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Micro Climate vs. Magic Shell - Cycling Jacket Comparison

Differences between the Ornot Magic Shell and Micro Climate cycling jackets

Micro Climate - Water resistant / wind resistant, temp range 40-65, 155 grams, packable and lightweight. Magic Shell - Highly water resistant / wind proof, temp range 55 degrees and below, 255 grams, packable, but you need some space. / 


We’ve been offering one amazing jacket for a while, so when people wanted a jacket, it was easy to recommend our award winning, fan favorite Magic Shell. The Magic Shell is a great jacket and offers stretchy, breathable protection from rain and cool temps. But there was one scenario where it wasn’t ideal, big temperature swings when you might actually want to remove the jacket. Since San Francisco is the micro-climate capitol of the world, we can often experience a 15 - 20 degree temperature swing on a ride. Compound those temp swings with wind or or fog and some of us often wished for a mid-ride wardrobe change. That’s why we developed the Micro Climate Jacket. A really, really good packable jacket. One that you can wear it comfortably all day long, but can also be stashed away. 

The Micro Climate Jacket:

Our Micro Climate Jacket is the ultimate lightweight packable jacket. It features an extremely durable, lightweight fabric, custom milled especially for us. This jacket breathes like nothing we've ever used. Ever read about the $500 Olympic swimsuits? This fabric comes from that same stretch woven process. For insulation we designed a lofted pattern and placed it at strategic areas to keep the user warm and dry without overheating. The fabric has a patented treatment applied permanently to each fiber strand which resists moisture. That treatment along with the compact textile structure makes this jacket water-resistant and quick to dry without a coating that could wash off.  This special fabric has an abundance of stretch and consistent recovery making it comfortable while moving with you while you ride. A single rear pocket serves 2 purposes, the first is for your essentials (phone, snacks, gloves etc), the second is as a reversible stuff sack which the jacket can easily be packed into when it warms up. 

Possible Micro climate scenarios.
1. Early Morning - 45 degree morning, temps rise to 58 and sunny - 
Layers - Thermal Jersey, optional base layer, Micro Climate Jacket, Thermal Bib Tights.
2. Nice Afternoon, then the sun sets. - 62 degrees drops to 50 - lightweight long sleeve or short sleeve jersey, Micro Climate Jacket in pocket or bag. Put on the jacket when temps drop. 
3. SF Specific - City escape. Fog and 55 in sf, 80 on Mt. Tam, 58 in Stinson beach. You know the drill (jacket, jacket off, jacket back on)
4. Wear it over a trail shirt 55-65 degrees (short sleeve / long sleeve base layer optional) take it off for the climbs, put it on when you’re having lunch and enjoying the views at the top.
5. Unknown ride - Not exactly sure where you’re going, where you may stop or what the weather will be like? Take this jacket with you! 
We could go on and on, but the Micro Climate really excels at temp changes and can be custom tailored based on the layers worn underneath. There’s no penalty for taking this jacket with you, so you could avoid shivering, Ornot. 

The Magic Shell:

Our Magic Shell Jacket features a lightweight knit version of Polartec® NeoShell® fabric that is extremely breathable, windproof and ...waterproof. After a solid 4 years in this jacket, we can confidently say it's truly "Magic."  BICYCLING MAGAZINE AWARDED OUR MAGIC SHELL WITH "GEAR OF THE YEAR" IN THEIR 2019 ISSUE! Our popular do-it-all breathable jacket is stretchy and soft allowing you to wear it with layers or just a jersey depending on the temperature. The rear pocket offers enough space for your phone and snacks. While the fabric is waterproof we have focused on maximum breathability and opted not to tape the seams. 

Possible Magic Shell scenarios:
1. 50 degrees all day long - (layer with a thermal jersey)
2. 45 degrees all day long and it’s probably going to rain… (see above)
3. 33 degrees, sunny, must get outside for a ride! (Thermal jersey + base layer)
4. Grinduro 2019 - 50 degrees at the start. 30 degrees and hailing at the tops of the climbs. (Thermal jersey + base layer)
5. 50 degrees and rain - MUST GET OUT OF THE HOUSE - Go for it, don’t forget a cap. 


Final Verdict.

Everybody wins! participation awards? There isn't a winner, but if you live in an area where it gets really cold and you need a jacket that performs better in the cold, the Magic Shell is for you. If it's often rainy (PNW), the Magic Shell is for you. If you live in a warmer region, or are looking for a fall or spring jacket, go with the Micro Climate. But really, these jackets perform differently and are intended to work in different weather, so if you ride in all of the weather, you may need both, Ornot.

Oh, btw, you can check out the jackets here!


If you still have questions about the differences between these jackets, shoot us an email