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Tag Archive: calhoun jacket

2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Our Top Picks for Your Wish List!

Well, well, well, Bike Commuters – the 2012 Holiday Gift guide is here, in case your favorite mail-order catalog is all out of Leg Lamps for you, your bikey friends and family.  We’ve reviewed a ton of products this year but only a few made the list!  Click on the images to link to the product’s shopping website.  (FTC Disclaimer)

Gifts for Under $20

Loop EVA Bar Tape

Loop EVA Bar Tape

Planet Bike 25g Twinpack CO2 cartridges

PB 25g Twinpack CO2

Jimi Wallet

Mir loves her JIMI Wallet

Fyxation Loop Eva Bar Tape: The quality, durability, low price and color choices make it a great product for any bike commuter to use. $13.95 and available in 5 colors: black, pink, orange, green, and white.

Planet Bike 25g Twinpack CO2 Cartridges:  Need to fill a high-volume tire on the go? You could carry a handful of smaller cartridges or just one of these mini-SCUBA tanks from Planet Bike and be on your way in no time!  Two for $20.99.

JIMI Wallet: clip your keys to it and stash it in your pack, jersey, fannypack, whatever.  Water resistant and with a lifetime guarantee (I’ve tried it and they sent me a new one!) and comes in many colors for $14.95.

Clothes

Hiviz yellow O2 Rainwear Calhoun Jacket

Ghost Rider's all about the Rainwear Calhoun Jacket - $119.00

Pedal Power Wind Shirt white

Mir.I.Am felt flossy-flossy in the Lululemon Wind Shirt for $59.00!

O2 Rainwear Calhoun Jacket:  This quality jacket performs admirably when the weather turns sour.  Rainproof, windproof, and you don’t feel clammy! It looks nice, it has good features and visibility, and it is packable enough that there’s really no excuse not to bring it with you.

Lululemon Duds: Lululemon makes small batches of high quality, stylish commuter clothes for women and men.  We loved the Pedal Power commuter fall lineup for women, especially this snazzy blouse/windbreaker.  The lineup is constantly changing… a nice gift with a nice price, since all the Pedal Power items are on final sale for half the price.

Planet Bike Borealis Gloves

Jack gave the PB Borealis Gloves two lobster claws up!

Novara Stratos Gloves

Matt also likes the Novara Stratos Gloves, $38.00 at REI.

We liked the Planet Bike Borealis “lobster” gloves because they bring together a warm inner liner and a windproof outer shell. They also keep your last 2 digits a lot warmer than regular separated gloves, without losing any of the function you need while riding.  All for the cozy price of about $42.00.  Matt also recommends the Novara Stratos gloves, which are along the same lines as the PB Borealis but without the removable liner, and with the addition of handy draw cords for a windproof fit!

Though this item was not necessarily reviewed on BikeCommuters.com, our sister site MtnBikeRiders.com loved these unique socks that are partially made with Possum hair…yes Possum hair! We figured the BikeCommuters.com readership would appreciate them: Pearly’s Possum Socks
Pearly's Possum Socks on MtnBikeRiders.com

Packs

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Henty Wingman suit bag

Module 25 Waterproof Commuter Women's Pack

Women's Velo Transit Module 25.

Velo Transit Edge 40

Men's Velo Transit Edge 40.

For those of us who don’t have the option of dressing down, the Henty Wingman is the best suit-carrying pack we know of.  A pricey option, but if you are wearing suits to work, it’s worth it for a $180 suit bag. For any distance on a bike that requires carrying a suit with you, this pack is the way to go.

We reviewed two Velo Transit packs (women’s Module 25 and men’s Edge 40)  and came away really impressed by both. Waterproof, comfortable, and with pockets for everything, the only reason not to get these is price (about $160 for the women’s and $225 for the men’s)… but we’d still recommend getting these and scrimping elsewhere (ramen really isn’t that bad…). Get one and you’ll thank us! Velo Transit has several size options and colors to fit any commuter’s wish list.

Bikes and Components

Xootr Swift

Mir's new best friend: the 8-speed Swift folding bike.

Freedom Cruz 29ers

Matt upgraded his ride with these Freedom Cruz 29ers!

Xootr Swift: If you know anyone who’s looking to get into the fold, without sacrificing the speed on their commute, the Xootr Swift could be your new best friend!  Hills are a breeze with the multiple speeds and the BMX tires ensure a durable commute.  The Swift packs up fast and light for $750.

Freedom Cruz Tires proved to be great for those with 29ers (or 700c bikes with lots of clearance) wishing for a road-oriented tire. Big and smooth-rolling, they’ll make you question why you ever thought 700×25 was a good idea.  $34.99 to upgrade your ride.

Motiv Electric Bike

RL was a big fan of the Motiv Electric Bike starting at $1749.00 with customizable colors for frame, rims, and tires.

Motiv Electric Bicycle. We liked Motiv because there are so many options you can go with when ordering a bike. From tire, rims, cockpit colors and battery/power options, a person can customize their bike to have it built just the way they want it.

Ridekick E-Trailer. We liked it because it turns any bicycle into an e-bike, plus it has storage capabilities.  The RideKick is a great way to repurpose your old ride with extra speed and extra space. The price for the trailer ranges from $699 to $1359, depending on features.  It’s a blast to ride, too!

ridekick

RL's test ride on the Ridekick was a blast. Put it on your wish list if you want to upgrade to electric.

Miscellaneous

We recently featured Balance Insurance for the sake that it would be a great thing to have for bike commuters. With annual premiums as low as $63, you just can’t go wrong.

