We first featured the coffee bean infused apparel of OORR (Out Of the Rat Race) as part of a Kickstarter round up, a few weeks back. But while a lot of Kickstarter products tend to be pie-in-the-sky tech that we can’t really offer much insight on since they tend not to be real yet, that’s not the situation here. In fact, we’ve actually been riding in the OORR kit since the start of the summer. We had the chance to test some preproduction samples that covered the range of warm weather jerseys and bib shorts that are on offer. So, we can safely say that they kept up comfortable through warm to hot riding, offered unique visibility, and delivered on a few unconventional performance features. There is some unique kit here, so it is worth having a closer look, and you have just under a week to get in on the deal if you are so inclined…
Looking at the Kickstarter campaign itself is a little complex, as OORR really has a lot on offer – from jerseys to bib shorts to warmers and even tech tees thrown in too. That isn’t really a dig on the whole deal, but rather a statement that company founder Tim Christian isn’t just dipping his toe into the endeavor, but jumping full in. In fact this isn’t even OORR’s first clothing. They’ve been producing eco-friendly material jerseys and accessories for more than two years, but Christian realized that if he wanted to grow his business, bring more people onto his team, and get out to a wider audience, he needed to go big.
So essentially he has spent those last two years refining his sustainably sourced and produced fabrics, working with new technologies like Frog Skin nanotech, recycled coffee grounds & plastic bottles for the kit. He also developed some kinda crazy patterns that are pulled from existing design language to grab attention and increase your visibility. Then he put that all together in some uniquely cut jerseys and some comfortable bibs.
OORR Cafe Pro jerseys & bib shorts
The Cafe Pro jersey is unique first due to its fabric and origin. OORR makes a big point that their fabric and production have a strong environmental focus. That was a driver of their first products, and is the underlying theme that links all of their offerings together: top-level performance, without having to kill the environment that we ride in. The Cafe Pro jersey is made of a mixture of recycled and new fibers, mixed together with a special yarn derived from used coffee grounds. That addition of coffee into the process is said to have several benefits, including permanent odor-fighting, improved UV protection, and more surface area of the fabric improving wicking. From our Czech base, we don’t really get enough strong sun to have noticed the sunscreen effect, but after a few months of regular wear the jerseys do still smell fresh and new, and their super soft & stretchy feel does well enough to wick from around 15° up to 30°C. In the hottest of weather it was a damp at the end of a long, sweaty ride, but on par with most other jerseys we wear.
The men’s Pro jersey gets a standard 3 pocket layout with no zipper pocket, while the women’s gets a more unique layout with a single large pocket with easy to access side openings from each side. It then gets a water-resistant zip pocket in the center in the small of the back. Our female tester generally liked the big pocket for stuffing with all day essentials, but at times felt that smaller things or lighter loads like just a pump or a snack weren’t that secure. That said, the pocket more than 10cm deep from the openings so nothing every got away. (Sizes shown are men’s M & women’s S, sticking true to typical sizing.)
Both sexes get more open perforated mesh on the back of the arms, armpits, and down the side to move heat and perspiration away from the body. They also both feature wide 4cm silicone grippers woven into the rawcut sleeve openings, plus grippers in the front hem and along the back, and a zipper garage at the hem and a tab behind the zip at the top to keep it from digging in to the skin. They all did a good job of keeping the jerseys in place, without ever leaving marks on the skin. Those who are super sensitive to grippers may need to stay away, but the vast majority will find the grip comfortable.
One of the biggest draws for the OORR Cafe Pro jersey is the striking look, without overly strong company logos. Designed to mimic high-contrast warning markers that we’ve learned to identify over time, the white/gray and white/blue/black stripes drew a lot of attention. These designs are definitely not for those looking to blend into the pack, but that’s probably good for those looking to be seen on the road.
The Cafe Pro bibs also get a really soft to the touch, stretchy fabric, here with the Frog Skin tech that promises to use a biomimic-ing fabric design to naturally kill bacteria. While many stretch fabrics tend to offer a compressive fit, the OORR shorts 76% recycled nylon fabric is much more forgiving, to the point that OORR thinks most people on the border of one size or the other should size down. I was firmly in the middle of the men’s M sizing and got a comfortable fit, but could have easily worn a S. Our female rider split the XS/S sizing so went with the XS and was mostly happy with her fit.
