GORE-TEX is the weapon of choice of true motorcycle adventurers and commuters who travel to work on two wheels in all conditions. GORE-TEX can withstand high water pressure, is durable and has unsurpassed breathability. It is no coincidence that the material is known as a pioneer in the market for membrane technology and gained world fame for its waterproofness.
GORE-TEX is far from being the only waterproof material - a plastic bag might be even better - but it has superior breathability. Without it, you'll still get wet sooner or later from perspiration.
Every new jacket that wants to carry the GORE-TEX name is inspected by the GORE-TEX manufacturer itself. Independent of the brand. GORE-TEX not only monitors the use of the membrane but also inspects the construction of the jacket to verify that the end result is worthy of the GORE-TEX properties. Being allowed to use the name is therefore a form of quality label for every manufacturer of motorcycle clothing.
Membranes can be integrated into a jacket in three ways: lamination, permanently integrated into the jacket or removable. As always: each way has its advantages.
If you mainly go out in bad weather, it's best to choose a membrane laminated to the outer fabric. This way, water cannot attach to the fabric ('like water from a duck'), which absorbs nothing. The result is a lighter jacket that dries quicker.
All-season riders, commuters or motorcyclists who ride in many conditions with one jacket, are better off with a separate or removable membrane. If it's dry or too warm, you can unzip the membrane from the jacket, open the ventilation zippers, and in no time you have a more summery outfit.
The third option, a jacket with a fixed integrated membrane, is choosing relative simplicity. The jacket is wind- and waterproof and the space between the outer fabric and the membrane is even ventilated. However, ventilation is more indirect and less pleasant when temperatures really soar.
Nowadays there are also GORE-TEX jackets of which you can wear the removable membrane on the outside. An inner membrane does not prevent the jacket from getting wet and heavy, even though the body remains dry.
When you put on GORE-TEX as the outer layer, you do get that effect and you get the best of both worlds: when it's raining you're wearing the GORE-TEX membrane on the outside, when it gets cold you wear it on the inside for extra warmth, and when needed you can zip off the GORE-TEX completely for maximum ventilation.
GORE-TEX can, may and even should be washed every once in a while. Any clogged pores in the membrane will be reopened, so you can use its full capacity again. Otherwise, the membrane will lose its breathability and sooner or later you will get wet anyway - from the inside, through perspiration.