I find it genuinely hard to believe how good the Oxford Montreal 3.0 jacket is. Paired with Oxford’s Montreal 2.0 pants (the two zip together) it has become an essential part of my go-to crappy weather riding kit. I’ve worn it in cold, rain, over long distance, and have even crashed in it (off road – nine times). It has only managed to impress me more with each use.
I shouldn’t have been too surprised. I mean, I knew before getting this jacket that England-based Oxford Products makes good, affordable gear. When I was first returning to riding I used all kinds of Oxford stuff, from tank bags to heated grips to ear plugs. I was always relatively happy with it, but then I got a gig with a bigger paycheck than a man with no children really needs and I became a little bit of a gear snob.
And that’s probably it right there: I have been surprised by the Montreal 3.0’s quality because I’d accidentally conditioned myself to believe that its price tag was an indicator of quality. To be fair, that is more often than not the case with other brands; you get what you pay for. But Oxford seems to be an exception to the rule.
Priced at £149.99 and made in Pakistan (No. 110 on the Democracy Index), the Montreal 3.0 jacket is available in sizes Small to 5XL. It is available in four color schemes: Tech Black (which you see me wearing), Army Green, Desert, and Black Fluo.
For the longest time the curse of Oxford gear was that it looked pretty terrible. Styling was a solid decade behind the times, if not further. As recently as 2013 the company was selling stuff that had early 90s-esque turquoise highlights. Then, suddenly Oxford got its shizz together and started making stuff that looks good.
The Montreal 3.0 may not have Dainese-level stylishness, but it also doesn’t have a Dainese price tag, and you certainly won’t feel awkward being seen in one. Oxford classes this as an adventure jacket – not to be confused with the almost identical but more expensive Oslo 1.0 touring jacket – and as such it is bedecked with pockets, zips, Velcro, buttons, and adjusters galore.
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Branding is minimal and the cut is of the generous sort found on most adventure jackets. As a lanky guy, the vain part of me tends to dislike these sorts of jackets because they create a slightly puffy appearance. But most riders do not have professional photographers lurking in the trees when they ride, and the jacket doesn’t look puffy from the wearer’s point of view. So, it won’t be an issue for anyone but a thin-skinned moto-journalist on a press event.
One of the things I love most about this jacket is how well it fits. My lankiness creates all sorts of problems when it comes to off-the-rack stuff. And, indeed, the Montreal 3.0 isn’t perfect. I’m 6 feet 1 inch tall, so the size Medium jacket is a little short – the waist adjustment straps sitting over my lower ribs rather than, you know, my waist – but the long cut means it still hangs 2 inches below my belt line in the front. The back hangs low enough that it covers my tailbone even when fully bent forward. Paired with the high-waisted Oxford 2.0 pants you can be confident of a safe, warm, dry belly.
Fit in the torso overall (shoulders, chest, waist) is excellent. This is facilitated by adjustability at the waist (lower rib cage, in my case) and hips, as well as adjustability in the upper and lower arms. One particularly cool feature is an adjustable snap at the neck that allows you to tailor the collar size.
I am a sucker for tiny details that show the person who designed a thing was really thinking about its use. One of my favorite aspects of the Triumph Tiger 1200, for example, is the fact it has connection points at the passenger seat designed to work perfectly with Kriega bags. Or, if you look at an Aerostich Roadcrafter R3, you’ll notice a pocket on the right sleeve that’s perfect for coins or parking garage tickets and the like; Andy Goldfine intentionally put it on the right sleeve so you’ll have to open it with your left hand – which means you can have a hand on the brake, and won’t be fussing about when your bike is in gear.
The Montreal 3.0 is packed with stuff like that. There’s the aforementioned adjustment straps and moveable snap at the neck, of course. There’s another snap on the opposite side of the collar that allows you to hold it open in warm weather. The snap loops for the removable thermal liner are color coded, so you know you’re hooking the right part of the liner to the right part of the jacket. There’s a Velcro flap of fabric that goes over the lower part of the front zip to keep your tank from getting scratched. There are zip-open air vents on the sleeves, chest, and back (six in total), and the two on the chest have snaps to keep the vents open. And it has pockets you can put your hands into!
Those pockets (Oxford calls them “hand warmers” to help differentiate from the other pockets) are located behind the two main pockets you see at the front of the jacket. There is also a very large map pocket at the back of the jacket. Internally, you’ll find two zip pockets – each large enough to hold a modern gigante mobile phone – and a pocket with a fabric overlap. Oxford claims the front pockets are waterproof, but my experience of riding in the rain has proven otherwise; keep your phone in one of the internal pockets.
The jacket comes with easily removable armor in the shoulders and elbows. There is a large pocket for a back protector. I pulled the protector from my Knox Venture shirt and it fit perfectly.
The removable thermal liner is super comfy and actually has sleeves, which is a huge plus in my eyes. Most thermal liners are just vests and I can’t get with that. My arms get cold, yo. This is especially true on an adventure bike, where it’s often the case that a narrow screen will keep weather off the chest but leave arms out in the elements.
COMPLETE THE LOOK: Oxford Montreal 2.0 – Riding Pants Review
There is also a roll-out waterproof hood in the collar, that you are apparently supposed to roll onto your head and wear under your helmet, keeping rain from getting down into the jacket. I don’t really like the idea of this, so I haven’t tried it. Perhaps I should, though, because my biggest issue with the jacket is that the very comfy Amara-lined collar tends to soak up water over long rides in the rain.
As I said at the beginning, I find it hard to believe how good this jacket is considering the price. This is a really good piece of kit for not a lot of money. And I am surprised at just how warm it manages to keep me. Back in January, when I brought it and the Montreal 2.0 pants on a trip to Scotland, I did so primarily because the nature of a two-piece suit makes it easier to run the wires of a heated vest. But the outfit was so warm that I was able to ride some days without even clicking the vest on.
Recently I got a chance to visit the Triumph Adventure Experience and spent the day crashing into the mud over and over and over. That experience convinced me of the jacket’s durability. After washing it with Nikwax Tech Wash and boosting the waterproofing with Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In, the jacket looks as good as new. Which speaks to one of the great advantages of textile gear: it’s easy to clean.
As with the Montreal 2.0 pants, I’d anticipate a solid 20,000 miles could be had from this jacket before it loses its waterproofing ability. That’s four years of use for the average British rider; about 10 years for the average American rider (step it up, y’all). And as with the Montreal 2.0 pants, my biggest overall lament is the fact the jacket is made in Pakistan. Are those workers being treated well? I don’t know.
Let’s just hope Oxford puts as much effort into ensuring good working conditions as it does into delivering quality products and good design. Because there’s no denying that the Montreal 3.0 is a hell of a product.
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