORE C5 Cancellara kit and be like Spartacus.

GORE C5 Cancellara Jersey$99.99

The first thing you notice about the Cancellara jersey is the color: a deep blue. GORE calls it “orbit blue” and it was chosen by Cancellara himself. It has the elegance of black without being black. The second thing you notice is the honeycomb like pattern on the sleeves. It’s actually a heptagon — a seven-sided polygon. The number 7 is significant in Cancellara’s career: he won seven Spring Classics and won the prologue of the Tour de France on 7.7. 2007. The packaging also lists seven epic moments by Spartacus:

  • Gold in Rio
  • Dive to victory off the Poggio
  • The hell of Arenberg
  • The thrill of Oude Kawaremont
  • Grit and glory at the Pizza del Campo
  • Pain at Mons-en-Pévèle
  • Attack on the Muur Van Geraadsbergen

The heptagon pattern and seven epic moments in Fabian Cancellara’s career

Finally, on the back of the jersey just below the collar are Cancellara’s initials “FC” in gold — reminiscent of the “RF” on Roger Federer’s (another great Swiss athlete) clothing line. All in all, it’s a classy look with a touch of modern.

The C5 Cancellara jersey weighs in at 128 grams, making it fairly lightweight

The jersey itself is a fairly straightforward full-zip jersey (with a YKK zipper). The sleeves are raglan sewn (the sleeve ends are flat stitched) and — as is the current trend — longer, i.e., more aero. The body of the jersey is five panels that are serged seam stitched. The stretch fabric is lightweight and soft/smooth, but not ventilated. GORE doesn’t say what the fabric is but claims it’s “highly breathable.” It’s too early for the dog days of summer, but the C5 Cancellara jersey was more than comfortable (with a base layer) on warm-ish spring days with the temps in the mid-to high 60s(F).

Full-zip is the norm these days

Silicon gripper all the way around at the waist to hold the jersey in place while riding

The collar is probably best described as low mock collar

Not that anyone will see, but seven epic moments on the inside of the collar

As you would expect, there are three pockets at the back of the jersey plus — as is becoming more popular — a zipper pocket to keep important stuff such as ID, credit/debit card, and keys more secure

For a little added safety, the GORE logo and piping along the outside pockets is reflective

The C5 Cancellara is billed as a “comfort fit jersey,” but has the look and feel of a race jersey. A size small (what I usually wear) fit me like a second skin.

Longish sleeves are more aero

GORE C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+$109.99

The C5 bibs are a tried and true design: relatively high cut front and Y-back with wide, comfortable straps

Like the jersey, the Cancellara bibs are orbit blue. The heptagon pattern adorns the wide left leg gripper panel. The GORE logo is on the right leg gripper panel with a gold “FC” just above it. Like the jersey, classy and modern looking.

The heptagon pattern plus a reflective strip on the leg gripper panel

Wide leg gripper panel

The inside of the gripper panels is lightly textured to add more grip, but without digging into your skin

Classy gold “FC” above the right leg gripper panel

If I counted right, the bibs are nine panels — including the leg gripper panels but not the bib part. The leg gripper panels are flat stitched but all the other panels are serged seam stitched.

The C5 Cancellara bib shorts weigh in at 165 grams on my scale

The bib section and straps are mesh for ventilation and moisture wicking

A nice touch to the bib section is a thin blue stripe that runs the length of each strap and lists Cancellara’s seven epic moments

A unique feature of the C5 Cancellara bib shorts is GORE’s Windstopper Cup. The Windstopper fabric inside the triangular front panel above the chamois is windproof. This strategically placed soft, felt-like material is intended to help protect against cold/wind chill but is also breathable to release moisture and heat build up.

GORE’s Windstopper Cup is climate control for the “important bits”

The chamois GORE uses in the C5 Cancellara bibs is their Advanced level seat insert that uses two-layer, medium density padding. It’s actually made by Elastic Interface exclusively for GORE and is similar to their Nice Men chamois.

The chamois is fairly “basic” with a long center channel for pressure relief of soft tissue

What struck me most about the chamois in the C5 Cancellara bibs was its shape. As a point of comparison, I own a pair of GORE C5 Opti bib shorts (a couple years old ) that has what GORE called its Oxygen seat insert. The older C5 Oxygen chamois looks what I would call “traditional,” i.e., like the chamois you’d see in a lot of other bib shorts. The shape of the padded part is more “rounded” whereas the newer Advanced chamois is more “angular.” It kind of reminds me of the shape of an airplane wing or the Transformers symbol.

Chamois or Transformers? You decide.

The padding on the Advanced seat insert feels a little firmer to the touch than the older Oxygen chamois. But both feature a center channel to help relieve pressure. And both have an almost smooth surface (the Oxygen chamois has very light, almost imperceptible dimpling and the Advanced chamois has very shallow channels) — perhaps an indication that the Advanced seat insert used in the C5 bibs not a full-on race chamois (the Expert seat insert used in the C7 Cancellara bibs is dimpled).

Both the older GORE Oxygen chamois in C5 Opti bib shorts on the left and the new GORE Advanced chamois in the C5 Cancellara bib shorts on the right offer a similar level of comfort

I know that chamois can be a lot like saddles — what works well for another person doesn’t always work well for someone else. And how well a chamois works is also a function of the saddle you’re riding (in my case, a Sella San Marco Shortfit Carbon FX). At least for me, the C5 Cancellara bib shorts with GORE’s Advanced seat insert was comfortable. The padding isn’t too thick so it doesn’t feel bulky, i.e., like a diaper. And not that my butt didn’t get along with it, but I’d prefer a touch denser/firmer foam (that’s also true for me and chairs — if the cushioning is too soft, it aggravates my sciatica).

GORE says the Advanced level seat insert is good for “longer” rides but doesn’t say how long that is. I’ve done 2-3 hour rides and my butt tells me that the C5 Cancellara bib shorts should be good for at least 4-5 hours, if not longer.

Ride like Spartacus

OK, I admit that I’m never going to ride like Spartacus (I mean, I’m old but even my younger self wasn’t that fast). But 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. And even though it’s not GORE’s C7 Pro level, it’s high performance race quality kit with all the style and function — but at a more wallet-friendly price point. 

If you want to be all matchy-matchy and complete the look, other stuff in the GORE Fabian Cancellara collection:

  • Gloves
  • Socks
  • Stretch Shakedry jacket

I don’t ride with gloves in warm weather (in that respect, I’m more like Tommeke than Spartacus), but you can be Full Monty Spartacus if you want

The world is still dealing with COVID-19, but the GORE Fabian Cancellara kit is something to look forward to wearing when we’re back to group rides in warmer weather (here in the US, they’re talking about re-opening the economy and society beginning in May so hopefully we’ll have a summer riding season). 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.

• Shop for GORE C5 Jerseys here.

• Shop for GORE C5 Bibshorts here.

Pondering riding post-COVID-19 #alonetogether #wereallinthistogether #wellgetthroughthistogether #rideitout

clothing reviewfabian cancellaragoreGore clothinglatest newsNow on pezTech N Spec