Gore Oxygen SO jacket review£114.99

Performance shell

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Simply the best performance shell jacket we’ve ever used. A bold statement to start any review with, but after months of all-weather use that’s our firm opinion.

Gore’s taped Windstopper fabric is a great performance compromise. It stops all but the worst showers and all of the windchill from getting through, and you’ll rarely find any big damp patches on your base layer even after several hours of non-stop hard graft.

It’s beautifully pre-cut for a perfect flap-free fit on the bike. The long tail and cuffs combine with the pull-out Thermostretch collar to keep you as weather sealed as possible. A combination of two mesh side pockets and three normal back pockets is enough for all your tool and fuel needs on long, fast blasts.

Unlike some taped seam softshells, we’ve had no problems with durability either, with excellent crash/abrasion and laundry toughness on both samples we’ve been running. It’s a great price too considering this is one of the best performing shells out there.

This is a proper tight-fit performance garment that won’t pull any punches with paunches or pumped arms. Make sure you try before you buy, and go for the baggier cut, removeable sleeve Phantom if you’re unsure. 

It doesn’t add much warmth to your world either. We’d recommend one of Gore’s thicker Windstopper jackets if you do some stop-start or low workrate riding regularly.

However, it's perfect if you’re a winter whippet who wants a proper ultra-performance shell layer for streamlined, steam-free weather protection.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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