With the rain having returned (hooray! I think!) it’s time to get back to one of my favorite subjects… what’s the sweet spot for rain jackets? And O2 Rainwear would like to tell you, they think they’ve found it. Check out the Primary jacket:
They made the Primary before and are bringing it back now after hearing from its customers. At $89.95 (MSRP), it’s the club-level version of their slightly lighter Calhoun jacket ($119), which I reviewed a while back and really like to this day. The secret to the Calhoun was their patented 3-Flow microfiber layer that blocked moisture while releasing body heat and vapor. Three and a half years later, it still does.
Same goes for their top-of-the-line Nokomis jacket ($149), that keeps weight low while maxing out on features. But for the Primary, the story is cost. That 3-Flow material represents the nexus of performance and value that O2 has extended to the Primary jacket, and by keeping the features to a reasonable number, you get a straightforward rain jacket that works great, looks great, and is shockingly inexpensive.
Functionality: I admit I haven’t been poured on much yet, but the Primary has had no trouble keeping the drizzle off my back, both in Seattle and Richmond. The breathability was noticeable, even in humid Richmond, though the simple design of the back and arms — relying on pit zips for extra cooling — means this won’t be the coolest coat you own. For me, it’s not an issue, since rain in Seattle tends to come with temperatures in the 40s and 50s… for months on end… and the jacket so far has proven comfortably warm, riding and wearing it around town. The fit is trim but not tight, so the air drag is acceptable. The hood is a real hood, which can pop under your helmet. The neck zip is pretty high, giving a snug feeling for winter riding. Other features like drawstrings, taped seams, grippy velcro, and reflective piping all give you what you need from a top-end coat. [The website says the collar should be fleece-lined, but mine isn’t.]
Look: I’ve been wearing this jacket everywhere lately. In the industry some lines out there are going for more urbane appearances, getting away from the day of the big yellow poncho. The Primary is a long, long way from those days, and the hi-viz yellow (or the blue) is a nice mix of form and function, something I feel fine about wearing to stand around at youth soccer games (what counts as my social life) as well as around at the World Championships last month. I guess I prefer this to jackets that try too hard to look cool and compromise visibility, because in the end I’m wearing this on my bike, where I’m somewhat more concerned about safety than pizzazz. Still, I think the Primary looks cool enough.
Value: This is really what the Primary is about. I’m not going to compare it to some of the nearly $300 options out there, because it’s not the same thing, but I’d put the Primary on par with a number of jackets from the $120-$150 range. At 15 ounces, it’s lighter than all but the top of the line options, stashes well in your pocket, and gets the job done when the rain comes. For something under $100 even after sales tax, that’s remarkable. For a lot of riders, that’s the sweet spot.
Bonus! The Original… your just-in-case stash coat!
Just so you know where it all began, O2 still offers its Original Rain Jacket, also a two-layer item that gives you a waterproof, breathable fabric coat that costs peanuts ($35.95), weighs four ounces, and fits into a jersey pocket until you need it. It lacks a lot of the construction features you expect from the more expensive choices at O2 or other brands, but as a just-in-case item it’s an acceptable trade-off.
I’ve ridden a few stashable jackets, and where this one has others at the same or lesser weight beaten is that it actually keeps you dry. We’ve seen roll-up coats that are ultralight and will suffice in a light drizzle, or are made from billowing fabric that only breathes because of the lack of structure to keep you from feeling like you just hoisted your mainsail. The O2 Original is nicely trimmed like a refined product. Breathability is fine considering the lack of features like pit zips and extra vents, but not what you would get from a pricier option. Still, on a typically cool fall day, I had this on for three hours and never really noticed myself overheating. It was comfortable and kept a pretty steady rain from bothering me.
Ideally this isn’t your only coat, but it’s a perfect one for having as a backup that you take on longer rides in iffy weather, or that you stuff in your pack on your commute in case the weather flips before you head home.
