The new Gore Oxygen Classics Jersey uses a Windstopper material to block out wind and rain, with a figure-hugging fit and suitable breathability for year-round bad weather cycling.
The jersey (and the matching bib shorts – review to come) are named after the Spring Classics when the weather can mean low temperatures and lots of wind and rain. When the weather is constantly changing, as it can do frequently in a British spring, autumn and even summer, the new Oxygen Classics Windstopper is a really good jersey to reach for.
There are a lot of foul weather jerseys on the market these days, but where the Oxygen Classics jersey differs is in its very lightweight construction and superb breathability, giving it almost year-round potential. Castelli's Gabba 3 is listed as 291g for a large (we tested the Gabba 2 in 2015), while Ashmei's 3 Season Jersey is 213g (and £220).
It's made from Windstopper and keeps out rain and the wind when riding in changeable conditions. It's not going to keep you dry in a sustained downpour but does deal with short showers extremely well, saving you having to pull on a jacket or gilet. In fact, it totally eliminates the need to wear or carry a gilet on breezy days, which goes some way to justifying the price.
As I've said, it scores highly on its lack of weight and bulk, and is way more breathable than many other foul weather jerseys. Breathability is one of its trump cards. There are also mesh inserts under the arms to improve ventilation as well. I wore it the other day with the temperature nudging into the low 20s but with plenty of rain forecast and I didn't overheat at all. And when the rain came, it kept me dry.
The fit is a bit of a mixed bag. It's excellent in the torso, with the stretch of the fabric ensuring a nice figure-hugging shape. The sleeves – longer than regular sleeves for a bit more protection – are a little on the baggy side, but maybe that's just because I have pipe cleaner arms... It does mean the sleeves are easy to roll up when pulling on a pair of arm warmers, and they didn't negatively impact performance.
The tail is dropped down a bit lower than the front, and the tall collar provides a little extra neck coverage. The waistband is elasticated and there's a grippy material at the back that keeps the jersey firmly in place and stops it slipping around.
Cargo capacity amounts to three rear pockets and one zipped pocket. The pockets are generously sized, the middle one easily taking a rolled-up waterproof jacket, and I'm a fan of zipped pockets – it's always nice to have someplace safe to store the house keys, especially when riding off-road on the adventure bike. You can load up the pockets and they don't sag.
It's a really nicely made jersey and has proved very durable for the couple of months I've been wearing it, which has included riding in some truly grim conditions and also plenty of off-roading and battling overgrown bridleways and hedgerows.
Despite the high price, there's a lot of tech and features packed into this jersey and its performance is so well suited to the mixed bag that is British weather that I have no hesitation in recommending it.
Excellent lightweight and breathable foul weather jersey
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Classics Windstopper jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Gore says: "This tight fit jersey is made of GORE® WINDSTOPPER® material to keep athletes protected. Mesh inserts under the arms provide optimum ventilation and freedom of movement. A longer back as well as flat seam cuffs ensure a comfortable fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Gore lists these features:
Soft and versatile GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Product: windproof, water repellent and highly breathable
Mesh inserts for ventilation under arms
Reflective logo on front and back
Small, zipped pocket on back
3-compartment patch pockets on back
Full length zip with semi-lock slider
Close fit collar
Highly functional material mix
wide, elastic and flat hem provides optimal fit and comfort
Very impressively constructed jersey.
Excellent bad weather protection and ample breathability for warmer rides.
The construction of the jersey is up to the task. I've battered and bashed it through all sorts of weather and riding conditions and it's lasting well.
Great in the torso, a bit baggy in the arms.
The small fits me well – I just wish the sleeves were a little less baggy. You may not have the same problem.
There's not a lot of extra weight compared to a regular jersey.
Extremely comfortable on long rides.
Factor in the money you save not having to buy a gilet and it starts to make more sense.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems looking after it at all.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well in a wide range of weathers and temperatures, from cold and wet to mild and breezy, and that really is the jersey's trump card, it's so adaptable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Deals with any weather, expected or unexpected, really well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sleeves a bit baggy.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A high-performance jersey that performs brilliantly in mixed and changeable weather conditions, with a good fit apart from the slightly loose – on me – sleeves.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.