Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Ibex Breakaway 2- Initial Impressions

I've been bugging the Ibex people for at least two years on this. Today when I got home, I found that they had finally sent me a sample of the latest Breakaway jacket. Sweet.

Here's the jacekt on the Ibex site. It's called Breakaway 2.

I've carried on and on and on about previous versions of this jacket. The Dash, the Breakaway, the Vim.  This review of the Vim links back to my other reviews. In a nutshell, the original Breakaway was great: good for cold riding in all conditions. As the jacket evolved into the Dash, then the Vim, it went away from its cycling-specific features and became thinner.

Now the new Breakaway appears to maintain the lighter-weight approach, but as the name-change suggests, it's pure cycling: rear pocket, no side pockets, chest pocket, nice reflective bits on the back and the left (turning signal) arm.

The tags inclued on the jacket describe "Climawool" and "Schoeller." My guess is that the front-facing panels on the chest and arms are Schoeller. The rear-facing, corresponding panels are Climawool -- basically a wool/stretch poly blend that is wonderful in its breathability.

The fit of the new Breakaway is under the Ibex "Peak" descrption, which means a more snug cut.
Lame lighting. It's not orange, it's a nice deep tomato red. And it's not black, it's a dark inky blue.

My initial impressions:
  • As always, Ibex quality and finish is flipping perfect.
  • Fit is snug for a jacket. I'm a big L, but the beauty of my existing Dash is that a size L still allows me to put a couple thin layers under the jacket.
  • I'm wondering if this light approach will work for super cold -- given that it's too snug to comfortably layer more than a medium shirt under it -- but, I've turned into a Schoeller believer in the last few years, and this jacket assumes you're humping it. It may suffice.
  • I like the bikey touches. Ibex is giving us some love here, but I'd like to see a bit more drop on the back panel.
  • Retail is steep: $275. But, I'll be on my 4th winter with my Dash, and it's yet to pop any stitching or even rip. And for me, that's saying a lot about durability.


Jonathan Eberly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Eberly said...

I want to like this jacket so badly but I just cannot get over the price. How do you think it compares to a wool sweater with a windblocking vest?

John Speare said...

Jon: if you're talking Value Village merino sweater + O2 shell, it's hard to beat that value.

The money part here is the wool back -- which lets the heat escape. And the high-zoot schoeller-y front, which makes for light and warm wind/rain block.You can get that functionality from sweater + vest.

I think the closest value option would be the thin merino sweater with a generic windblocking vest -- that has the mesh back. I think those start at around $50. So assuming a <$10 merino sweater, you're doing OK for around $60.

I initially guessed the price for the ibex jacket at around $225, so I was a bit surprised that it's $275. But it's made in Canada. So that may explain a $50+ (retail) premium.

Shit's expensive, no doubt. But when I buy super nice commuter stuff, whether it's bike or clothing -- I justify it by doing math on the car expenses I save. If you're biking every day in all weather, excellent gear is a no-brainer -- if you can swing it...

I burn through gloves and hats -- mostly by loosing them, so I buy cheap there. But for shoes and jacket/vest: I'll spend the money to get the right stuff.