- Sizes: S, M, L, XL (see chart)
Fleece lined collar.
Zip off yoke and sleeves.
Turns into itself to form a tidy package that you can stash in your backpack.
Lightweight 2.5 layer HydroFoil™ fabric - highly water resistant, extremely breathable and totally windproof.
Flash Gordon — Bicycles.net.au, Aug 14
The cycling kit that I’ve been enjoying most this winter have both come from Ground Effect. One of these is the Flash Gordon rain shell which has been a welcome addition to my arsenal of cycle wear. It has seen plenty of use in wet, cold and windy conditions, sometimes it was so dreadful that it would normally have seen me retreating to the garage and indoor trainer.
Flash Gordon features Ground Effect’s 2.5 layer Hydrofoil fabric treated with a water repellent finish. It’s light enough to be breathable, yet windproof. Yes, you do still get warm on the climbs but it’s not unbearable and the temptation to whip it off halfway up the first short climb (like my old rain shell) is gone.
In common with most rain shells, it needs to be said the Flash Gordon won’t keep you completely dry, nor is it intended to do so. With cycling rain shells you either get damp from the rain, or you get damp from your exertions. The goal of a good rain shell is to stop you from getting soaked, and to keep you comfortable.
This job it does very well. The principal benefit of the “breathable” material is to wick perspiration away to the outside to help keep heat build-up under control, while keeping the chill of contact with near-freezing rain off you, and stopping the wind from cutting through to your skin and causing hypothermia as your speed picks up down the descent following the top of the climb.
While I am usually a little damp from perspiration when arriving at my destination, I am far from completely saturated as I would have been if riding in my dry weather gear, or my other rain shell. Most importantly, I remain comfortable; like baby bear’s porridge I am not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Add a pair of GE’s Helter Skelter rain pants and there is little to fear from wet conditions except smelly shoes.
Besides keeping the rain out, the windproof attributes of the Flash Gordon have kept me at ease during howling windy and cold mountain bike rides, such as the return journey back down the Blue Mountains’ Oaks Trail in June, and a few weeks ago during the early July high winds cold snap, out on Ku Ring Gai National Park’s Long Trail.
Nice touches include the fleece collar, which does an excellent job of keeping the wind out and preventing the freezing trickle of rain from sliding down the back of your neck. Reflective striping and Ground Effect logo on the rear provide excellent visibility at night. Elasticised thumb loops stop the sleeves from riding up and exposing your arms. The long “Whale Tail” at the rear keeps my lower back and the bottom of my jersey out of the elements, despite being weighed down with wallet, phone, and tool-plus-tube pouch in waterproof bags.
On warmer days the modular design allows you to quickly strip off the yoke and sleeves if desired and stow them in the zipped back pocket out of the way, so you can still keep the rain and wind chill off your core and stay warm on the descents. Should you need to remove it entirely, Flash Gordon rolls up into a small bundle that easily fits inside a jersey pocket. It is one very versatile piece of cycling attire.
The “Bowling Green” colour new for this season stands out nicely without being fluro.
I would have preferred the zip flap to be covering the front on the outside instead of the inside, but I didn’t notice any chill coming through it, nor any water marks on my jersey, so it seems the current flap position is good enough.
The thing I like most about the Flash Gordon rain shell is it enables me to comfortably comply with Rule 9 of The Rules. I can keep riding in “bad weather”. My non-cycling neighbours, who think I’m crazy, have to endure having other passengers sneezing and coughing over them in fogged-up public transport, or getting caught up in the usual wet weather peak hour traffic snarls. They don’t know what they’re missing.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.” — Billy Connolly
Likes: Breathable, Waterproof, Removable yoke and sleeves – a gilet and full rain shell for the price of one. Versatile
Dislikes: An external flap over (rather than under) the front zip would be an improvement, but the Flash Gordon didn’t seem to suffer for lack of it.
John Hawkins Bicycles.net.au
Flash Gordon — Bicycling Australia, Sep 12
Some items are so good that they rarely need an overhaul, just a small tweak every now and then. The Flash Gordon jacket from kiwi company Ground Effect is one of these. A mainstay of their range, it has changed little in the past years, with the exception that you are now able to remove the sleeves to convert it into a gilet.
