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by Anne-Marije Rook
November 2, 2016
Photography by Anne-Marije Rook
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
With so many new microbrands popping up left and right in the cycling industry, it can be hard to keep track of what’s all on the market and what is worth trying and buying. As you can imagine, we get tons of requests from brands wanting to get their products in front of our audience.
But when Australia-based OORR got in touch to have us to test some pre-production kits, we were genuinely interested because what they’re doing sure is different.
OORR, which stands for Out of the Rat Race, is an Australian brand dedicated to making performance wear from recycled materials. In doing so, they’re setting out to challenge the status quo and change purchasing habits.
Founder Tim Christian is a big environmentalist who hopes his products will change the perception of what recycled materials can feel and look like, thereby generating a consumer demand for sustainable products and push for the whole garment industry to think and act more sustainable.
“The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. It’s a dark stain on the social and environmental health of our planet, and will only get worse unless we do something about it,” Christian told Ella CyclingTips. “Trouble is, a lot of clothes made using recycled content are crap – and there’s virtually no options for cycling and athletic apparel… until now.”
Chistian’s limited line of athletic wear thus far has only featured men’s items, but with ambitious expansion goals, Chistian has launched a new kickstarter campaign, which includes a women’s line as well as a line of coffee-infused jerseys and tops. That’s right, OORR is taking the existing synergy of coffee and cycling to a whole new level.
OORR’s proprietary fabric is made from coffee grounds and plastic bottles. The coffee acts as a disruptor to the smooth surface of the yarn and gives the fabric much more surface area, which in turn improves UV protection and enables the fabric to wick moisture more effectively and dry 50% faster than other technical polyester fabrics. Additionally, the nature of coffee is deodorising, giving the fabric permanent anti-odour protection. Who knew!
Christian had sold me on environment impact right away, but the product still has to meet certain standards like fit, comfort and durability.
When I received the OORR goods, I was relieved and pleasantly surprised at how soft the material is. The second sigh of relief came from the pleasing colourways and designs. I received two pre-production kits for testing – the Pro and the Ultralight –which are significantly different from one another in design, features and fit. Since these are pre-production items, my feedback along with the feedback of other testers (like pro cyclist and Ella columnist Loren Rowney) helped shape the final design for production.
The BOORRdroom pro kit.
Fun, colorful and feminine. I like the longer sleeves and the asymmetrical colour scheme, which reappears on the bibshorts.
The bibs shorts will be offered in standard and long leg lengths.
The mesh chest panel –a.k.a modesty panel –of the bibs features a fun black-and-white geometric design, which is a nice touch, especially for those warm days when you unzip your jersey.
The pockets are quite unique on this jersey. It’s basically one bigger pocket with two side entries placed mid-back.
A nod to the coffee grounds that made this fabric
Design: Fun, colourful and feminine. I like the longer sleeves and the asymmetrical colour scheme, which reappears on the bibshorts. The mesh chest panel –a.k.a modesty panel –of the bibs features a fun black-and-white geometric design, which is a nice touch, especially for those warm days when you unzip your jersey.
The fit: The jersey sports relatively long sleeves, aero-style pockets and fits quite snug. As such, it’s very much like a skin- or speed-suit, which I found to be very comfortable.
The bibshorts especially, with the chest-high mesh panel, wide racerback bib straps and tight but compression-less fit, provided all-day comfort.
While I personally like more coverage, it may be too much for those who are more inclined to ride in sleeveless jerseys and short shorts. Christian tells me that for exactly that reason, the bibs shorts will be offered in standard and long leg lengths, though all will have the modesty panel.
Features: The pockets are quite unique on this jersey. It’s basically one bigger pocket with two side entries placed mid-back. A smaller, reinforced zippered pocket is integrated in middle of it. Effectively, this means that aside from your keys and bank cards, everything else goes into one main compartment, which is too small for much beyond some ride food and some arm warmers. While not ideal for those long days when you are carrying multiple layers or a pump, it’s sufficient for hot days, shorter rides and racing. I think the entry points to the pocket are really well done as it’s easily accessible and I like the smooth, integrated look and feel of the pocket. There’s nothing sticking out and limited bulkiness.
Chamois: From the soft fabric to the mesh panel and leg length, these bibshorts are great except for the chamois placement. The women’s specific chamois is well-padded, quite wide and overall comfortable but in the pre-production kit I received, the pad came up slightly short when riding in a more aggressive position. Christian assures me that this will be fixed for the final design as I was not the only tester to give that feedback.
Performance: Did I mention how soft this kit is?!
Softness aside, the kit performed well. The full zip, and perforated armpit and side-panels ensured I was never too hot and the bibs seems to disappear altogether – exactly what you’d want on long days in the saddle.
The ultralight kit.
Three full-sized pockets with sufficient space as well as reinforced zippered pocket for valuables.
Light but less stretchy kit is made for those extra warm days.
Design: Classic, mostly black with green stripe.
Fit: While the small Pro jersey fit fine, Christian recommended to go up a size in the Ultralight kit due to a lighter but less stretchy fabric. Even in a medium, however, the Ultralight jersey felt a too snug largely due to the uncomfortably short sleeves. Christian informs me, however, that once in production, buyers will have the option of a short or long sleeve length.
The bibshorts have the same super soft material and fit as the Pro bibs but with thin mesh straps instead of the chest-high modesty panel and razorback straps.
Features: This jersey sports a more standard three-pockets design with sufficient space as well as a reinforced zippered pocket on top of the three back pockets for your valuables. There’s also some reflective striping for those low-light rides. The inside collar is a nice touch. It has an extra layer, with a cute coffee bean design, made of a different fabric then the rest of the jersey for a softer, more comfortable feel.
Chamois: Same thoughts as described in the Pro Kit review above: good width, thickness and density, but the placement was off.
Performance: The bibs –chamois placement aside –were soft and comfortable, ready to take on long days in the saddle. But what truly made this kit different was the fabric on the jersey. Among the thinnest I have worn, the kit remained cool even in the high 30s despite it being mostly black. It has great airflow and is definitely one for those warm-weather days only.
I am very excited for OORR’s women’s line. It’s got all the makings, plus the attention to detail, of a high-end product. Yet unlike anything else on the market at the moment, OORR products come with the added benefit of knowing you’re wearing an environmentally sustainable product. I look forward to seeing the line expand.
With that said, the Kickstarter approach is a bit of a drag for the consumer. At the earliest, you’re looking at June 2017 before you get your kit, and who wants to wait that long?