It’s a busy market out there, but if you’re starting off with sticker shock, O2 is a brand you want to check out for the performance you want and the value you need.
This post has been long overdue, as O2 Rainwear has been following FatCyclist.Com for years now. But for those that don’t keep up with and/or know of this gem, it’s never to late to dive in. FatCyclist.Com was inspired by a dude named Elden, but whom prefer’s to be called “Fatty” for many reasons. The blog was launched to assist Fatty in losing weight, as nothing was working. Biking was his true passion. He came to the realization that “humiliation” was the only “diet tactic” he hadn’t tried, and whallah, here is FatCyclist.Com cataloging his daily weight, good or bad, which tapped into his inner motivational gas pedal, and he was heavy footed from here on out. Mind you, Fatty is a father of four, with a full-time job, a passion to be on his bike a lot, the blog took on a deeper role for its fans and weight-loss seeking followers as well as attracted new comers as Fatty lost his wife to breast cancer. Since that time, the blog has some what taken on something bigger than Fatty himself, as cancer hits home to almost everyone these days. The blog has put on events that have raised tons of money for cancer research & helped many open up and find themselves again after tragic loss or current diagnosis. Don’t get us wrong, Fatty’s blogs are hilarious, unique, creative, and not just about biking, losing weight, or cancer, its a worthy read at all times and tackles almost any topic that comes into the head of a cycling father of four that has a knack for journalism. O2 Rainwear was given the honor of supporting one of Fatty’s unique fundraising events called The 100 Miles of Nowhere. #100MoN is basically a century event, not a race, that sells out within a few hours of registration opening, allowing 500+ participants to donate to a good cause, get some killer gifts from supporting companies such as Twin Six, Banjo Brothers, Bike Monkey, & O2 Rainwear, and motivate using the honor system to go kill 100 miles of road or gravel, at your own pace, in your own hood, and for your own health. Its beautiful. To not know about Fatty is a crime, so check yourself, and check into FATCYCLIST.COM
RoadBikeRider.Com is a site dedicated to the love of riding on the pavement. It doesn’t discriminate who you are, if you have a passion for the road, this site wants you. Whether you’re a beginner, a recreational rider, a purist, or a pro, RoadBikeRider.Com is speaking to you and shares your enthusiasm for getting out there at any level. They offer reviews, tips, expert advice, and knowledge all to make you a better road enthusiast for life.
Obviously if you are going to be road riding, at some point, you’ll be caught in the rain or head out in the rain on purpose. Nothing. Stops. You. Regardless of price & attributes, O2 Rainwear has something for everyone. Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Compact, and Affordable.
O2 Rainwear is honored to have multiple reviews on RBR, done by the legendary ultracyclist himself, Ken Bonner. For those that are reading his name for the first time, Ken holds the course record for the British Columbia Rocky Mountain 1200k and several UltraMarathon Cycling Association point-to-point records. When he’s not also running marathons, he’ll put on about 18,000 miles a year on the saddle. So he knows what he is talking about when it comes to gear as he depends on it as much as anyone.
You can read all of his reviews of O2 Rainwear by clicking on the links below.
ARTCRANK™ is a gift to the world, let’s just start there. Its foundation is cemented with the marriage of two of the purist forms of happiness known to us. Freedom of expression (in the form of posters) and freedom of confinement (in the form of self propulsion on two wheels). Slap those two concepts together, add some great beer, sweet sweet music, a good charitable cause, some delicious eats, stir for 2 minutes, and you get one of the best events known to our universe, ARTCRANK.
It currently hosts events in 10 cities, one being London, so it is officially an international player. But more importantly than where it is, is what it does. ARTCRANK is a show of bicycle-inspired posters. It gives local artists of the host city free exposure, something local artists are always screaming for. It also gives the community of the host city exposure to these talented artists they may not have known otherwise. And to top it off, the posters are extremely affordable, even a 10 year old kid with a weekend neighborhood lemonade stand could save up enough to get at least one poster he/she was salivating after.