Made from waterproof yet breathable HydroFoil material the Flash Gordon will handle most downpours. When you're not wearing the jacket it packs down into its pocket. It has a zippered rear pocket, thumb loops, reflective piping and along rear hem to keep the rain off your bum. And, it's made in New Zealand.
Cats and Dogs — UnderGround, Apr 14
Keeping yourself dry shouldn't be too complicated, yet we have nine shellwear options with different features, fabric, breathabiity and waterproofness. Why are there so many ways to skin a cyclist in the rain?
Our benchmark rain jackets are the Storm Trooper and women's She Shell - both constructed from the battle tested HydroFoil™ 2.5 layer waterproof-breathable fabric. The seams are tape sealed, they have a nifty skull-cap hood and underarm zips for cooling. Paired with the Helter Skelters three-quarter length rain pants, they are the first line of defence when contemplating extended exposure to wet weather.
The Flash Gordon and women's Flip Flop are made from the same HydroFoil™ fabric but offer more versatility. The sleeves zip off to create a lightweight vest. It blocks wind and repels the wet while minimising sweat build up when pedalling hard.
In 2012 we introduced jackets and a vest made from Vortex™ stretch softshell fabric. The garments have a closer, performance fit. The Foreplay™ arm vents provide serious cooling that is adjustable on the fly. Perfect protection in less severe conditions.
The anti-Cyclone is the latest cab off the rank combining the best of the Storm Trooper and Vortex™ designs. Tape sealed HydroFoil™, waterproof zips and a zip-away hood provide maximum waterproofness. The forearm and mesh-backed chest vents deliver forced-air cooling without any flap at speed… setting a new benchmark for wet-weather comfort and performance.
Ground Effect Product Designer
Flash Gordon — Bikeradar, Nov 09
Full functionality with an impressively small pack size? The Antipodean clothing heroes at Ground Effect have turned out a rather useful garment.Yes, the price is steep but for just over a ton you get a gilet and jacket combo that's as waterproof as many 'waterproof' jackets we've tried - despite only being labelled as water-resistant - and it's highly breathable as well as tough. The one-piece sleeve and yoke requires only two zips, which we could fit and remove with the vest in situ. Simple, bound hem and cuffs fit snugly and don't inhibit waterproofness at the wrist, and there's no mesh panel to soak up water at the neck. Features - despite the fact that the list above could also include the fleece lined collar, thumb loops, relective trim and zipped rear pocket - are kept to a useful minimum and the lime green colourway strikes a pleasant balance between tarmac visibility and trail camo; it's less garish than it looks on screen, honest!
BikeRadar verdict: 3 out of 5 stars
"The price is high but this is a vest and a jacket - versatile and neat"
By Jenn Hopkins, What Mountain Bike, Nov 2009
Flash Gordon — Mountain Biking Australia, Jul 09
I've always found wind vests to be the most versatile and frequently used item of winter clothing in my winter wardrobe. Full length sleeves may be cosy when you are getting ready, but you'll cook in all but the coldest weather once you start to climb. An absence of sleeves keeps your core comfortably warm without getting too steamy when you sweat. Most vests however, are ultra lightweight affairs often with mesh back panels and made from wind but not rain resistant material. They are designed more for compact pocket storage than all-out weather protection. While this is great for comfort in moderate conditions, it can leave you cold and wet if the weather is genuinely poor. Ground Effect recently modified their longstanding 'Flash Gordon' rain jacket by adding zip-off sleeves to create a hybrid vest/jacket that promises greater versatility in bad and marginal weather. In its past life, Flash was a dedicated rain jacket made from a totally waterproof yet breathable fabric called Hydrofoil. It is something like a lightweight version of Gore-Tex. While the material is waterproof, the seams are not sealed so it won't offer 100% protection in heavy or sustained downpours (the hooded Storm Trooper is their jacket of choice if you are after tape sealed protection).
In its new guise, Flash retains the same waterproof Hydrofoil material and the same level of weather protection. The sleeves now attach via a short zip on either side near the shoulder and form a one-piece 'yoke' that stretches across the back of the jacket. Removing the sleeves is best done when you are off the bike but it can usually be done whilst wearing the jacket.