Balance insuranceAs cyclists we all know that at some time we might come off our bikes and hit the ground hard. Most cycling accidents are relatively minor. Some will require medical attention. And then there are those life altering accidents that can cause hospitalization, permanent injury or death. For those latter injuries we created Balance For Cyclists. Balance For Cyclists pays large lump sum cash benefits over and above other insurance to cyclists who are injured in serious cycling accidents. Limits are available between $50,000 and $250,000 and all benefits are paid directly to the insured or their family.

Review: O2 Rainwear’s Calhoun Jacket

We showed you the O2 Rainwear “Calhoun” jacket in a teaser a few months ago…and at the time, it was dry and hot here in Ohio. Well, as many of my neighbors told me it would, the rainy season set in around mid-October and hasn’t let up. Being cold is tough for a longtime Florida resident. And, as a Florida resident, I’ve gotten caught in many a rainstorm, but our rainy season there was during the heat of summer, negating the need for stifling raingear. Being cold AND wet is about my least-favorite sensation, and since it seems to rain about every other day here, the Calhoun received a thorough test before I put my thoughts together for the review.

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Let’s recap a bit with a list of the details of the jacket, straight from O2’s website:

Product Details
100% 2.5Layer Rip-Stop Nylon
Waterproof, fully taped internal seam
Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Compact
Supreme Wind & Water Protection
Waterproof, full length front zipper with garage
Reflective elements for low light visibility
Welded waterproof front Napoleon pocket
Form Fit
Pit Zips for additional ventilation
Breathability: W/R; MVP: 10,000g/m2/D
Waterproof: W/P: 10,000mmH2O;
Weight: Avg. 13 ounces depending on size

Normally, I wear a size small in cycling wear…as I mentioned in our sneak peek, Adam Ziskin, the owner of O2, sent me a medium based on my dimensions. As it turns out, the medium is just right — roomy enough to fit over an insulating layer on truly cold days. Thermal cycling jerseys/baselayers or even a fleece jacket fit under the Calhoun with no problems. Of course, like any self-respecting cycling jacket, the Calhoun has an extended tail to keep your butt dry in the rain. Off the bike, the jacket feels boxy…not particularly form-fitting and with gorilla-length arms. Once I got onto my bike, the genius of this jacket’s “cut” was immediately apparent: the jacket’s arms are long so that your arms are still covered when in the drops of a road bike, and there is no bunching or restriction as you stretch out into riding position. It’s still not a body-hugging fit and there is some flapping of the jacket’s material in the wind, but nothing I couldn’t live with.

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The fit can be tailored somewhat using the hidden drawcords at the waist and neck:

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The sleeve cuffs have simple hook-and-loop fasteners with enough adjustability to fit over heavy gloves or mittens…and help seal in the warmth.

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Because extra visibilty is key when the weather turns nasty, the Calhoun comes in neon yellow, and it has effective reflective accents on front, back, and sides. For those of you who don’t want that screamingly bright color, the Calhoun also comes in blue. Seriously, though, being seen by motorists when the rain is blowing sideways trumps fashion any day…yet it’s nice that O2 offers a choice.

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One thing that surprised me is that the Calhoun jacket doesn’t feel clammy when I put it on. I’ve worn some inexpensive rainwear over the years — you know, the stuff with the thick polyurethane lining or the rubberized fabric ponchos popular with campers. The Calhoun simply feels like a quality jacket. The interior of the jacket has a slick look to it, but it feels good against the skin, for what that’s worth. I can’t tell you how breathable the 3Flow Performance fabric is with any concrete quantifiers, but I never felt like sweat was bottling up inside the jacket. Granted, my rides have been in the teens to the low 40s and I just don’t sweat at those temps. When I did feel like I was starting to get a bit too warm, the pit zips did the trick to cool me down a bit. Simply unzip them, pull the main zipper down a bit and flush out the excess warmth before zipping it all back up. Worked like a charm!

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One of my favorite features is that the Calhoun packs up small…about the size of a big burrito (but perhaps a bit lighter). When the weather is iffy, the jacket can be rolled up and carried along in a jersey pocket, pannier or bag. A more practiced hand could probably roll this thing up even smaller!

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After all this, you’re probably wondering, “well, how does it work in the rain?” Rest assured, this jacket is waterproof to a fault. I still hate riding in the cold rain, but the Calhoun makes it substantially less miserable. And, the jacket’s fantastic windproof ability also makes it my go-to choice when it is clear and chilly. Take a look at the picture below — the coldest bike ride I’ve been on in 25 years or more, with starting temps in the low teens and highs in the low 20s. I was rocking a thermal jersey and baselayer, fleece-lined bibtights, wool balaclava, shoe covers and lobster gloves. I was afraid I looked like Randy from the classic “A Christmas Story”. What can I say? I ain’t designed for cold weather. Anyhow, the jacket accommodated all those layers and kept the heat in where I needed it. Thumbs up all the way!

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Perhaps my only gripe with the Calhoun is that the one chest pocket is nice, but I prefer to carry things in a pocket on my back. Perhaps I am just used to having jersey pockets for long rides, but a heavy smartphone just felt weird in that chest pocket. After a short time, I transferred the phone to my saddlebag. Luckily, O2 has other jackets to choose from that have other features you may desire. Also, I must say that at first, I was thinking, “gee, I really wish there was a hood on this jacket”, but I understand that hoods can be more trouble than they’re worth. I DO need to figure out a decent technique for keeping the rain out of my helmet, though.

The Calhoun jacket has an MSRP of $119.00. That’s pricey, but I feel you get what you pay for — this is a quality jacket that performs admirably when the weather turns sour. It looks nice, it has good features and visibility, and it is packable enough that there’s really no excuse not to bring it with you when you ride. Check out O2’s full product line by clicking here.

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