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Gore Bike Wear Universal Balaclava

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Item # GBW3165

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Item # GBW3165

Your new riding nickname: Sub-Zero.

Yes, the Gore Bike Wear Universal Balaclava looks like the fire-retardant layer for a race car driver, but, as with motor sports, there is good reason to pull this thing on over your noggin. Gore uses Windstopper Soft Shell fabric around the brow, the ears, and at the front of the neck to keep those body parts warm.

Gore uses thermo-stretch fabric for the rest of the top to give both great fit and maximum warmth while allowing vapor to quickly escape. And it uses flatlock seams to minimize the possibility of chafing. Naturally, it is designed to fit under a helmet and under the top of your winter jacket.

The mouth is protected by a thermo-stretch panel that has been meshed to make it easier for hot air to pass out without it freezing to the material. The nose is covered yet there is space for the nostrils to do their thing. The Gore Bike Wear Balaclava mask is black and is available in one size only.

Tech Specs

[shell] 85% nylon, 15% elastane, [insert] WindStopper
Recommended Use:
keepin' your face warm

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Here's what others have to say...


Maybe Not

  • Gender:Female
  • Familiarity:I returned this product before using it

Let me start by saying I love just about everything Gore makes however I returned this item before wearing it. The eye section was very small and I felt my vision would be hindered once I put on my eye wear. In addition, the inside tag was very annoying. I kept it on for about two minutes before deciding that there was no way I would be able to ride with the inside tag rubbing on my head and neck.


Great item!

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I got me a traditional balaclava and couldn't breath. This one designed to breath without pulling it down below my chin. Great product must have for cold windy condition.

Help for the fogging issues...

Not a cure-all, but a help with the fogging that occurs while wearing 'face coverings', especially when combined with Oakley's vented lenses: Oakley's *Hydrophobic lens cleaner.

Help for the fogging issues...

Has issues...

  • Gender:Male
  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

I like it because it seems to give the best ws coverage , possibly more than Castelli. The breathing is a little difficult, but I found I just got used to it-- compare to the review of the Castelli where the guy could not breath at all or his nose gets frost bite. Its also quite snug, so pulling it down for a drink (although I gave up carrying water as it just freezes...will try salt this winter) is something you have to stop and do (and then your glasses fog/freeze up!). My glasses do fit under. But these all seem to be expected trade-offs. What bugs me is that the eye hole is too small. It is impossible to look down and check what gear I am in, or if ice/mud is building up. This sucks!!!! In other words, the coverage is max (and good in this sense) for only riding in the hooks and looking straight forward. Period. If you look down, you have to pull the balaclava down to see--good luck trying to do that w/lobster mitts, in traffic, on a busted up road, in the wind...!!!!

All that said, not so sure I want to try Castelli, somebody should write up the craft ws.

Responded on

Was also interested in this item...Gore generally thinks-things-out really well. As for any article using *Windstopper to cover the nose is not a good idea, ever. Have you adjusted to this piece, or found something better?

Also, for the fogging glasses, try Oakley's *Hydrophobic lens 'helps' with the fogging up issue; Oakley's vented lenses help at bit to.

Responded on

Hey Debbie C-

Its getting to be that time of year again...

RE Hydro lens anti-fog--I am using hockey visor anti fog. But I suspect at the temps I use it in, any warm vapor/liquid just condenses & freezes on a cold surface. So its a big prob. Still cant figure out why some days the fogging is so much worse than others though. Given the eye hole is so small, it may be the precise way the balaclava just happens to sit on my face that minute. Again, if the eye hole was bigger, it would tolerate some miss adjustment.

Yes, I would some like to able to afford Rx oakley (I suspect the lens-in-a-lens fogs even would you get to the ice BETWEEN the lenses?)

RE windstopper on nose--If u look close on pic, the bottom of nose is open. This actually is well done, as I can pull the mask down below my schnoze and breath out of nose hole...which is fine if its not too cold e.g. not into the wind. But its really hard to do w/bulky lobster gloves on. Labels make lots of jackets that work down to minus infinity, but w/respect to all else, they go to down 32f & that's it.

Deb, would be nice to talk to you directly...somehow...any recommendations on non-Assos "hard core cold" gloves, over shoes, tights (where the back of legs isn't fleece e.g. the "new and improved" PI AMFibs)? And any ideas on a better balaclava would be appreciated. Just posted a review on Giordana FRC light jacket


Better for recreational use

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times

I bought this to deal with sub zero on my road bike. The vent holes are too restrictive for hard climbing. You're better off with a neck gator that you can pull down on the climbs.

Responded on

Hi Aaron,

Have you any 'brand' suggestions that would do the job this product was supposed to do??? I'm not familiar with gaiters', etc. So you input would be greatly appreciated (I live in the Great Lakes region where it gets pretty nasty in winter.

I'll check back later.


Face opening too small

    I bought this in hopes of using it on cold morning rides, but ended up returning it because the fit was a tad bit snug. I'd call it more like "uncomfortably snug". Being a female with a good amount of thick hair, it was rather difficult getting this thing onto my head. I pulled my hair into a ponytail, and it was still pretty tough to get it on. Once it was on, I found the face opening to be too small for my liking. Also with no slits on the sides, it makes wearing sunglasses a challenge as well. I was really hoping this balaclava would work for me, because I have several other Gore pieces that I am completely happy with. I think I'll stick to using my Smartwool balaclava for now.

    Responded on

    Hey Linda,

    Have you ever found another balaclava that worked out better? You also make a good point mentioning the ability or not, to fit long hair inside it (male or female)!