ARTCRANK was created in 2007 by the extremely creative Charles Youel. Sure we can brag yet again about how killer it is that it was born in Minneapolis, the number one bicycling city in the United States of America. Minneapolis isn’t short of amazing companies in the bike, arts, & brewery scenes. But setting that aside, at its roots, ARTCRANK is a brilliant concept, and even more brilliant end-product. It is only starting to break out of its infancy shell, but it could easily be a jolly bicycle-inspired poster giant for the rest of eternity.
The international cyclocross community has been dealt a unique platform for their specific niche in the bicycling world. It is called www.CrossBikeReview.com CXBR is an ambitious sucker punch to the cyclocross universe, hitting hard with a proactive approach to gear solutions as well as auditioning the best gear for the CycloCross addict. It was O2 Rainwear’s Calhoun Jacket that was their latest audition, and it got the part with ease. Waterproof, breathable, lightweight, and compact. Nothing. Stops. You. Check out their review at CrossBikeReview of O2 Rainwear’s Calhoun Jacket
When it rains it pours, yes, pun intended. BikeCommuters.Com has been extremely nice to us as of late. We don’t advertise with them (yet), so their actions are coming from a true place of bike commuting & products that help the cause, which is why we are stoked to hear how well our review went. Not only has it been raining in the state of Ohio for Jack “Ghost Rider” Sweeney, one of the brilliant writers/testers for BikeCommuters.Com, to go out and make the worst weather his best ride (Our motto), but he’s been killing it with our waterproof, breathable, lightweight, & compact O2 Rainwear Calhoun Jacket! We are literally turning him into a true Midwesterner (he’s originally used to beaches & sunshine rides). He’s riding in temperature below freezing! So props to him on that front, and once again, thanks to BikeCommuters.Com and all the bike commuting junkies out there for taking notice to us. Nothing. Stops. You. CHECK OUT THE GREAT REVIEW HERE
We had a first this season. For the first time in the history of gift guide’s, somebody chose to put O2 Rainwear within the box of tricks one should choose to give to a special someone (including themselves) over the holiday season. That “somebody” was BikeCommuters.Com . BikeCommuters.com is a site where you can find up to the minute information on all bike commuting products, news, and random bike culture anecdotes. Its a great daily go-to for staying in the know. Among the cool recommendations that BikeCommuters.Com had, such as BanjoBrothers and Portland Design Works, they highlighted our waterproof, breathable, lightweight, and compact O2 Rainwear Calhoun Jacket! Can we be more happy? Shall we make a toast to this? Absolutely! So sip on whatever adult beverage of your liking, and cheers to BikeCommuters.Com for kicking ass & looking our way. CHECK IT OUT with the link below!
Who the hell wants a burly adventure? Who the hell wants an epic confrontation with their will to endure the most arctic of ultra events? Well swallow this. The Arrowhead 135 is 135 miles across Northern Minnesota virtually all on the Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail from I-Falls to Tower, MN at the Fortune Bay Casino. You may bicycle, ski or go by foot. In their 8th year, while starting with about 10 entrants in 2005 to 120+ actual starters in 2011, and featuring arguably many of the best winter ultra-athletes in the world, it is the “ultra” winter test.
From their website; “Historically one of the coldest gosh darn races anyplace including even the Arctic, check the average temps, virtually every year luck has us at -30 to -40C/F. Arrowhead 135 Inc is a Minnesota Not-For-Profit Organization of local athletes/volunteers dedicated to the promotion of human powered ultra-endurance events across the scenic and rugged Arrowhead Region of Northern Minnesota. Our mission is to foster national and international amateur ultra endurance sports such as mountain-biking, cross-country skiing and trail running. We strive to educate the community on extreme endurance sports safety and winter camping. The goal of the organization is to offer a small, fun, educational, yet challenging ultra-endurance event in extreme trail and weather conditions for the benefit of communities in Northern Minnesota.”
