By Ken Bonner
How obtained: Purchased from local bike shop
RBR advertiser: NoTime tested: Many times over a number of years
As an ultracyclist, I ride about 18,000 miles (30,000 km) per year, mostly on roads in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and the "Wet" Coast of Canada. I have a basement full of cycling rain jackets that were full of promise but did not live up to expectations.
In my experience, almost any rain jacket will prevent heavy, cold rain from penetrating through to the cyclist (even a large garbage bag, in an emergency, can do this). Similarly, most rain jackets will dissipate moisture created by the cyclist's exertion, but only over normal, short commuting distances.
I have yet to find a cycling rain jacket that truly keeps the cyclist dry from moisture created from within the jacket. I can live with that situation. However, there is no need to become chilled as a result. My all-time favorite rain jackets, the MEC Bernoulli and the Gore Fusion, left me wet from the inside, but both jackets were well-ventilated and kept me warm and comfortable even in heavy rain, with temperatures near the freezing mark. Alas, they are no longer available. What to do?
Scrounging in my basement, I discovered an inexpensive "Original" rain-jacket from O2 Rainwear that I had used many years ago while riding one of the five 1200k Paris-Brest-Paris events I have finished. Researching to see if this jacket was still available, I discovered that O2 Rainwear has two new rain jacket models, including the Nokomis (see review), and the Calhoun (see review). The company still produces the tried-and-true Original, as well.
Inexpensive Yet Functional
Looking for an inexpensive rain jacket that is still quite functional? Check out the O2 Rainwear Original jacket.
The Original is the one to bring along when you are worried it might rain, but no long and heavy downpour is expected.
As this jacket has no reflective material, it should not be used for riding in low-light conditions unless you're wearing a reflective sash or vest. I placed self-adhesive reflective tape at strategic locations on my Original jacket. This worked fine for me.
The elastic wrist cuffs work well; They're neither too tight nor too loose. Interestingly, although the Original jacket does not have any venting beyond the front one-way zipper, it appears to breathe well, and keep out heavy rain for up to 4 hours or 100k/60 miles.
The Bottom Line
O2 Rainwear offers a range of functional rain jackets that meet the needs and price-points of most cyclists, from commuters to ultracyclists.
Ken Bonner is a former marathon runner and renowned ultracyclist who holds the course record for the British Columbia Rocky Mountain 1200k and several UltraMarathon Cycling Association point-to-point records. Retired and living in Victoria, British Columbia, he rides about 18,000 miles a year.