When removed, the sleeves and shoulder yoke takes up very little space in your pocket - probably less than a pair of fleece lined arm warmers. As a complete jacket it is also quite compact and isn't much bigger than a minimalist 'spray jacket'. It actually folds into its own rear pouch and easily fits into a jersey pocket for those roadie jaunts or MTB rides where you don't want to carry a backpack.
Once out in the rain, Flash Gordon offers noticeably better rain protection than most spray jackets. You'll stay dry in light showers and while the fabric is clearly breathable, I found that I was more likely to get damp from sweat when riding. While you'll still get wet in heavy or persistent rain, the material never became saturated and always cut the wind out to keep you warm.
No matter how much breathability a clothing manufacturer claims, I always
find that true rain jackets get hot and sweaty when you are putting in a decent effort on the bike. This is where Flash is truly great - it's amazing how well it works with the sleeves removed. The water and wind resistant torso keeps your core warm and semi-dry while your exposed arms stop you cooking on the climbs. Sure, your arms get wet but I found the comfort level remained high, as I wasn't sweating profusely inside a wrap-around sauna. Unzip the front and the Flash Gordon becomes quite manageable in milder weather too.
As good as it was, there were still compromises in a few areas. Being made from a heavier, more water resistant material than your average wind vest makes it feel comparatively bulky, so the fit and flexibility is sacrificed to a degree. It has elastic arm sockets to hold the vest in close to your body and keep the elements out, but these felt restrictive at times - especially when worn as a jacket. While it does have an extra-long tail, I did find
the elastic arm sockets tended to pull the jacket up and make it sit relatively high on my torso. It is also worth mentioning that the sizing seems on the large side. I'm 176cm tall and 65kg but the smallest size was still on the big side for me. Some people, mainly of the fairer sex, may be out of luck and
they don't offer a ladies' version of the Flash Gordon. As this New Zealand made garment is only available by mail order from across the Tasman, you'll be taking a punt to some degree on the sizing. At least Ground Effect is renowned for their relatively hassle free returns policy.
In the end, I found the Flash Gordon to be one of my most frequently used jackets this winter. It was on call whenever it was cool with rain threatening; I knew that it could be relied upon to work as a proper rain jacket without leaving me with a bulky piece of clothing to carry if the rain held off. In rainy but mild weather, or when I was exercising hard, the waterproof vest format worked well too. It also worked as a wind vest when you wanted a little more warmth than a lightweight vest. There are plenty of nice touches that show some real thought has gone into its design. Things like the internal wind flap on the zip, good length sleeves with thumb loops to keep them down over your hands and reflective piping for night time road rides. I particularly like the fleece lined collar, which goes a long way towards making you feel toasty and warm.
Price wise, the new convertible Flash Gordon sells for A$200, which is around $30 more than the older version. As with most items from Ground Effect, this represents pretty good value for a well designed and well made product.
Emergency padding — UnderGround, Aug 03
Thanks for my order... while I'm at it, a quick note about some diverse uses for your products. I've been piloting a friend's Cannondale tandem of late and did the 'gorges ride' over the weekend. Got to our first banana stop near the Waimak and my bum felt like it belonged to a cowboy who'd been in the saddle for a year... I couldn't ride another metre. Fortunately, I had my trusty Flash Gordon with me. I stuffed it with straw from the roadside, tied it to the seat, and limped on. Maybe you could market the Flash as a saddle companion? Part of the problem may have been that I was wearing a rival brand's 'roadie' cycle shorts - will have to don my Ground Effect ones next time!
Cheers, John Hasson
Specifically developed for high aerobic activities. 2.5 layer HydroFoil™ fabric combines a lightweight ripstop nylon shell with a composite membrane that is completely waterproof, totally windproof and extremely breathable. The outer fabric is treated with a water repellent finish that encourages rain to bead up and roll off, while an inner textured finish enhances comfort against your body.
- Composition: 100% nylon with PU laminate.
- 20,000mm hydrostatic head with durable water-repellent finish on face fabric.
- Breathability: 15,000gm per sq.m per 24h.
This chart is a guide only – if you fall in-between sizes, the right size for you will depend on your body shape and how loose or tight you like to wear your clothes. It's no hassle to swap it, if your first choice is not the best fit.
