7Mesh Oro waterproof jacket - first look
The 7Mesh Oro utilises Gore's latest fabric technology, resulting in a jacket which is insanely light
Let's start by saying this: the 7Mesh Oro is the lightest waterproof jacket we've had in for review at RoadCyclingUK. At 92g, it's 5g lighter than an inner tube - and we weighed both to illustrate the point. It's comically light.
Like most things in cycling, less is more. Lower weight means your wallet takes a heavier hit, and so let's get the price out of the way, too. At £250.00, the Oro is also one of the most expensive jackets on the market, but let's delve a little further into the tech to help explain the price.
While the Oro comes from 7Mesh, a boutique brand based in Squamish, Canada, the Gore-Tex fabric it's made from is the real talking point. The Oro utilises Gore-Tex's Active fabric, designed for 'fast pace, high intensity' sports. It's genuinely high-tech stuff. Whereas a waterproof typically uses a three-layer construction, with a face fabric, waterproof membrane and inner lining, Active eliminates the face fabric.
The benefits are significant, according to both Gore and 7Mesh. First up, Gore say it's the most breathable waterproof fabric out there, as you haven't got the face fabric stopping moisture from escaping, and, going back to our original point, it's lighter, too. By the way, 7Mesh put the claimed weight of the Oro at 93g for a size medium and, as we said at the top, our small sample came in 1g under that.
The low weight is helped by the fact there's no face fabric to get wetted out in particularly damp conditions, which in turn can create a chilling effect. Most riders will have had a 'waterproof' jacket which, even if it doesn't let any rain all the way through to the body, feels heavy and damp to touch in a downpour. As an aside, the Oro's low weight means it's extremely compact. Roll the jacket up and it'll slip into just half a jersey pocket.
The fabric also has a 'Shakedry' surface, which helps give it an appearance - and feel - almost like a wax jacket. The idea is that water will bead up on the surface and if you give it a shake, it will jump right off.
Now, we've already had the chance to put the 7Mesh Oro through its paces, on a five-hour ride as part of the Haute Route Norway test event last weekend. It was the kind of day where, if you looked at the weather forecast first thing in the morning, you probably would have stayed in bed. But we were in Norway, where rain is an almost daily occurrence and, with frankly incredible roads to be ridden, nothing was going to stop us getting out.
That forecast became a reality and it tipped it down for three of the five days, with showers lurking otherwise. The kind of rain that hits you from all directions - hammering down from the sky above and bouncing up from the road, accompanied by levels of road spray from the wheels in front that you'd only otherwise expect from standing within touching distance of Niagara Falls.
Today's ride in Norway was wet to say the least - it chucked it down - but this @7meshinc Oro jacket worked wonders. Flawless performance; bone dry after four hours thanks to @goretexeu's new Active fabric???? . . . #7mesh #7meshinc #7meshoro #waterproof #waterproofjacket #goretex #goretexactive #stavanger #norway #hauteroute
The Oro was simply superb. Not one drop of water permeated the fabric, instead immediately beading up on the surface and either remaining there or leaping off with a quick wipe or shake of the jacket. As first rides go, it was a tough test and the Oro passed with flying colours and then some. Add in a close, race-cut fit, generous dropped tail and close cuffs, and 7Mesh look to have got the details right, too.
We'll need more time in the Oro to assess breathability, durability (particularly with the lack of a face fabric) and performance in varying conditions - but it's off to a very good start.
Something for the weekend showcases our pick of the latest tech to arrive at RoadCyclingUK. You can see more here.