O2 Rainwear is a proud sponsor of the 2012 Arrowhead 135.
We knew our Nokomis Series was the end-all for all hardcore cyclist. We make our gear for for anyone that can get on a bike and for any elements that is thrown your way while riding. Hell yeah we were pumped when a mountain biker wanted to review our gear, we knew it would receive the same positive praise as our recreational & road reviewers have in the past. MTBR.COM is “a site by Mountain Bikers for Mountain Bikers.” They do Pro Reviews that are extremely detailed as you will notice. Brian Mullin at http://www.gramslightbikes.com/ was our Pro Reviewer, and SPOILER ALERT, we received 4.5 outta 5 Flammin’ Chili Peppers! READ THE REVIEW HERE
Josh King reviewed the Nokomis Jacket at CommutebyBike.Com. You can read the insightful review right HERE
Commute By Bike has been active since the spring of 2005. All the contributors to this site have a wealth of experience and commuting history. They believe that bicycles can solve many of the worlds issues, relieve stress, and create a healthy lifestyle.
“Josh King lives in Seattle, where he commutes by bike every day, rain or shine. He switched to full-time single speed commuting in 2010. You can read his thoughts on going gearless at www.singlespeedseattle.com”
Nick Burklow, a serious commuter & bike lifestyle contributor at BikeRumor.Com, has been trying out our Nokomis Jacket & Pant for over 3 months. We could not be happier with his experience and review giving 4.5 out of 5 thumbs up. WOO HOO. You can read the review here –> BIKERUMOR.COM REVIEW OF NOKOMIS SERIES
According to their site, BikeRumor.Com was “launched in June 2008 by some cyclists who just really enjoy everything about bikes as a way to share information that all cycling fanatics could enjoy.” They focus on featuring the latest, greatest bike gadgets, news, rumors and trends with a small attention to race coverage.
According to their website, “Urban Velo is a reflection of the cycling culture in current day cities. Our readers are encouraged to contribute their words and art. We pay real American dollars for published submissions—get in touch with your ideas.”
Read what they had to say about O2 on the link below!
The good people at PodiumCafe.Com reviewed the O2 Calhoun Jacket. Here are some excerpts from it:
“Because O2 Rainwear, of balmy Minneapolis, asked me to demo their Calhoun model jacket, whereupon I discovered that you can, in fact, repel water without sealing yourself in suffocating plastic.”
“I rode around in the windy, wet Seattle slop in the Calhoun (~$120) for a couple weeks, both commutes and multiple hour rides, and was able to check off the following: kept me dry, didn’t feel like a sweat lodge, blocked the wind, fit trimly enough to not feel any billowing ”
“Actually, I’ve taken to wearing the Calhoun around off the bike, since stylistically it’s a big upgrade from my standard-Northwest-issue Mountain Hardware coat. But that’s not the important part. What matters is that it does what it said it would, keep my body temperature under control while repelling rain, and by all appearances the construction is very solid. Zippers are firm and grippy, and the stitching is covered over to stop seepage. It’s got pit zips, cinches in the waist and back of the neck for really trimming, and velcro sleeve cinches. And only one pocket: this is a rain layer that’s meant to fit trim and be light. If you’re into going fast on a rainy day.”
For the full review, click on the link below and check out PodiumCafe.Com daily for great cycling content.
O2 is sponsoring The Get Up & Ride Wisconsin Bike Challenge. This event is a simple way for Wisconsin Businesses to encourage all the benefits of cycling. It’s a fun way to track both commuting and recreational bicycle trips. There are real-time reports that show the businesses progress on total number of bike miles, average miles biked per employee, and percentage of work base participating.
Employees will begin tracking their bicycle trips May16.
The first set of monthly prizes will be given away June 30.
At any time throughout the Challenge, business representatives can log-in to the site for updates and progress reports. Why doesn’t every state do this? There needs to be a national contest from border to border to see who has the best company bike participation. Who’s with me?