169 - 178 cm
175 - 185 cm
183 - 191 cm
98 - 104 cm
105 - 111 cm
112 - 118 cm
73 - 79 cm
80 - 86 cm
87 - 93 cm
94 - 100 cm
87 - 95 cm
96 - 103 cm
104 - 111 cm
112 - 120 cm
Unisex vs Women's Sizes
Most Ground Effect designs are unisex. The jackets, tights and baggy tops generally fit both men and women equally well. Fitted garments like cycle shorts and some tops are more gender specific so there is generally a women's version in the Outskirts range.
Some Ground Effect designs have an additional 'fit' description to help guide your sizing choice.
Closer fitting tops and jackets with less flap. Typically favoured by disciples of the tarmac, intent on travelling hard and fast. Size up if you need more room.
Also describes the Snug-as-a-Bug fit of Heatwave™ Merino bodywear. These tops are intended to hug your body, ensuring the fabric sits against your skin to wick sweat away — keeping you dry and not chilling out.
Middle-of-the-road comfort for all-purpose riding. Not too tight or too loose — just right for most cyclists in most conditions.
Big and breezy to match your attitude. Lets the breeze blow up your kilt and helps ease the transition from singletrack to café. The default choice when matching with baggy shorts.
Interstellar garb for storming wide open spaces or darting through rush hour traffic. Gordon repels rain and blocks out nasty winds but remains highly breathable thanks to its lightweight 2.5 layer HydroFoil™ fabric. Zipping off the yoke and sleeves converts it into a hi-visibility waterproof vest... great in warmer conditions when you want maximum cooling but only need partial protection from the elements. Sometimes less is more.
> Lightweight 2.5 layer HydroFoil™ fabric - highly water resistant, extremely breathable and totally windproof.
> Fleece lined collar.
> Zip off yoke and sleeves.
> Full-length front zip with internal wind flap.
> Thumb loops keep your wrists under wraps.
> WhaleTail™ cut keeps all of your back covered all of the time.
> Hazard!™ reflective trim explodes with brightness under headlights.
> Zipped rear pocket to store sleeves.
> Turns into itself to form a tidy package that you can stash in your backpack.
> Waterproofness: 20,000 mm hydrostatic head with durable water-repellent finish.
> Breathability: 15,000 gm per sqm per 24hrs.
> Weight: 290 gm.
> Made by us in New Zealand.
What's the difference between the Turbine and the Flash Gordon
> The Turbine is a windproof stretch riding top, with pockets on the rear for easy access, and a softshell interior that can be worn over a short sleeved jersey. The Flash Gordon is a 'hard' shell - its HydroFoil ripstop nylon outer providing a waterproof barrier, but not as much rain protection as the seam-sealed and hooded Storm Trooper. The Turbine's Vortex fabric is waterproof, but without sealed seams and zip flaps it'll only keep you fully dry for up to an hour in light rain.
> The Flash Gordon's ability to morph into a vest makes it a handy jacket for commuting or cycle touring, whereas the Turbine is wear-all-day to keep the chills at bay.
What's the difference between this and the other rainwear?
> The anti-Cyclone, Flip Flop, Flash Gordon, Storm Trooper and She Shell are all shells, ie. they have no insulation. Your shell is the primary defence against wind and rain - and is good insurance to take on any ride at any time of the year.
> All are made from HydroFoil fabric. They are 'high performance jackets' that provide effective protection in serious weather but are still relatively light and low bulk to carry.
> The anti-Cyclone, Storm Trooper and She Shell are tape-sealed and have hoods for maximum protection from the elements. They are most suited for multi-day mountain bike trips in the back-country and commuting or touring when you're likely to encounter rain for more than a few hours. The Storm Trooper and She Shell have under arm zips for additional ventilation. The anti-Cyclone sports mechanical venting at the chest and arms to keep you cool along with waterproof zips to shut out the wet.
> Zipping off the yoke and sleeves of the Flash Gordon and Flip Flop lets you quickly change between jacket and vest mode. The hi-visibility vest delivers a decent shot of weather protection - all with substantially more breathability than the full jacket.
How waterproof is it?
> The challenge is for a jacket to keep you as dry as possible. With all shell fabrics this involves a trade-off between waterproofness and breathability.