Again, the shorts get wide silicone grippers, here at the raw cut edge of the legs they measure 7cm wide for a not-too-tight,non-marking grip. They also get a generous thick multi-density pad for either sex. Like many high quality thicker pads (and pretty much any new pad we try the first time) both our testers were wary of the chamois to start, but were happy with it riding. The super stretchiness of the fabric did tend to allow the chamois to move around a tiny bit why bouncing around off-road, so we would probably think that most riders could benefit from actually sizing down the bibs in you plan to take these off the tarmac.
While the main short fabric has a soft stretch, the men’s Pro bibs get a more compressive feel due to their supportive 5cm wide elastic bib straps. The straps actually wrap around the body starting together in the front, then over the shoulders and back around the sides forming almost a complete waistband/belt. They actually sat on my ‘love handles’ (that’s a nicer way to say spare tire, right?) giving a nicely fitted feel.
The women’s Pro bibs gets a more unique design, and drop the compressive elastic bib straps, instead just an extension of the buttery soft main fabric. Then in between the straps, the bibs include a very lightweight mesh panel (the same fabric found under the arms of the jersey) with a high contrast ‘Rat Race’ maze pattern that works very effectively as a modesty panel so women riders can feel comfortable to unzip their jersey as far as they want without being too revealing. Our tester was also a bit concerned with the location of the bib straps right across her breast, but together with the patterned mesh panel it stayed in place and didn’t lead to any chaffing or irritation. (Women also get regular or long leg lengths. We tested the shorter of the two.)
OORR Ultralight Elite jerseys & bib shorts
On the Ultralight Elite side, we only tried the men’s version of the jersey & bib short. The Elite bibs are made of the same soft, über stretchy fabric as the Cafe Pro line, but they get a lighter weight mesh bib strap setup that means they lose the compressive fit. They keep the same Frog Skin tech and similar detailing. That means that they get the same wide 7cm silicone leg gripper color-matched to the jersey. But they replace the thicker chamois, with a contoured pad with less of a multi-thickness structure. Like the women’s Pro bibs above, I was able to get the chamois to move around a bit when maneuvering the bike more off-road. I think again this was a case of the ample stretch of the main shorts fabric allowing for movement, and could be solved by sizing down for a more compressive fit. The women’s bibs are essentially identical, with a thin women-specific chamois.
The Ultralight Elite jersey on the other hand was a completely different fit & function than the stretchy Cafe Pro. Still using the recycled and coffee-infused fabric as the other jersey, the Elite drops the lycra element from the mix that gave it the smooth stretch. The Ultralight Elite jersey then is still smooth to the skin, but much more structured, with a raised waffle texture to the weave that did a great job of pulling sweat away from the skin, and a resulting tighter fit. There is still a bit of stretch and freedom of movement, which mostly derives from the perforated, stretch mesh under and at the back of the arms.
The jersey gets a more detailed 3+1 rear pocket layout, with the +1 water-resistant zip pocket centered on the lower back. I felt that central location blocked the wicking in the jersey at a key point where moisture builds up, and was really the only place where the jersey seemed damp at the end of riding. Also without the stretch, the rear pockets have a bit limited capacity. I could still put a bidon or most normal riding trappings in the pockets, but I felt like when I stuffed a rain jacket in one pocket that I was going to overstress the stitching. Otherwise it gets the same lower zip garage, coffee bean print inside the collar, wide silicone arm grippers, a full gripper around the bottom hem to keep the jersey in place, and its own reflective accents. The women’s version is essentially the same with a tiny +1 rear pocket change in orientation.
What really sets the OORR kit apart is the fabrics, either the Cafe Pro or the Ultralight Elite series. While the cuts and little details are quite nice (those colorful coffee beans on the inside of the collars are always fun), the fabrics stand out. The Cafe Pro kit just has a really soft stretchy feel that disappears on the body, while still managing to move moisture away quite well. Then the Ultralight Elite jersey’s core rigid fabric does away with the stretch and replaces it with those waffles that you see above that wick so fast, the jersey almost always felt dry to the touch at the end of the ride.
Without the stretch of the Pro, the Elite jersey felt more structured, and you never forget that you have it on. But what you do forget is that all this kit is way more eco-friendly than anything else in your cycling closet. Made up of a mix of recycled fabrics, it really does manage to perform as well as our other premium kit, while weighing less on our conscience. The Kickstarter campaign has less than a week to go – and has already reached its funding goal – so hop on it and you could be looking at a unique new kit next summer. We like what we’ve tried so far and certainly will keep pulling OORR kit out of our closet for those hot days on the bike. And what cyclist wouldn’t want shorts with biomimicry nanotech that permanently kills odors and jerseys made out of coffee beans?!