BikeRumor.Com previewed O2’s new 2011 assortment, both our Calhoun & Nokomis series. BikeRumor.Com launched in June 2008 by some cyclists who just really enjoy everything about bikes as a way to share information that all cycling fanatics could enjoy. They are also doing a review of the Nokomis Jacket & Pant in the near future, so I will certainly post that when available.
O2 Rainwear’s Original Hooded Jacket was voted #3 best waterproof jacket to put one foot in front of the other while wearing by ABOUT.COM. I know what you are thinking, is this a dream? Is it really true? You can see for yourself here –> #3 Best on About.Com
There are great cycling blogs all over the place. There is not a better lunch read online to stay in the know and learn about the cycling community at large than to follow these great bloggers. Well, the Twin Cities has some true gems, CycleTC.Com is one of them. Cycle Twin Cities is a blog dedicated to the events, people and places that make up the Minneapolis and St. Paul cycling community. There is no argument that the Twin Cities is one of the best cycling communities in the world. Whether the Twin Cities is #1 or not is irrelevant, what matters is that its growing & getting better every day. Its bloggers like Cycle Twin Cities keeping the Minnesota community in tune. O2 Rainwear was lucky enough to get chosen for an interview on Cycle Twin Cities, which you can read by clicking the link below. O2 Interview on CycleTC.Com
Gold Rush Mother Lode Adventure Race becomes ONLY US Qualifier for Adventure Racing World Series and one of our AR teams that we sponsor is bringing it to life!
O2 Rainwear has been sponsoring team TecnuExtreme for years now along with WEDALI Adventure Racing Team. We think Adventure Racing is an amazing sport that test the boundaries of human endurance. Both teams are incredible. TecnuExtreme is one of the best Adventure Racing Teams in the world, easily one of the best in North America. Through hard work they have created something special called The Mother Lode Expedition Race presented by TecnuExtreme. This race will happen Sept 8-11 in the Sierra Mountains of central California. Competing teams will be battling for a free entry to the Adventure Racing World Championship in Tasmania, Australia and 200 points in the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Series. It is now the ONLY U.S qualifying race for the World Championships for 2011, and only one of 7 events in the world.
Chris Skogen, the founder of The Almanzo 100 endurance race, is flying under the radar as a race event god. The first three rules of his killer free endurance race is:
1. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.
2. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.
3. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.
It all started as an organic & noble idea. 100% dirt, 100% free, 100% self-supported, 100% amazing. It obviously is filling a void in the Minnesota Cycling race community and abroad. It started in spring 2007 with only 20 riders registered, 13 people actually showing up, and only 4 finishing. Forward to spring 2011, the Almanzo 100 has over 700 riders. This has spawned an even greater concept from Skogen, The Almanzo Gravel Road Series: Race for the Cup, which according to Skogen, “was born out of a desire to combine the finest gravel road cycling events in the country and the people that ride them.” The AGRS is currently a free 7 race gravel series. You can find more information on the AGRS blog, which is linked on the bottom of this post.
Spring elements in Minnesota can always be unpredictable. You can still have snow on the ground, you can have flooding, you can have extremely muddy conditions, you could ride the entire race in the rain. With the Almanzo 100, you must be prepared for all elements. This year, The Almanzo 100 race is set for May 14th, 2011.
Round three of 30 Days of Biking kicks of April 1, 2011. This growing movement aims to boost health and preserve the earth by encouraging people in a community to hop on a bike instead of start up the car. Almost 1,000 cyclists from all over the world took part in round two last September.
Are you interested in joining this growing movement? Take this pledge, and commit yourself to biking every day for thirty days — whether it’s for a quick ride or a long haul. Remember, over the course of thirty days, you might face some unforgiving weather. Try our Nokomis line of rainwear to stay dry and comfortable. With the right gear, you’ll not only finish your thirty days, you might even find cycling becomes a part of your regular routine.