Our amigos from Bontrager (Sam & Alex) are grizzled veterans in the winter cyclist’s war with wind and weather. It has to have been three or four years ago Bontrager launched their Old Man Winter (OMW) line of cold weather cycling gear. This winter, I’ll be putting both the OMW Pants and Jacket through a rigorous romp through what looks to be a serious winter bike season, here behind the cheese curtain.
Let’s start with the pants because, for more than a year, I’ve coveted a pair of OMW pants. Mi Amigo, Chris Daisy literally sang their praises on the old Black Ribbon Radio Hour and that has some serious sway in my world. Chris likened them to the perfect winter bike pant for riding, that was so comfortable, he’d wear them when the situation called for a stylish pair of slacks for both business and social occasions…like at the shop all day!
The pants are made from Profila Softshell material that’s breathable, four-way stretch, and wind-resistant. Just the thing that you need in winter cycling pants. The best thing about these pants is the pockets. Five zippered pockets that are placed where you need them. The pants also have removable internal gaiter for pow days and two zipped leg vents. The integrated belt is also made to be stretchy so these pants move with you like a second skin. I’m 5’11” and weigh just under two bills and I’m testing a size large. My standard bottom layers start with a Gore 3/4 thermal knicker and then the OMW pants. November proved to be a pretty great laboratory for a couple of weeks, so I’ve had a chance to ride in temps down to 13 degrees F. These things are pretty toasty. Of course, November usually provides a wide range of temps so I’ve worn the OMW pants in the ’20s and ’30s as well. Chris Daisy was not lying…these pants are the bomb! (do people still say that?)
Mi Hermano Adam Blake and I talked a little bit about the OMW pants recently. Adam has a pair from last season. He expressed concern over their potential durability because of all of the zippered pockets. So the very thing that I mentioned that I liked about the OMW Pants in the short term is something that we’ll be watching closely. I’ll be testing them over the long haul this winter. We’ll see what a dozen machine washings and the usual wear and tear can do to them this winter. After wearing them for over a month, aka my mid-term review is that these pants ROCK! I’ll have more to say on the subject when I get back from a March trip to Alaska.
The Old Man Winter Jacket is a Technical Winter Cycling Softshell Jacket. Bontrager actually calls this a fat-bike jacket built for deep snow and cold weather. The fit and finish of the garment is top-notch. The shell utilizes 37.5 active particle technology that’s supposed to keep your body’s microclimate at 37.5% humidity and at 37.5 degrees. Both of which are the optimal operating ranges for human’s at sport. I have to say that the OMW Jacket feels very comfortable and I never really seem to overheat.
The hood is designed to work with a bike helmet. It has a Boa System built into the back of the hood that makes adjusting the fit very easy, even while wearing gloves. The photos above show how you can adjust the Boa to snug it down or leave a bit of space to vent. With this jacket, I don’t need a winter helmet and my head is encased in 37.5 Technology. I might look a little dorky, but my beauty pageant days are well behind me.
The OMW Jacket has chest pockets designed to work with hydration packs and the pockets also act as vents. The inside mesh pockets are huge! There’s a glasses cleaning cloth sewn into one of the inner pockets. The Jacket is Semi-Fitted, so with a size XL, I have no problem with fitting layers underneath. I have to give props to Bontrager for nailing the length at the rear of the spray zone. I have other winter cycling jackets that get caught on the back of the saddle. The Bontrager Old Man Winter Jacket is just the right length.
Last week I talked with Sam Foos from Bontrager on the Danger Gnome Podcast about winter cycling apparel and we talked about both the OMW Pants and Jacket. You can check that out HERE
The only thing that I’d change about the OMW Jacket would be to add a two-way zipper on the main closure so it could be opened at the bottom. Other than that….this thing aced its midterms and I’m looking forward to lot’s of snowy adventures at 37.5/37.5 super smurfy temperature and humidity climate control comfort. We’ll report how it holds up in Alaska this March!