Date reviewed: April 2020 | Tested by: Steve Rose | Price: £249 (jacket) £199 (trousers) | www.oxfordproducts.com
As a pampered journo it’s easy to review a suit like the Oxford Mondial that costs £249 for the jacket and £199 for the trousers and dismiss it as being ‘cheap’ or ‘value-for-money’. The reality is that spending £448 on a new riding suit is a big commitment and if it were my money on this Oxford Mondial combo, I’d expect it to be completely waterproof (because a waterproof suit that isn’t waterproof is as useful as a phone that doesn’t make calls), warm in winter, cool in summer, protective should the worst happen and do all of the above for at least three summers and winters. It’s hard for a review to be that complete, but here at BikeSocial we try harder than anyone else.
The latest group of laminated textile suits meet or exceed CE protection standards and have enough zip-out layers and vents to be used through all four seasons. A good leather suit will have better abrasion protection in a track crash (where speeds tend to be higher and you slide for longer because there’s less to hit and slow you down), but these latest top-end textiles have crash protection that at least carries a CE certification so you can buy with authority.
I got this Oxford Mondial suit in December 2019 and have done around 5000 miles in it so far. Most of that has been on BikeSocial’s long-term test Honda X-ADV and Africa Twin, but I’ve also done big miles on a Yamaha FJR1300 and my own Fazer 1000.
Cuff fasteners fit over winter gloves easily. The zip feels flimsy,but hasn’t broken yet
I prefer to use textile trousers as overtrousers on top of a pair of jeans (because I ride to meetings and need to be able to change quickly, sometimes in a room full of people) so I chose a larger size than if wearing them over bare legs. The fit on my legs from the Mondial trousers is good and there’s plenty of adjustment at the ankles, but the waist fastener has its work cut out, especially on longer trips in winter when I have two pairs of thermal long-johns under my jeans as well. I probably should have gone one size bigger. So far the clasp has taken the strain but the press studs have buckled. I usually wear the trousers as bib and braces - zipping them together will offer more crash protection, but makes pulls down at the back, which pulls up on the neck fastener, making it uncomfortable when riding anything sportier than an adventure bike.
The Oxford Mondial jacket fits well, with enough adjustment to allow for winter’s layers and summer’s snugness. Cuffs are just about roomy enough to fit winter gloves underneath, but fastening the zips always feels like something could be about to let go (so far nothing has) and there isn’t quite enough room to get my heated gloves underneath if I’m using their external battery packs.
CE armour in shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. Back protector is £20 extra
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the new laws, click here.
Certified to CE Class A and fitted with Level 1 CE armour in the elbows, shoulders, knees and hips. The jacket has a pocket for a back protector, but isn’t supplied with one as standard (Oxford’s level 1 back protector costs £19.99).
CE Class A kit is deemed suitable for urban riding meaning it survives one second continual abrasion on the most vulnerable areas at 30mph on a test rig and half a second on the less vulnerable areas at 17mph, again on a test rig – called the Dahmstadt machine. The highest standard (AAA) demands four times these values.
Outer jacket pockets have survived three hours of storm-force rain and been completely waterproof so far.
The Oxford Mondial jacket has two large outside pockets with Velcro fasteners that keep heavy rain out for three hours. They might stay dry for even longer but that’s the longest I’ve ridden in one go. The zipped pockets behind them stay dry too. Both inside pockets have proved completely waterproof so far but the zip on the third one behind the storm flap has broken. The Mondial trousers have two outside pockets, which, remain watertight for an hour or so and never leak so badly that your stuff gets more than a little damp.
Fasteners are well thought-out and, so far reliable. Moveable press stud on the collar is a bit stiff, but allows an easy snug fit
The zips have survived a lot of use despite feeling a little flimsy. The cuff ones in particular feel like they will be the first to fail, but so far, after 5000 miles they are defying expectations. Both press studs on the Mondial trousers have buckled and are difficult to fasten and the press stud on the collar is awkward to use.
Oxford’s Mondial trousers have plenty of adjustment and the lower legs are particularly easy to fit around different combinations of boots and jeans. The moveable press stud design of the Mondial jacket collar means there’s some adjustability and there’s a hook on the edge that allows you to fold it back for more airflow in warmer weather. The jacket cuffs could do with having a slightly wider opening to get over very thick gloves or heated gloves with external batteries fitted.
Vents work very well but aren’t easy to open on the move
There are two enormous fold-back vents on the Oxford Mondial jacket (plus exhaust vents in the back) and the same on the trousers. They are very effective, but difficult to use on the move. A zip opens up the flap, which can be done on the move, but rolling them back and press-studding them in place is very difficult while riding so you need to decide in advance if you need them or find somewhere safe to stop.
Should you get too cool though, releasing the stud is easy and once the flap goes back down the venting pretty-much stops even if the zip is still open.
2019 might have been one of the wettest winters, but it wasn’t that cold. Plus, I wear lots of layers including heated kit because almost all my riding is long journeys and I can’t afford to risk being cold one hour in to a three-hour ride for the sake of testing. The best comparison I can give for the Oxford Mondial suit is that with all the same layers on I find this suit at least as warm, or possibly warmer than my Halvarrsons suit that costs twice the price.
Liner adds plenty of warmth and removes/refits easily
The Mondial jacket and trouser liners don’t feel particularly bulky and the suit is easy to get on and off. They come out and go back in easily.
Both the Oxford Mondial jacket and trousers have been 100 per cent waterproof so far and I can’t remember a winter where we’ve had more rain. I ride a minimum of 600 miles every week and between November and March it felt like it never stopped raining. The Oxford Mondial suit seemingly resists any amount of rain. Some suits suffer with water running over the top of the trousers, under the jacket and wetting your belly, but this one (in bib and brace mode) has been watertight everywhere. That’s impressive for a sub-£500 suit
If your criteria for choosing a riding suit is to be warm, comfortable and dry for less than £500, then you’ll be very happy with an Oxford Mondial. There’s an awful lot of thought gone into the design of this suit. Some neat touches and an obvious understanding of what’s important to year-round riders.
There are a few niggles – the wrist zips don’t feel like they are quite high-enough quality to survive the tugging and strain of making a snug fit over gloves for too long. But so far they’ve survived. The press-studs (waist and collar) are already getting hard to use and the zip on one of the pockets has failed. Not having a back protector is a nuisance, but easily solved and I’m guessing many dealers might even throw one in free if it sweetens the deal.
I’ve spent most of the winter riding through torrential rain and storms, racking up the miles, wondering if this is the trip when the waterproofing on this well-priced suit will fail. So far it has absolutely and totally failed to let me down. That’s impressive enough, but the fact that it is also warm, comfy and has pockets that are equally waterproof is a real eye-opener about what is possible for less than £500.
This zip on the inner pocket is the only thing to break in 5000 miles