When British mountaineering brand Rab waded into the world of cycling apparel, it caught my attention. Rab isn’t the first brand to try cross over, some with more success than others. But, having tried Rab’s gear for activities closer to its origins and having found it to be very smartly designed and well made, I was curious to see what their take on off-road riding would be.
I say “off-road” because Rab targets a wide range of riders with its Cinder line. Gravel, bikepacking and mountain biking and basically anything where you’ll be exposed to the elements while spending long periods of time in the saddle. There is some spandex in the Cinder line, if you want it, but there are also numerous less form-fitting options.
My first experience with Rab’s Cinder cycling wear is mostly positive, even if the review a bit mixed. I’ve spent half a year riding an array of gear from Rab. That is mostly on dirt, despite Rab targeting the vague “adventure” market, but with many long days in the saddle and plenty gravel thrown in the mix.
Rab Cinder Downpour Jacket
Let’s start with the good. Or, more accurately, the very good. Rab’s Cinder Downpour Jacket.
Rab actually makes four jackets in the Cinder line. The Kinetic is the top-of-the-line, Phantom is an ultra-lightweight and Vapor Rise is warmer for winter riding. That leaves the Cinder Downpour as a do-it-all waterproof jacket and the second most reasonably priced at $285. The Downpour is a mix of lightweight, packable, waterproof, very windproof and breathable. With two large pockets, and an under-the-helmet hood and zippered under-arm vents, it is a full-featured jacket that can also be easily stowed away when the clouds disappear. It comes in five sizes and three colours each in men’s and women’s versions.
Rab uses the Pertex Shield, a Fluorocarbon-free fabric that is incredibly waterproof. This jacket has kept me completely dry through some of the wettest days I can remember on the bike, and heaps more off-bike precipitation, this fall. It also feels light to ride in and, with the help of pit vents, breathes well. Since it is also very windproof, it’s been great even on dry days when riding up to higher, more exposed elevations and for the higher speeds of gravel riding.