> Our HydroFoil fabric is built to a very high specification with a 20,000 mm hydrostatic head and a durable water-repellent finish. Many other lightweight fabrics with a 10,000 mm head are also described as waterproof. However all waterproof coatings become less waterproof with time and use. Our field testing over the years has shown that the higher 20,000 mm fabric stays waterproof for longer.
> Yet, even garments made from this most waterproof fabric will eventually leak when you're belting along at 30kph in the wet (rain gets in through the collar, cuffs or closures). So it's difficult to quantify waterproofness in meaningful terms for cycling. Keeping the wind out stops the majority of heat loss.
> The Flash Gordon and Flip Flop provide extended protection and are good for up to a couple of hours in continuous rain.
> If you're heading into exposed areas for a day or longer or often ride in the rain for more than a couple of hours, then choose the anti-Cyclone, Storm Trooper or She Shell for maximum protection - with their tape sealed seams and hood. And remember, if it all gets too grim then it's okay to hunt down a warm fire and a pint of Guinness.
> What ever your choice, it's important to use any shell in combination with an effective base layer (a Heatwave Merino, HyperActive top) so that any accumulated moisture is transferred away from your skin.
How breathable is it?
> Cycling is a highly aerobic activity - so you sweat a lot. Even the most breathable fabrics won't actually stop you sweating and because they're windproof, you lose the cooling effect of the air rushing past as you ride.
> The anti-Cyclone, Flash Gordon, Storm Trooper, Flip Flop and She Shell all use 2.5 layer HydroFoil fabric. Specifically developed for high aerobic activities, it is extremely breathable - around 2-3 times more so than standard waterproof-breathable fabrics. It has a water vapour transfer rate of 15,000 gm per sqm per 24hrs. The latest spec 2.5 layer version has a textured finish on the inside that improves comfort. Under arm vents in the Storm Trooper and She Shell provide additional temperature control, while the anti-Cyclone sports mechanical venting at the chest and arms. All the HydroFoil jackets feature full-length front zips.
> Avoid cold-water detergents and those with bleach or fabric softener. The cold-water varieties have little enzymes that are super-charged to brave the cold but can damage the HydroFoil fabric. Bleach may attack the HydroFoil laminate. Also avoid products containing fabric softeners, ie. wool wash. These destroy the water repellent finish.
> Select a mild plant-based soap like Ecover, Ecostore, Earthwise or Aware. A specific sport wash like Grangers Extreme Cleaner or Nikwax Tech Wash (around NZ$30 from most outdoor shops). Any stubborn stains should be dabbed not rubbed clean. For grease spots you can use a degreaser like Swarfega. It's aggressive stuff though so take care - it might be best left alone as added character.
> Keep it clean, but don’t wash too often. General wear and dirt, along with washing, progressively removes the 'durable water repellent' (DWR) treatment from the outside the fabric. The DWR helps rain to bead and run off, enhancing the overall performance of the fabric. Dirt, body oil, sunscreen and sweat also attack the water repellent treatment and can cause the waterproof-breathable membrane to delaminate. Wash frequency depends on how often and how hard you use your garment. We suggest washing after a particularly grubby ride or after say a dozen sessions in the rain. Use your judgement - if the garment looks dirty, the fabric is 'wetting out’ too quickly, or feels clammy then it's probably time for a clean.
> You can help restore the DWR after washing by chucking your jacket in the dryer using a warm (not hot) cycle. This 'recharges' the water repellent treatment so it lasts a bit longer. When this trick no longer does its magic you can beef up the original treatment to some extent with a product like Grangers Extreme Synthetics or Nikwax TX Direct (around NZ$30-40 from most outdoor shops). A bottle is good for two or three rounds with your jacket.
> The effectiveness of this process depends on the age and condition of your jacket. Expect ok results if the fabric is only 'wetting out' in patches (the 'mid-life' crisis). If the entire jacket is 'wetting-out' rapidly in light rain then it already has one-foot-in-the-grave and beading is unlikely to improve much from the treatment. The 40 bucks maybe better spent put towards a new jacket. Note that while the fabric's wetting-out impairs performance, particularly breathability, the HydroFoil laminate should still be waterproof.
> Always ensure your HydroFoil garment is completely dry before storing. Putting it away damp can destroy both the DWR and the waterproof coating. Take care of your gear and it will take care of you.