Oxford Holwell 1.0 jacket review

Timeless style is an oft-used phrase, but there is little that describes this Oxford Holwell 1.0 waxed cotton jacket better. Most surprising is the way it feels like an old friend from the moment you pull it on.

From the corduroy inner lining on cuffs and collar, to the pleated pockets, subtle robust press studs and the quilted shoulders and elbows, this short-cut beautifully tailored jacket has all the hallmarks of a jacket from the era when British motorcycling set the global scene. However, this is no rehash and there’s modern technology throughout.

There’s an internal membrane to further protect against bad weather, should any rain get past the outer treated fabric. The quilted thermal lining is very easy to remove and insert, with colour-coded press-studs in the sleeves to avoid twisting, and single locating zip around the torso.

There’s built-in CE level 1 armour in shoulders and elbows – the so-called high impact areas – and a pocket to accept the back protector of your choice. Safety is further enhanced by the very time-consuming use of triple stitching in all the important places, but in association with the chunky, YKK heritage zips for cuff and main body closure, the overall effect is a jacket that oozes a standard of quality way above its £199 retail price.

The question we all ask of course, is could it suit the rigors of overland travel? Well I’d say yes, the finish and build quality definitely could. The style and colour means you can wear this jacket on or off the bike and you certainly won’t stick out like an alien when passing through foreign communities.

However, you’ll find the pocket situation substandard for the task. The lower hand warming pockets zip closed which is good and the two press-stud closing chest pockets expand to hold more than you think, but they aren’t guaranteed waterproof. Inside, the quilted liner contains a pocket with flap closure, and this is replicated inside the main garment for when you’ve taken out the thermal inner. These have proven themselves waterproof but you have to open the jacket to reach them. What’s missing is the ever-useful inside wallet and/or passport pocket at chest height that you might easily access having only opened the outer storm flap. I’m mindful of the fact that this Oxford Holwell jacket is called the 1.0, so just maybe there’s a 2.0 in the offing that will include this small oversight.

The other thing that may concern you for long distance travelling is the lack of venting, so if you are heading down Africa this isn’t the garment for you. If, on the other hand, you predominantly ride in Northern Europe, want to look great on and off the bike and own a piece of clothing that is incredibly well made and exceptionally comfortable to wear, you can’t go far wrong.
The whole jacket is also CE approved to level A.

Review Paddy Tyson
S – 5XL
Colour Olive green