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The Oxford Venture Jacket is strong, stylish and comfortable, but unfortunately the waterproofing – at least on the sleeves – is a letdown, and badly undermines its usefulness.
There's a lot to like about this jacket, but as it doesn't keep you completely dry for very long, much of it is sadly moot. If you want a solidly built, packable shell for (brief) emergencies or urban commutes/shop runs, though, this will do the job well, so bear with me while I bang on about it all anyway.
The 'Dry2Dry' fabric is 100% polyester and looks like ripstop on the outside, while there's a softer, smoother lining. It's rated 10k for both waterproofing and breathability, and, to start with the waterproofing, it mostly lives up to that.
You can expect this level to fend off heavy rain, and resist soaking through unless there's pressure too (like if you lean your elbows on a wet railing). I found the main body works fine, but the forearms don't.
Presumably it's because they're the least steeply angled part as you ride and water can't run away as freely, but less than an hour of intermittent rain (though constant spray) would leave my jersey sleeves soaked through. Once the fabric was soaked, the sleeves felt colder, too – perhaps draughts up the cuffs were chilling my soaked jersey sleeves, but the sensation was like having cold winds occasionally cutting through the jacket.
The shoulders don't leak in the same way, but then they're heavily ruggedised with thick black panels to withstand wear from backpacks. The seams are all sealed and don't appear to leak either... though it can be a little hard to be totally sure it's not all sweat.
That said, the Venture does better for breathability. While I found it sweaty and a little warm on climbs, it never got that runaway greenhouse effect that forces you to take these things off. It's certainly good enough for lower-intensity rides, and those rubbery shoulder patches don't seem to have any adverse effects either.
You get a phone-sized Napoleon pocket on the chest but no pockets on the back. Both zips are waterproof and have neat little garages, while the high collar fits well and is soft lined. It relies on elastic for sealing and it works just fine, as do the cuffs for the most part.
The hem has more of a struggle to seal, though, as the overall cut is pretty loose – in fact, I got muddy water splashed up inside the back as well as outside, despite the tail itself being pleasingly long. It's perhaps telling that it fits much more securely over winter civvies than cycling gear. This is a jacket for pretty casual cycling.
The substantial 'Nightbright 360' reflectives are impressive, as is this attractive yet very noticeable Fierce Red option. I must say, it's so fierce it looks to me like Actually Bright Orange. There's also a Cool Grey version should it all just be too much for you.
It scrunches down to the size of two fists, and though there's no pocket or stuff sack to contain it, it'll squeeze into most jersey pockets okay.
At £99.99 it's a long way from being the most expensive waterproof out there – you can spend two or even three times that – and would be good value if it were a little more waterproof. Certainly the construction is impressive.
Unfortunately for the Venture, the Galibier Tourmalet 3 offers higher specs and performance for just £68, though that doesn't come in any bright colours. The Donda Torrential Jacket Orange does, though, and while it's a softshell it stays very warm and protective even if it does get very wet. It's £80.
This stylish jacket is well made, reasonably breathable and promises to last, but as the waterproofing just doesn't live up to expectations – or keep your sleeves dry for very long – it's hard to recommend.
Well built and very visible for town jaunts, but disappointing waterproofing limits its usefulness
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Oxford Venture Jacket
Size tested: Fierce Red, Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Oxford says: "The Oxford Venture Jacket with Dry2Dry laminate technology combines breathable and durable waterproofing with lightweight construction. Snug fitting, with stretch panels that move when you move and a soft, fleece lined collar this jacket is designed with comfort and performance in mind. Featuring Nightbright 360 the subtle reflective panels on shoulders sleeves and lower back are stylish by day and visible by night ensuring you can be seen by motorists and pedestrians."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
* Dry2Dry 2.5 layer construction.
* 10k mm waterproof, 10k g/m2 / 24hrs breatheable.
* Dynamic fit.
* Nightbright 360.
* Fleece lined collar.
* Detachable hood.
* Zipped chest pocket.
* Available in Cool Grey and Fierce Red.
Good for keeping brief showers off, but not quite as waterproof as its rating suggests.
The 10k rating should keep heavy rain off pretty well, but I found the forearms soaked through in less than an hour of intermittent rain.
It's pretty good – gets sweaty but doesn't completely boil you.
It's nicely shaped but pretty loose; I regularly got mud up the inside of the back...
It gives a loose fit but it's not misjudged or excessively baggy.
Doesn't provide as much protection as it should for the money (or 10k rating).
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Cool wash and drip dry – it's easy enough.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great for short showers, but wets through disappointingly easily.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Bright colour, solid build, long tail, detatchable hood, good reflectives, just about packable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Sleeves wet through easily, loose fit lets spray up your back despite the long tail.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's relatively cheap – many waterproof jackets are considerably more expensive, with plenty at twice the price or more – but it's not quite the cheapest either, if only by £20-£30.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Sort of.
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a very promising jacket. It's constructed really well, looks good, has a pleasingly long tail and is easy to get on and off. The waterproofing just isn't as good as I'd expect from a 10k g/m2 rating, though, and I found both forearms would soak through disappointingly quickly. They're noticeably more vulnerable to chilly draughts once they do, too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,