Gore Bike Wear Oxygen II
Jack Richards, January 12, 2011
It is widely recognized by manufacturers that only two of the following three attributes can ever be achieved by any cycling apparel:
1. Low cost
2. Low weight
3. High wear resistance/longevity
For example you can have something both light and strong but this comes at high cost. Rarely does a product manage be light, cheap and durable. When it comes to outdoor sports equipment, some compromise is needed, especially when choosing sustainable, high performance equipment where weight and wear need to be balanced against reasonable cost.
The Gore Bike Wear Oxygen II is a low-fuss waterproof shell that bases itself on pure functionality: The jacket has no pockets, a small pouch for self-storage and Velcro straps on the sleeves ensure the top is sealed against the elements. That’s it. Together its minimal features keep the jacket compact enough to stow in a jersey pocket.
My Oxygen II has performed faultlessly for 3 years, accompanying me on the majority of my rides, both road and mountain bike. Although a trusty ally in most UK weather, its racing cut limits the number of layers that can be worn underneath beyond a base layer. The plus side of the cut is that there is little flapping and the jackets dropped tail and a high front makes a great fit when in the cycling position. High breathability helps keep the rider dry during high intensity sessions or when training in warmer conditions. The waterproofing has been fantastic throughout with treatment just twice a year and minimal washing between.
In the last month the jacket has finally failed with the zip being the weakest link. It has had a great innings and with such a faultless record I immediately replaced it with the updated version of the same jacket, the Oxygen IV – a true testament to its performance. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the Oxygen IV can achieve all three goals – low cost, low weight and high wear resistance. Only time will tell.