February 22, 2012

Real Life Tested: Ibex Breakaway 2 Jacket

In the effort to be completely transparent, I must first divulge that I am bias.  Ibex sponsors my cycling team, hooking us up with baselayers perfect for year-round comfort and recently provided us with the Breakaway 2 Jacket.  Upon receipt, I had no idea how amazing this jacket was going to be.

Each and every time I zip into the Breakaway 2, I am further impressed. I love this jacket.

Wool + Schoeller = Sheer Brilliance

I have ridden almost exclusively in this jacket since I came into my possession and I have no indention of discontinuing this trend until I can count on consistent 70-degree days. 

What I love
·       Superior temperature regulation. Rolling out East in 26-degree weather with frost on the ground, it’s chilly, but I am comfortable.  A couple of hours pass, the sun warms the earth.  I am heading out from Prineville, convinced that I am going to overheat at any moment - it is now 48 degrees. I am still comfortable - magic I tell you.

·       A real jacket that will still fit in your jersey pocket.  On Saturday, I needed to do some hard efforts – it’s February, so I guess “hard” is a relative term, but hard non-the-less.  I knew I was going to really get the engine going, so I rolled up my Breakaway 2, hoping I would somehow manage to stuff it into my jersey pocket.  To my amazement, it fit perfectly.  No “stuffing” required.

·      Breathability, water repellency and wind resistant.  Built with a combination of wool and Schoeller, and finished off with a DWR treatment, the Breakaway 2 blocks the wind, breathes well and stretches in all the right places.  Plus, it puts up quite a fight when faced with a Central Oregon thunderstorm.  I got caught out near Smith Rocks over the weekend, and the dark bank of black clouds weren’t messing around.  The sky opened up and it rained.  Hard.  The water beaded right off my arms and shoulders.  Within 20 minutes, the rain ceased and the surface of the Schoeller fabric quickly dried – keeping me warm and dry beneath. I wouldn’t recommend the Breakaway 2 to a friend from Portland looking for a rain jacket, but against the occasional Central Oregon storm, I was impressed.

Potential Improvements
·       Trim up the fit.  The Breakaway is a little roomy around the middle; great for Nordic Skiing, but could be cut a little closer if designed exclusively for cycling.

·       Sleeve Length. The sleeves could be one-half inch longer and I wouldn’t complain.  They aren’t too short, but an additional half-inch would make them just perfect.

Other observations
·       It’s washable.  After getting sprayed with road grime; just throw the Breakaway 2 in the washing machine with the rest of your cycling stuff.  It cleans up nicely.  Hang to dry.

·       Zippered Pockets – 4 of them.  Build with a multifunctional design; the Breakaway 2 has four zipper pockets. The two front hand-warmer pockets come in handy while skate skiing and cruising around town.  The zipper chest pocket comes complete with an Ipod jack; ideal for those of us who like to rock out to our newest playlists. The large back zipper pocket, which holds a ton, but isn’t great for carrying an extra water bottle and gets a little “sagging” if filled with heavy items.